After a few deep breaths, the Daily Bugle editor looked up and smiled at his prized possession; the suit worn by the vigilante, Spider-man.
Jameson had spent months trying to expose Spider-man for being the criminal he always believed him to be. Then, about a week ago, a garbage man had walked into his office with a garbage bag that his secretary, Ms. Bryant, told him "he really needed to see."
"If it's the head of an extraterrestrial, it's the third one this week," Jameson had snapped at the garbage man. When the garbage man pulled the Spider-man suit out of the bag, Jameson's jaw almost hit the floor.
"He must've given up," he said, taking the suit, "He threw in the towel. I guess I finally got to him. The power of the press prevails!"
After paying the garbage man $100 for the suit, he had it immediately tacked to his office wall.
Looking up at the suit now, Jameson couldn't help, but wonder where the "web-head" was now. He usually imagined him pumping gas, or working at a fast food restaurant. If there was any justice in the world, he wouldn't be on a beach in Miami.
Just then, there was a knock on his office door. Ms. Betty Bryant, nervously, poked her head into the office.
"Yes, Ms. Bryant," he snapped.
"Um, sir, there's some people here who want to see the Spider-man suit."
"Are they from the Inquisitor?"
"The Times? The Globe?"
Mr. Jameson hung his head and shook it. "Ms. Bryant, what did the sign outside this building say as you walked in? Did it say New York Museum of History?"
"Uh, no sir," replied Betty, "It said the Daily Bugle."
"Then I guess they down have any business being in here."
"One of them also wants to talk to you about a job."
Mr. Jameson sighed and rolled his eyes. "Fine, send them in."
A minute later, Mr. Jameson was shaking hands with a blonde-haired, young man who was about the same age as his top Spider-man photographer, Peter Parker. He had a black backpack hanging over one shoulder and a camera bag slung over the other. A short, young woman with red hair, and two kids, a boy and a girl, both with brownish-blonde hair, accompanied him.
"It's a pleasure meeting you, Mr. Jameson," said the young man, and he shook Mr. Jameson's hand. "My name is Randy Russell." He pointed to the others. "This is my girlfriend, Cheryl McAdams, and these are my niece and nephew, Sandy and Josh."
"Son, is there something I can do for you?" Mr. Jameson asked sounding annoyed. Randy let go of Mr. Jameson's hand.
"Well, first of all," Randy began, pointing to the kids, "These two were visiting from California. When they heard the Spider-man suit was here, they begged me to bring them to see it."
Mr. Jameson glanced at the kids and sighed.
"Alright," he grumbled, "It's over on the wall. Please don't touch it. We look with our eyes, not our hands." Cheryl led the excited kids over to the Spider-man suit on the wall. Mr. Jameson turned back to Randy. Randy pulled a very heavy folder out of his backpack and handed it to Mr. Jameson. Inside, there were pictures of almost anything one could think of; cars, animals, people, landscapes and more.
"I've been taking some photography classes at ESU. I've really been getting into photography and I was wondering if you were in need of a good photographer."
After a few seconds, Mr. Jameson answered.
"These are crap!"
"What do you mean, crap?"
"As in, I'm not looking to hire an artist. I'm looking for someone who can get photos of the things that matter, the things that people want to…"
Just then, Mr. Jameson noticed something out of the corner of his eye. He withdrew a picture of Spider-man, swinging by.
Randy smiled. "I thought you'd like that one." Randy reached into the portfolio and withdrew two more photos of Spider-man. Jameson was amazed. "If you look out my apartment window at just the right time, you'd be amazed by what you can see."
"These are almost as good as the ones that Parker used to take for me," he said, "Before the web-head up and quit."
"I was a fan of Peter Parker's work, sir," replied Randy, "That's actually why I thought of looking for a job here at the Bugle."
Jameson sat quietly against his desk as the wheels in his head began to turn. After several minutes, Jameson spoke up.
"Tell ya what, Ronnie," he began.
"It's Randy," interrupted Randy.
"Whatever. Look, I'm going to tell you the same thing I told Parker the day he started coming here; Freelance, it's the best thing in the world for a kid like yourself. You won't officially be working here, but we will pay you if you bring some decent photos. Deal?"
Randy smiled. "Deal," he answered, shaking Mr. Jameson's hand, "And you can keep the photos, sir." Then he turned to the others.
"Okay, gang," he said, "Time to go."
As the group turned to leave, Josh and Sandy turned back to Mr. Jameson.
"Mr. Jameson," asked Sandy, "Why did Spider-man go away?
"Will we ever see him again?" asked Josh.
Mr. Jameson smiled. "I don't think we will," he said to Josh. "And as for you young lady, Spider-man quit because he realized his sad, little masquerade was getting him nowhere."
The kids looked confused.
"It means he realized what he was doing was stupid." The kids' eyes widened in shock.
"How can you say that?" shouted Sandy, "Spider-man was a hero."
"Little girl, you're probably too young to understand, but Spider-man was nothing more than a masked freak who was starved for attention."
Mr. Jameson reached into his desk and pulled out three newspaper clippings.
These were taken by Eddie Brock, my old Spider-man photographer," he said, showing the pictures to the kids. The first showed Spider-man stopping a mini-mart robbery. The second showed Spider-man rescuing some kids from a burning building. The third showed Spider-man saving a group of people from a subway accident. In each of the pictures, Spider-man was fleeing the scene.
"See how he's running away from the scene?" Mr. Jameson asked, "What's that tell ya?"
"That he's probably going to save somebody else," snapped Josh.
"Why do you have to be so mean to Spider-man?" shouted Sandy, "When me and Josh were back in California, Uncle Randy would always write to us about Spider-man. He said he was a hero. He said that somehow, whenever there was trouble here in New York, Spider-man would just miraculously show up and save the day. I always said to myself, 'he must not have much free time. When does he get a chance to do anything for himself?' I always looked up to him for helping other people before helping himself."
"I always thought he should get a vacation?" added Josh.
Mr. Jameson looked up at Randy and Cheryl and laughed. "I take it they still believe in Santa Claus, too?"
Angrily, Randy and Cheryl stormed over and covered the kids' ears.
"As a matter of fact, they do," snapped Cheryl.
"Mr. Jameson," said Randy, angrily, "I never thought of you as the type of person who would talk slander about a good person, until now. I've always told them that Spider-man is a hero, because I believe he is one."
"What about when he murdered Norman Osbourne last year?" argued Mr. Jameson.
"From what I heard," replied Cheryl, "The Green Monster, er, Green Goblin, whatever you called him, killed Mr. Osbourne. I heard Spider-man tried to save him."
"You know something Mr. Jameson," snapped Randy, "if this is how you treat good people, then I'll take my business elsewhere." He snatched his photos back from Mr. Jameson.
"Come on, guys," he said, "I think we've taken up enough of Mr. Jameson's time."
As they left the office, Josh came back.
"Was there something else?" Mr. Jameson asked.
"You're a big jerk!" piped Josh. He kicked Mr. Jameson in the shin. Mr. Jameson howled in pain and began jumping around the room, clutching his throbbing leg.
"And you've got a funny-looking moustache," added Josh. And he left.
As the throbbing in his leg started to go away, Mr. Jameson heard a familiar chuckle. He looked up and saw his good friend, Robbie Robertson, standing in the doorway.
"What's so funny?" snapped Mr. Jameson.
"Didn't I tell you?" replied Robbie, "Didn't I tell you there were people who think Spider-man was a hero?"
Mr. Jameson hung his head. 'Is it possible," he thought, "that he'd been wrong about Spider-man?"
Robbie walked over and patted his friend on the shoulder. "Just remember Jonah, there's always two sides to every story."