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Little Girls and Big Papers

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Cooperative: This story is coordinated by Laveaux. It is open to any new writers with characters alive during the year 1947 and have access to New York. The coordinator asks that any writers that do join the story, complete a character description in accordance with this article. Note that writers can only write for their characters, the coordinator will write for all other characters and events. Use the talk page if you have questions or suggestions.

Current Active Writers:

  • This story has no current active writers. Any of the characters can be used by other writers.

Emilee prodded Eliza for the third time that morning. The silly little girl was late getting up for her morning classes and they had only just started last week. Fortunately, the two had managed to unpack all of their belongings and arrange the apartment to their liking before the school year was in full swing. Emilee, however, had the luxury of being a graduate. Late mornings were her treat if she wasn't down at the library burning the day away with books. Today would have been one of those days where she could spend all morning catching up on missed sleep, but instead, it was the first real moment of her campaign for that dream job of finally becoming a journalist, a reporter. Em spent a majority of her waking hour touching up her light makeup, setting her dark hair, and picking out the perfect combination of beauty and strength in her clothes. She chose cotton slacks and a blouse with pumps. Enameled earrings, necklace, and brooch gave the outfit a dressy feeling. "Eliza, you're a doll, but you'd better have your rear out of the bed when I leave... which is right now."

There were mild sounds of thumping which could very well have been Daisy-Lou aiding her cause. Then Eliza appeared briefly, crossing the hall of their small apartment, and disappeared into their bathroom. Satisfied, she added one last request. "And walk Daisy if you could, dear, I've got to be going." With that last remark, Emilee was out the door and into the streets, headed for New Yorks biggest paper.

--Emilee


The imposing concrete monolith on 229 West 43rd Street was a hallmark to human intellectual achievement. Founded in 1851, the New York Times was one of few papers that was internationally known and the subject of a great deal of historical significance. It's recent international and fashion sections made its circulation astounding.

On this Friday morning, one could not doubt the effect this paper had on the city and the world. A sea of fedoras and business suits entered and left as a river of hats, gloves, and modest dresses cut through. Just outside was the news caller, an eight-year-old boy with an iron diaphragm, "Hot off the press! Get yer morning paper here! Russkies threaten Berlin! Winter fashions are in!"

Wading through the people was not easy, but once inside, the vast landscape of the skyscraper's lobby opened up. Elevators on one side, shops and a newsstand on the other, the room was tied together with a large desk, a platoon of secretaries and a security guard.

--Laveaux 20:26, 14 December 2005 (CST)


Em was discouraged at first by the great sea of humanity, but it quickly became a game of "dodge the human obstacles". It was a matter of perspective, and in this instance, she perceived it as rather amusing. The whole city in comparison to Darrtown was particularly amusing. Darrtown was perhaps two or three square blocks of downtown New York. The whole downtown area was massive. Emilee mused with a faint smile that she might one day rock the foundations of the gargantuan city with something so small as ink on paper, spread among the masses. She finally pushed her way through the crowds into the lobby. The room was built on the same scale as the building, aimed at moving excessive human traffic in and back out. Hopefully, Emilee thought, I'll leave with more than I came with. A job, in particular.

"Good morning, ma'am. Can you direct me to the New York Time's employment office?" She waded through the people, aggressive enough to set herself up closest to one of the secretaries. Even if they were busy, she only needed directions. One among the many would perhaps look up and prove helpful. Or she might get snapped at. Emilee smiled as winningly as possible.

--Emilee


Distracted, hasty and unaware of anything around them, the secretaries did not at first respond. Only when Emilee stood for longer than a second did one at last look up. Pulling back into her directory of recent noises, she finally pinpointed the words Emilee said a moment prior. Red hair curled around make-up-enhanced cheeks, the secretary embodied modern fashion and with a knowing smirk she illustrated that, in her opinion, Emilee did not.

"Employment is on the sixth floor, hon."

She went back to work, hoping Emilee would be funneled into the lobby with the rest of the passers-by and indeed she was. After a few accidental run-ins with others, she at last ended up inside the elevator and crammed in between four moderately-washed men in unironed suits and scrunched fedoras.

"What floor y'need, miss?" One man offered.

After her response he, with New York chivalry, punched the appropriate buttons and at last the elevator spat her out on the sixth floor.

Quite a bit less chaotic, a short hallway led pedestrians into a glass-caged office. A floor full of cubicles and business-dressed people walking around, papers in hand, had the New York skyline bombarding the windows from outside.

A balding, generously-shaped man with a large smile and unkempt mustache manned the front desk of the office. Typing on carbon paper, he looked up and smiled broadly.

"Hello, Miss, what can I do you for?"

--Laveaux 20:26, 14 December 2005 (CST)


Emilee blamed that silent attack on her fashion sense on her midwestern upbringing and dismissed the issue entirely. She looked nice and well-kept, if not perfectly up-to-date in style. But Em didn't want to write about clothes, so they weren't a primary interest at the moment. Taking her directions and flowing with the traffic, Emilee eventually found a stream of people leading into an elevator. Bunched up among the men, she smiled amiably and announced," The sixth floor please."

They seemed alright, for blue collar men. Her father had always been an academic and Emilee had rather followed in his footsteps. Her best friend was an artist, her mother a dog breeder, and her siblings each unique in their own way. Emilee couldn't truly imagine leading a middle class life without some uncommon career or hobby. That might have been why Emilee was mildly biased against the working class man with perhaps his high school diploma and two-year degree. Her father valued education as if it were the sustenance on which one lived. And, in a metaphorical sense, it really was.

When the elevator finally ejected her onto the appropriate floor Emilee followed the hallway until she was faced with the cubicle jungle and the sizable man in the glass office. "Good morning, sir. I'm Emilee Farrelly. I'm very interested in certain positions the paper might have open." She hesitated before embarking on her list of qualifications and waited for a response.

--Emilee


"Ah! Very well then, Miss . . ." a hesitant recollection interrupted his banter, but quickly gathered momentum, "Farrelly. . . Irish, is it? I am an O'Brien myself."

Grinning loudly implied he was quite proud of that fact.

He took a file folder and full one-inch thick of papers and placed it on the counter in front of him.

"We've openings all over the place. The kitchen, mail room . . . I think they need secretaries for the fashion pages. They could also use some help at the presses if you don't mind getting your hands dirty.

"It's all in there. All job openings are listed. Not accustomed to working women since the war ended. Glad to see you didn't lose your spark, eh?"

Still available for conversation, he distractedly continued typing on the carbon paper.

--Laveaux 20:26, 14 December 2005 (CST)


Smiling brightly at the reference to heritage, Emilee nodded. "Yessir, my grandparents came themselves direct from Province of Leinster where many of the Farrelly clan still live." Em didn't lose her bright smile as the man continued, she nodded. "You know, Mr. O'Brien, I'm not sure how a bachelor's in journalism will help me in the kitchens, but I'd be interested to see how that point might be argued." The potentially stinging comment was in a good natured tone and it was clear Emilee meant no offense. But the fact stood, she wasn't in the janitorial, cooking, or pressing business. She was there to write, and write she would.

The rotund man's comment on working women was a curious thing. "Now what do you think women were up to with all their men off fighting the good fight? Surely not powdering their noses and attending tea parties all the live-long day." There was a comment to tweak her generally sunny disposition. "But that being aside from the point, I'd be particularly curious to know something these papers can't tell me. Aside from the much esteemed fashion department," and it was clear from her voice that Emilee didn't much "esteem" it," are there any female columnists or journalists in the paper? I'm sure there're few, but a man like yourself would remember a lady who could make it into this big paper."

--Emilee


The distinct color of blood rushing to his cheeks redened the Irishman's otherwise pale and solemn complexion. Clearing his throat and searching for a moment for proper words he said, "I see. I am terribly sorry, obviously I am mistaken about . . . eh. . . a few things. I believe there are openings for tenured journalists. I'll take you to meet an editor."

Still flushed, he nervously lead her to the elevator where they were once again whisked up the building to the 15th floor. Inside, a barrage of activity consumed the senses. Hundreds of people in what were once businesswear flooded through a forest of cubicles, toting papers, carts, cameras, or clipboards. Armed with cigarettes and coffee the New York Times staff bantered there way through stories and information, furiously typing at typewriters and passing copy onto the presses.

Hardly noticing their presence, O'Brian lead her through a river of busy journalists before at last arriving in a small glass-enclosed office. A balding man with thick glasses, wiry posture, suspenders, loosened tie and rolled up sleeves paced in the office with a phone on his shoulder and three red-pen-marked papers in his hand. A cigarette hanging carelessly from his lips he passively waved the two in as he concluded his conversation.

"God dammit Charles, did you read the god damned notes? If you haven't noticed the god damned war is over! Who gives a damn about North Africa. You have two hours to get your ass to Berlin or by God the next person who walks in is getting your story!"

He slammed the phone down.

"What is it?"

O'Brian smiled and said, "This young woman is looking for a job."

Not even glancing at her he said, "Tell her that the goddamned cookie bakery is down the street."

"Well, then, back to work."

O'Brian left her alone with him.

--Laveaux 20:26, 14 December 2005 (CST)


Emilee walked up to the man's desk, ever so pertly, assumed the most tragic face she could summon, and spoke in a southern belle accent. "Oh sir, you must help me. I'm just a poor little country girl with no training but what I learned at my dear mother's feet. Please give me a job!" When she had completed the routine, she was almost at her knees in a traditional begging position. The tragic expression slid off her face like butter off soft hot pancakes, and Emilee held the man's gaze square in the eyes. "Now that I've catered to your assumptions, are you ready to be serious with me."

Emilee had ascended up that elevator, and she had broken free into the first opportunity she had ever had to see a truly huge paper in full every-day swing. She had seen it, and Emilee had known, that this was where she was going to be, with the tortured writers striving to put an incredible story on paper even with topics like pouring asphalt, or a recall on defective combs. This was what Emilee was going to do. She would pester whoever she had from this day to three months from now, every single day. And this was simply day one.

"Now, we can do this the easy way, sir, or you can make it very tiresome for me to finally convince you to let me work here. I may not be a man, but that just makes me stronger than you in certain instances. And weaker in others. I can accept that and try to rise above, like any human being can. Men in your paper might not be comfortable with me, but in due time, everything, even gender, becomes monotony. And if they're shy about their crudeness and cigarettes well I just might make your men a little more wholesome, and they might teach my mouth to walk in the gutter once in awhile," though Emilee made it clear that it wasn't likely.

"So lets talk about qualifications. I don't have many, but a four year degree in journalism seems to say I've got the teachering. This would be my first journalism assignment, but I aim for the top so I'm getting a job here. I'll take a minor column, or even the obituaries until you find it in your heart to promote me. Which I'm sure you will."

Emilee wasn't allow for a rejection in her future prospects. No ceased to mean negative and become a neutral to her, like "Try again tomorrow. We'll see then." The resolute expression was firmly set in her face, with a clenched jaw and firm gaze.

--Emilee


"Look here, Petticoats, this is a newspaper not a god damned doll house. You want I should let some floosy in here and take the boys off their work? I don't know who gave you the money to blow on four years in a university, but I sure as hell hope you don't have to pay it back."

The phone rang and he took it, "Hoffman."

After a pause, "GOD DAMMIT CHARLES! How hard could it be? Get on the god damned plane! What security risk?? I've got two correspondants in the god damned red zone of the god damned city now."

Another phone rang from another part of his desk, "Hold it, Charles. I said hold it!"

"Hoffman," he said as he answered the other phone, "Put it in D. Bottom right. No, bottom right. Fine."

He hung up the second call and went back to Charles, "You want I should send Reggie? Well then quit your sniveling and GET ME THE STORY!"

He slammed the phone and after a pause and a drag of his cigarette he said, "You still here? Make yourself useful, doll and get me some coffee."

--Laveaux 20:26, 14 December 2005 (CST)


Emilee was outraged at this man and she knew it. Instead of sputtering angry words back, she took the names he threw at her, including petticoats, and floosy. Which Emilee most certainly was not. And if it had been a better time and placed, she would've told the man exactly what she was and what she thought he was, in a less than civil fashion. But rather than compromise the situation, she bit her tongue on that subject.

When his phone calls were through, Emilee felt she couldn't hold back a few biting remarks. "You spend more time on the phone than my mother. And your Charles there sounds like quite the priss." Hoffman had mentioned redzones, which Emilee was quite aware meant war and danger, but for a story, Em didn't think anything would be dangerous enough. That was the romance of the job. "And you can haul your own ass and get your own coffee until you hire me." Em paused a moment when the curseword came out and then frowned. He had gotten the better of her with his foul language, but the young woman couldn't take it back now.

--Emilee


Hoffman stopped, perhaps stunned by her outburst and, although she was unaware of it, her suddenly red-faced expression. Slacking his knee ever-slightly as he considered her, the editor hung up the phone receiver he'd just picked up.

"Okay, princess, I can see it'll take a bit more to shake you of my leg and that Irish bastard is going to get an earfull for letting you in here . . . but I'll tell you what. . . I'll make a deal with you.

"If you can get me a front-page story before the Post by noon tomorrow, then I'll give you a one year contract. You can't do that, then you don't have what it takes to compete with the boys and so you'll promise me never to step foot in my office again.

"You ain't going to get a better deal. Shake my goddamned hand get the hell out of here."

He extended a stiff arm waiting for her response.

--Laveaux 20:26, 14 December 2005 (CST)


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