Marjoree Rolles

Marjoree Rolles is one of the main characters in the crime thriller The Mantis Pact

It had been a slow-news-day.  So slow that network were leading with the expectation that the House would give The President his tax-cuts, but nowhere near the amount he wanted, and an education rally in California – yawn.  Opposition were leading on a story of a climber from Colorado who had hacked his arm off when he was trapped by a boulder – yeuk!

Locally, there had been one or two severe tornadoes south of Oklahoma City the previous day, and there were warnings of more to follow that Friday night, but unless they were headed across the State line, Oklahoma may as well have been the other side of the world as far as Kansas local news was concerned.  Anyway, there was an associate in our next-door State that could handle that story, unless it went red nationally and network wanted a face there, although time was long-gone in my career when I needed to be trussed-up in a so’wester and sent out as storm-fodder, listening to the studio link giggling at my drowned-cat appearance during the ad breaks as I clung to a tree waiting for him to come to me.  He had no idea what I wanted to do with that microphone, not until a few years later when the network sent him down to present me with a local media award, then I told him – in my acceptance speech.

So my cameraman, Tom Cochrane, and I spent the day doing some preparatory work for the society wedding of the year, locally at least, that we would both be covering later in the year.  It would feature my best friend from college who was marrying-into one of the richest families in the State.  So it was important for more than just it being a major feature that would be broadcast nationally, through KNKW’s network affiliation.  I knew what Hilary wanted from the coverage, there had been several discussions between us on detail over dinner, and her husband-to-be was more than willing to leave such details to her, illustrated by his open-chequebook approach to the whole event.

All that it needed now was to get Cochrane to follow the plan, something he rarely did.  That was why he was such a good news cameraman, but society wedding guests were not the types to welcome his intrusive lens-work too happily.  Unusually, he had behaved himself most of the day, which made dinner with station head Max Huberstein far more relaxed than I had anticipated, as I presented to him the basic gameplan that we had designed.

There was little breaking on the network as I watched the eleven o’clock news.  Just the tornadoes in Oklahoma, covered live from the local station by some poor twenty-something in a cagoule desperately trying to prevent the winds from advancing his career by propelling him all the way to the national studios.  So with nothing to research, I had managed to get an early night for a change.

When the phone call from the station came at one a.m. rousing me roughly from my slumbers at the top of Westview Tower, I knew it had to be something big.  What I didn’t expect was to be told that the address the OB truck had been dispatched to was the other house I owned.

The one I rented to my best friend.

To read how Jackson Kendrick Jr became involved click here