“I really was working on my book…” I say, not quite meeting her squinty eyes.
“I doubt it. You haven’t even brushed your hair this week.” She scrunched her nose and plucked a piece of lint, or something, off the top of my head.
It’s bad enough being caught out, but, being groomed like a chimp is really too much. I swat at her, and miss…wads of hair obstruct the view of my —always -perfectly- coiffured —editor. “What kind of thing is that to say?” I hold the wads of hair apart, the better to glare at her. “I don’t know why I put up with you.”
Her look tells me the lack of feeling is mutual. “Is Betrayals of the Heart finished,” she asks, studying the pointiest of her acrylic nails…probably planning to poke me with it. “Have you even worked on it today? …This week? You know we’ve been waiting 6 months. “
Betrayals….the next great American historical romance novel, hasn’t seen the light of day in about a week now, but miss two-hundred-dollar-hairdo and dangerous-looking-nails doesn’t need to know that.
“I’ve been writing a lot lately as a matter-of-fact,” I say. True. I had ten lines written …when I noticed a cool cloud widget floating in my news stream, and a couple of other neat features I just had to have.
Well, Carolyn, my editor, didn’t get where she is today by not being able to read between the lines.
“Hhmm” she says, leaning over my shoulder to read the traitorous print telling all on my monitor. “How to Make a Blue Tweety Bird Nest on Your Right Sidebar. That’s just Riveting!” When I tried to hit the escape key, she pinned my hand to the desk with that pointy nail, and read on. “How to Change the Background Color of Your Post from Lime to Pea Green When You’re Having a Pissy Day. Interesting stuff. They’ll be lined up at the bookstore for that one.”
How does she get her eyebrows to stand up like that, I wonder —looking for mercy as I yank my hand away— They look like perfectly penciled ‘M’s. (I hope I didn’t say that out loud. Sometimes my internal dialogue gets rambunctious …and she’s got some lethal tips on those nails.)
“Well” I say, nursing my hand, my brows straining with tension like a tightly strung, under-appreciated, Ukulele, “you told me I had to promote my work. Well, blogging is how I network.”
Those M’s look about ready to fly off her head!
“I told you to promote…not procrastinate.”
“I’m not procrastinating! I’m Blogging! “I put my hand over my heart. I can hear the National Anthem …La Marseillaise, and even —believe it or not—haunting strains of “O Canada” playing. Why can’t she? It must be a character flaw.
“When I suggested you join Book Blogs, I never thought you’d become so obsessive about it.”
“Come now,” I snort …perfectly underscoring my sophisticated, avant-garde, style, “we both know me better than that.”
“This is serious, Scarlett. You’re going to have to stop this blogging nonsense and finish your book. The Publisher’s going to withdraw if you drag this out any longer. We’ve been very patient with you.”
That is serious. She’s right. The blogging is becoming a problem. “I know, Carolyn. But, it’s so fascinating. I love it. “
Those eyes of hers have a way of seeing through me.
“Are you sure it’s not an elaborate avoidance mechanism?”
I really don’t like her.
“I’m not on Face Book. I don’t need to be liked,” she sniffs.
Crap! I must have said that out loud!
She poked me hard with a copy of the contract. “Get off the blog and get back to work. “ She paused at the door. “By the way, stop embarrassing Mom and be on time Sunday. If you’re late again, I swear I’ll have Pastor Hendricks put you on the Prayer List.”
“Don’t say it!” I can read her mind sometimes.
“Why didn’t I think of that before?” Her smarmy grin could shame a Cheshire cat. “Divine Intervention’s the only way I’m ever going to get Betrayals, isn’t it?”
I made a face at her back, clicked the mouse without looking and ….Oh, no! The dread 404 error…File Not Found! My blog file….gone! No back up…no blog! Snort! Sniffle. Beads of salty sweat floating on tears splash on my keyboard. I drum my bitten nails against the desk. “I’ll think about it tomorrow, “I murmur (in true Scarlett fashion). My choices right now are bleak: a) clean the house, or b) work on Betrayals. I’ll leave it to you to decide what happens next.