Archive | November 2013

WIPpet Wednesday: Copier Cat

It’s been a long time since I posted anything here.  Mostly that’s because I’ve been working on a longer project.  A couple of fellow writers introduced me to WIPpet Wednesday.  I don’t normally participate, but I’m finally at the point where I’m really excited about this project and wanted to share a bit of it.

For those who don’t know what WIPpet is, it’s a post from your current work in progress (WIP).  The excerpt must have something related to the date.  Today is 11/20/13, so here are 44 (11+20+13) lines from one of my favorite scenes.


There was already someone else in the copy room; a slender brunette with a pixie cut was punching buttons on the copier. When it started, she turned to Phin. “Are you from the copier company? This will only take about ten minutes, and then it’s all yours.”

“Uh…” Surprised, Phin was momentarily at a loss. He shook his head. “I’m not—”

“I’m just going to go grab something I left in my classroom. Since you know the machine, can you just watch it while I’m gone?” She ducked out of the copy room without waiting for an answer.

While Phin stood there waiting for the copier to finish, another woman appeared in the doorway. She was considerably older than the first, and she had only a few pages in her hand. She turned to Phin. “I heard that. Ten minutes my fanny. This thing’s been acting up since last Thursday. Watch, two minutes in, it’s going to jam.” She leaned against the wall and studied Phin. “You’re not from the copier company. Who are you subbing for?” she asked.

“Oh, um, I’m not,” Phin said, caught off-guard once more. “I’m—”

The copier chose that precise moment to jam.

“What’d I tell you?” The woman set her papers down on the table in the corner and began fiddling with the copy machine. “Damn thing does this every time the copy lady’s out. I’m pretty sure it’s possessed, and the demon inside it only likes her.” She huffed and opened the paper jam compartment. “Doesn’t help that Gia took off in the middle of her job. Some people.” The paper came free and the blinking text on the copier stopped. “There.”

The woman managed to restart the copy job. When the pages had resumed cheerfully spitting out into the tray, the woman turned to Phin again. “I’m Eunice Clark,” she said, extending her hand. “And you are…”

“Phin Patterson.” He didn’t offer more details.

The woman blinked. “Phin Patterson? Well, damn, honey. I’ll bet you don’t remember me.”

“Uh…no. Sorry.” Phin racked his brain, trying to recall if they’d ever met before.

Eunice laughed. “I used to babysit you when you were tiny.” She threw an arm around Phin’s shoulders, and he tried not to stiffen. “You inspired me to go into teaching.”

Phin twisted slightly to get a good look at her and raised his eyebrows. “I did?”

“Well, no, but it sounded good, didn’t it?” She laughed. “Now, I already guessed you’re not here to fix this piece of garbage.” She waved a hand at the copier and eyed Phin. “Or was I wrong about that? Because if so, I just did your job for you.”

“Nope. I promise I’m not here about the copier. At the moment, I’m just helping Dani—uh, Ms. Sloane—in the office.”

Eunice returned her attention to the copier, which was still churning out copies. “When Gia gets back, I’m going to let her have it. I’m tired of her leaving her job running so she can go do whatever, while I sit here for fifteen minutes just to do a thirty-second job.”

Just then, the other woman—Gia, presumably—returned to the copy room with a textbook. She frowned at the copier. “I thought it would be done by now.”

Eunice laid a hand on Gia’s shoulder. “Oh, sweetie, the copier got hung up again, right in the middle of your extremely important job.” Her voice was thick with artificial sweetness.

Gia’s face fell. “I’m sorry. You’re not mad, are you?”

“No worries,” Eunice told her. “We fixed it for you. I’m sure you didn’t really mean to leave it for us to take care of. I just hope all your copies came out right.” She peered past Gia and winked at Phin, who stored the moment in the back of his brain for later use.  He was left wondering exactly what Eunice had done to Gia’s copies that she would discover back in her classroom. Apparently, there was some Secret Copy Room Code he would have to learn before he would be able to blend in.