New Blank Document her computer flashed at her. Janie buried her fingers in her hair and tugged. If she planned to eat this month, she had better get something on that page. Being a journalist in today’s world was like trying to raise ducks in the desert.
With a groan, Janie slammed the computer shut, wound a scarf around her neck and headed out into the world to search for a great or even kind of good idea.
“New York should be the most inspirational place on the planet,” she grumbled at a frantic flock of pigeons pecking the remains of bagel. A few more birds eyed the crumbs in round-eyed hunger. Janie pulled out her phone and shot a few pictures of the birds. Maybe she could do an article on the millions of pigeons, kind of a nostalgia piece about the shimmering flocks rising against the skyline...or maybe a horror story highlighting the droppings on every sidewalk and ledge...or maybe….
Forget it. If she didn’t have a new angle, it was a non-starter. And as usual there wasn’t a new angle in sight, in either her personal or professional life.
Janie groaned again and slumped against a brick wall. All aspects of her life to date had crashed to a screeching halt. She might as well die right here and now and get it over with.
“Are you okay?” A male voice interrupted her misery tantrum.
Janie glared resentfully at the flurrying pigeons. “Hardly. I am thinking of giving up and dying of frustration and starvation.” She raised her head to look at the man – definitely easy on the eyes. Tall, broad-shouldered and dark-haired.
He laughed, making lines crinkle around his eyes. “Can’t help with frustration, but I’m new to this neighborhood and I’m starving. If you can point me to a good place to grab some lunch, I’ll treat you. I haven’t done my act of charity today.” Despite the bold words, his cheeks flushed slightly and he had an attractively shy look about him.
Janie laughed. This was crazy but she didn’t care. Anything was better than spending another day alone while tromping around the streets trying to find a story worth telling – and worth getting paid for.
“I know a good deli down that way,” Janie gestured toward one of the side streets. “Passable soup; amazing sandwiches.”
“Lead on, Macduff.”
Janie giggled. OMG. The man was literate. “Janie Sanders. You?”
Shy silence fell between them until they were actually sitting at an iron mesh table in the narrow “patio” on the deli’s sidewalk. Janie stared at the shimmering neck feathers of the pigeons skittering by the curb, hoping for crumbs. She felt definite sympathy for the birds. Just like journalists, there were too many with not enough “food” to go around.
“So why are you new to the neighborhood?” she asked just as Jonas bit into his lunch. “Oops…sorry.”
Jonas blushed again and smiled, mouth full of sandwich as he struggled to answer. “Research grant,” he mumbled. “I’m a biochemist. And you?”
“I’m the poster child for struggling writer,” Janie told him. “I’ve got a nice shiny journalism degree and no where to put it to use.” She shrugged and tried to look like it didn’t matter. She really hoped Jonas would pick up the tab for lunch. “So I’m out here looking for a great story that someone will pay me money to write.”
Jonas poked the shredded lettuce that had fallen from his sandwich into a small pile. “I might have something…” Red surged up his cheekbones again.
It looked amazingly attractive on him, Janie thought. She cocked her head and stared at him.
“Spill...” she commanded.
He shrugged. “Pigeon birth control,” he muttered. He gestured toward the cooing multitudes around them.
“New enzyme I helped develop – birds scarf it up like candy but it prevents them from making baby birds. The problems with poisons in the ecosystem and decomposing birds all over the city are stopped.” He blushed again. Definitely cute. “I suppose that’s not a very sexy story.”
Janie tapped her finger on the table. “Depends what you think is sexy.” Her mind was racing now.
He shrugged those very broad shoulders. Janie thought it might be rather nice to check out the muscles highlighted by that movement. Research was always important.
“I might be able to spin it into something worthwhile,” Janie said cautiously. “Anyone else writing about it?”
“Nope,” Jonas told her. “Until it was approved no one cared. And we’ve been too busy to publicize it. Not my thing anyway. You can have an exclusive, if you want.”
Janie grinned. “I want…I think it’ll mean a few interviews.”
Jonas grinned back. “Works for me. Dinner tonight?”
Janie nodded. The story had definite possibilities.
And maybe, just maybe, she should expand her career as a writer – perhaps put a little quality time into writing an amazing romance.
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