Sunday, February 3, 2013

Prompt: Meeting deadlines

“Callie, do you have it yet? We go to press in forty minutes. You’re killing me!”

I don’t bother answering, just wave my left hand vaguely in Don’s direction and keep typing furiously. Oh, this is going to be good.

Dangling off the side of my monitor is a scribbled quote from Douglas Adams, the “Hitchhiker” guy.

I love deadlines. I love the whooshing sound they make as they go by.

You know, Hitchhiker’s Guide the Galaxy? Earth scheduled for demolition? The answer to life, the universe and everything is 42? No? Never mind. Look it up. I am an island in a sea of ignorance. Not you; you’re fine, of course.

The thing is, what do deadlines really mean, anyway? I mean, we’re not really talking life or death here. Don can pull in a fluff piece he keeps on tap for just this kind of thing. And he’ll ride me about it for the rest of the week, and I’ll buy his beer when we all hit the Harp & Bard on Friday night, and by Monday, who will remember? We’ll be deep in next week’s pub schedule before lunch. By annual review time? Forget about it. I already have two awards in the bag this year, and I brought the Hanson Family Foundation to the table after I helped track down their druggie daughter during that piece on the suburban meth trade. Yeah, okay, it doesn’t hurt that Don and I write on each other’s backs in bubble baths, but that’s really beside the point.

Life is fluid and messy and unscheduled. Stories don’t happen when you’re watching the minute hand on your watch. I wouldn’t even wear a watch, except it’s the quickest thing to offer for information on the streets.

And, the thing is, even for people who are demanding those deadlines, they always have lots of other stuff to do, too. So really, a sincere apology and an earnest promise to deliver the “goods” at a newly agreed deadline is almost as good as delivering on time, right? I mean, what’s the point when they won’t get to it until tomorrow anyway?

“Callie? Dammit! Send me the file now. I don’t care if you’re in mid sentence—“

“Chill, Don. I just sent it. It’s in your mailbox. Go take a look and tell me it wasn’t worth the wait. And you’ll still get it down to Bob with 10 minutes to spare. Go ahead. I can wait.”

No, I don’t enjoy stressing other people out. And I don’t like being stressed out myself. The thing is, Don has his story. See? He’s nodding and leaning back in his chair. There he goes, chewing on his pencil eraser. It’s all good. And he really should know better by now. He was putting both of us under pressure for no reason.

“So, what do you think? Will it do?”

“Trawling for compliments, Callie? You know it’s good. But you’re still buying the first round on Friday!”

Dogs in house:
Houdini, Brindle, Bacon

The rhythm of the dishwasher

February word count:

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