The Cub Reporter
From: Laughing Bill Hyde And Other Stories
Why he chose Buffalo Paul Anderson never knew, unless perhaps it
had more newspapers than Bay City, Michigan, and because his ticket
expired in the vicinity of Buffalo. For that matter, why he should
have given up an easy job as the mate of a tugboat to enter the
tortuous paths of journalism the young man did not know, and, lacking
the introspective faculty, he did not stop to analyze his motives. So
far as he could discover he had felt the call to higher endeavor, and
just naturally had heeded it. Such things as practical experience and
educational equipment were but empty words to him, for he was young
and hopeful, and the world is kind at twenty-one.
He had hoped to enter his chosen field with some financial backing,
and to that end, when the desire to try his hand at literature had
struck him, he had bought an interest in a smoke-consumer which a
fireman on another tugboat had patented. In partnership with the
inventor he had installed one of the devices beneath a sawmill boiler
as an experiment. Although the thing consumed smoke surprisingly well,
it likewise unharnessed such an amazing army of heat-units that it
melted the crown-sheet of the boiler; whereupon the sawmill men, being
singularly coarse and unimaginative fellows, set upon the patentee and
his partner with ash-rakes, draw-bars, and other ordinary, unpatented
implements; a lumberjack beat hollowly upon their ribs with a peavy,
and that night young Anderson sickened of smoke-consumers, harked anew
to the call of journalism, and hiked, arriving in Buffalo with seven
dollars and fifty cents to the good.
For seven dollars, counted out in advance, he chartered a furnished
room for a week, the same carrying with it a meal at each end of the
day, which left in Anderson's possession a superfluity of fifty cents
to be spent in any extravagance he might choose.
Next day he bought a copy of each newspaper and, carefully scanning
them, selected the one upon which to bestow his reportorial gifts.
This done, he weighed anchor and steamed through the town in search of
the office. Walking in upon the city editor of The Intelligencer, he
gazed with benevolent approval upon that busy gentleman's broad back.
He liked the place, the office suited him, and he decided to have his
desk placed over by the window.
After a time the editor wheeled, displaying a young, smooth, fat face,
out of which peered gray-blue eyes with pin-point pupils.
"Well?" he queried.
"Here I am," said Anderson.
"So it appears. What do you want?"
"What can you do?"
"Well, well!" cried the editor. "You don't look much like a newspaper
"I'm not one--yet. But I'm going to be."
"Where have you worked?"
"Nowhere! You see, I'm really a playwright."
The editor's face showed a bit of interest. "Playwright, eh? Anderson!
Anderson!" he mused. "Don't recall the name."