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A Cold December

by Christina Wilson

One (last?) story before the new season begins. Based on the story challenge to write about Dec. 7 or 8, 1941.

Disclaimer: Rupert Holmes and AMC own the characters and premise of Remember WENN.

Betty leaned back in her chair, careful to not lean back too far. She really did need to discuss new furniture with the owners. A rickety chair was not a good way to impress a sponsor.

She smiled at the memory of Mrs. Hagler, an enthusiastic fan of Hands of Time, gushing at the thought of being in the same room where those wonderful stories were written. Fortunately, all Mrs. Hagler had hurt was her dignity when the back of the chair had fallen off.

Betty sighed. She hadn't heard from the Haglers for a week. She figured they would not be sponsoring her new show, Captain Freedom. It had been a perfect match. They had liked the first episode three weeks ago, and had contacted WENN about sponsoring it. The Haglers were enthusiastic, wealthy--and firm believers in the American ideal.

She looked at the pile of mail stacked haphazardly on top of the shelf. No other show had generated as much. She should try to answer it...but she never had enough time. And Gertie had emphatically refused.

She glanced up at the clock, 3:52. Captain Freedom was almost over. She stood and walked to the small radio and turned it on and smiled. For the first time today they were right on schedule. She listened to the closing scene and groaned. Scott had a way with over doing everything. She'd hear about this from Hilary as soon as the show was over. She always did. Well, she had to get the next script to the studio.

A bell rang behind her, causing Betty to jump. She was learning to dislike the teletype these days. The short blurbs were becoming more and more alarming.

But it was Sunday. What could possibly happen on a Sunday? she thought as she walked over to remove the paper.

She noticed that the message was short.

Scott looked at Mackie and mouthed, *I'll find her.* Anything to get out of there. He grinned at Hilary--further annoying WENN's leading lady. His grin grew at her deepening scowl. Her temper tantrums were half the fun--and would be major today--since Jeff was home with the flu. As soon as Betty brought the script for the next show, she would let him have it. Maple smiled at him. An *enjoy yourself--you are in trouble now* smile. He glanced at the clock...4:00. Then quietly left the studio to the sounds of the Wurlitzer belting out something.

He knocked on the writer's room. There was no response. He knocked again and opened the door. "Betty?"

She was standing by the teletype, staring at the piece of paper in her hand. Totally oblivious to the ringing bell and the clacking noises.

"Betty?" He walked over to her and touched her shoulder. She jumped and tried to speak...The words didn't come, so instead she pushed the paper in his hand. He read it three times, each time furthered the gut-wrenching feeling building inside him.. He then reached out and took the next piece of paper from the machine. "Good God..." He looked at Betty and realized she was staring at the paper, her face a pale white. "Sit down." He guided her to her chair.

"I..." She was looking at him as she sat down. "We have to get this out..." Scott nodded and took the two pieces down to the studio.

Mackie looked at him as he entered the studio, *It's about time,* he mouthed. Eugenia was still playing something. Scott could see the cast's react to his expression of fear, horror, and anger as the room became eerily quiet.

Scott handed Mackie the two pieces of paper, as Hilary, Maple, Mr. Foley, and Eugenia gathered around. They ignored the new engineer who was peering through the glass motioning wildly. Scott didn't care that the airwaves were empty...

"Oh my God," Maple whispered, as she stepped back to sit down. "I knew..." She clasped a hand over her mouth. Scott motioned everybody to step away from the mike--leaving Mackie to deliver the announcement.

Mackie cleared his voice and started to speak, "We interrupt our regularly scheduled broadcast to bring you this important announcement." His eyes were teary.

Scott slipped out. War was a horrible thing. In Spain, he'd seen what the Nazi's were capable of...

From Gertie's radio he heard the Star Spangled Banner.

He found Betty staring at her typewriter. She didn't look up when he entered. "We're at war," was all she said.

"Yes." It wasn't official--but there was no way they wouldn't be.

"Now what?"

"Betty, I don't know. The Great War was supposed to have been...I don't know." He watched her, he wanted to reach out and comfort her.

There was another ding from the teletype. He went to get it. "Should I?" She nodded.

Now what? He contemplated this as he carried the few sentences to Mackie. All he knew, was that on this cold December day, the world had collapsed.

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