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Book: Daemon by Daniel Suarez Read Free Book Online
Authors: Daniel Suarez
Madison, Wisconsin, again, please, dear God.
    Then it hit her that Melanie hadn’t warned her. That bitch had let her be publicly humiliated. Anderson pulled her cell phone out of her handbag and speed-dialed her agent. It rang three times and went to voice mail.
    ‘You’ve reached the office of Melanie Smalls. Ms Smalls is not available at the moment. To reach her assistant, Jason Karcher, press 3349.’
    Anderson punched in the numbers.
    ‘Ms Smalls’s office. Can I help you?’
    ‘Jason, it’s Anji Anderson. Put me through to Melanie.’
    ‘Hi, Ms Anderson. Melanie’s on another line. Do you want to hold?’
    ‘Look, I’m standing out here in front of KTLZ, and they’ve locked me out of the studio. Get Melanie on the damned phone.’
    ‘Okay. Hang on.’
    Anderson reached her car and clicked the remote. She got inside and cleaned up her mascara in the rearview mirror while Barry Manilow tortured her on hold because it looked like she had emphatically not ‘made it.’ The anger built inside her with each passing verse.
    Finally Melanie clicked on. ‘Anji, what’s going on?’
    ‘I’ve just been fired at the studio front gate – publicly humiliated. Josephine Curto tells me that you knew my contract wasn’t being picked up.’
    ‘Who the hell’s Josephine Curto?’
    ‘Some toady from Human Resources.’
    ‘Anji, we’re still in negotiations with the network, and I wasn’t told that any decision had been made. The ball was still in Kahn’s court.’
    ‘Josephine just told me that my agent knew about this, Melanie. I just signed papers!’
    ‘Well, she doesn’t know what the hell she’s talking about, and what do you mean you just signed papers? Why would you sign papers?’ Melanie’s voice became muted. ‘Jase, check the fax machine.’
    Anderson started crying again. She hit the dashboard – angry with herself for being so emotional. ‘Damnit, Melanie. Why didn’t I see this coming? Who the hell did the network get to replace me?’
    ‘Don’t beat yourself up. We’ll see if we can get you something on the E! Channel or—’
    ‘No! Stop. I’ve been trying for six years to get on a serious news desk. I can’t afford to do any more fluff pieces. I’m a journalist, not a damned fashion model.’
    There was silence on the other end.
    ‘I’m still here. Anji, you don’t have the right pedigree for it. You haven’t been a journalist, honey. Not really. And you weren’t talking serious journalism when we got you onto the San Francisco affiliate.’
    ‘I’m realizing—’
    ‘You’re realizing you’re past thirty and fluff reporting is for twenty-four-year-old news models.’
    ‘That’s a problem.’
    ‘No, it’s a challenge.’
    ‘Anji, what you’re talking about is starting back at square one and reinventing yourself. No, actually you’re starting at square negative one because you’re already known as a fashion and lifestyles reporter – meaning you have all the journalisticheft of a British tabloid. It’s going to be a stretch, and at my age, I don’t stretch.’
    Anderson searched for words. This was unraveling fast.
    ‘Honey, you’re too old to intern as a serious journalist. Unless you’re a proven hard news reporter at thirty, you’re not going to be a hard news reporter.’
    Anderson bit her lip gently. Performed in front of the right man, that used to solve a lot of problems. She realized that Christiane Amanpour probably didn’t bite her lip.
    ‘Unfortunately, major networks are consolidating news production in Atlanta, and laying off in most markets. I could try to get you a spot on a cosmetics infomercial casting in L.A.’
    Tears flowed down Anderson’s cheeks.

Chapter 7:// Daemon
    E- Murder @Video Game Company – Thousand Oaks, California: A booby trap sprung via the Internet claimed the life of a CyberStorm Entertainment employee Thursday. An off-site death earlier in the day is also under

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