FINAL CHAPTER: My Choir, Your Choir, Chicago's Choir: A History of Wicker Park Choral Singers, 2008 - 2012
I dropped my pencil. “WHAT?” I shouted. “Yeah, she’s in charge of marketing the choir, for obvious reasons, and so when we were looking for a way to promote our next concert, she said she could handle it. Said she could get a crack reporter on the story. You in particular. Whether you liked it or not.”
“Well, I guess she was right…” said Angela, slyly.
“You should probably ask for a raise,” Mark laughed.
“Oh, I’m going to ask for six kinds of raises,” I said, shoving my notebook and pencil into my bag with incredible force. “Eight or twenty kinds of raises.” I ripped the zipper across the top of my bag. “Whether I liked it or not!? How do you like that…” I stuffed my hat back on my head. “If you’ll excuse me…”
“Certainly,” said Mark, still giggling. “We’re even for the mink, now,” Angela added.
I stormed out of the bar, hailed a cab, and went directly downtown. I was still boiling mad when I got to Steph’s office. “Malmquist!?” I bellowed, striding into her office.
“Oh, they told you my big secret, did they?” She chewed the end of a cigar, looking unimpressed.
“How dare you angle me into an assignment! Make me traipse all overChicagolike that. You know I have murders to investigate! I have social justice concerns to track, and judges to interview, and big scoops to write!”
“How the hell can you even still sing!?” I said, waving away the smoke with great dramatic flair. “You must be a bass by now.”
“You know what a bass is?” she smirked.
“Ugh, I know what a bass is…” I collapsed into the chair in front of her desk. “Yeah, I’m done now.”
“Well, let me remind you, first of all, that I’m your boss and I can make you cover whatever story I want.” I grimaced at her. “And secondly, let me remind you that you fell for my angle, hook line and sinker. I hardly had to ask twice, and you were all about this story.”
“Well, that’s…” I started.
“And, third,” she barreled over me. “Let me remind you that you asked for a raise, and I’m going to give you one.”
“It better be gigantic.” I groused.
“It’s a raise. You want me to take it away from you? Then, take it and like it.” She drove her finger down into the desktop for emphasis, and then relaxed back into her chair, looking a bit uncomfortable. “And one last thing. And I’m only going to say this once, so you better listen up good.”
“What?” I said, dripping sarcasm. “You want me to go back to the circus and interview the ringmaster?”
“No. Shut up. I want to say…thank you.” My mouth dropped open. “Yeah, I said it. This choir is really important to me, and it deserves to have its day in the sun. It’s really important to all of us in the choir, so, yeah…like I said before.”
“You really are only going to say ‘thank you’ once, aren’t you.”
“It’s physically difficult for me to form the words,” she said, tapping her throat. “Also, take a look at this. Promotional poster for the radio series.” She slid a glossy over the desk toward me.
“It Takes a Village,” I read. “This your next concert theme, too?”
“Yeah, you know, kind of a reflection on the whole choir community—singers, director, volunteers, audience.”
“I get it,” I said, with a nod. “I truly get it.” I directed a smile at Steph for probably the first time in our working relationship. “I like it a lot.” I flipped out my pocket calendar. “I’ll be there.”
“Oh, well, don’t come on my account.”
“Yeah, I’m not.” I deadpanned.
“Get out of my office,Crawley.” She stuck the cigar back in her mouth. “Go investigate those murders or something.”
“Sure thing boss.” I gave her a mock salute at the door and went my merry way.