THE NSA TAPES – Reality Check News & Information Desk Hotline Tapped
Editor’s Note: Due to a gaping loophole in the Freedom of Information Act, the following transcripts on private conversations between members of the Check Staff and/or James Campion, with outside sources compiled by the NSA, were obtained and sent to press unedited for the purposes of authenticity. Our legal department omitted last names and referenced names for obvious reasons. Do not be shocked. This could be you.
MARCH 7 – 11:23 AM Incoming call from Jack C.
Melissa (staff bully): Desk, can I help you?
Jack C (stalker): Where’s Campion?
Melissa: We don’t know. We never know. It’s best that way.
Jack C: But I have to speak to him. What’s his cell number?
Melissa: Cell phone? No. No cell phones. You have to use Morse Code.
Jack C: Morse code? Who the fuck uses Morse code anymore?
Melissa: Campion. Morse code – hard to trace and easy to save incoming information.
Jack C: I’m not going to
Melissa: It’s simple, dim wit, just always remember a dash is equal to two dots and the space between parts of the same letter is equal to one dot.
Jack C: But I don’t have an instrument
Melissa: And please don’t forget that the space between two letters is equal to three dots. And if you want to really piss Campion off, put more than a single space between two words, because that equals five dots. Five dots! Get it?
Jack C: Ma’am
Melissa: Are you writing this down, suckfish? (line breaks up here)
APRIL 12 – 2:45 AM Incoming call from Parker P.
Carl (nervous intern): Desk?
Parker P (actress): Never mind, I need to speak to the managing editor, please.
Carl: Ms. xxxxx?
Parker P: You know who this is. I cannot be kept waiting!
Carl: Everyone is asleep.
Parker P: You’re not asleep.
Carl: I’m standing guard.
Parker P. I got problems.
Carl: Call the cops.
Parker P: It’s not that kind of problem. I need money. Tell Campion I need money. Just tell him it’s The Thing. He’ll know what I mean. The Thing. Don’t screw this up. There’s a time situation here, and it’s closing in.
Carl: Do you know what time it is, Ms. xxxxx?
Parker P: I’ll ask the questions here! Tell Campion to wire money to a Western Union station outside of Toledo for The Thing! The goddamned Thing! Make it a rush. In fact, I might need double.
Carl: Perhaps tomorrow
Parker P: Listen to me, shithead! Some serious stuff is going down, and I’ve got to have this money, and I’ve got to have it before dawn! Otherwise there’s no deal! And I’m telling you right the fuck now, if Campion gets wind that I called and asked for the cash for The Thing and you didn’t wake him, and we miss out, he is going to blow a stack. And then I’m going to drive up there and beat the mortal snot from you with my bare fists. Do you understand me now? (call is cut short here)
APRIL 22 – 5:47 PM Incoming call from the Village Voice
Erin D (wife): What?
Unidentified Village Voice Editor: Wow, you’re answering the phone now? I thought Campion made you up.
Erin D: He did, go away.
VV: We need copy on this McDougal Street Flasher piece.
Erin D: What part of go away didn’t you comprehend? I’m up to my ass in shutters right now and I’m no secretary.
VV: Why did you answer the phone then?
Erin D: Seriously, I’m going to find you and make you pay. Do I even like you?
VV: I’m pretty sure we’ve never met.
Erin D: I know you. Didn’t I whip you in an arm wrestle at Chumley’s?
VV: That wasn’t me, that was xxxx xxxxxxxx.
Erin D: Right. I snapped that boy’s tendon right in half. Pretty good for a five-foot, 97- pounder. I love when men think they can take me. I bet I can take you.
VV: Can you at least take a message or let the machine pick up?
Erin D: Nah. (dial tone here)
MAY 14 – 9:35 PM Incoming call from Peter B.
James Campion: Yes?
Peter B (gadfly): What’s up.
JC: Nothing. You?
Peter B. Not much.
JC: Sounds good to me.
Peter B: Watching the Yankees game.
JC: Got the NBA on. Rooting for Lebron. Wife’s a big Pistons fan. She’s kicking me in the shins every time King James gets to the rack. And he’s getting to the rack, son. Ow!
Peter B: She’s sick.
JC: Why I married her.
Peter B: You know what the hell’s going with this Carl Pavano character?
JC: I think he’s in the witness protection program.
Peter B: He’s been out for a year. They say this is second or third rehab after he fell on his buttocks covering first base in March. His buttocks. Fell. Two months for that.
JC: Jacked on steroids.
Peter B: Likely.
JC: The King for three ! Yes! Hey, put that down (sounds of struggle here, communication interrupted)
May 16 – 4:19 PM Incoming call from Dan B.
Dan B. (songwriter): Maestro.
Dan B: You know, every couple of weeks I wander into a bookstore and head right for the fiction section and look to see if there’s a new J.D. Salinger.
JC: He hasn’t published anything since 1963.
Dan B: I know, man, The Four – There’s always just the holy, sacred four. That’s all there ever is, or will ever be – just those. But why?
JC: Maybe that’s all he had in him.
Dan B: I can’t accept it. How can anyone that good at something, that incredibly brilliant, just bag it? It’s Salinger we’re talking about! Salinger!
JC: Maybe he still writes, but hates publishers. I hate publishers. I really hate publishers.
Dan B: So? It’s not like Salinger would have to go on a book tour and sit at Barnes & Noble and sign books for three hours or go on the Today Show. He’s friggin’ J.D. Salinger!
JC: Maybe he hates writing. I pretty much hate writing. No, wait, I love writing. On third thought, I hate it.
DB: He has to realize he’s cheating the world. He has too. To be that great at something and kill it off. Halt it. It’s like a suicide. It’s creative suicide. He killed off Seymour Glass and that was it.
JC: He probably writes every day and has hundreds of stories, dozens of novels, and no one will see them until he dies and then his kids will exploit his legacy.
DB: They say he writes ten thousand words a day, and has been since the mid-sixties.
JC: I think that’s kinda romantic, pounding out tons of work for no one, for no cash. He’s obviously clinically mad. That’s it – he’s a nut. Or maybe he’s writing under an assumed name.
Dan B: Thomas Pynchon. Yeah, Thomas Pynchon is Salinger’s pen name.
JC: Maybe Dan Brown. Salinger wrote “The Da Vinci Code”.
Dan B: He writes for TV sitcoms now.
JC: Hey, I’ve got an idea. Let’s become terrorists.
Dan B: Okay. (high-pitched squeals over the line – agents crash in)Politics