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Justin Campbell Justin Campbell
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Daniel Morgan [7]

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Under the Double Star - Chapter One

May 20th, 1981

A few days before his twenty-third birthday, Daniel landed a job interview CJOH-TV, a television channel locally broadcasted to the National Capital Region. He’d interned there for a couple of months already and was hoping to get a job as a researcher, or something along those lines. He was within grasp of his degree in journalism, so this had to be almost easy.

       It wasn’t a big commute; he didn’t even need his car. Scheduled at 3:30 in the afternoon, all he had to do was leave the second-hand bookstore on Merivale Road and simply walk up the street; the television station was less than a kilometer away, at the junction with Clyde Avenue. The gigantic radio mast had been virtual landmark of Merivale Road, red signal lights blinking bright red at nighttime. The young man was glad it was so near, and felt good that he wouldn’t need the car to commute there – only a year previously the arterial road had been in a gridlock of road works, the efforts to widen the clogged lanes to six arrived at fruition after long hours of labor from the workers and long minutes spent banging one’s head against the steering wheel.

       The building was a large complex, built about twenty years ago after the station was founded, and it hosted a variety of programs from the news to Leonard’s all-time favorite television program, You Can’t Do That on Television. Daniel grinned at the prospect of being able to see and perhaps even walk around the studios where the infamous green slime caught you unaware (or if you simply said ‘I don’t know’). Even he enjoyed the show if he caught it on TV now and then with his younger brother.

       Daniel really hoped he’d land this. He’d finally cut his long blonde hair short for this occasion, so he’d look neat and professional. It was something good waiting to happen. University wasn’t nearly as awful as high school – not close – but it was difficult even for him those four years, studying and writing and living in the library, striving to do well with the surprise ten thousand bucks that had presented itself to him out of nowhere, courtesy of his grandfather. That had just about paid for his university tuition – just about. The difference he covered with his meager earnings from the bookstore. And if he got this job, he’d be starting his career – and moving on. On from school. On from minor part-time dead-end things. On from Andrea. After that experience they’d had together back in’78, they’d dated on and off over the next two years, observing the feelings of young love but also dealing with sometimes-petulant insecurities and emotional growth. Every time Nick came home from his roadie job, they’d stay well apart. A lot their get-togethers were fuelled by an underlying lust for each other. But he’d grown tired of their dynamic of committing themselves to each other and bonding, then fulfilling that inner lust, then cooling off to little more than knowing each other after an argument or discussion about one’s insecurity or the other’s weariness of this dynamic. He’d felt the relationship was almost exactly like the lyrics of a song that came out the previous year called ‘Ah! Leah,’ sung by American artist Donnie Iris. He’d ended it only a month previously, and avoided the woman as much as he could; as much as it pained him to be avoiding someone who’d been around, however little, for the majority of his life, someone who seemed to at some level care about him, he couldn’t live in a relationship like that.

       At 3:15 that afternoon, Daniel walked out of the bookstore and headed north up the large road to the station directly ahead, the mast blinking at him almost like a call sign – come to me, come make me work.
       That evening, Daniel fidgeted around nervously, anxiously awaiting a phone call. The interview had taken only twenty minutes, and he felt he’d nailed it pretty well. He was confident, knowledgeable about the station and how it worked, and eager. They said they’d call him later with their decision if they made one concerning him, and he’d been the last applicant interviewed out of a total of thirteen.

       “Did you see the studio?” Leonard had asked him when he’d got home. Daniel hadn’t.

       “Oh, well, that’s too bad. I was hoping you would have. I hope they hire you then.”

       “Thanks Lenny. Hey, you know what? I’ll help you on your math homework.”

       “Oh, thanks man, I’ve been struggling in that class.”

       “I know.” Leonard had never been an academic student like Daniel, rather doing the bare minimum while instead looking for attention. However, one thing they both shared in common was a proficiency in writing; Leonard liked to write stories and screenplays. Math wasn’t among his interests, though, and to keep himself occupied, Daniel spent half an hour helping him understand it all.

       At 7:18 that evening, halfway through dinner, Daniel excused himself to pick up the phone while his siblings and parents ate. Feeling anxious all over again, he said “Hello?”

       “Is there a Daniel Morgan I can speak to, please?”

       “This is him.”

       “Hi, Dan, this is Mark Atkinson, station manager of CJOH.”

       “Pleasure to speak with you.”

       “I’m calling to offer you a position in our facilities.”

       A grin quickly made its way from ear to ear on Daniel’s face. He strived to remain professional. “That sounds fine, sir.”

       “Good. Will you accept this offer?”

       “Yes, sir, I accept.”

       “Good, okay. Well, come down to the station on Merivale Road tomorrow at 9am and we’ll meet. I have some things for you to sign and some things to go over, but to give you an idea right now, you’ll be working eight hour shifts at 8 bucks an hour, plus minor benefits, in the mailroom.”

       Daniel’s grin quickly dissolved. “The mailroom?”

       “Yes. You’ll be a mail clerk. Okay, I’ll see you tomorrow, and thanks for your application.” He hung up.

       Daniel stood there, holding the phone to his ear, listening to the dial tone. He didn’t think he’d be in the mailroom – he was too qualified for that!

       “Well? What did they say?” Marie asked from the dining room, where the rest of the family was straining to hear the news.

       “I got a job,” he said simply.

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