The media wants his story. Collect a list from his relatives. Call first reporter. Tell her 11:00 tomorrow. At my office. We will have social distance protocols in place. She says no can do. We are still in phase 1.5 and they cannot come inside for a story. Hmmm. Outside the office is an ugly parking lot. Puzzle for a second. Look at weather app. It will be raining tomorrow. Tell her we will do it on my downstairs covered deck.

Call everyone. Explain that to reach the downstairs they must walk thru the alley.

The next morning arrives. Client comes with his family. We debrief.

Media starts showing up at 10:55. Right on cue the rain begins to fall. They are not exactly social distancing. Stuffed up on the deck.

Client, his mom and I are in chairs with a table in front of us. Fold up bistro furniture. A good barrier. Some of the reporters put mics on the table. A few rest their cell phones on it.

The reporters are wearing masks. But pull them down to speak. Client needs to speak without mask. Otherwise it will be too mumbly. His mom starts off with one on but pulls it down where it rests under her chin. I keep mine on. Am pretty much the only one. Me and Deborah Horne.

Am not taking mine off. Mainly because don’t want to get in trouble from my kids. If they see it off me they’ll make me quarantine. They are so strict.

The reporters all take turns. The deck is long but only wide where we are sitting. Below us is a lower level where some of the reporters are trying to get a good angle. There is a fountain artfully surrounded by a jasmine bush down there. At one point Natalie Swaby asks a question while leaning up over the fountain with pieces of jasmine bush tickling her face.

Client and mom do a wonderful job.

Later that night Noelle takes a screenshot of me on the news with the caption: Someone tell mama to fix her mask. Indeed it is crooked. One earing is poking through. The other covered up. It is a tshirt cotton type of mask and bunched up a little. Probably stuck to my tongue. On top of it all, hair has not been dyed since January.

But you know what. At the end of the day. Despite the awkwardness of the whole set up. This young man and his mom were able to speak their truth. And the media without complaining under my deck, did what they needed to do to make sure to tell the story.

Photo: screenshot of the office video of the press conference by Mike Todd.