A humorous short by Tamela Buhrke on the length's we writers might go to get, and stay, published.
Office lights zipped past as she plunged through the darkness. Her hair whipped her face, her bones creaked and her bladder was decidedly unhappy. It had been a long time since she’d last done this. But it couldn’t be helped. She had tried to reason with them like a civilized person. They just wouldn’t listen.
She took her mind off her frustration by counting the floors as they flew by. Squeezing her grip as she neared the seventeenth, she slowed to a stop and righted herself to face the window. She was pleased to see that it was just the way she had remembered it, a wall of windows with large ones on top and small ones near the floor. By the looks of them, the small ones had originally opened for ventilation. They were sealed now. It was just as well. Those small vent opening required too many bodily contortions. Her knees would never have allowed it.
The office was Jeff McGee’s. He was the senior editor for her publishing company. Jeff, was in his office late, as usual. How many times had she told him he was getting too old to work so late? Yet, here he was reading email at 10pm. With his back to the window, he had no idea she was dangling there. Which, of course, was just the way she wanted it.
Any second now, her grandson would be calling; impersonating the downstairs guard to get the editor out of his office. He was an extraordinary boy with a talent for impersonations. Unlike his parents -- who thought he should go to law school, if you can imagine it -- she had high hopes that he would go into acting.
As soon as Jeff hung up the phone and was out of his office, she attached two suction cups to the lower window then inserted a small tool into the rubberized moulding. Quickly carving around the window, she pushed forward with the suction cups and set the glass on the floor of the office.
Once inside, she donned a black ski mask and took her place by the door. When a confused Jeff returned to the office, she sprayed him with the knockout gas she’d been delighted to find in a box in her attic. To her surprise, it still worked beautifully.
Grunting, she hauled Jeff by his legs across the room. Oh, my. He was at least thirty pounds heavier than the last time she’d done this. He really needed to take better care of himself. She had just trussed him up when he began to groan and rubbed a temple. Gently squeezed him out the window, she slipped her voice modulator under her mask-- another pleasant surprise from the attic.
He opened his eyes.
Oh, dear. He shrieked quite a bit louder and longer than she had expected. The poor man was going to give himself a heart attack. She waved her arms to direct his attention back into the office and away from the drop below him.
“Jeffrey McGee,” she called in her altered, much lower voice. “Listen to me and you will live a long and happy life.”
Jeff’s wide eyes focused in her direction.
“Good,” she crooned. “Jeff, what I am about to tell you is a matter of national security.”
She’d used this script, modified somewhat for each occasion, ever since the Company had recruited her during her circus days. They had found her world travel and athletic flexibility an invaluable asset. Her experiences with them had been put to good use in her mystery writing career. She found writing a pleasant diversion during retirement and was not about to give it up.
“You were planning to terminate the book contract of a woman named Granny Smith. We need you to renew her contract for another five books.”
“Why?” Jeff asked meekly, beginning to sway a bit in the breeze.
She stumbled for a moment. Why indeed?
“That’s classified. The important thing is that you do as you are told! Your country will be forever in your debt.”
Jeff swallowed, gave a glance at the seventeen stories below him, and nodded. Satisfied, granny sprayed him with knockout gas, dragged him inside, cut the rope and propped him at his desk. She decided to leave the halter on him and put the frayed part of rope in his right hand. A small token to remind him that she meant business.
Pulling a janitor’s cap and uniform out of her backpack, she wandered out of the building limping and rubbing her hip. Oh, darn. Her sciatica was acting up.