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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 36 page 08


Joy looked around the room. “Um, you see, this was the first time I’d been in a maternity ward since...” He paused. “Well, never mind. It’s not important.”

Debbie jumped in. “No, please tell us.”

Joy shifted uncomfortably in his seat. “Well, it was the first time in a maternity ward since my wife gave birth to our son three weeks ago. You see, my wife and I had trouble...” He paused again. “You know what, that’s not what I’m here to talk about.”

Debbie, who was sitting directly across from Joy, leaned forward and focused her deep blue eyes on the minister. “What’s your son’s name?” she asked softly.

Joy didn’t stand a chance. He looked down, cleared his throat and said, “We named him Liam.”

Debbie smiled. “I love that name. I’ll bet he’s the apple of your eye.”

Joy smiled back and nodded.

Debbie leaned in farther, her voice a soothing balm. “Is Liam your first child, William?”

Joy pursed his lips tightly and nodded again. “You see, my wife and I tried for years—” He choked up. “We tried for years to have a baby. We saw so many specialists, tried so many things.”

“That can be difficult for a marriage, can’t it?”

Joy took a deep, stuttering breath. “To be honest with you, I wasn’t sure if our marriage was going to survive.”

Debbie never took her eyes off him. She knew when to probe and when to retreat, when to smile and when to nod, and when to just stay quiet.

“Then we tried in vitro fertilization,” Joy said. “We saw it as our last chance. And thank God it worked,” he said, his face brightening.

Debbie gave him a warm smile. “Tell us about the first time you held your son.”

She reached out and touched his hand. That’s when the last remnants of his stoic ministerial persona crumbled, like an imploding dam, and the tears flowed.

“It was the happiest moment of my life,” he sobbed. “I never thought I could be so happy.”

He buried his head in his hands and wept while the photographer took shot after shot. And at that moment, I swear Debbie moved to high-five a colleague before quickly altering course and smoothing the hair on the back of her head.

The headline for our front-page spread was obvious: “Tears of Joy.”


Debbie never did get her sexposés.

The investigation into the mayor’s alleged shenanigans didn’t get far. Fate intervened when His Worship suffered a heart attack at his desk and did a face-plant into a steaming bowl of porridge. Even Debbie agreed it would be distasteful to continue with the sex probe at that point.

As for the fire chief, we took the direct approach, asking him straight out if he had ever been in pornographic movies. He laughed so hard he fell off his chair and popped open the stitches on his inguinal hernia.

But Debbie did manage to engineer a scoop almost as juicy as those two non-starters: an exclusive story about a flighty film starlet whose career, if not a complete train wreck, was in imminent danger of derailing.

I could tell right away that something was up when I arrived at work that day. Debbie was flitting around the newsroom like Tinker Bell on espresso.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

“Do you know who Meagan Murphy is?”

“Ah, yeah, film star, scandalous behaviour.” Given my boss’s story preferences, I had been keeping up with this kind of dross that I used to ignore. Meagan Murphy was a fixture of trashy supermarket tabloids because of her recreational drug use, crash-and-burn relationships and the inconvenient location of trees during her martini-soaked drives home.

“Well, she’s in town shooting a movie and she’s going to be tomorrow’s front-page splash,” Debbie said.