First Draft

Page 28

Consistently, diligently, he stayed focused on his singular task of incorporating all red marks and alterations on the pages before him into his computer, for what felt like the better part of the morning. Of course, when he glanced at the clock on his screen, he realized that it had only been an hour and fifteen minutes since he sat down. He felt a twinge of worry upon realizing that there was so much more morning to go, but regardless, he felt proud. He thumbed through the pages of printed drawings, making certain that he hadn’t missed anything. He scanned over the red markings, the notes, the pink–

The desk, with everything on it, vibrated in a sudden jolt. Mara had evidently struck one of the legs whilst silently darting around beneath it. Benjamin snagged his coffee mug just as it began to tip, preventing disaster. A forehead and two eyes silently rose above the edge of the desk, peering up at Ben – who returned a look that was meant to punish – and then just as quietly and smoothly lowered back beneath the surface.

It was two hours and ten minutes after having sat down that Benjamin finally paid attention to the large red lettering that had been carefully written on the pink sticky note, which was stuck to the top page of the stack of printed sheets. It read, “Client asked to rotate entire addition 90º counter-clockwise + mirror to opposite corner of existing home. Lengthen addition 5′-4″, resize new kitchen to suit. Call with questions!”

Benjamin stared at the red lettering. Mara silently glided out from underneath his desk, winding and weaving her way through the air to the wall beneath the window. Pausing, she turned to consider him. Her eyes sparkled with black intensity. Then she clicked her way up the wall, across the ceiling, and up into the air duct, doing her very best not to garner Benjamin’s attention as she closed the hinged lid and clicked the latches back into place.

Having re-read the note in its entirety three times, Benjamin felt confident that he now had fully grasped the meaning of the words. And, having reached this status, was filled with a volatile rage, which he did everything in his power to suppress. With his feet, he launched his wheeled chair back away from his desk and hunched forward in it, clutching his gut with his left arm, and biting down on the meat of his fisted right index finger. He let out a muffled squeak that otherwise might have been a menacing war cry.

The familiar sound of drywall tearing and wood splintering filled the room, originating from behind him and to his right. Benjamin looked back to see that from the hole that had formed in the wall protruded a heavy-soled black boot, which was attached to a long and spindly, salmon-colored leg.

“AGHHHGHHHH!” The muffled cries of the Thumper vibrated the drywall.

Another hole burst through the same wall, this one immediately to the right of Ben’s desk. From it came flying two meaty fists and arms, both awkwardly attempting to fit through the same, undersized hole. Their struggle ripped the drywall even further.

“All wrong, all wrong now!” cried the first fist, while the second lunged for the printed page to which the sticky note had been stuck. It slammed its palm down onto the paper and the curled its fingers. Then the fist reared back and slapped the now severely-crumpled piece of paper back down onto the desk. “Must redo! Must redo EVERY– eh,” cried the first fist – in its sputtering rage, it could not come up with the proper word for what must be redone. It then settled on, “THING! All ruined, all waste, you stupid!”

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