hree years ago, shortly after the Harris Simmons Murders and trial, the Celebrity Hack Patrol met at Cafי Cielo. Their work on the story had turned them into celebrity journalists.
Each had a private table at Cafי Cielo and held court there daily. The tables cost $10,000 a year. Celebrities, business leaders, politicians, and society people flocked to Cafי Cielo, hoping to receive a mention in the columns and be seen at one of their tables.
The breathtakingly beautiful Jennifer Kung, a star gossip columnist from The Ledger, called the meeting. Her peers nicknamed her “TV” because of her movie-star good looks. But being a television reporter wasn't for her. She liked being in the streets. They sat at her table.
She said to her colleagues, Luke McFlemming from The News and Mike Desanctis from The Post, "Guys, we've done well with the Harris Simmons stories. Luke, you won the Harlowe writing prize for your coverage. Mike, you increased your audience by 25%, and I grew mine 30%. And not for nothing, I still believe I should have won the Harlowe."
"Me too," Desanctis said with a frown. "My editor Pete Colon called up the Harlowe committee and told them I got robbed."
Luke looked at them with a smug smile, "You two are just poor losers. The committee knows who the star is in this town."
"They know who has the biggest ego," Kung snapped. "You are a horrible winner, Luke. You could show a little grace, you shmuck."
Luke looked at her, considered her reprimand, and decided to partially agree, "I guess I should be more humble, TV. It's just hard with all this talent."
Kung snickered at him. Desanctis gritted his teeth and shook his head dismissively. Luke never hesitated to rub in his victory for the industry's most important journalism award.
The three writers were important allies of Teddy Walker’s. They had helped him find Gill Harris' killer in the Harris Simmons Media Company murder mystery.
Desanctis said, "I know we may never again have a story with murder, romance, illegitimate children, a corporate power play, and then for good measure another murder. The story was like an old school soap opera with one cliffhanger after another."
"You are right, Mike, but that was then, and this is now. So what's on your mind, TV?" Luke asked and glanced at his watch. "I’m meeting some VIPs in a few minutes."
"Guys, the city fell in love with Donald Alexander, Kwame Mills, Tom Wilson, their friends, and their lives. They are handsome, hip, smart, and straight out of central casting. If we package them right, we can keep their stories going for a long time."
"Package them? What do you have in mind?" Desanctis asked.
She responded with a question. The idea had been on her mind for a while, and she wanted to walk them through the opportunity.
"Would you agree, Mike, that they are the princes and princesses of the city?"
Luke cut off Desanctis before he could answer. It was typical of him. He was a grown man who had never learned how to wait his turn or play well with others. Desanctis wasn’t bothered. He let Luke speak.
"I agree 100 percent,” Luke said. “Donald is Gotham’s top dog and owns the city's limelight. Do you want to do a series on Donald Alexander as the King of New York and his Court? Is that the story angle?"
Kung flashed an approving smile. "Now you are with me, Luke. Except it's bigger. New York needs a magical essence, a crew of people the city believes are worthy of exceptional adulation. Donald, Kwame, and Tom have the unique celebrity cool, charm, and style to pull it off. I say we dub them Black Camelot. Every story will brand them as the Kings, Queens, Princes, and Princesses of New York City. We follow their lives closely as the city’s royal family. We write about how they brought the spirit of Camelot to New York."
Desanctis nodded his approval of the idea, "I think you are on to something here. Readers would love this, Jennifer,"
Luke added, "It is a killer idea, Jennifer. But why are you sharing it? I wouldn't share."
Jennifer picked up her glass of water, rolled her eyes, and took a long drink. "Thanks for being honest, Luke. You wouldn't share because you can't see the big picture. There are seven people in the Black Camelot crew. They are all living fascinating lives. If you write a story, then when I have a Black Camelot story, my readers would want to read it. Same for you, Mike."
"Who are the seven again, TV?" Luke asked. His curiosity was piqued and he liked the idea even more than he let on. It might even be a way to steal readers from his friends and grow his audience.
"Donald, Kwame, Tom, are the guys. The women are even more fabulous: Donald's girlfriend is the former investment banker Carrie Alexander; Kwame’s lady, Michelle Nubani, is a world-renowned economist; and the supermodel Danielle Jackson dates playboy Tom. The one with the most interesting back story is Samantha Rivers, the illegitimate daughter of Cornwall Harris."
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