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157 Marshal Quick kept no secrets. When he had news, he shared it. It’s hard to say whether Quick saw it as a civic duty to keep people informed or was a gossip who couldn’t keep a story to himself. Of course, he was also looking for some publicity, because he was up for reelection. The marshal detailed the disappearance of the preacher and the bookkeeper to Dewey John at the Link Lake Gazette office right after he talked with Andy. He said he was mounting an investigation to make sure there had been no wrongdoing and that no harm had come to either Preacher or Helen. “It’s the biggest story of the year,” the marshal said. “Maybe the biggest story in five years.” Dewey listened carefully but didn’t comment. The marshal took time explaining what Andy Meyer had said about what happened between the pickle vats in the factory cellar. As he listened, he wondered if the good marshal expected him to write about the fornication right down to its naked details. Dewey tried to keep from smiling as the marshal went on and on, as only he was capable of doing. 20 Breaking News “You’ll wanna feature this on the front page of the paper,” the marshal said. “And I’m ready to pose for a photo if you want one.” “Not right now,” Dewey said, trying not to laugh. “Okay, then,” the marshal said. “Just let me know when you want a photo—or another interview.” He gathered up his hat, cracked his knuckles, and left. Looking out the window, Dewey noticed that Marshal Quick stopped at the Link Lake Tap on his way down Main Street. More news was digested, discussed, cussed, and created there than almost any other place in town—his challenge was to report this runaway incident accurately without fueling the gossip machine, which had already shifted into high gear. The editor decided to drive over to the pickle factory and talk with Andy, to get his version of the story. When he did, he found that what the marshal had said mostly jibed with Andy’s description , except for the part about the investigation. The marshal had told Andy he wasn’t going to do anything about the disappearance , because two people could run off together and not break any laws. Now Dewey was faced with how to report all this in the paper. Villages like Link Lake have several news sources, the newspaper being only one of them, and often the least significant. The news that traveled by word of mouth, in the taverns, at the feed mill, at the cheese factory, in the mercantile—this mattered most to the residents of the Link Lake community. The rumor mill was where all the juicy stuff was passed along, all the details, whether accurate or manufactured, all the gore, the indiscretion, all of it. In the minds of the locals, the newspaper seldom reported anything new. Rather, they saw it as a confirmation. “See, I told you. Here it is in the paper. Right here in the paper.” Once something 158 Breaking News 159 Breaking News was printed there, it was viewed as the absolute truth, never to be questioned. Dewey decided to report the preacher and Helen’s disappearance on page two. He didn’t detail the couple’s antics, the details everyone was drooling to read. The older women would sniff at the awfulness of it all, and a few would secretly wonder if they could have an adventure like this. There was a certain romance to falling in love among pickle vats, the air heavy with the smell of fermenting cucumbers. Of course, some of the men had openly discussed what it would be like to run off with a pretty blond divorcée. Dewey had bigger news to report on page one. Unfortunately, because of the pickle factory affair holding everyone’s attention, no one was talking about the real pickle problem. The spot-rot epidemic had decimated the cucumber crop in the area. It continued to close down the little patches. This would mean a smaller pile of Christmas presents under the trees this winter, fewer kids with new clothes for school, and many promises of new bicycles being put off for yet another year. Front-page news also included the upcoming election in the Rose Hill School District. People would be voting on consolidation in a special election...


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Related ISBN
MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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