Wednesday March 24th, 2010

The exercise:

With a week to go until the end of March, your prompt today is: the deadline.


It’s the end of fiscal year and everything is coming due. The jobs are far too many while the minutes are far too few. Your boss is sweating bullets and it’s dripping down on you. You’re trying to stay on task but it’s really hard to do when you just want to escape to Peru.

Those cubicle walls are closing in now. You want to stand tall but all that weight on your shoulders is making you bow. You’d go live on a farm and raise some cows… if only you knew how.

With one eye on your work and the other on the time, you can feel the cracking of your mind. But stay focused, you’re doing just fine. Try to remember that if it doesn’t get done it’s not a crime. And always be grateful that it’s not a dead line.


Greg said...

So many people I know seem to be pressured come the end of the March, but the company I work for has June for its financial year-end, so I get to avoid the stress for a couple of months. I hope you're not having to work too hard!
The Vancouver trip is looking likely to be fly-out on Sunday, fly-back on Friday. I only usually get weekends out when I'm there for more than one week, sadly. I'm sure we'll think of something though!

I like this poetic prose, like your editorials, you do them very well. There's a strong rhythm, and the rhymes are gently understated. It's actually really lovely to read.

The deadline

The Green Lightbulb was sat on the hard, wooden chair in the bare, concrete cell, the telephone received in one hand and dialling the number with his other hand. Both hands were shaking. He finished the number, listened to the click and rattle of the ancient exchange as it made the connection, and then the familiar, anxiety-inducing ring-tone. Would he get an answer?
Something scuttled in the corner of the room, and he flinched. Instantly annoyed with himself he upped his light output, going from dim to incandescent in a heartbeat. Green radiation sleeted against the concrete walls and floor, mostly slowed and trapped to safety. The ceiling, however, was a thin sheet of plasterboard with floorboards above it, and in the room above that two cats, fourteen dogs, eight rabbits, nearly one hundred assorted caged birds and a pet-shop owner unknowingly got radiation sickness. Whatever the small, murine shape in the corner was keeled over and died.
The phone was answered with a crisp click.
"This is the Samaritans," said a voice, sounding like it belonged to a prim woman who starched all of her clothes. "And we know who this is, Mr. Lightbulb. We have warned you about calling us again."
"But you have to help me!" The Green Lightbulb's voice was thin and had a note of desperation in it. His light dimmed again.
"No." The phone at the other end was hung up, leaving the Green Lightbulb with a dead line.

Marc said...

Thanks Greg, I'm glad you liked it. And yes, we'll definitely sort something out :)

The description of the floor above was probably my favorite part of yours. I'm not sure what that says about me...

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