The New Anchor

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“Mom, Mom I got it.  I got the job.  You’re talking to the new weekend anchor of the “News People Trust – News Channel 4” news team, the anchor, not just a reporter, but the anchor.  The weekend anchor.”

“Oh my Katie, that’s fantastic, absolutely fantastic,” her mom Toni answered.  “When do you start?”

“I start Thursday.  Just to meet people and get to know my way around.  Then Saturday at 6 I’m on. I’m on the air.  I can’t believe it. I saw at least two other people I think were interviewing for the job too and they chose me.  They chose me. I evened signed a contract, a real contract.  It’s a five year contract too.  They said they usually only have three year contracts, but they said I’ve got real potential and they like the way I read,” Katie obviously excited explained to her mom.

Katie had graduated from a small local university about forty miles from Pittsburgh with a degree in communications two years before.  With the economy and everything she had been working as a waitress until she could get a reporting job. She is a gorgeous girl, just turned 24, gorgeous shape, gorgeous complexion, gorgeous hair and the cutest little dimple when she smiles.  She’s a real looker.  Everywhere she goes guys are staring.  She’s about 5.5 inches tall, greenish blue eyes, perfect weight to complement her height, medium size breasts and unbelievable hair.  It’s a honey blond with light blond streaks throughout.   Her hairs very thick and she wears it off the face very full. It flows over her head with just enough height to give it that sexy bedroom look.  Then it flows down her shoulders and rests covering her breasts and framing, almost wrapping around her face.  With the gorgeous honey highlighted color, the fullness and length it looks like a lion’s mane.  It’s truly her pride and joy and her tool for attracting guys.

Katie is quite the player.  She enjoys the single life and loves going to clubs and the attention she gets from all the guys.  And not just any guys, but the cutest, most sexy, muscular, hottest men in the room.  Just when she enters a room all eyes are on her.  Her hair, her green/blue eyes, her shape and perfectly smooth completion, she has never had any trouble selecting the man of her choice. She can’t even remember ever paying for a drink. This job will just add to the attraction.

“You know Mom; I went to Andre’s in the morning before I drove for my interview.”  Andre’s is an exclusive Spa/Hair Salon in the area.  Even though the area is small, Andre’s is known throughout central and western Pennsylvania as ‘the place’ to go.  “I’m sure that gave me a leg up on the competition.  He added more highlights and even redid my makeup.  They (the other interviewees) didn’t have a chance,” Katie continued.  “I think that may have had something to do with the five year contract too.  And on top of that the news director was really hot and he was definitely looking me over.”

“Honey, that is great.  Want do ya say we go to Pittsburgh for the day tomorrow and shop ‘The Strip’?  I’ll buy you your first ‘anchor woman’ business suit, her mom asked? (The Strip is an exclusive shopping area with all high end stores.)

“That’ll be great, Mom, I’ve got find a hotel or room at an ‘extended stay’ anyway.  They said they’d help me find an apartment after I settle in.  But, you don’t need to get me a suit or anything.  They told me they take care of my wardrobe and stuff.”

Shopping was fun for both of them.  Toni got Katie a nice grey business suit, conservative enough to talk news yet still very feminine.  They joked at how many people thought Toni was Katie’s sister, not her mom.  She looks nothing like the 43 year old woman she is.  Nice shape and gorgeous shoulder length blond hair.

Katie decided to stay at a luxurious hotel, noted for its ‘clubby’ lounge, until she found an apartment and stayed there Wednesday night.  When Thursday finally arrived, Katie was at the station by 9.  Diane the producer introduced her to everyone, even the station manager.  All the guys gave her a double take.  Like I said she is a looker.  Diane then dropped her off in the news room to work with Victoria, the weekday evening anchor.  Victoria was great she let Katie help write some copy for the evening news and even let her read using the teleprompter. The day flew by.  Around 5 Diane came back and got Katie.

“Come on Katie there’s one more person you’ve got to meet,” Diane said as she took Katie’s hand and began walking her down the hall. As they turned into an office, Diane turned to Katie and introduced her to a short stocky older woman with a 20’s flapper bob wearing large round red rimmed glasses.  “Katie this is Miss Ellen.  She’s our image director. She’s going to going to turn you into the most ‘trusted and credible’ weekend news anchor in the area.”

“Sweet”, Katie softly says under her breath.

“She’s going to take that I just got out of college ‘weathergirl’ look and turn you into a reputable news anchor,” Diane continued.  “What do you think Miss Ellen?

“She whaaaa……t?” again Katie speaking very softly.

“ummmm…”  Miss Ellen says with her hand on her chin and looking at Katie up one side and down the other.  “She’s gorgeous, simply gorgeous.  She’ll be a little challenge, but… … … you know, I like a good challenge,” Miss Ellen answers now looking straight at Diane as if Katie isn’t even in the same room.  “Don’t worry Diane, I’ll get something designed for her and between Jenny and Roger we’ll get her all fixed up. When does she air?”

“Her debut is Saturday at 6.  Does that give you enough time?” Diane answered.

“I know we can’t do anything tomorrow.  Roger’s busy botoxing Victoria’s crow’s feet again… … ….  You know Victoria, any sign of a wrinkle she’s in with Roger,” Ellen says laughing out loud. … …  Anyway, I’ll talk to him and get everything setup and we’ll take care of it Saturday morning.  “Now you,” turning to attention to Katie, ‘be here 10:00 Saturday sharp. We’ve got a lot of work to do.  Now, what did you say your name is again?”

“Katie, Katie March,” Katie answers.

“Katie… … … I don’t think so.  No ring.  Too simple.  Way too childish for this job.  Hmmmm,… … …  Kate, Kathy Kathleen… … … … … Kathryn, yeah Kathryn.  Kathryn … … …,” Miss Ellen pauses thinking.  “Kathryn Mar … … Mar… … … Mar…kowski. Kathryn Markowski. I Love it.  What do you think Diane?  Something with a little ethnicity to attract the everyday audience,” Miss Ellen explains, again looking straight at Diane as if Katie wasn’t even present.

“You know better than I do in this area, Ellen.  But, it should have audience appeal,” Diane answers.

“Now Kathryn, you’ve got to practice saying your name – Kathryn Markowski.  It’s got to have a ring to it when it rolls out of your mouth.  You’ve got to be able to say it like you’ve been saying it your whole life.  Now say it, ‘this is Kathryn Markowski and this is the 6 o’clock news.  The news people can trust’.”

“What’s… what’s wrong with Katie?” Katie sheepishly asks.

“You’re a news anchor now.  Not some college girl.  Time to grow up.  Time to shed that teeny bopper image.  If we’re going to have people tune in you’ve got to be ‘trusted’.  Everything you say, people have to believe.  ‘Kathryn’ says trust me, ‘Katie’ says let’s have fun.  Kathryn Markowski.  Say it.  Let’s hear it roll off your lips.”  Miss Ellen snapped back.

“Kathryn Mar… kow…ski?” Katie repeated still questioning what’s going on.

“Yeah, yeah, that’s it.  Just keep repeating it.  It’s got a ring to it and tells the audience your not some bimbo hired just to read the news.  You’re a real person, just like them.”  Ellen explains.

“And Miss Ellen is the best, the absolute best at getting the right image out.    An image that will attract and keep an audience,” Diane added.

Back at her hotel, Katie stops in the lounge, actually one of the local ‘hot’ spots, for a drink and something to eat. Before she could order, someone had already sent her a drink.  Next thing she knew there was another one and she had two hunks trying to out impress each other.  As if her looks weren’t enough, she even played up her new anchor role with them and planned to meet them again.  More guys stopped to talk and try to get to know her before she turned in for the night.  She loved the attention and loved the idea of using her anchor job to get even more of it.

Friday, Katie was off and got up early.  She ran and found a gym to work out.  She then called Andre and begged him to do her hair and make-up before going to work.  She turned on the charm and he agreed to meet her at 7:00 to get her spruced up for her big day.  Then she called her mom to tell her she was spending the night so she could see Andre before her debut.  She was getting used to the idea of her ‘stage name’ too and thought it was a little funny. She went to bed early, nervous, but looking forward to Saturday.

Saturday morning bright and early, Katie was up and off to Andre’s.  He did a magnificent job as usual and she looked exquisite for her first day.  Her hair, her make-up, everything. She even wore the business suit her mom bought her. She was unbelievably gorgeous.  She was off for her hour drive with plenty of time to spare.

Ten o’clock sharp, Katie knocks on Miss Ellen’s door.

“Oh my, you look gorgeous my dear.  But, no time to gawk now.  Here honey, hang up your suit and put these on,” Ellen says shaking her head and tosses Katie a plush robe and slippers. “Let me hear your intro,” she asks.

“I’m Kathryn Markowski and this is the six o’clock news, the most trusted news” Katie belts out.

“That’s great, sounds good, sounds like you’ve said it your whole life.  Now, let’s get down to the prep room.”

The two of them enter a room that looks like a hair salon.  A modern hair salon.  Every bit as up-to-date as Andre’s.  Six styling chairs, shampoo area, heat lamps even a couple dryers.  All those chairs, all facing away from the walls and no mirrors, Katie notices.  It’s even has a message and make-up rooms off in the rear.

“Wow, this is unbelievable.  My god, this is as nice as where go,” Katie says looking around in awe.  “Can I ask a stupid question, why no mirrors?”

“Well my dear, this is where you go now.  We’ll be the only one’s touching your hair as long as you work here.  One of the perks,” Ellen answers back.  “And there is one mirror, over there, by the door.  But, we really don’t need them.  It’s not about how you look in the mirror but how you look on camera.  You see a camera over there.  We’ll tape you and review it on the monitor to see if everything’s looking alright.  Now let’s put this over your hair and go see Roger,” she adds while pulling Katie’s hair back and gently wrapping it in a towel.

Just then a handsome older man steps out of one of the rooms.  “Kathryn this is Roger, he’s our cosmetic surgeon.  He fills our lines, fixes our lips, lifts our … … well, you know.  All that stuff.  Just another perk.”  Now turning her attention to Roger she says, “Rogg, Kathryn’s the one I talked to you about yesterday.  A natural anchor, best news reader Diane and Tim have seen for years.  Great potential.  Only problem is, she looks like a just out of school.  She looks like a rookie ‘weathergirl’ not an experienced anchor.  Her stage name is Kathryn Markowski.  We need to give her a little maturity and ethnicity and make her an experienced, ‘trusted’ news anchor.  Give her a look to match her name.  Her debut is tonight at six, so you should have plenty of time.”  Ellen finishes as starts to leave the room.

Katie stands there listening and wondering what’s going on and finally says, “I like the way I look.  People think I’m pretty the way I look now.”

Roger jumps in, “Your still going to be pretty, my dear.  Don’t you worry about that, you will be pretty.  Ellen has anyone ever anchored here who wasn’t pretty?”

“Don’t you worry, Kathryn.  We’ve got it under control.  You will be pretty, pretty and trusted,” Ellen adds.

That being said, Roger leads Katie over to a reclining chair similar to those in a dentist office with bright light shining down.  The lights keep her from seeing everything, but she can make out him holding a syringe coming toward her face.  She then feels pricks, a lot of pricks under her eyes, the corners of her eyes, her forehead, under her cheeks, corners of her mouth.  It seemed like there weren’t too many places on her face he didn’t prick.  This went on for what seemed like hours.  Her face felt like a pin cushion.  Finally, Roger tells Katie he’s done and just lay there and relax for a while.

As he leaves the room, out of Katie’s hearing, he tells Ellen how he tried to give her more matured features.  He filled Katie’s cute little dimple, put a little puffiness under her eyes, gave her some crows feet and a slight hint of jowls starting under her cheeks.  In an hour or two the botox will have evened out and it will look very natural.  I’m thinking I added 15-20 years to her face.

Katie had fallen asleep; she was so exhausted from the morning’s excitement and waking up so early to go to Andre’s in the morning. Katie wakes up to Ellen’s voice, her face feeling normal again.

“Kathryn, let me introduce you to Jenny.  Jenny is the head of the salon.  She or one of her staff is here everyday at least two hours before each show to get everyone ready.  But, this one here’s the best.  She’s won numerous awards before she started working for us.  I’ve assigned her to you.  She’ll be the one always taking care of you” smiling and pointing at Jenny. “Yep, another perk.  You’ll get taken care of by the best hair stylist in the area.”

Katie looks over to see Ellen standing with a thirty something woman.  Thoughts are just zooming through Katie’s mind.  Two of which are: One, she doesn’t need her hair done today.  Two, I like going to Andre and finally if she is going to eventually have this person style her hair at least she’s in style.  She’s wearing black tights and a white top and has the cutest asymmetrical haircut.  It’s about lip length on the left and below the chin on the right, angled bangs and a hot almost white blond with deep magenta underneath peeking out.

Katie finally get’s her thoughts together says. “I like my own hair stylist.  It’s Andre himself of Andres down in… … … “

“Yes, I’ve heard of him.  He’s good.  But, Jenny knows how to get the best look for our anchor’s on the camera and besides she’s right here,” Ellen explains.

“Come on Kathryn let’s get into a styling chair and see what we’ve got,” Jenny answers walking with Katie at the same time as uncovering her hair.  “Oh my, this is gorgeous.  What a gorgeous mane.  Boy, Andre certainly took care of you … … … … ”

Katie face breaks into a huge smile.

“… … but not… … exactly what we want for a Markowski,” Jenny finishes.

“Wha… … … ”

“I told you not to worry; we are going to make you the most reliable, believable, trusted anchor in the area.  Who knows, I’ve already heard them talking about you filling in on the weekdays.”  Ellen adds looking at Katie with her hair again framing her face.  As gorgeous as Katie’s ‘lions’ mane still looks, now it looks out of place.  For now it’s framing a face of someone who looks 40.

Katie feels Jenny pulling her hair back and sees her pick up a pair of scissor.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?  WHAT is going on here?  I don’t want my hair cut.”  Katie says almost jumping out of the chair.

“Kathryn, Kathryn, calm down.  You gave up the decision as soon as you signed that contract.  We decide the best way for you to present the news.  Now, sit back and relax.  It’s time you grow up anyway,” Ellen jumps back at her.  She then nods at Jenny to proceed.

Katie is almost hysterical as 16 inches of golden blond hair is tossed on the floor.  Cutting continued quickly as Jenny explained to Ellen that this is just the rough cut.  Katie can only feel Jenny fingers pulling hair out from her scalp and hearing the ‘S C H N I C K… … , S C H N I C K’ of the scissors.  She has no idea of what is left of her hair.  Her tears have almost dried up now realizing nothing she can do will stop the transformation.  Jenny puts the scissors down.  Now, she’s feeling a cold goo being spread all over her hair.

“This color will help embrace Kathryn’s ethnic name and maturity,” Jenny explains to Ellen.

“MY COLOR TOO?” Jenny shouts and starts to ball all over again.

“Shush now, Kathryn.  Do you think we’re going to put an unattractive anchor on TV?  You’re going to look just fine.  Now, stop worrying.  It was time to get out of that college look anyway.”  Ellen unsympathetically explained.

While the color was setting in, Katie tried to convince herself that maybe Ellen was right.  Maybe it was time for a change, and seeing how trendy Jenny looks, it might not be all bad.

After the color was rinsed out of her hair she feels a lot of tugging again.  This time Jenny is rolling her hair.  My god Jenny thinks, she’s putting rollers in my hair.  What kind of look are they giving me?  Well, if they’re putting in rollers, it must at least be long enough to have a flip or something.  That’s a good thing, she continues thinking to herself.  About the time Katie convinced herself having her hair rolled was a good thing, Jenny started squirting a cold solution on her hair, a smelly solution, almost foul, foreign to anything Katie smelled before.

“Is that smell setting lotion or something?” Katie finally calm inquires kindly, trying to make up for the way she acted earlier.

“Oh no Hon, this is perm solution.  This will set those curls nice and tight, so after a good set your hair will stay in under the hot lights. And the good thing for you is its really low maintenance at home,” Jenny carefully explains.

Katie’s heart sank.  Her eyes filled with tears again.  But, this time she didn’t cry.  She just sat there wondering if the weekend anchor position is worth it.  Wondering if all stations control their news staff like this.  Wonder if she should have signed a five year contract.  But most of all, wondering what she was going to look like.

Next thing Katie knew the she was at the sink having her hair washed.  Then up to the chair again and, my god, more cutting.  Katie saw some of the pieces of hair fall on her cape.  They were all about one inch long curls and dark, darker than she’s ever seen her hair before.  She’s glad not too much is being cut thinking, hoping, she still has enough to flip.  She feels a comb crawling up the back of her neck with that familiar ‘S C H N I C K… S C H N I C K’ sound. “No rollers needed back here” she hears Jenny talking to herself.  Jenny finishes up by rolling Katie’s hair again, this time with rollers.  She then escorts Katie under a large modern hair dryer.  “This shouldn’t take too long, Hon”.

A few minutes later Ellen walks in with another girl.  This time she’s also carrying a grey/blue twill suit and pale blue blouse on hangers.  “Here Kathryn, lets get this on and Carrie, here, will finish your makeup while your hair’s drying. Carrie was about Katie’s age and had shoulder length light blond hair with chunks of brown in it.  Quite a looker but, nothing compared to me, Katie thought to herself.

In the back room Carrie asks, “How long have you been doing the news?”

“Oh, this is my first real new job.  I just got out of school about two years ago and have been looking for a news job since then.  I’m so excited.”  Katie answers.

Carrie thinks to herself, a little old for her first job, but whatever… … ….  “I hear you’re new in town, where are you staying.  Katie tells her and explains the good time she had at the lounge with all the guys the other night.”

Carrie listened and wondered what type of ‘young guy’ would be going for her.

As they walked out from the back, both Ellen and Jenny comment on the professionalism of the suit and how well suits Kathryn’s trusted image and how the makeup and new contacts really bring out that ethnic look.  Katie sits downs wondering just what they meant by that as Jenny begins to remove the rollers.  Katie notices her combing and pulling and using her fingers almost placing her hair in place.  “Spray time,” Jenny announces as she begins to spray her new style with hairspray.  Just as Jenny sets down the can of spray Diane enters the room.

“Oh my god, Ellen you’ve done it again.  Let’s get her on tape and see how Kathryn Markowski, News 4 Weekend Anchor looks on camera.”  That being said, Diane points a desk sitting in front of a large camera.  “OK Kathryn, relax, have a seat and read this” handing her a short script of the news.

“Hi I’m Kathryn Markowski and this is the 6 o’clock news,” Katie very confidently says.  She continues reading the paragraph as the others are commenting at how perfectly the mature ethnic look fits her as an anchor – a trusted anchor.

“Oh this is fantastic.  It looks great.  Come here, take a look,” Diane calls Katie over.  I’ll bet within two months we retake the number one spot for the weekend news,” Diane announces confidently.

Katie’s just beaming and hurries over to the monitor as Diane restarts the tape.  As the film starts Katie anxiously waits to see her.  Initially, the tape is showing another anchor they must have taped from another day.  She’s an attractive, actually very pretty, forty something woman just starring into the camera.  It takes about 10 seconds before the woman on the tape starts talking – then ‘Hi, I’m Kathryn Markowski and this is the 6 o’clock news.’  Katie’s hands immediately go to the top of her head, then the sides and back.

“Ahhhhh, ahhhhh,” Katie cries out almost in agony.  “What have you done to me?”  She says hysterically bolting to the mirror by the door.

“Calm down, Kathryn.  All we’ve done is take some college looking weathergirl and turn her into the most trusted name on the weekend news.  Now, you look like you’ve got experience, your trustworthy, your dependable.  Someone people will believe and return to time after time to hear what’s really going on in the world,” Diane explained.

Katie hears none of what Diane’s saying.  She’s staring into the mirror and some forty year old woman is staring back.  Her mouth has dropped open in shock.  Her face has somehow been altered.  She touches under her eyes.  They seem puffy and have with slight bags under them with just a touch a darker circle around them.  The sides of her eyes have a few crows’ feet peeking out.  Her forehead has a couple creases running across it.  Her green/blue eyes have been replaced with a colorless steel/blue color and her dimple is gone.  In its place are the slight creases of jowls. Something like women start to get in their forties.  Her eyebrows are thick and have been shaped straight across with an arch about 3/4 towards the end then to a point.

Her blue button earrings with silver trim match her long dangling necklace, very coordinated with her silver blue suit and her up to the neck light blue blouse.

And lastly, her gorgeous golden lion’s mane hair – gone – reduced to a matronly looking peddled bubble.  It’s a maximum of 3 inches high with each peddle strategically placed on top of her head.  The sides much shorter, just long enough that when brushed back to cover about half the ear.  And the back, the nape is still long enough to have a curl to it.  But, it’s not even long enough to wrap around a finger.  It gradually gets longer as it progresses up to the 3 inch length at the crown.  She also has a thin layer of short bangs, maybe an inch long, combed down on the right side of her forehead.  The color is brown.  Not really a light brown or a dark brown, just a plain old brown with just a touch or grey at the temples.

The 24 year old Katie continues to just stare at into the mirror only to see a forty year old woman’s refection starring back at her.

Diane, Ellen, Jenny, and even Cassie continue to gush at Katie’s transformation to a reliable, trusted, experienced news anchor.

As the clock winds down to six, Diane grabs Kathryn and escorts her to the news desk.  At six o’clock sharp, the matronly looking new weekend anchor is introduced to the public.  “Hi, I’m Kathryn Markowski and this is the six o’clock news.”  The show goes on without a hitch.  Kathryn is very professional and acts like a veteran news caster.  Calls come in even during the broadcast complementing the new anchor.  How pretty she is.  How professional.  How trust-worthily.

As Katie finishes, Diane meets her.  Beaming with pride telling Katie what a great job she did and of all the calls they’ve already got.  Katie smiles but really just wants to finish up and get back to the hotel.  When she gets to her car she notices she’s got phone message.

“Katie, this is your mom.  I looked for your segment on the news tonight, but they had some older woman on.  I must have miss understood the time.  Hope you did OK.  Call me.”  Katie’s just tossed the phone down, not wanting to talk to anyone.

As she got to the hotel, she headed straight to the lounge.  She noticed some of the guys for the other night, but none of them noticed her.  She headed to the bar and ordered a drink.  Her eyes teared up as she thought back to the last time she paid for a drink herself.  A couple minutes later the bar tender brings her another drink.

“Maam, the gentleman over there thought you might want another drink.”  Katie perked up.  Thinking I’ve still got it, even like this I’ve still got it.  As she turns to see thank who ever bought her the drink, she sees a short, portly balding man raise his glass to her.  She immediately turns back toward the bar and starts to cry.

As the years went by Channel 4 news ratings went through the roof and Katie moved into the weekday anchor spot in just over under a year.   But, Katie never really got used to her aged look.  She tried more than once to get out of her contract, but to no avail.  She missed all the clubbing.  The fun she would have teasing the young hunks.  Now when she would even talk to a guy her age they thought she was some sort of cougar.  She stopped going out with her mom, because people mistook her mom to be her daughter.

Jenny and Roger kept Kathryn up with her age.  Roger gradually would add a little more Botox making the wrinkles a little more apparent, nothing drastic just a natural aging look.  And overtime Jenny continued adding grey to Kathryn’s hair so that by the end of her third year she practically had a full head of grey hair.  Her hair style was updated too.  She now wore sides and back closely clipped on the sides and back with a full top of gentle curls and of course a thin layer of 1 inch long bangs on the right side, a very attractive cut for a forty-five year old.

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