"I know, I know, I was just kidding," Lindberg lied. "Give me a
call at five to, and I\'ll punch you up for the noon report."

"No, no, I mean now. Punch me up now," some part of me, that was
ignoring the part of me that couldn\'t believe I was planning to go through
with this, insisted.

"Now?" Lindberg blurted with a start. "Now? But it\'s only 11:10!"

"I know, Linus, but there\'s a major news story happening right this
minute that might be over by noon."

The meek calmness with which I detailed the obvious to him surprised
me. I suppose that deep down I still recognized the extent of his
experience over my own - at least in chronological terms - and was being
sensitive to the fact that I might very well, myself, be on the verge of
screwing up in a major way.

"Why, what\'s up?" he ventured next. At this point he\'d extended the
limits of obtuseness beyond even my endurance. I had been swearing at
myself all morning; this marked the first occasion in my young professional
career for me to swear overtly at a co- worker. During the course of this

Linus was happily able to recall the matter of the bank robbery in progress
across the street.

"Holy -! You mean that\'s still going on?" he exclaimed.

"Yes," I answered simply.

"I guess it\'s okay to break format for something like this, huh?"

He seemed to be struggling with the dilemma of what to do with his records
that would be left over at the top of the hour. Then it must\'ve occurred to
him that he was CJRS\'s senior exec. for the day. With a sudden bold flex
of authority he said: "Of course it\'s okay. Alright, big guy, you\'ve got
your live line. Standby..."

I heard myself clicked on hold. I quickly nabbed a pocket radio
with an earplug and turned down the newsroom speaker, to avoid mike
feedback. I put in the plug, flicked the switch, spun the dial to 1330 kHz
and caught "The Last Farewell" by Roger Whittaker, one of Linus\' big
favourites. I took a second to formulate a good opening line and sat in
palm-cold readiness for my imminent feed-in from Linus.

Then I waited.

I took another big swallow, my mouth dry as a brush fire.

I waited some more.

A minute went by. Then it occurred to me: Linus was waiting for the
song to finish. I could imagine this seeming to be "correct procedure", by
his convoluted brand of logic.

Another half minute went by.

Then he came on:

"And there he is, everybody\'s favourite, Roger Whittaker and \'The

Last Farewell\', on 1330 Radio, C-Jar-Ahr-S. Word is Roger\'s working on a
new album as we speak, right down-under in his homeland, New Zealand.

Should be a good one and I know I\'ll look forward to hearing the first cut
off that one as much as I\'m sure you will also be looking forward to it,
too. Uh...but, hey, now it\'s time for a special live news report from

C-Jar-Ahr-S\'s roving eye-on-the-town, Dave Jensen. What\'s happening down
at News Central, Dave?"

And now it was my turn to pause, in an overwhelming rush of
disbelief: This was it! I was on! A week-long graduate of high school
doing live media coverage of a bank robbery in progress!

I tried imagining the odds of so many unlikely circumstances having
collided at this given place and time. I couldn\'t. On the first level, I
wondered, how many radio station newsrooms in the world could previously
have boasted balcony seats to a bank robbery? Added to this, what were the
chances of that privilege finally being granted in Thistle, Ontario? - in
my ten years as a resident on Lake Norakee, this was hands and away the
biggest news event, ever (as I later learned from Thistle "lifers", nothing
of this magnitude had happened since 1952 when the hockey rink in
neighbouring Kenville burned down...and Kenville doesn\'t even have a radio
station!) A third complication of circumstance was that all this chose to
happen on the exact date when the only person available to take advantage
of it had neither the experience nor the training to handle it properly.

The final and most tragic complication was that that person just happened
to be me.

And yet, despite feeling a total lack of confidence in my ability to
perform the task at hand in any semblance of a professional manner, here I
was, ready - if not exactly prepared - to give my all for responsible
broadcast journalism. There was