Short Story: Awkward Press Release

After a quick glance at the room full of press representatives, I look at Ben. He gives me a sheepish smile and I scowl. He should be the one facing the press instead of me. Our PR representative gives us a nod and we enter the room, cameras flashing from all sides. Ben trips as he comes inside, further cementing the notion that he’s doing something wrong. At 20 years old, his long limbs are still growing, perfect for playing center in our basketball team, but ungraceful for every day activities.

I take my place behind the microphone and he sits next to me. He makes a motion to take out his mobile phone and I give him a warning glare. A deep breath escapes me and it echoes throughout the room.

“Ladies and gentlemen of the press, thank you for joining us today. After weeks of speculation, it’s time that we set up the rumors straight. As you all know, Ben Kingston was the guest of honor at the Basketball Association banquet. A privilege for him and quite a proud moment for me as his manager and his team.”

I clear my throat and the press watches my every move.

“During the dinner portion of the event, Ben abandoned his table several times, leaving his food untouched. At first, no one seemed to notice, until people from the organization saw him entering a cleaning closet and visiting the bathroom several times. Contrary to the belief that he was doing something illegal, he had managed to sneak in a take out bag of ribs and kept washing his greasy hands and mouth in order to return to the event. At the table, he complained of a stomach ache to the waiter who asked if there was something wrong with the food. The event coordinator saw he was pale, rubbing his chest, and called for medical assistance. A team of paramedics entered the room and took Ben away, who everyone feared was having a heart attack from drug abuse. He was diagnosed with reflux from overeating. Now we’ll take some questions.”

The members of the press are speechless and Ben chuckles while thumbing a white tablet into his mouth.

One reporter raises her hand. “Can we get the address of your ribs place?”

The room explodes with booming laughter and I want Ben to choke on his antacids.