Writing Clash


"We'd love some," Alex called out after Kevin Browning as we made our way into the dining area.

Mr. Browning gestured for us to take a seat at the table. I sat down carefully and placed my clipboard on the countertop. Alex placed himself in the chair right beside me. I hid my smile with my hand. This was actually rather fun; I felt almost like some kind of agent.

Once the coffee maker started percalating, Mr. Browning traveled over to sit across from us. The table was small; meant for four. The lack of toys and the presence of several days worth of dirty dishes in the kitchen led me to believe that Mr. Browning lived on his own.

"Alright, so what do you folks plan on asking about?"

I cleared my throat. "Well, first things first. How is the drought affecting your business?" I readied myself to take notes before realizing that Alex still had the pencil tucked behind his ear. While Mr. Browning lifted his legs up onto the chair beside him and lounged out, I elbowed Alex in the arm and pointed to the pencil. He handed it over with a smile and flicked on his tape recorder. The recorder probably could have been sufficient but I preferred to do things the 'old-fashioned' way.

Mr. Browning snorted in response to my question. I rather liked his personality. He was brutally blunt and honest. "Badly. Write that down." He nodded towards my clipboard. I bit my lip, complied, and continued on with the questions.

"How has the drought been negatively effecting your business, and for how long?"

"Around five months, really. Ever since the start of summer. We've lost most of our crops to the lack of water and the heat just shrivels those new leaves to a crisp. Some things do better off, like the kale, chard, peas... peppers. But the harvest's been so lacking that our business this year was low. Hell, we could barely feed ourselves and the boys' families. I even had to sell a few of the livestock this year for extra cash."

While I scribbled furiously, Alex had steadily been leaning forward with interest. Even though I had offered to do the questioning, I could tell he was about to speak up. And speak up he did.

"Has the government given any help at all?"

Mr. Browning laughed loudly at that and slapped his knee. "God no! This is an alternative farm, or didn't you know. We don't have any subsidy. And we certainly don't grow corn."

I paused in my writing. Could this article be soley about independent farmers? I had a strong feeling it was. This was Mrs. Rowland and Earthbound Magazine we were working for after all.

Alex continued to do the interviewing after that. Or, rather, the talking. It got to the point where he and Mr. Browning were avidly discussing the use of solar panels and draft horses over black coffee. Even though they'd gotten a great bit off track, I just shook my head and sorted through my notes. Alex had a passion for life and society that I envied. I wouldn't dare tell him that I thought he might be making a mistake by being so interested in the farm business... when his father was the founder of Kane and Co.

But he'd already told me he had been kicked out of his house. How much more rebellious could he get? No. It just wasn't any of my business. Plain and simple.