I may have mentioned before that I've been working on a story for a Zombie anthology. I may have also mentioned, I honestly do not remember at this point, that the maximum story size they were asking for was 5,000 words.
That's terrific, that's roomy, I can work with that, I thought. Then I sat down last week and wrote it. It was an idea that I'd had percolating in the back of my mind for a couple of months, since right about the time I was invited to submit for the anthology. It was a good idea - it still is. I banged out a story that I think I like an awful lot.
But it's 6,500 words.
Trying to shove 6,500 words into a 5,000 word space is the verbal equivalent of the late Chris Farley doing his 'Fat Man in a Little Coat' routine: painful, uncomfortable, and laughably ridiculous.
That's all right, I thought again, I have until the 31st to finish it - I can edit it down by then, right? I'll have the weekend in there plus my day off next week is in there. I'll have time.
I kind of wanted to make sure I had something in for this anthology, especially since they might be cancelling it due to a lack of submissions. Imagine my pride if they decided to go ahead with the book based on getting that one last submission that's worthy of printing -and it happened to be mine? My chest would be so puffed with pride people might think Dolly Parton had started shaving her head!
Then, this morning, as I was filling out one of my notification slips in the office, I wrote down today's date and stopped. I stared at what I had written. I sat bolt upright on the uncomfortable little stool that sits at my bench, and one of my co-workers heard me say "#$@%!!!!"
I had gotten the date wrong. I had done the math wrong. I had gotten something wrong! I thought the 31st was going to be this Thursday, leaving me my Wednesday off to work on the story. I thought I had some time.
The 31st is Tuesday!
I got this strange feeling, maybe you've felt it before. One of the orifices in the lower regions of my body slammed shut. Didn't pucker. Slammed. Tight. Like Imodium on steroids. It was so sudden and hard I could almost hear it. The very suddenness of the aperture's closure coupled with the tightness to create a strange suction cup effect and I had to pry myself off the stool I was sitting on. And I had to pry myself up. Immediately.
Oh, sure, one of my body's emergency exits had battened its hatches, but there was another -in roughly the same area- that was unlocked and open, the door practically flapping in the breeze as it were. You've heard the phrase 'his guts turned to water'? Well, my guts went all watery, and that water was looking for someplace to go!
I hustled across the floor toward the bathroom with a most unusual gait. Trying to loosen the muscles in the back so I could actually take a few steps, while also trying desperately to tighten up the ones in the front so as to not make the trip to the bathroom suddenly superfluous, and at the same time maintain something approaching a smile so my co-workers might not guess what was going on, was actually beyond me, but I was trying it anyway. I made it to the bathroom, but only just. I was informed later that I looked like someone from Monty Python's 'Ministry of Funny Walks' skit.
So I spent some time in the bathroom considering the question, and I've continued to ponder it all day.
Where the hell am I going to find the time in the next three days to reread, then revise and rewrite a 22 page story, and still have the end product make some sort of sense?
What the hell am I doing writing all this here? I have to get to work!
Talk to you later!