Hard Biting News #2
Hard Biting News #2 2nd Edition
Herb: I’m Herb Leeker, your Hard Biting News reporter. Today, I’m investigating the Community Dog Shelter. With me is the newly appointed director, Donald Poodle.
Pudell: My name is Pudell, not Poodle, Mr. Bleeker. Donald Pudell.
Herb: I’m terribly sorry, Mr. Pudell. And my name is Leeker, not Bleeker.
Pudell: Pardon me, Mr. Leeker. You said your name so fast, it sounded like Bleeker, not Leeker. I thought Bleeker was sort of a strange name. I knew a guy once whose name was Beaker. Of course, that was his nickname. He had a big nose. Actually, it was gigantic. A real honker. Heh heh heh. His real name was Steve. How do you spell your last name?
Pudell: I must have been mistaken, then. I thought you spelled it with an A instead of an E. Of course, many people make mistakes with names. For instance, you thought my name was “Poodle.” That’s a perfectly natural mistake, when you consider that I work with dogs all day long. Ha ha ha.
Herb: Excuse me, Mr. Pudell, the director is breaking in… get to the story? Ahem. Alright. Mr. Pudell, there has been some controversy about your appointment. The mayor stated that there was no better candidate for the position, but several members of the City Council opposed you. They stated you were appointed only because you were a major contributor to the mayor’s campaign, and that you had no experience or credentials in running an animal shelter. Would you care to comment?
Pudell: No, I really wouldn’t.
Herb: Cough. You told me before the interview that you wanted to say a word on your own behalf.
Pudell: I’m sorry, Mr. Bleeker. I’m just a man of few words. Blunt and plain spoken. I don’t go for self-promotion and bragging. That’s why I won’t dignify the remarks of those politicians who make careers out of ruining the honest people of this world.
Herb: It’s Leeker. But, the question on everyone’s mind is whether those remarks have any substance?
Pudell: None whatsoever. Sure, I gave the mayor a few bucks, but only because the Chief of Police personally asked me to contribute to the mayor’s re-election campaign. Before the last election, I didn’t know the mayor from Adam.
Herb: So you’re saying that the Chief of Police personally asked you for money for the mayor’s campaign?
Pudell: Well, he didn’t exactly ask me for money, Mr. Bleeker, but he had that gun pointed at me, so I thought it was a good idea to do what he said. I’m a law-abiding citizen, you know.
Herb: It’s Leeker. So you’re saying that the Chief of Police robbed you?
Pudell: Well, he didn’t exactly rob me. He said it was my civic duty to support the mayor and he said the mayor would appreciate a contribution. And besides, the Chief told me that a contribution would guarantee me police protection. You know, there’s a lot of crime out there, and you can’t have too much police protection. As a matter of fact, I do feel a lot safer now. There’s always a patrol car in my neighborhood now. That’s really all there was to it, Mr. Bleeker.
Herb: Now, wait just a minute, Mr. Pudell. You can’t tell me “that’s really all there was to it.” I graduated from one of the finest journalism schools in the country. I can smell a story here, Mr. Pudell. If that is all there was to it, how did you end up directing the animal shelter? And it’s Leeker.
Pudell: Now that is a story, Mr. Leeker. You see, a few weeks after the election, I was laid off from my job as a custodian at the fireworks plant. It seems I mistook some kerosene for plain old liquid soap. It wasn’t my fault the bottle wasn’t marked. Anyway, after the plant blew up, the cops were all over the place and they thought I did it on purpose. The boss tried to blame me and told me my services weren’t needed any longer. I tried to get him to change his mind, but he wouldn’t listen. And the police wouldn’t leave me alone. They kept wanting to know why I wanted to blow up the fireworks factory. So, I called the Chief of Police to explain my side of the story.
Herb: What did you say to him?
Pudell: Well, I reminded him that the mayor promised me police protection and I needed police protection now and if I couldn’t get police protection, I would have to call the newspapers and television folks and tell them that the mayor promised me police protection for the money I gave him and now he won’t deliver on his promises. I don’t think a politician should make empty promises, Mr. Leeker.
Herb: What did he say?
Pudell: Nothing. He hung up on me. I was going to forget about the whole thing, but then the mayor himself called me.
Herb: The mayor called you? What did he say?
Pudell: The mayor was very upset by the whole thing. He said if I told anyone, people would get the wrong idea. He told me to keep quiet and he would make things right.
Herb: So he bribed you with a job to keep you from talking about the shakedown?
Pudell: All he said was “I take care of my friends. Just don’t ever call me again or tell anyone.” He told me I could run the animal shelter. I even got a raise. And I have never called him again.
Herb: That is shocking, Mr. Pudell.
Pudell: You bet it was. That raise was more than I was making in a whole year at the fireworks plant!
Herb: One last question, Mr. Pudell. Why did you decide to come forward now to accuse the mayor of corruption?
Pudell: What are you talking about, Mr. Bleeker? I know the mayor told me to be quiet, but I can’t help it. He’s a great mayor. He keeps his promises, unlike most other politicians. So I just had to tell everyone. I just wanted to let everyone know how honest he is so they’ll vote for him again.
Herb: Well, there you have it. Thank you, Mr. Donald Pudell, Director of the Community Dog Shelter. For Channel 6, this has been Hard Biting News. Back to News Central. And it's Leeker.
Copyright © 2020 Lawrence Gordon