February 25, 2005 – You’re Not a Writer, Thank You

By Sarah Smith

You know the whole letting-the-poem-issue-go thing? Yeah, we can forget that. We can pretty much just forget about the whole thing.

Today, my office was flooded with calls from people claiming that they’d written the poem. Fortunately, Ms. Talbot had expected this and had deleted a portion of the poem before she published it. She gave that clip to me, and my job today was to ask these alleged writers to quote that paragraph. I had no time to do anything else. And, of course, none of the calls were legit. Do you know how many times I said, “That’s nice, sir/ma’am. Can you quote the third stanza please? Thank you, you’re not the writer. Have a nice day.” Click? Ugh. My life is so mundane. If I had a fraction of Ms. Talbot in me, perhaps I’d be able to find something inherently intriguing about saying, “You’re not the writer, thank you, have a nice day,” and somehow find myself stuck saying it over and over just because it’s fun.

So, I was leaving for the day, which by the way, was a very, very long time coming. Needless to say, I was not so much taking my time in getting out of there. My ridiculous phone was still ringing, and I’d already taken more ibuprofen than one is allowed to take in a 24-hour period, and my head was still throbbing from the God-forsaken sound of my phone. I shoved the key in the lock, twisted and pulled, and turned around … and nearly fell over. A man had been standing directly behind me, not saying a word. A little creepy. Well, a little creepy that he’d been standing there … more creepy that I couldn’t really see his face behind his long beard, long hair, and opaque eyeglasses. He looked like some sort of weird conglomeration of a European, a biker, and a homeless person.

So, regaining my composure and my balance, I half-whispered, “Excuse me,” and began to walk away.

I was halfway down the hall before he spoke. And his voice was not what I expected, either. One would have thought he’d have shouted after me, but he spoke only at the level that he’d use if I hadn’t budged from the doorway.

“Is Mrs. Gray still here or has she gone home for the day?” He asked very slowly.

I turned around.


“No, Mrs. Gray. Is she still here?”

“Umm … wrong office,” I said, and turned on my heel again, wondering if this dude even had the right school. It’s not like there wasn’t a sign on the door either: “Cassandra Talbot, Story Project Managing Editor; Sarah Ellen Smith, Assistant.” Black and white there, buddy. No Gray.

So, like, am I the only one at this ridiculous institute who isn’t clinically insane? Or, at least, clinically stupid?

Series NavigationFebruary 24, 2005 – The Sarah ParaphraseFebruary 26, 2005 – OUT!
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