Downtown San Myshuno
Penny took a sip of her coffee, “Motherfucking vanilla creme? Are you kidding me?” With an irritated grunt, she dumped the entire thing in the trashcan.
Stupid new baristas. Penny had been getting her morning fix from Jolie’s for years. They knew her order front and back: Black coffee to go, an almond croissant. And this morning, she needed her order right more than ever.
Last night, she spent the entire evening playing photographer at her aunt’s gallery opening and feeding bylines to other reporters. Apparently, Penny’s job wasn’t an embarrassment when her family could benefit from it.
Alice’s “real talk” after Anastasia’s interview was also irritating. “So she had a panic attack and you yelled at her? Penny, I tell you this because I love you. You’re being kinda harsh.”
Alice was supposed to be on Penny’s side! And she was wrong anyway. Penny was not being harsh.
No one made Anastasia leap up on the table like a sexy panther! She asked the woman some questions, that was all. Penny was a journalist…sort of. That was her job!
The morning didn’t get any better when she arrived at her office. For reasons that had to be the Universe hating her, Penny found a detective waiting by her desk.
“Bella Goth. Billie said I could wait for you here.” She stuck out her hand.
Penny shook it while inwardly cursing her ex-girlfriend. “What can I do for you?”
“That werewolf story you wrote. The photo was—”
Penny rattled off the paper’s standard response. “Not in violation of anyone’s privacy and legally obtained.”
Bella waved a hand, “No, I’m not here about that. I mean, where did you get the picture? You wrote the story. Did you see this creature?”
Penny blinked at her slowly and then burst out laughing. “Are you kidding? Werewolves are fake. People send all sorts of nonsense stuff to the magazine all the time. We’re a tabloid.”
“Let me put your mind at ease, Miss Pizzazz; I’m not a dumbass. I know werewolves aren’t real. I came about a case and thought you might be interested in being helpful, but I guess I was wrong. Thanks for your time.” Her voice was tight as she turned on her heel and stormed out.
“Wait!” Penny was so used to denigrating her work before her family had a chance that she forgot not everyone was out to get her. There were a million reasons Bella might want information about the story—maybe the person she interviewed was wanted for murder, or the werewolf costume was stolen. Either way, she was about to blow her opportunity to work on something real and not related to photoshopping pictures of aliens.
“I’m sorry.” She jogged after Bella. “My morning coffee got screwed up, and it put me in a bad mood. The woman who submitted the tip was out in the suburbs. I interviewed her and cleaned up a few blurry pictures she sent me. I have her information on file if you want to question her.”
“Bad coffee is a dangerous thing,” Bella smiled. “You don’t want to protect your source? I know journalists are serious about that sort of thing.”
Penny resisted the urge to laugh. “Like I said. This is a tabloid. And I wouldn’t call myself a journalist.”
“Why? It was a well-written story. Crazy but well-written.”
Penny sucked in a breath. If there was anytime to shoot her shot, it was while the detective was questioning her. “Hey, any chance I could tag along when you question her?”