Careful What You Ask For...

Rebecca put down the phone and sighed heavily - it had been yet another call from that Rob fellow, looking for his author. The guy just won’t leave me alone. He’ll just have to be as patient as everyone else waiting for the next chapter in that unbearable story.

Her thoughts were rudely interrupted by her office door crashing open. She looked up from her desk to find a man standing in her doorway and her nose wrinkled involuntarily, her faced contorting into a mask of disgust. Surely this must be the single most unattractive, foul smelling man I have ever -

“Hold that thought sunshine,” the man snarled. His voice was like the sound of two cats being strangled while being bathed in boiling water.

“You can… read my mind?” Rebecca said hoarsely, fear filling her body from head to toe. But then realization dawned and she relaxed. Slightly. “Oh, you must be Joe then.”

“Bloody rights I am,” Joe confirmed as he flopped into the plush leather chair on his side of the desk - which then, oddly enough, transformed into a bar stool, sending Joe tumbling backward to the floor. “Do you see what I have to put up with?!”

“Calm down, calm down. You can’t blame that entirely on the author - you need to show more care than that when you sit down in someone else’s office.”

“Don’t you be on that git’s side,” Joe roared with a wag of a finger. He opened his mouth to continue, his rotting, blackened teeth revealed by the movement, when he realized Rebecca was craning her head to look out into the hallway. “I told Jeeves to take a hike - at least that geezer shows me some respect.”

“Oh, no, it’s not that…” Rebecca flushed prettily. “It’s just that I… well, I just thought perhaps Davy would be accompanying you, is all.”

“The appointment was for me, not that big lazy bugger,” Joe whined. “What do you care about him anyway?”

“Oh, I don’t,” she said in a distracted tone. “He’s just… ah, how one might say, ‘easy on the eyes.’ Or, alternatively, one could say he’s ‘one fine hunk of man’, or…”

“That’s more than enough of that! If you want to see Davy you can make an appointment with him yourself. Now then -”

“Oh, that’s a very good point,” Rebecca said, reached for her phone and dialled Susan’s number. “Yes, hi - could you set up a meeting with myself and Davy for this week? Yes, I realize I’m all booked up - perhaps a business dinner then? Oh, I’ve always wanted to try that restaurant. Yes, book us the table with nice view over the water. Perfect, thank you very much Susan.”

“You about done then?” Joe hissed with a haughty glare. “Haughty? You’re just bloody working that thesaurus tonight, aren’t you?”

“Right, sorry. So Joe, it’s… ah, good… to finally meet you. I’ve heard so much about you!”

“Whatever. Where’s that Alan fellow - the one that called me a trailblazer? He sounds like a good man.”

“Oh, you read that, did you?”

“I read everything.” Joe planted his hands on the desk and leaned forward, his face a mask of menace and hatred.

“Is that so? Well, why haven’t you been commenting at all in the last… let me see… four months? Did you lose your password or something?”

Joe flushed, like a school girl in the boy’s locker room after a football game, and flapped a hand near his face, like a Southern Belle with the vapors.

“I did neither of those things you tosser!”

“Joe, please - can’t we be civil here?” Rebecca picked up a file from the desk in front of her and flipped it open. “I see that you’re a published author on Protagonize yourself. The Dark Age Saga: The Legend of Joe. Nice title, I like it.”

“Well somebody had to show these wankers how it’s done!”

“Indeed, indeed. Though you might want to make it a solo story, now that the option is available. I’d hate to see your story ruined by your Creator stepping in…”

“Please don’t call him that.”

“Okay, your writer, or whatever you prefer to call him. Right now he could write the next chapter and make you do horrible things in your own story! Also… you’re aware, I’m sure, that stories on Protagonize now have the option to always be editable?”

“Of course I am… what’s your bloody point?”

“I just thought you might want to go back and, well, polish it up a bit,” she said politely. “You know, fix the mistakes?”

“What mistakes? Let me see that,” Joe blubbered and snatched the file from Rebecca’s grasp. His porcine eyes darted from side to side, searching for any errors.

“Chapter two, paragraph sixteen,” Rebecca said helpfully. “The comma is in the wrong -”

“You petty little tosser,” Joe seethed. “You read the story again, just to find that one single mistake?”

“Actually, there are a few more… not that it matters,” she finished in a rush as Joe went a worrying shade of purple. “Listen Joe, you’re the only character on this site to have an account, you’ve published your own story, your original story was on the top of the Hot Stories List and attracted some of the finest authors on Protagonize to add to it…”

“What are you trying to say?” Joe muttered, the obvious meaning unable to penetrate his thick skull.

“It’s just that… well, I would think you could be a little more grateful to -”

“Grateful?!” Joe shrieked so shrilly that two miles away a water jug shattered. “Two miles away? Nobody believes that you hack!” Joe began to tear at his hair like a farmer plucking feathers from a chicken carcass. “Like a farmer… are you insane?”

“Joe, calm down,” Rebecca pleaded. “Perhaps we should make you an appointment with Mildred Brown, our character counsellor. She’s really very good - she’s done wonders for that Dr. Fraud fellow.”

“No more! I will stand this no more!” Joe squealed as he stormed towards the office door. “And just once, you utter git, could just one piece of my dialogue be said?” Joe gargled. “No? I thought not, you ignorant wanker!”

Joe crawled out of the room on all fours and slammed the door behind him. Rebecca rubbed her temples and put her feet on the desk.

My goodness, what a difficult little man. Now that Davy, on the other hand…

The End

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