Chapter 66 – Another Successful Interview
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“James!” Mama Lu’s voice echoed up the stairs and into the room of the person being called, who was playing video games. “There’s someone here to see you!”

What? Who could possibly be here to see him? Mama Lu would have recognized Jack and Mo and called them by name, so it couldn’t be them. Could it be Leah? Maybe she had finally been able to fish out his home address the way she’d used her connections to find his school and enroll herself. 

James paused his game and headed downstairs. He hoped Leah hadn’t come over to his house to either freeload. Actually, she was rich enough to not need to freeload. More likely, she had come over to play with Leo the bear. Either way, there was no telling what his parents might think if a girl showed up at his house. Or worse, his sister.

Alas, reality is a cruel thing, and an outcome that was far worse than James could have ever expected came true. The visitor at the front door that was waiting for him was not Leah. In fact, upon seeing who the person was, James immediately wished for it to be a hallucination. He would much rather have Leah come over, pat Leo the bear on the head a few times, and then be questioned by his parents about their current relationship status. It would be less painful than what was to come.

Paul Anderson, a new anchor for one of the television company giants, GAIA. He was one of the main reporters for the most viewed news program in all of America. James had been interviewed by him once before, and it hadn’t gone very well. The report, which had been shown to millions of viewers across the country, had taken everything James said out of context and made him look like a complete savage.

“Hello, James! It’s been a while since I last saw you! How are you doing?”

“Uh, I’m doing well, thank you very much.” James had no choice but to respond politely.

“Nice to meet you, Mrs. Lu. I’m Paul Anderson, a reporter for GAIA News. I’ve come here to ask for an interview with James.”

“Oh, yes, of course. Why don’t you come on in?”

Mama Lu greeted Paul Anderson and opened the door to let him inside. He and his female assistant, whom James remembered from the last interview, sat themselves down on the.

“James, I was contacted by the company, and they told me they wanted to interview you because. I told them they’d be welcome at any time, but I didn't expect that they’d come so fast.”

James nodded. He’d put most of the pieces together beforehand, but was a little bit surprised that his mom had invited the reporter over. That explained how Paul Anderson found his home address without contacting him first. Otherwise, James would’ve been very concerned, since he was supposed to have rights to privacy.

Mama Lu knew about the first interview, and James had told her it had been a fiasco. However, he was pretty sure that she hadn’t seen the actual interview, and just thought that James was exaggerating. Otherwise, she would have not been so enthusiastic about inviting Paul Anderson back for round two. However, since the reporter was already here, he had no choice but to follow through with the interview.

He was also rather apprehensive about holding a second interview because of the results of the first, but he calmed himself. After all, beating some people in a fight is different from beating a bear. He wouldn’t have to make up any random bullshit to hide his achievements.

James and Paul Anderson sat down on the couch inside their living room, as Mama Lu went to prepare some snacks and drinks.

“No, there’s really no need to worry yourself about it. I’m intruding”

“Oh no, I insist. Is tea alright?”

“Ah, you’re too kind. I suppose some tea would be nice. Andrea?” Paul Anderson turned to his assistant, who replied, “Tea is fine.” 

Paul Anderson, who appeared to be an extremely savvy man, was truly fit for being one of the largest news reporters in the world. He was professional, yet cordial, polite, but not overbearingly so. However, that only made James more uneasy. Paul Anderson turned to him and started speaking.

“James, it’s been slightly more than a month since I’ve last seen you. Somehow, you’ve got yourself wrapped in a completely different story, and I get to meet you again.”

“Has that story become that big? I haven’t paid attention to it,” said James. 

It had only been yesterday that he had beaten up the robbers. It was Saturday, and he didn’t have school, so he stayed home and played video games.  That being said, why was Paul Anderson here on a weekend? Maybe new anchors were much more busier than they looked, considering that they had to fly around to the scenes they reported.

“It’s become big enough that I’ve come here, right?”

“I suppose.” James then noticed something out of the ordinary. “Are you not going to be recording anything? I don’t see a camera like last time.”

“Aha, it’s here.” Paul Anderson pointed to a small camera that his assistant, Andrea, was holding. “Very portable, very useful. The quality doesn’t suffer because of it either. Of course, we could have brought a larger system, but we’re already intruding.”

James was skeptical if a small camera would be as clear,

“So, should we start?”

==========

“I can’t believe this. Actually, I was expecting it, but I can’t believe it anyways.”

James stared at the TV. It was evening. Paul Anderson had left earlier that afternoon, and now, James was watching his second appearance on national television.

“How did I get on there twice?” wondered James.

The interview didn’t go badly at all, but to James, this didn’t really matter. It went well last time too. The important part was how Paul Anderson. He shivered as he realized an important thing: it might not even be Paul Anderson who created the fiasco the last time. In fact, Paul Anderson probably only had one job: stare at the camera, read the script, and occasionally conduct interviews. 

“Sorry, I’ve done you wrong.”

James made a silent apology in his heart to Paul Anderson. However, that didn’t mean James would avoid.

He looked back to the TV. 

James was expecting something like a sequel to the first interview, where James’ speech would be spliced together and he’d say something like, “THAT WAS AMAZING! I WISH MORE PEOPLE WOULD TRY AND ROB ME SO I COULD BEAT THEM UP!” However, he was pleasantly surprised.

The James on the television spoke. “At first, I was planning to give up the money. I thought, 20 dollars, that’s fine. As long as nobody gets hurt.”

“So, what made you start fighting?” asked Paul Anderson on the television.

The scene cut here. The viewers may not have known it, but James, who’d remembered how the interview went, could tell. A few more lines were spliced on.

“Well, I saw that there were people in the vicinity. They started coming over.”

“You were worried about the safety of the passerby.”

“Yes.”

They’d still messed up his sentences and changed his message - he’d fought back not because he wanted to protect others, but because he wanted to protect himself. At least it wasn’t too far from the truth. Besides, it did make him look better, so James didn’t have that many complaints. He turned his focus back to Paul Anderson on the screen:

“So, James, this is the second time you’ve been interviewed by me. The first time, which was over a month ago, you’d just fought a bear to protect a group of hikers. This time, you protected innocent people from robbers. Some people are already labelling you as a hero. What do you say about that?”

“I wouldn’t say that. It was really just self-defense, in both cases. If I didn’t act, something would have happened to me. Also, I don’t really think what I did deserves that much attention.”

Whew. James thought that it went pretty well. Much better than he expected, in fact. At the very least, James wouldn’t feel like he’d need to hide if somebody recognized him. 

However, at this point in time, he still didn’t know how much publicity he’d get because of this 2nd interview. Otherwise, he definitely wouldn’t have been as content as he was now.

“Well, it’s still early evening. That’s too early to “sleep.” Should I play some more?” James was about to turn on his computer when he received a text message. He opened his group chat, which was aptly named “goons.”

[Jack: guess who’s on fucking TV?]

[Mo: for the 2nd time]

[James: fuck off. jack’s been on tv multiple times bc his dad is the real deal]

[Mo: but he doesn’t look as derpy as you do]

[James: untrue]

[Jack: im not the center of attention tho so it’s fine]

[Mo: you wanna play some?]

[James: sure]

[Jack: i’ll be on in a sec]

James opened his computer and logged in. When James had a cast on, he discovered that he was much better at playing the game one handed. It was rather disconcerting, but James continued to play one handed, while the other hand ate snacks.

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