Madison Pickens is a picky sort of fellow, perniciously so, a proud mid-level junior member of the journalistic profession who had auto-nicknamed himself, at different times, Mad Pick, Picky Madison but most famously, or at least he thought so, Gotcha Pickens.
He is a stalwart albeit secret political partisan (or at least he thinks so, he sometimes overestimates his subtlety) so that a good deal of his more notable work (well, at least notable as he perceives it) occurred during periods when for unfathomable reasons (at least to him) his political party was in the opposition (note the absence of the adjective loyal).
His task was easy, mainly, he merely added his name to stories he was surreptitiously handed (although all too frequently not surreptitiously enough to avoid detection, especially as he was sometimes careless with his email), and turned them in as his own. For some unfathomable reason, his editors never seemed to catch on. So his career was divided into mad attack dog segments and happy periods when everything seemed right with the world, at least according to articles submitted under his byline.
Professionally (the term here is used loosely), Gotcha Pickens (let’s humor him and anyway, people have a common law right to choose their own monikers) always seemed to have something with which to be pleased. Either his party was in power, the work easy, and his editors always pleased, or, his party was out of power, his work easy and creatively malicious (he sometimes even wrote it himself), his editors pleased, and, perhaps best of all, he was welcome at gatherings of adoring protestors, some of them fairly young, fairly attractive, and most of all, attracted to him (well, to tell the truth, he wasn’t that picky and if they were attracted to him that automatically made them attractive).
His idol was the post-Revolutionary War editor of the National Gazette, Philip Freneau, an ostensible State department employee who acted as the journalistic intermediary for Thomas Jefferson in his personal and political wars against Alexander Hamilton and, at times, George Washington. Style, hyperbole and calumny undeterred by the need for facts, perfected as an art form under the guise of journalism, and done exquisitely, and frequently, merely handed to Freneau for publication under his own name. To think, not only were Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, … Founding Fathers, … Freneau’s ghostwriters but they paid him (albeit surreptitiously through the State Department) for the honor. What a sweet deal. What a goal for Gotcha to aspire to (hmmm, how to avoid ending this sentence in a preposition).
The fact that he has emulating a hero pleased Gotcha no end. To think, if he hadn’t studied at least some history, his life would have had a very different meaning, perhaps, (shudders) none. No concerns about plagiarism either. And the State Department, after so many years (OK, not the Department per se but important personages associated with it), still the benefactor of the free if not always independent press. What a country!!! Gotta loved it.
And no need to feel any guilt (the concept was somewhat alien to him anyway), many, many of his friends did the same thing and even many of his enemies too, well, not really enemies, they were of course a fraternity of sorts and in fact, many had been fraternity brothers in college. Ahh, college!!! Those were great days but then again, so were these. So he had the comfort of knowing that he was in fact, in the mainstream of his profession (or at least that’s what he believed) and that if he hadn’t been performing his special services, someone else would, and that any way, the other side did it too, and of course, the voting public didn’t read that much and were terribly fickle, which meant job security, his services would always be needed.
And now Trump as president. What more could he ask for?
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2017; all rights reserved