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Nathan Marszalek, you have mail!

Date: Mon, 19 May 2014 at 1:34 am
From: 2ndpersonpresenttense@hotmail.com
To: (e-mail attached to his blog)
Subject: Fact checking


I don't know how to begin so I'll just jump right in and hope you don't think I'm crazy or too cagey to be worth your time. I just don't feel comfortable divulging my concerns over e-mail. My concerns are re: an incident which occurred around DU re: the an1m4l + pol1ce. I know your probably very busy but I promise I will make a meet up worth your time. You cn check me out on facebook if you must. Please reply at your earliest conveneince.

Jay Rodriguez

[Jamie: you don't have to roll investigation or anything to know what incident Jay is referring to. Just tell me whether or not Nate would look into it before he replies to / if he replies to her.]
His phone slept on the charger in the kitchen rather than by his bed and the sun woke Nathan instead of an alarm clock. As he stood in the kitchen waiting for coffee to brew Monday morning he rubbed the scar tissue on his temple with one hand and scrolled through the emails he had received overnight with the other.

In the midst of social media notifications and an argument with his editor and an argument with the other crime reporter and a 5:52am Nebraska Standard Time reminder from his mother that he told her he would send her his and Hannah's schedule for the entire goddamn summer and one of his old Corps buddies drunk-CC'ing everybody on the fucking planet about a wedding they were all supposed to attend next month lay this gem:

I just don't feel comfortable divulging my concerns over e-mail.

The reporter double-checked the sender address and groaned a querulous groan and covered his eye with his palm. But he kept reading anyway.

Little known fact: Nathan Marszalek is on Facebook. He has been on Facebook since 2006. He has untagged himself from more incriminating photographs than he can remember existing of him. That's irrelevant. Point is all he has to do to check this person out on Facebook is hit the screen with his thumb a couple of times and bring up the application on his phone.

The coffeemaker gurgled behind him as he finished his cursory investigation. When the last bit of steam sputtered from the machine the phone landed on the counter and Nathan poured a cup of coffee. He was going to have to wake up his laptop and research the incident before he reached out to Rodriguez. The timestamp on that email wasn't exactly doing either of them any fucking favors.
Jay Rodriguez is revealed by the internet to be a pudgy plain-faced in that almost pretty in the right light woman whose face is all freckles and whose hair has most recently been dyed an unbelievable burgandy and who wears glasses. Jay Rodriguez is also revealed to be a vice principal at an elementary school out in one of the suburbs, to be a volunteer red cross coordinator, an advocate for literacy, and somebody who does not appear to show up in any drunk photos at all. The closest one gets is from Halloween '13 with the caption 'Cat as Wonder Woman (can't pull off the tights can he), Marvin as the Skeleton Jack, Amir as a Transformer, and Jay as Jay Gatsby (lol Jay)' where she looks sheepishly happy and dapper as fuck with Skeleton Jack's arm around her shoulders sitting on a kerb nursing a big bucket of candy. She usually doesn't typo.

As for the incident, nearest he can tell she's referring to something which might've made a bigger splash in papers if it had been a slow news month. It hadn't been.

The story is about a brace of dogs (a dachsund and a malamute-shepherd mix) attacking a young boy, name withheld, age 5, before going on to attack a police officer who was on the scene, Brent McDermott, and another unidentified bystander who fled the scene. The young boy is in critical condition and the malamute-shepherd was shot on-site but the dachsund escaped. No mention is made of the dogs owners and the article just really wants to laugh at the unlikely dog-teamup while letting people know that a cop got hurt. Most of the comments on the online version of the article devolve into vitriolic hate-flinging re: those dogs should be put down LOL NO the cop should be put down they were only trying to help etc etc. This happened near a school (also unidentified) late at night.
By the time he gets around to firing off two emails Nathan has had his first two cups of coffee and refilled his mug. It's a good thing he can wander into the office late in the morning and his editor is cutting him a considerable amount of slack for how much ball he was on during the downtown car bombing last month. It isn't as if that story was national news or anything but Nathan had information on the suspect-turned-defendant that no one else had and his articles were better written than one would expect from an individual who had been on blotter detail the past year and change.

Anyway. The first email he sends is to his father. He wants to know if the law professor has heard anything about the dog attacks. It's a quick email. Hey Dad how's it going listen I'm pursing a lead and. They're meeting up for dinner between now and Father's Day anyway. Isn't like he has to pad the email with sentimental bullshit.

The one he sends to Jay Rodriguez is different.

Ms. Rodriguez,

I'm familiar with the incident. My number at the Post is 303-954-9977. Call me or email me at nmarszalek@denverpost.com and we can arrange a meet up.

I don't think you're cagey or crazy. Even if you are, I want to speak to you. Please contact me. I'll be at the office from 9am until 7pm tonight.

26 may 2014

He could do little of anything the day after meeting with Jay Rodriguez because it was Memorial Day and the country was supposed to be remembering all of those who died in service. He brought his smartphone with him to the cookouts he and his sister bounced between. One that Carole was going to and one that Dad was going to and one that one of his high school buddies who went into the Army and is out at Fort Carson now. And he put the phone away to shake the hand of a person to whom he was introduced or to hold conversation with whoever ventured near enough to speak to him but nothing came back to him that day.

After he had waited the requisite amount of time after arriving at the party where Carole would be planted all day the two of them went inside to find a secluded place not to fool around but for him to ask her yet another favor. By now she was grown used to it. It went both ways. Having a boyfriend who's a reporter comes in handy sometimes.

So he'd asked her: Is there a Brett McDermott at the downtown station? You know who his partner is? Can you pull up the case file from the night that kid was attacked? I wanna know who the kid was and who else's been attacked.

Carole didn't like being in this position and Nate felt contrition but not enough to promise never to do this again. She told him she'd see what she could find out and kissed him on the cheek and went back to the party.

27 may 2014
He got more done today.

Finding out the name of the 5-year-old victim meant he could hypothetically find out who was the cousin was supposedly a student at the school where Jay Rodriguez teaches. Meant he could find out who his parents are and what he was doing where he was the night he was attacked. Meant he could find out who the kids' teachers are whether the 5-year-old goes to kindergarten yet and whether the cousin is still enrolled in elementary school.

He didn't need that name to start investigating the attacks at DU but his editor wasn't entirely convinced this isn't a waste of time. He was supposed to be covering the crime blotter. Not going all Erin Brockovich on the animal control people. But Nathan could be persuasive sometimes and even when he was not entirely persuasive he's stubborn and now he had the Dogwood bombing coverage under his belt. Because the Post was the first publication to have any background information on Dogwood or Kingsmith and the article they published the day after he was captured was thorough and well-written and not what anyone was expecting from a rookie reporter.

His editor grumbled but told him to have something more substantial than what the original article produced by the end of the day if he didn't want to spend the rest of the week covering the overnight scanner.

So he started calling around at the university where he has no contacts excepting his father. His father didn't know anything. He left him out of it for now. If he brought it up again he was going to bring up the dead bird on his motorcycle seat and nobody needs to know about that. The security office is a good place to start. Campus security loves talking to reporters.