– 19 –


Now this was newsworthy. Toronto’s media elite was all abuzz. And the buzz was all about Mackenzie Taylor Mitchell.

The first she heard of it came when Ricky phoned. “Mackenzie dear, I’m cancelling our training sessions and I’m positively delighted to do so. Congratulations! You’re in.”

She could hardly believe it. No more remedial practice in facial expressions. No more Toronto Star newsroom, even if it was now a day spa. Mackenzie Taylor Mitchell was finally going on TV.

And as an anchorperson, not a reporter. Mackenzie was going to be a star and all she had to do was read a script. It was the most exalted position in Canadian journalism.

And she wasn’t even blonde. Mackenzie Taylor Mitchell would be the first bona fide white woman without blonde hair to become a newscaster in living memory.

She wouldn’t have dyed her hair anyway. Mackenzie Taylor Mitchell was no phony. She did things on her own terms. The world would see that the night of her TV debut. She’d wear her leather biker jacket.

She’d been thinking about that all the time she’d been training with Ricky. But she didn’t tell him or anyone else. She didn’t want anyone to steal her idea.

Lots of Toronto media women wore them, but not yet on TV. The biker-style garb showed they were tough. Independent. Free-thinkers. Fearless adversaries of the power structure. Multi-zippered black leather jackets were one of the most common ways Toronto journalists showed their individuality. Mackenzie got hers at her J-school grad ceremony, where each student was presented with a jacket by the Prime Minister’s Wife, who sported one herself.

“Dis hare is for da long-time da sym-bull of da re-bell, da pair-son who shal-lenj l’autorité. As you go out dare to fight d’oh-pre-SHUN, you will cum-FOR d’affleek-TED an’ af-FLEEK da cum-for-ta-BULL.”

Yes, comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, the maxim that Canadian journalists live by, expressed in the poetic cadence of Quebecois English and exactly what Mackenzie was destined to do. What a sensation she would cause in doing so. And on what a momentous day. She would debut on the final day of The Trial.

That she learned shortly after Ricky’s call, when her CJC ringtone went off. For once Mackenzie answered enthusiastically.

“Congratulations, Mackenzie, you’re CITY TV’s newest news anchorperson.” Mackenzie was so excited she wasn’t even sure which Mr. was calling. They never identified themselves. You were just supposed to know.

“You’re going on tomorrow and it’s going to be big, very big. We’re moving the guilty verdict sooner.”

“The guilty verdict?” Mackenzie couldn’t help asking.

She heard something like fffffffffsssshhhhffff, one of Mr. Caplan’s trademarks, before his tone turned to an angry scold. “Yes, Mackenzie, the guilty verdict. Don’t you know there’s a Trial going on?”

Embarrassment suddenly deflated Mackenzie. She was relieved there was no one else in the sauna to see her blushing.

“Listen, it’s short notice, but if you want maximum exposure, well I mean maximum exposure in a sense, this is your chance. You’re going to make media history. The Trial ends tomorrow. You’ll announce the guilty verdict.”

The Trial ends tomorrow! The culmination of a country’s examination of the deep, dark secrets of its shameful past, the confrontation of fearless crusaders like Mackenzie herself against the vast, oppressive face of evil. What an incredibly fantastic career move!

“See me tomorrow, three o’clock sharp. Then you can head to the studio and get ready for your big night. You’re a hero, Mackenzie.” Click.

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