Always work as a team.
Don't believe what you're told. Double check.
--Leroy Jethro Gibbs
Founded in 1903, The Post-Times is the media publication of record for the Stillwater metro area of 605,470 residents. With a daily circulation of 181,060, The Post-Times is the third largest newspaper in Pennsylvania and the 50th largest in the United States. Through its print, online and social media platforms, The Post-Times covers both Stillwater and the Keystone State...
Ziva David arrived at The Post-Times building for her first day at work a bit early.
As in two o'clock in the afternoon early.
Dressed in a jacket, shirt, slacks and a headscarf, Ziva thought she was dressed appropriately for her job as a clerk. She hoped it met with the approval of the editor, a family friend who helped her get the job.
There weren't as many people there as she anticipated; other than the lone security guard at the back entrance, she saw no one until getting off the elevator at the third floor. Even then, there were only a few people in the newsroom, and no one in the darkened sports area.
Ziva turned the lights on, looking around at the desks, computers and offices. She found her desk and began logging onto her computer. She typed her password in the first time.
Then the second. A third. And a fourth. Each time a prompt appeared on her monitor telling her she had typed in the wrong password.
"Oooooooooohhhh," Ziva growled. "This thing is driving me UP the HALL."
As she typed in the password for the fifth time, the phone rang. The clock next to the television against the far wall read 2:06. It was time to get to work.
"Hello," she said after picking up the handset.
"Yeh, is this the sports section of the paper?"
"Good. Ah gotta game to call in. Vollaball. Shunk."
Ziva couldn't quite understand the caller. "Excuse me, did you say you had to something bought a ball for your skunk? ... Hello, sir, are you there?"
"Ladeh, ah ain't got no skunk. Ah'm callin' in a vollaball match. Shunk an' Saint Simon."
She took a moment or three to figure out what the caller was saying. "Are you calling to provide sports news or results."
"What do you wish to provide?"
They went back and forth, the caller getting more and more frustrated until he resorted to very simple measures to get his point across. "AH. WANT. TO. CALL. IN. A. VOLL. E. BALL. SCORE."
"Oh. You wish to give a sports result."
Ziva remembered she hadn't been able to log onto her computer and didn't see anything on her desk to write with. She told that to the caller, then told him she would look for a pen and pad. Leaving the handset on the desk, she walked around the various desks, finally spotting a pencil and large pad. She took them back to her desk, then picked the headset up.
"What in HAIL were ya doin' lady?!?!?"
"I had to find something to write with and on."
"They ain't got computers up there?"
"Yew know how to USE one?!?!?"
"Yes. But I cannot access it at the moment."
"Ack...cess...what're yew IN, lady? G.E.D. skewl???"
"I am in the sports department of The Post-Times newspaper--"
After hearing a frustration-fueled scream, some choice profanities and the sound of something hitting a wall, Ziva got the score from the caller. Before she could thank him for calling in the score, he hung up.
That was rude, she thought. I wonder if that is normal behavior here in America.
Ziva picked up the piece of paper with her username and password, then typed in both for the fifth time. She got locked out.
"AAAARRRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!!" Ziva's scream was heard by the three other people in the newsroom, including a man in T-shirt, shorts and sunglasses making his way into sports.
She watched as he tossed his gym bag on the floor and put his food bag, and soft drink, on one of the desks arranged in an oval. Then he looked up at her as took a double cheeseburger and fries out of the food bag and put them on the desk, next to his phone.
And then he did a double take.
"You're not the Agate Gremlin," he said.
"I do not know what a 'gut gremlin' is," she answered. "I do not know who you are, either. My name is Ziva David."
"Zee-vah Dah-veed...got it, I think. Where're ya' from?"
"Huh. You sure are a long way from home."
"I am a student, at the University of Stillwater. I am studying journalism."
"Real-ly," he said. "Newsroom's back there."
"Oh. I am the new sports clerk. Today is my first day. And you have yet to tell me YOUR name."
"Tony DiNozzo. I'm a copy editor."
"Toe-nee Dee-no-zo. You edit stories, yes?"
"Yeah, and I'm also running the copy desk tonight. Ducky runs it during the week."
"Okay," Ziva said. "What is a ‘gut’ gremlin?"
Tony smiled as he looked her up and down. "Say what?"
Ziva smirked as she looked him up and down. "You said I was not the ‘gut’ gremlin when you came in. What IS a ‘gut’ gremlin?"
Tony kept smiling as he tried to figure out what this girl was saying.
Then he figured it out, and laughed. "Agate, not 'a gut'," he said. "It's that teeny-tiny print in newspapers -- like OURS -- for baseball boxscores, racing results, college football standings. The stuff you'll be doing?"
"Yes," she replied. "During my interview for this job Jenny said I would be assisting in production of sports results, tables, fixtures and other relevant information. Now WHO is the a-GAT gremlin?"
A few moments later, Tony remembered what she was asking about. "Ohhh. That would be your boss, Palmer. Not much older than you, skinny, wears glasses, got lost when they sent him to cover games so they put him on the desk. He's been working lots of overtime the last month. I expected to see him, not you."
As it turned out, Jimmy Palmer had the night off. Another clerk, Damon Werth, was the next sports staffer to arrive; he would fill in for Palmer this night. Copy editors Cassie Yates, Dwayne Wilson and Tony Francis and page designer Marty Pearson soon followed.
Ziva finally got her password straightened out (courtesy of Kevin Hussein from tech support), and spent the night getting a crash course in her job duties from Werth. She also answered a few calls -- from people she could understand -- and listened to Tony regale everyone with stories mostly about himself.
Labor Day turned out to be rather uneventful. Tony wanted to talk to Ziva some more, but he was too busy with the desk, she too busy training with Werth.
As the work night came to an end, Ziva asked if the rest of the week would be like tonight.
Everyone chuckled. Tony laughed, a little longer than Ziva thought was normal.
By week's end, she'd find out what a typical week really was like.