JUMP! – Get Unstuck, © 2010, Robert S. Tipton, All Rights Reserved, Alden-Swain Press

Table of Contents Character Summaries

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Chapter 11:

Stirring the Pot

Thursday: About 1:00 p.m. CST
(Minneapolis Airport)


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“She’s an impressive young lady.” Marissa Grant’s matter-of-fact statement resulted in enthusiastic head nodding from her entourage. The morning interview with Angela Liu and her family had been a complete success, but in reality, the only thing impressive to Marissa about Angela was the fact that the Liu family represented damaging evidence to the Falcon Foundation. Marissa got the human interest angle she wanted, and her brain was already twisting portions of the interview to enlarge the scandal. Scandals—real or invented—were the fuel that made her fire glow.

Her team was busy with details—checking emails, answering text messages, posting Tweets, returning calls—but Marissa was constantly five steps ahead of them. Pleased as she was with the trip to Minneapolis, Marissa was silently fuming because the airlines serving the Denver airport were beginning to cancel flights. Their 3:30 p.m. Southwest Airlines flight to Denver still showed “On Time,” but the word “Canceled” appeared next to the late afternoon Frontier and United flights to Denver. Her stress was increasing because she just knew the crazy early spring weather in Colorado was going to interfere with her carefully crafted assault.

“We need a plan B if we can’t get to Denver tonight,” she directed. “I really want to lead tomorrow’s show with Franklin Falcon—on camera— telling the world that he’s sorry for causing so many so much pain.”

Marissa fully intended to use the tsunami of suspicion related to the Falcon Foundation to force Franklin Falcon into a rare television interview. Franklin had never consented to an on-camera interview and shied away from television cameras even when he was part of a good news story. He guarded his privacy, and his persona, with Fort Knox‒like methods.

Just then, the gate agent for Southwest Airlines made the announcement Marissa dreaded: their flight had been canceled. In fact, the agent said, it was a strong possibility that the entire Denver airport might be closed and they would not be able to begin rebooking flights until Friday morning at 8 a.m. at the soonest. Her crew started their whining in earnest. “Great! Now what?” came the complaining. Marissa tuned it out.

Rather than wallowing in her anger, Marissa was undaunted; in fact, she could use the cancelation of the flight as a benefit if she looked at it the right way. Any obstacle was just another opportunity to learn, a chance to explore options and to ultimately create new solutions. She thought to herself, “Let’s get back to the studio and put together a human interest piece: lots of tears, heartstring pulling, touchy-feely stuff. We’ll build the image that Franklin Falcon has completely lost touch and is actually hurting people instead of helping. We’ll fly out to Denver on Sunday, maybe Saturday if those local yokels can figure out how to get rid of the snow, and we’ll interview Falcon then. He’ll have some big questions to answer by that point; there’ll be lots of public outcry. We can run his interview on Monday. That way we’ll have all week to replay it. Done right, all the cable newsies and bloggers will pick up on it as well, and The Grant Report (and I!) will be the big story next week.” Marissa’s mind, once on a track, was impossible to derail.

“Get us back to New York now!” she barked to her traveling administrative assistant. “And let’s get every clip we have with the Falcon Foundation teed up for a production meeting. Tonight! We’ll be working late, so make sure your neighbors are feeding your dogs and cats.” Her staff looked at her, almost blankly for a moment as their conversations about the weather, travel disruptions, and so on were interrupted. The moment passed, and within a nanosecond, they were back on the phone making new plans.

Marissa didn’t have the time or inclination for pets. She wanted to be completely free to do what was necessary when it was necessary. Her statement to her staff about their pets was a private joke; she thought those with animals were somehow inferior to her.

“I’ll bet Franklin Falcon has a dog,” she thought to herself. She smiled.
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Table of Contents Character Summaries

JUMP! – Get Unstuck, © 2010, Robert S. Tipton, All Rights Reserved, Alden-Swain Press