The Dilemma of Charlotte Milford (Short Fiction)

06 Jul


Are you as comfortable in front of a camera as behind one? Being written about, as well as writing?

Charlotte knew what she wanted to do from an early age.  While other kids talked about being police officers, firefighters, beauty queens and the rest; she knew she wanted to be a writer.  For as long as she could remember, she had been fascinated by words and sentences and paragraphs.  

She remembered her first dictionary word.  dictionary word was what Charlotte called a word she didn’t know, but wanted to learn and use.  Through the years she had created a list of these dictionary words, and she was always adding to it.  Her first was the word robust at the age of six.  Other words followed.  Words like millennium, oxymoron, juxtaposition, exasperated, emaciated, hobnob.

As she grew older, she debated which profession she would pursue.  Would she be a novelist?  A poet?  Charlotte decided the perfect profession for her, teaming her love for words and her natural curiosity, was journalism.  As a teen, she started writing for her school newspaper.  In college, she became editor of the student publication and even started writing guest editorials for some of the small town papers nearby.

She graduated with her journalism degree and found a job with a local newspaper.  Charlotte was game to cover any and every story.  She would cover a botanical garden event with the same fervor she covered a homicide.  She was as inquisitive with a ribbon cutting ceremony as she was with a political scandal.

Words were her tools, like wrenches for a mechanic or hammer and nails for a carpenter.  Words were her world.  They were her passion.

And she was a natural as a journalist.  She was successful.  She began receiving job offers from larger, national syndicates.  Over time, she found herself in the position of an investigative reporter.  She covered the important political conventions and debates, wars, and pivotal court decisions.

Charlotte found success personally as well.  She married and had two children.  She and her husband made good money.  They were financially secure.

Charlotte received numerous awards for her writing and reporting.  She became one of the prominent reporters in the entire country.  Her ability with words and tracking down sources and cutting to the truth were well known and respected in journalism circles.  She wasn’t afraid to ask the hard questions.  She was fearless before the powerful.  She had the reputation as a bulldog, tenacious and uncompromising in her search for the facts.

As Charlotte neared the end of her career, she was approached by a friend who wanted to write her biography.  Charlotte was taken aback by the suggestion.  She didn’t know if she liked the idea of being covered like a news story.  She knew how it worked.  She knew she would have to let him into her personal space.  He would ask personal, penetrating questions.  It wasn’t so much that Charlotte felt she had anything to hide; but, she wasn’t sure she would be comfortable on that end of the pen.  Writing about something and being written about were two completely different worlds.  She was a natural in the first.  But the latter made her feel uncomfortable, even squeamish.

Of course, Charlotte had learned from the best how to duck answers, twist facts and side-step the issues.  She had enough savvy and acumen to manipulate the facts to her advantage, to skirt anything she might deem unpleasant.  Even more, since she didn’t consider herself to be all that news worthy, she could sensationalize the boring facts and make them sizzle with excitement.

She could she thought.  But, what would be the point?  If she was going to commit and agree to a biographical sketch, then shouldn’t it be truthful?  Shouldn’t she just lay her cards on the table and go all in?  Charlotte knew the answer to these questions was yes.  However, being laid bare and examined and prodded like a specimen under the microscope in a lab wasn’t the most thrilling thought to her.

She found her dilemma to be rich with irony.  She thought to herself, Charlotte Milford, here you are the lover of words and facts; yet, you tremble at having the tables turned on you.  


Posted by on July 6, 2013 in Daily Prompt


Tags: , , , , , , ,

3 responses to “The Dilemma of Charlotte Milford (Short Fiction)

  1. GodGirl

    July 7, 2013 at 4:58 am

    This is great!

    • Timothy Murray

      July 7, 2013 at 7:58 am

      Hey GodGirl, thanks for the read and compliment!


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