The Breaking News Stories (cont - 4)

Ruben’s statement about a disparaging news story did not shock Larvell as much as Ruben bursting in his room. He was expecting the negative fallout. It was only a matter of time before it got out. So he took the news calmer than expected. “What a surprise. You mean the momentum is not building.” Larvell felt a certain bit of satisfaction the interview did not turn out as well as Ruben had hoped.

Ruben collapsed in an aluminum chair not built to hold a person of his weight. It buckled to hold his massive frame. “She edited her interview with him and it is just horrible. It makes him out to be a pornography lover, pervert and very anti-American. Why would she do something like that? She promised she would help build his career, not destroy it.”

Larvell was pretty sure the chair would not hold Rueben if he sat in it much longer. Unlike Baltimore, where he had an office to accommodate couches and sofas, the Florida office was much smaller and more spartan to save on costs. He could only offer aluminum folding chairs for guests to sit in. Larvell was seated in the only chair of any substance placed safely behind his desk. He had purchased it with his own money.

“Because that is what builds her success.” Larvell felt bad to be feeling so good about Ruben’s distress. After all, any bad story on Jason would negatively impact the Orioles as well. Rigo had already warned him about some of the topics Kevin had told him were discussed. They were already prepared to send out a response if the interview turned negative to spin it around.

“Well, we have got to do something.” Ruben had tears dropping down his cheek, mixing in with the sweat dripping from his forehead.

“Other than sell bobbleheads.”

Ruben shot a glare over to Larvell. “This is serious,” The moisture from his sweat mixed with tears began rolling to the edge of his multiple chins.

Rigo’s fingers were dancing along his cell phone, his eyes focused on the screen. “I got an email from the embassy in China from the person who issued Jason a visa. She has given me a link to the newscast. Unfortunately, the newscast is in Mandarin so we would need it to be interpreted. She also indicates that in light of what has been reported we may want to hold off pitching Jason in a game until the facts can get clarified. They may have to revoke his visa if some of what she says is accurate.”

“Oh no!” Ruben cried out in horror. “I didn’t think it was this bad.” Just as he finished his sentence the aluminum chair he was sitting on could no longer hold his weight and collapsed, one of the legs snapping in two, sending Ruben crashing to the floor.

Moose and Larvell jumped out of their chairs to help Rueben up from the floor but he waved them away. “Leave me here”, he growled at them from the floor. “I’m hyper ventilating. I need to lie down anyway.”

“Do we need to call an ambulance?” Larvell asked.

“No. Just let me lie here awhile. I need to de-stress.” It was probably best they didn’t have to try to pick him up. A few hernias may have resulted, depending on how many of them it took to haul Rueben up.

Rueben lay on his back on the floor, his hands over his face. He was trying to control his breathing. “This is just horrible.”

Moose and Larvell returned to their chairs. Pablo and Rigo never moved from theirs. It was probably best he did his sniveling on the floor. There were no other chairs he could sit in that could hold his weight, except for Larvell’s and he was not about to offer his.

Larvell took out the remote control, aimed it towards a television hanging from a corner of the room. He clicked it to one of the sports stations. It didn’t take long for Kathy’s story to be picked up by the American press. They showed Kathy Li trying to talk to an older white haired gentleman in a dilapidated house, but he refused to talk to her.

“That’s John,” Pablo commented over the sportscast. “He doesn’t look too good.”

The video showed the legendary concrete wall Jason had thrown at. It had crumbled to the ground, now just broken pieces of scattered concrete. Kathy stood in front of this crumbled concrete. Her face was stern. You couldn’t hear her voice because the sports cast had another voice translate over hers. “A check of the business records for this address does not show any permit to run an adoption agency.” The camera moved from her to a dilapidated building with chipping paint, boards placed over the window spaces in place of glass and a porch caved in and eaten away by vegetation. It had the appearance of an abandoned facility, except for the old man raving like a lunatic behind Kathy, throwing whatever he could find on the ground at her.

“A search of hospital records in the province for anyone named Xiang-Deng Woo, which is the official name the Orioles have on file for Jason Woo finds no record of anyone born in the province under that name. There are no hospital records for anyone with a last name of Woo. This reporter has also completed an exhaustive search of all the school records in the province and has come up empty trying to find any student who ever attended classes with a name of Xiang-Deng Woo. We are trying to get an explanation for this from John, who appears to live at what appears to be an abandoned facility, but as you can see, he is not cooperating.” Just as she made that comment a rock whizzed past her, making a loud noise in the background.

There was a pause after Kathy Li’s report ended, returning back to the original reporter breaking the story. This gave one of the ESPN announcers an opportunity to jab a comment. “What is she trying to say then? He has to be from somewhere. He just didn’t drop from the sky.”

The reporter did not address his comment but continued with a clip from the interview Kathy Li conducted with Jason Woo, translated to English in its entirety.

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