This short story was inspired by The Prompt creative writing linky hosted by the Mumturnedmom blog. The prompt word on this occasion was ‘solitary’ (click on the badge below for more).
Regular readers and followers of my twitter feed will know that I found myself on Channel 4 news earlier this week (see here). When I saw the prompt word, it immediately reminded me of what it was like sitting in the TV studio in the seconds before the broadcast went live. I’ve attempted to capture the moment in this post and hope I’ve done it justice.
The confession Hugh was about to make would change his life forever. Column inches would be written about his actions, Hugh’s career would be finished and his superiors would almost certainly face time in jail.
Even so, blowing the whistle was the correct thing to do and his conscience would at long last be clear. It had been a heavy burden, knowing that his client’s pensions had been embezzled so his bosses could buy yauchts and buy time with the most expensive call girls. He’d carried this knowledge around for years but he yearned for a simple life with no further cover ups.
“Check your mobile phone please, make sure it’s turned off,” said a woman wearing a headset. She then flounced off to give instructions to man wheeling a massive television camera around the studio, where it should be positioned and who to focus on.
As asked, Hugh pulled his phone out of his pocket and checked it was switched off. The black screen reflected his image and this made him chuckle; he was about to make the most significant declaration of his life and he was wearing make up!
He thought back to those few brief moments in the Green Room before he was whisked into the studio. He’d had a sip of water and then been ushered into the make-up artist’s chair. She’d practically danced around in front of him from one side to the next while putting applying goodness knows what to his face with brushes that must have touched hundreds of nervous faces.
His concentration was broken by the News Anchor. He was a very famous man, a national treasure revered across the land.
“Hello,” he said. The two men shook hands. “Won’t be long until this is over and good luck, I admire what you’re doing.”
The News Anchor calmly sat himself down next to Hugh and read through his notes while a riot scene from an impoverished nation, a segment from a different news story, played on a huge screen behind them.
“We’ll be on air in one minute, said the woman with the headset.”
Hugh simply nodded and she flounced off again. Everything in the studio was eerily calm.
With a minute to go, Hugh sat back and considered what he was about to say. He was in a studio with numerous people. Loved ones were at home watching him and an audience of several hundred thousand was tuned in and would hear his damning words. Even so, he was in his own solitary place, an alien but oddly peaceful environment.
“Five, four, three, two, one,” said the woman in the headset.
The News Anchor said some words, explaining what was on the show that night. Hugh heard them but wasn’t really listening.
He paid attention when the News Anchor said “First we talk to Hugh Miller about widespread widespread white-collar fraud and tax evasion carried out by his employer.”
“Yes,” said Hugh, “It’s all true and I have the proof.”
Also linked to the #FridayFiction linky