The Pinball Tycoon

In a journo bar at ten in the morning, the night beat writers are working out the kinks.

“Well, so I called up Bailey and told him I’d made a mistake, but that he’d made a mistake, too, so it was a Mexican standoff. It’s a nice job, you finish up, you yell for the copy boy, you grab a secondhand sandwich and a cup—”

“Wait, no, hang on—”

“Murder is only a symptom of what we’re suffering from; the disease is selfishness and jealousy and greed. Too many of us have decided that the Golden Rule might have been alright for Grampa—”

“You’re telling me you spent weeks—weeks—accusing an innocent man of murder, then tried to kill him, and that’s your takeaway?”

Lovejoy coughs. “How can any of us hurt, or hate, or be indifferent to those—”

“You tried to murder a man, Frank? You broke into his office and held an elevator operator at gunpoint and nearly died and you think this is a societal—”

Lovejoy’s lost his place, and a little of his steam. “No, I mean— you see, Carter’s girlfriend killed him, and— that is, the cops weren’t going to do anything, because— look, let me tell you about nearly getting impaled on the elevator springs again…”

“Jesus, Lovejoy,” growls Hamilton. “This shit right here is why you’re stuck in section 6.”