“I. Am. A. Writing. MACHINE!,” thought Clyde to himself as he sat in his cubicle tippity-tapping on his laptop.
The creativity was flowing through his fingers right onto the screen. He was in the ZONE! This was the best article he had ever written and he couldn’t wait for Sharon to see it. She had been reluctant, at first, to give him this assignment. She said she wasn’t sure he was ready for this project, based on his prior work. Fortunately, she came around because Little Miss Sharon was about to eat those words. This is what he was born to do and she was about to find out how lucky she was to have him on staff.
Almost done, just a quick spell check, refresh the word count, double space, and done! Others in the office popped their heads up and looked toward Clyde when he loudly exclaimed, “BAM!” as he clicked the print button.
Removing the papers from the printer with a flourish, he practically skipped down the aisle to Sharon’s office, beaming the whole way. He let himself in without knocking and misinterpreted the surprise on Sharon’s face, assuming it was due to his speedy writing.
“Knowing how important this is, I figured you wouldn’t want to wait. I just finished it. The paper’s probably still warm!” With that he plopped himself down in the guest chair. Still grinning, he offered her the pages.
Turning her attention to Clyde, Sharon took a breath to speak but then let out a big sigh instead. She picked up her red pen and began to read. Moments later, she set down the pen, collected her thoughts, then looked up.
“Clyde, I appreciate your efforts here, but it’s clear to me that your work is not right for this publication.”
This was such a fun story to write! I created it for a flash fiction contest and as soon as I saw the prompt (machine, red, writing) I knew what direction I was going to take with the story. That said, there are a few problems with it. Most glaring is that no one in the business would be using paper anymore. Nor would the editor need a pen. Clyde would simply hit the send button and Sharon would edit it electronically. That particular reality didn’t fit with the story, though, so let’s just pretend this happened a decade or so ago, shall we?
I’m particularly happy with how Clyde turned out. I feel like a whole lot of character was packed into this tiny story. Everyone knows someone like Clyde.