this is my first attempt at fiction in awhile, but indie ink has challenged me again. if you want to get in on the fun, follow it here and sign up here. this week my challenge was from kat who blogs over here. my challenge was “popular burger shop uses tainted beef patties.”
someone told me a long time ago that to write well, you must write what you know. well, i know that there are wars in far-off lands that devastate thousands of people on a daily basis. i know that there are natural disasters occurring far too often that are leaving far too many people displaced and injured. i know that there are politics to be argued, hungry children to be advocated for, and world peace to be found. when i decided to study journalism, i had all of these things in mind to write on. i was going to sit at a desk in a big, tall building in the middle of a bustling city and write about things that mattered.
but as i sit at the intern’s cubicle inside of the big, tall building in the middle of a bustling city, where i spend many hours a week as a 28 year old intern, i am not writing about things that matter. in fact, i am not writing at all. i am thinking about what to write. because my editor has given me an assignment that i can’t quite grasp. in fact, it’s the only chance he’s given me in months. and it’s about food. more specifically, a particular neighborhood favorite burger place that has recently been accused of serving low-grade meat in their burgers. he wants me to expose them entirely, to rat them out to the public and outrage the customers, causing uproar, intrigue, and a high amount in newspaper sales. he told me that if i write this piece, i will finally show him that i’m ready to write about current affairs, politics, or relief efforts in other countries. i will finally get opportunities i’ve been waiting for since journalism 1001. the door will finally be open and i can soar through it with the dignity i’ve been scratching at for nearly a decade.
so what’s the problem with taking a family-owned-and-operated delicious burger restaurant and throwing them completely under the bus? well for one thing, they’ll be out of business in a heartbeat. that will put a lot of college kids in a panic when they realize their favorite late-night-food source is now gone. but that’s not the problem. it will probably give the city a bad name for not regulating the health code more carefully, which will reflect poorly on other restaurants in the area as well. but that’s not the problem either. i would have to write an eloquently compelling article that captivates an audience and paints a picture for weeks to come so that i impress my editor and finally gain some respect in this prison i call work. but even that’s not the problem.
the problem is that the burger place is owned and operated by my dad and step-mom.
martin luther king, jr once said, “the hottest place in hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.”
mark twain was quoted as saying “it is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.”
and ernest hemingway said, “what is moral is what you feel good after, and what is immoral is what you feel bad after.”
i guess you get the picture. and yes, i’m considering it.
i’m sitting in this big, tall building, thinking about ruining my dad’s dream just for the sake of achieving mine. i’m faced with a moral dilemma, a conflict of the soul. if i refuse the assignment, i may as well pack up my desk (and by desk i mean a two foot counter space in a cubicle shared by four interns) and say my farewells (no one really knows me. i’ve been here four years and the receptionist still calls me by the wrong name) and kiss my career as a journalist goodbye, because i won’t be getting any more assignments. if i go through with the piece, my dad would be crushed. after my mom died, he used his life’s savings to open this place and when the economy took a downfall, he had to downgrade his meat selection. he knew it, i knew it, we all knew it. but no one said a thing because we figured no one would find out, plus he loved this restaurant! and then some dumb girl decided to work (intern) in a newspaper office for way too long and get assignments that were way too infantile and never stand up for herself against her mean boss, and now the entire restaurant’s reputation is at stake.
so i sit. and i think.
and then it hits me like a brick wall, and i know exactly what i’m going to do.