defamation – stroke – reporter – truck – weasel
supermarket – encyclopedia – contemplate – classify – clutch
It was a stroke of luck she’d intercepted the musician on the way to his vehicle. Not because she hadn’t been waiting for him —she had, all day in fact, outside his studio— but she was just about to get a bite from the supermarket across the street and hurry back to her post. If the store had not been closed (renovations), she surely would have missed him. Now the reporter struggled to keep up with him as he walked purposefully to the all-black Escalade. He’d said yes to answering a few questions but his pace exhibited he’d meant to say no.
“Physical. Would you classify any of the interactions with fans you let backstage after your shows as physical? Sexual?”
“No. And if you publish anything like that, it’s defamation.”
“I’m writing no, you would not. Do you make a point of checking the ages of women you invite back with you? Drinking, partying. Do you make sure?”
“They have to be old enough to get into the show.”
“Certainly. October, 2013: four nineteen-year-olds were found drinking in your green room—”
“My guys kicked them out.”
“—Yes. But July, 2016, Finland. Similar reports, this time the venue staff retrieved the girls—”
“What — you got some encyclopedia in your notes there? Out of my way. No comment.”
The musician stepped up into the SUV. The reporter contemplated running to her truck to follow him out of here. Instead she weaselled in front of his car just as it roared to life and slapped her hands on the hood.
“Seventeen!” she yelled through the glass at him. He rolled his window down.
“Move lady! I’ll run you over.”
“Seventeen years old. Found in your group’s hotel room this morning. Passed out — her friend’s looking for her all night! You don’t check, you don’t care. They throw themselves at you, you all drink and you think it’s fine and you have sex and you don’t give a shit, do you‽”
The two locked eyes. No answers from the musician. His car just pushed forward against her and she clutched the grill like it would allow her to hold him back.