We are sitting on the couch when one thing leads to another.
He's my BFF's husband, which, technically, makes him my back-up husband, but still, there is such a thing as going too far. I recognize this and I apologize.
We had to know we were going to get caught. The Suburban Executive is no fool. You don't win sculpted glass journalism prizes in the shape of beachballs for being gullible. She'd taken apart far craftier schemes over the years.
It starts, as so many of these things do, with just a little harmless channel surfing.
The Executive is working in the next room when we discover a new episode of HBO's The Newsroom in the recordings queue.
The three of us had watched the first two episodes together and were hooked, despite the fact that it is set in a television newsroom where they don't seem to do any actual reporting: "My old college roommate is confirming that Richard Nixon directed the cover-up..."
Lou Grant's reporters didn't exactly nail their scoops down air tight either.
It's still fun to watch Aaron Sorkin characters deliver speeches no one ever gets to spout in real life at a news-based operation where no one, apparently, ever has to sit through a four-hour public hearing on garbage rates or read through 400 pages of testimony in a contract dispute between insurance brokers.
The point is, we shouldn't have watched it without her. Then, compounding our betrayal, we try to lie about it.
We are sitting around with our newsroom flasks and our notebooks later that night trying to recreate the magic of previous episodes we'd watched together. But with the unfailing instincts of an Aaron Sorkin character, the Executive recognizes that something is up. She doesn't have to make a single phone call.
"You guys already watched this," she says. It isn't a question and she doesn't identify her sources. I can't meet her eyes. Her husband squirms in his seat. I try to convince her we only watched part of it. I try to play it off as an accident. I try to make her believe we spent most of the time having sex on the couch.
"Look," I say finally. "It didn't mean anything. We're just three people trying to get by in a world that doesn't even recognize what we do as relevant anymore, a world that thinks the New York Times and the Huffington Post do the same thing, a world in which "googling" is passed off as reporting, a world in which journalists are portrayed on television doing interviews without ever writing anything down. Why doesn't anybody ever have a notebook? Where are their fucking notebooks?"
She has no answer for that.
Photo: Jeff Daniels as anchor Will Something in The Newsroom.