Just a quick note to my fans before I get to the writing tonight:
This is the 80th post! Hot Damn! I hope tonight's writing will do this milestone justice, as this is also new territory for me.
"Harris!" The call rang out loud and clear. Robert Harris jumped up from his desk. "Yes, Colonel!" The lanky youth dashed down the aisle of desks, other journalists looking up, some annoyed, others interested at the blur racing past.
Stopping outside of the Editor's office, Harris tried to compose himself before stepping into his bosses office. Taking a deep breath, and trying not to panic, he knocked on the door.
"You wanted to see me, sir?" Harris stuck his head in the office. Across the room, he could see his boss standing at the window, looking out, his back to the nervous employee in the doorway. Turning on his heel, his chin strip and goatee quivering. Harris winced inwardly, he was about to get an ear full.
"Those goddamn hags, harlots and pollutants have joined up with those skunks, pinheads, gas-pipe ruffians, rowdies, anarchists and deadbeats again!" Otis was working up a full head of steam, and if Harris didn't do something quick about it, he would rage against the democrats and unions for the next three days.
"Whoa, slow down there Colonel!" Harris paled from the glare he received, but forged on doggedly "What's going on now sir?" Otis stormed up to the reporter and waved his finger at the young man.
"Those damn unions are trying to get us shut down again! They're saying that I'm trying to outlaw unions around here and paying off organizers to reach those means!" Otis was practically shrieking now. "Well, Colonel, aren't you trying to outlaw unions?"
Otis glared at him again. "Yes, but I'll be damned if I'm trying to buy those bastards off! Why the hell would I give good money to those pinheads?" He jabbed his finger into Harris's chest.
Harris winced. "Look, Colonel, what if I go out tomorrow, and see if I can find something on this group. I know of a couple of brothers that I might be able to hit up for some information." Otis glared at him for a moment, and then turned away "I had better have some damn good dirt on them tomorrow, or you're fired!"
Leaving work early, Harris ran down to the iron workers union, looking for two brothers. Asking around, Harris finally found the McNamara brothers conversing quietly with a few co-workers. As soon as they laid eyes on the reporter, the co-workers walked away, surreptitiously glancing at him as they walked by.
"Ah, Mister Harris, how are ya t'day?" The older brother, John, greeted Harris, his eyes hard, yet mischievous. "Ah, I'm good J.J., Listen, I was wondering what you've heard lately. I know it sounds like I'm fishing, but the fact of the matter is that the colonel is breathing down my back, and if I can't get something, he's gonna fire me."
JJ put his arm around Harris's shoulders and began to walk away from his brother. "Listen, we don't have anything major
going on anytime soon, but word on the street is that something big might be going on here in the next couple of days. We should know something later on tonight. Listen, what time do you guys all clear out of the building?"
Harris looked at McNamara, a cold feeling setting into his gut. "Why?" McNamara smiled. "Because, if Old man Otis finds out that we're coming over to see you, he's gonna fire you anyways."
Harris stopped dead. "What do you mean, stop by?" McNamara stopped with him. "We might know about something later tonight, and I want you to be the first one to know about it - but, I want to be able to tell you in strict confidence. That's why I want to know when we can stop by your place without being noticed."
Harris felt something twist in his stomach, but tried to ignore it. "Listen, everyone usually cleans out around 11, sometimes 12. If we get a good story, or the Colonel is fired up, we might not make it out until 2 or 3 in the morning." McNamara nodded to himself. "Alright - listen, we'll swing by around 4, just to make sure you've had time to get home. It'll still be dark, so nobody will see us, and that early in the morning, there shouldn't be anyone around anyways."
Harris sighed, and nodded. "Alright, I'll see you then." As he walked away, James walked up to his brother. "Why did you tell him we'll meet up at his house?" John looked at his younger brother. "It's simple. We place the bomb at the Times, set the timer for 4 a.m. When the bomb goes off, we'll be at his house. If we're questioned, we can just say we're there, and he's not going to go out and say we were there with him. It's insurance."
James stared at his brother, searching his older siblings face for information. "I guess October 1st will go down in history as a turning point for unions everywhere."
Author's Note: On October 1st 1910, The Los Angeles Times Building was bombed by union activists J.J. and J.B. McNamara. Their attempts to bomb the building were complicated by the fact that the bomb went off prematurely, not only destroying one of the walls of the building, but also damaging natural gas pipes that caught fire, killing 21 people.
The McNamara brothers were eventually caught and convicted, serving life sentences in San Quentin.