I've made a second revision of other paragraphs in the first chapter. I've decided to shorten it in an effort to make the transition into Chapter 2 and the second scene flow more naturally.
He took a sip of coffee as the first message played. It was a message from a co-worker about a late arrival to work. He heard a second message from one of the senior editors provided an agenda about a meeting scheduled later in the day for all the section editors and senior reporting staff. Then, bingo...
“Hello, this message is for Bob McIntire. I got your message. Call me on my cell phone.”
It was short and to the point, but just what McIntire had been hoping for. He replayed the message again to ensure he had transcribed the phone number correctly and saved it into memory before disconnecting.
Reaching for his personal cell phone, he took another bite out of the bagel.
Now almost 6:15 a.m., he hoped it wasn’t too early to call, but decided it was the perfect time to call. Maybe he’d actually answer this time. They had been playing phone tag for a couple days, but in two attempts the previous day there was no answer.
The phone rang exactly two times before a voice on the other end answered.
“This is Detective Rowland,” the voice on the phone said. “Who is this?”
Confused that a detective had answered the phone, he replied, “Bob McIntire with the Herald. I’m trying to reach Mr. Chad Reese. Is he available?”
“How do you know Mr. Reese?” the detective questioned, preferring to be asking the questions rather than answering them.
“He left me a message on my voicemail and I’ve been trying to reach him. I’m returning his call. Can you please put him on the phone, I really need to talk to him,” McIntire continued.
“Mr. Reese can’t come to the phone right now,” detective Rowland explained, comfortable now that he had confirmed McIntire’s purpose for calling, he continued, “but, we’d like to talk to you Mr. McIntire. Can you meet me at the police station in about an hour?”
McIntire agreed to be there within the hour.
“Now we’re talking,” he thought to himself as he disconnected the call. Confident that he’d found his next big story, McIntire finished off the bagel and coffee and headed to the police station to meet with the detective.
McIntire transferred to Orlando to work in the investigative news section at the Herald. He wasn’t in Kansas anymore, literally. He’d come a long way since his first job at the Weekly Bugle in Dodge City, KS. Beginning his work in rural communities and progressing later into medium sized metropolitan markets, he’d made a name for himself in journalism circles. Once he’d even received an honorable mention at the annual Kansas Reporters Guild for coverage of a farm family struggling to make ends meet after a tornado counted two teenage daughters as victims.
Years of experience covering school board elections, meetings of the county road commission and the occasion local election scandal taught him the value of a well-timed inquiry. He learned the value in compiling background information and research on his subject matter before exposing the thesis of a story and motives behind it that made it news worthy.
He’d just wrapped up a series of stories about a female real estate developer and an adulterous city councilman. During a series of bedside visits dating back several months, the councilman provided her information about re-zoning plans in advance of their “official” approval. In turn she provided her “services” free-of-charge. These episodes ended up costing tax payers hundreds of thousands and possibly millions as the county was forced to pay inflated prices for choice real estate parcels.
In a recent Sunday edition, McIntire provided an account of how Richard Swartzfield, the embattled founder and president of Global Techno-Vision Systems, a local manufacturer of night vision devices with several government contracts. Swartzfield had been living a lavish lifestyle of jets, jewels, and juggernauts financed with personal loans from the company. Stockholders were left holding the bag as he drove the company deeper and deeper into debt.
You can read the first version below if you'd like to see the specific changes I've made. I hope it was worth the effort.