"Code Blue"


By I am a good fighter

Powerpuff Girls created by Craig McCracken and all characters associated with the show are owned by Cartoon Network


-19-

It was eleven-thirty. Whitfield anchored the eleven o'clock report but not when he was covering a big story. The conference was long over, and though the story would continue to dominate the broadcasts and printed pages for days to come, so was his day. But he was concerned about LeBeau. No one had heard from him. He still wasn't answering the phone. He thought it more likely now that someone had recognized him on the street and expressed their outrage in physical terms. He'd never seen the kid take a drink.

He decided to drive out to the youngster's apartment. If he wasn't there, then it might be time to contact the police and the area hospitals. The drive took fifteen minutes. He'd been out here once before when he'd picked up a tape of something LeBeau had gotten. Turned out to be a big story, too. When he pulled into the lot for LeBeau's building, Stanley didn't see his car. But there did seem to be a light on in the upstairs apartment. Like any good reporter, he'd check it out before assuming that the kid wasn't home. The main door to the four-unit was unlocked. He climbed the stairs and knocked on the door to apartment C. He heard the unmistakable CNC jingle coming from inside. The door opened and LeBeau didn't seem surprised to see him.

"Oh, hey, Stan. Come on in. Want some coffee?"

"Yeah, I could use it."

There was a full pot on the counter and LeBeau poured him a foam cup full, then refilled his own. They both drank it black at the station. Whitfield saw that the place was rather disorganized at the moment. Boxes sat on the table and floor with dishes, pans and food in them. Cupboard doors were open. He was obviously packing. LeBeau noticed him looking.

"Sorry about the mess. It's neater in here."

They went into the small living room. The couch had more boxes on it. CDs and DVDs, books…he could see a suitcase standing just inside the open bedroom door, and clothes on hangers on the doorknob. It was another instance of a reporter making an assumption without checking his facts, in this case, believing he was fired. It wasn't true; he and the station manager had already agreed that the kid had made a very big mistake and just needed a good talking to. Whitfield sat in an upholstered chair while LeBeau stood. Stanley looked at the TV screen; they were still discussing the press conference.

"Where's your car?"

"It's still back at the hospital. I'll get it tomorrow." Seeing the raised eyebrows, he added, "Got a ride."

"What time was this? When did you leave there?"

"I walked out of Bubbles' room at 3:18, two minutes after she died."

The veteran reporter nearly spilled his coffee. Lebeau gave a quick sketch of his activities, leaving out the conversations, up to when he got back to his apartment. "I was in a fog and didn't know what happened until I got here and saw you saying Dr. Johns was coming out."

"Everything you did to get this story and then you just walked away from it. Why?"

"You were right, Stan. It WAS a game for me. I found out it isn't. You know what else I found out?" He pointed to his answering machine; its light was still flashing. "I found out there's a demand for that, in spite of what THOSE guys have been saying." He nodded toward the TV. "Ever heard of a guy named Ken Miller?"

"From "The Cutting Edge"? Yeah, he produced that thing he calls a news program right here until he tried to sandbag the girls and the people of Townsville wouldn't put up with it. Cowards like him give a whole new meaning to 'yellow journalism'. He called you?"

"Three times. Got calls from tabloid types in a few other places, too."

"And?"

"And I'm going to tell them the same thing I'm going to tell you, Stan. I'm out."

"Now wait a minute. You made a mistake. You're owning up to it. Quitting isn't the answer, Matt. You fall off the bike, you get back on."

"No, Stan, I'm in the wrong business. I got into it for all the wrong reasons. I wanted to make a name for myself. I don't care about that anymore."

"You've got too much talent to waste, kid. Don't do this."

Lebeau gave Whitfield a wry smile. "A teacher told me once that a reporter is supposed to report the news, not make it."

"That teacher was right. If you'd listened to that teacher, this might not have happened."

"I did listen, Stan. I only met her just this afternoon in the hospital. Look, Stan, I might be a good investigator, but I'm a lousy reporter. I need to make things happen. That's what I mean when I say I'm in the wrong business."

Whitfield took a sip. "I see…so what are you going to do?"

"I saw some amazing things in that place today, Stan. I think I want to be a part of that. I'm going back to school."

"Well, Matt, we're going to hate to lose you, but if that's what you want. It'll take some time to get into a medical school, and Townsville University has one of the best…so why are you leaving now?" He indicated the half-packed boxes.

"Heh. You should have seen this place a couple of hours ago. When I got home I just started throwing stuff together. By the time I figured it all out…I realized what a great place Townsville is. I'm not going anywhere, Stan, I'm just putting things away. Want some more coffee?"

Whitfield stood. "Nah, I'd better get home myself. This story's going to run a few days."

On the screen was some file footage of the girls in flight, their colored streaks arcing above the Townsville skyline.

"They're amazing, aren't they?" Stanley said.

"Yeah. What's more amazing is that I never saw them for who they really are. And once you know, you'd be crazy to want to live anywhere else."

THE END

1 'Death of a Powerpuff Girl' by sjcobert

2 'Power Points' by sjcobert

3 'The Cutting Edge' by xeviousgt

These stories can be read at Pokey Oaks Fan Fiction Library and I highly recommend them.

Please email your comments/critiques on this story to i_am_a_good_fighter@yahoo.com