It's another addition of Five Silly Questions, and this time I've got Grant Parker, ace sports reporter at the Richmond Telegraph from FRONT PAGE FATALITY, the new mystery by LynDee Walker. After this interview, Grant Parker was added to my fictional Fictional Characters "List". I think Grant might have even passed Rochester in my top five. I'm a sucker for a strong jaw and sweet talk, what can I say.
1.Okay, Parker. Although I spend time ogling football players, I'll admit to knowing nothing about baseball. However it sounds like you get a lot of ogles yourself. How far around the bases do you get on a first date?
Ahem. Jump right in, there, sweetheart. You know, a true Virginia gentleman would never kiss and tell. But let’s say my batting average is better than .500, and I have my fair share of homers.
I bet you've had your fair share of "touchdown" dances as well.
2. Which is better for catching a fly ball: sugar or vinegar?
Definitely sugar. Especially when you throw in some heat.
Holy Schamoley, it's getting warm in here.
3. How about catching a ring of drug thieves? Louisville Slugger or Poison Pen?
I’ll defer to my talented colleague, Nichelle Clarke, on that one. I think the pen was mightier than the bat in that situation.
Good answer. You're smart enough to know when to send your pinch hitter.
4. As a journalist, which lucky lady would you prefer to see on Page Three?
Now that’s a tough one. There’s a sweet little thing over at Channel Ten who would get some votes. And the Telegraph’s own Shelby Taylor would be excellent for that. Shelby’s fun to look at. It’s when she talks that things go sideways.
5. As a gritty sports writer, you're tracking down a gang of notorious curlers, who have been using their brooms and stones to wreak havoc on the city of Richmond. You've tracked them to a certain sports bar, a favorite among expatriate Canadians. To get your story, you are willing to.…
Now, that would be one hell of an interesting story. There’s no telling what a guy would do for a story like that. I wonder if I could get away with a fake Canadian accent around my Virginia drawl. Or I could always drag Shelby or Nichelle in there as bait. Bunch of guys like that will definitely gravitate to a pretty woman. I’d dress in drag myself, but I did that for a fraternity prank in college and I’m a good looking guy, but I make one ugly woman. Too strong a jaw, I think.
Thanks for chatting with me today. Your questions were good. If you’d like to continue interviewing me over drinks tonight, I’ll be done with my column by five.
Flattery will get you everywhere, buster. However, now I keep picturing you in drag...
The blond head bobbing just above most of the crowd, however, I knew instantly.
“It can’t be,” I muttered, even as I recognized the butter-colored polo I’d seen twice that day already.
“There you are!” Parker said when I caught up to him. “This is a madhouse. How do you ever get any work done at one of these things?”
“Hey, Parker.” I stared, still unable to come up with a single logical reason for his presence. “I’ve never been to anything like this before. Boats don’t usually blow up on the James. But I’m about to find a cop and see what’s going on. Forgive my manners, but what are you doing here?”
“I know a little about what happened.” He grimaced. “The coach got a call during my interview after the Generals game. The little speedboat belonged to Nate DeLuca, one of our pitchers. I don’t know the details, but it hit a Richmond PD boat. Like you said, there was an explosion. The fire department is searching the river and the banks on both sides, but they don’t think anyone survived. After I called in my story, I came to see for myself what happened to DeLuca. I’m going to write a feature on him for Sunday. He should’ve been at the ballpark tonight, but he had friends in town, and since he wasn’t pitching, the coach gave him the night off.”
“Sweet cartwheeling Jesus. Let’s go see what else we can find out,” I said. “Kiss your Saturday goodbye, Mr. Columnist. You’re going to be at the office tomorrow.” And so was I. So much for my leisurely weekend.
I turned to dive back into the crowd in search of Aaron and mid-whirl, I noticed Jenna standing there, still and surprised. Her eyes were doing that white-all-around thing again.
“People died out there?” she squeaked.
I patted her hand. “You want to go back to the car?” “No.” She squared her small shoulders and gripped my arm a little tighter. “I want to go to work with you.”
I turned back to Parker. “Grant Parker, this is my friend Jenna Rowe. This wreck crashed girls’ night. She drank too much tequila, but she’s very excited to see the glamorous world of journalism up close.”
“The best way to do that is after too much tequila,” he said. “Nice to meet you, Jenna.”
The thin fingers around my arm dug in tighter, and I didn’t think their owner was breathing. I elbowed her lightly in the ribs, rolling my eyes. Her forceful exhale sounded like a sigh as she gazed at Parker.
“I really love your column,” she lied. Jenna hated sports in any incarnation. She was already bemoaning the start of Gabby’s soccer season, and it was three months away.
“Thank you.” He smiled.
We moved through the crowd as a unit until I saw a familiar face.
“Mike!” I waved at Sergeant Sorrel from the narcotics unit.
“Nichelle,” he said, turning from the water to face me when I stopped next to him. “Where’ve you been? You missed the TV crews. They all left about twenty minutes ago.”
Damn. Charlie no doubt drank her margaritas with her scanner in her lap.
“I was out and I missed the call, but got down here as quick as I could. I didn’t even take my poor friend Jenna home first.”
Mike smiled at Jenna and held out his hand. “I guess you never know how your Friday night is going to end up when you’re friends with Nichelle, huh?”
I started to introduce Parker, but quickly learned women weren’t alone in their rambling worship of him.
“Hey! You’re Grant Parker!” Mike said before I got a word out. “I watched you play ball when you were in college here, man. You had some arm. Too bad about all that, I guess—but I read your column. I’m a big fan.”
Parker smiled and shook Mike’s hand. “Thanks. I appreciate that.”
I stared at Mike, and then at Parker. Parker had fans? I was impressed. And a little jealous.
Got any questions for Parker or author LynDee Walker? Please ask! However, if you're thinking about trying to muscle in on my five o'clock drink date with Grant, think again. I consider that a blog bonus, ladies.
LynDee Walker grew up in the land of stifling heat and amazing food most people call Texas, and wanted to be Lois Lane pretty much from the time she could say the words “press conference.” An award-winning journalist, she traded cops and deadlines for burp cloths and onesies when her oldest child was born. Writing the Headlines in Heels mysteries gives her the best of both worlds. When not writing or reading, LynDee is usually wrangling children, eating barbecue or enchiladas, or trying to walk off said barbecue and enchiladas. She and her family live in Richmond, Virginia. You can visit her online at www.lyndeewalker.com.