Letter from Prague
Journalism has plenty of perks- free meals, free rides, meeting interesting people and "being where the action is" as they say. Some time ago I went to interview an elite team of fire-fighters - the kind who get sent on international aid missions abroad. Of course, when they are not serving on special missions they are simply members of the Prague 2 fire brigade who might get called to bring a frightened kitten down from a tree.
I heard the chief giving an order for the door of the respective flat to be broken down since no one was answering the door. "We're in - the fireman's voice came over the chief's mobile - and then a few quick words fired in explanation. The police chief rolled his eyes - and turned to me, still recording the whole thing on my mini-disc recorder - "we'll you're out of a luck - there's just a blackened pot and some potatoes burnt to a crisp up there" he said. There was also a bewildered old lady taking a cat nap in the bedroom while the potatoes for dinner got cooked. She was very surprised to be woken up by two handsome firemen but not so pleased to find that they'd broken her door down in the process of saving her life. As for me - as the chief said I did not have a story. But I was that much wiser. I knew that the saying "there's no smoke without a fire" does not always prove to be right.