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          (Unedited)
          When Ben had received an email from Voices Media Vice President Alan Devere three months ago, asking if he would be interested in becoming the editor-in-chief of both Our Voices Magazine and Bay Voices Newspaper, he had blown it off. Not only had he received more lucrative offers after having become front page news himself for breaking one of the largest political scandals to surface in decades, but he also had no interest in going back to his hometown.
          players in behind the scenes of Washington making not so veiled threats against both him and his career—he found himself with little choice. Besides, he had told himself, he had never wanted to be a political reporter in the first place. Plus Devere had offered him a salary three times higher than he was making in D.C.
          Ben’s first job as a reporter had been for Bay Voices, Eden’s Bay’s local newspaper. That had been almost ten years ago, when the newspaper office had been a tiny three room office in one of the old strip malls that had now replaced by a 20 story luxury hotel. Now Bay Voices was part of a publishing corporation known primarily for their national LGBT Magazine Our Voices.
          The moment he walked through the front door a short, young, man with sandy blond hair and dark rimmed glasses rushed up to him and shook is hand.
          “Mr. Jerrick! I’m Michael, your assistant. Welcome to Voices Media!”
          The enthusiastic man shook his hand with such vigor it almost pulled Ben of balance.
          “Mr. Devere’s waiting for you in his office. Right this way.”
          He followed the man past the front desk where a gum chewing punk rock looking young woman was staring at him. She blew a bubble with her gum until it popped, all the while continuing to glare at him.
          “So how long have you worked here?” he asked Michael once they were on the elevator.
          “Six months,” he said in a timid voice. “I was the assistant to the last editor-in-chief.”
          “Yeah? How was that then?
          “He hit me in the head with a stapler. I still have a scar.” He pointed to the side of his head just over his left ear and sure enough there was a one inch long spot with no hair.
          Ben wasn’t sure how to respond and was thankful when the elevator doors opened. Michael, who seemed to shuffle quickly more than actually take steps, led him through the middle of the floor. As he looked from side to side at the staff sitting at their cubicles, he noticed all of them glaring at him with the same expression as the girl at the front desk.
          Michael spoke briefly to a handsome young man sitting at a large desk who then stood and disappeared into the office behind him. A moment later he opened the door and motioned to Ben to come through. As he did, Michael began shuffling off down a side hall.
          Publisher Alan Devere was a tall, stocky, bearish man in his early 40s with dark red hair and matching goatee. Dressed in business casual, he presented an imposing image to those meeting him for the first time. His handshake was firm and his deep hazel eyes could best be described as piercing.
          Once the two men were alone, Alan went through the customary formalities of thanking Ben for accepting the position of EIC, told him he had every confidence he was exactly who the two publications needed at the helm, and then without mincing words, informed Ben that they had three months to dig Our Voices Magazine out of a very deep hole of debt or the board would vote to sell it to Chase Ballard, head of Chase Publishing.
The news about the magazine, as well as who it would be sold to, hit Ben like a glass of ice water thrown in his face. He did his best to appear calm, but interrupted Devere before he could continue.
          “Wait, you didn’t tell me the company was in trouble when you hired me.”
“The publishing company isn’t—the magazine is. And I apologize if I wasn’t clear, but I did express that we were in desperate need of someone with your experience and connections. And someone who knew how to maneuver within the small town politics of Eden’s Bay.”
          “Our Voices is a national magazine, what does Eden’s Bay have to do with it?” Ben was confused.
          “But our board and principal stockholders are people who were born and raised here. Just like you. You know how they think.” Ben started to protest but Alan cut him off. “Look… Our Voices was my dream child. I put my heart and soul into that magazine and made it the number one LGBT news magazine in the nation. A year ago I had to take time away from the business for personal reasons. When I came back, the EIC I had hired had driven the magazine into the ground. The magazine is close to being bankrupt. We’ve lost three of our top correspondents and Chase Ballard, who I detest with a passion, wants to buy the magazine and turn it into a skin magazine. For no other reason than to use my own creation to humiliate me. But I know you can turn this around. You have the name, the connections, and I will make sure you are very well compensated.” He paused, then with a small smile added, “Help me Ben Kenobi. You’re my only hope.”
          Ben chuckled. What could he do? He and Alec had already quit their jobs, moved across the country and bought a house. Plus who could say no to publisher willing to resort to Star Wars dialogue? He stood, extended his hand to Alan and promised to do his best.