Prompt #673 - courtesy of EasyStreet Prompts
moderation . horsefeathers . self-righteous copyboy . itemize . subliminal bluff . concoct . delicate hoosegow . dispensation . evacuee . afoul . winnow . staccato artillery
"Moderation in all things, Ellie."
"Oh, horsefeathers! You are nothing but a self-righteous copyboy."
Nelson, put his hands on his hips and squinted at Ellie. "If you'd quit drinking all that coffee, perhaps you'd be less likely to spend half your working hours in the restroom. I won't even mention the constant trips to the vending machine or all the time you spend outside smoking."
"Leave it to you to itemize everyone's faults. Well, I don't have time to listen to your preaching. Go away and let me work in peace."
"I can't. We go to press in fifteen minutes and Larkin wants those stories pronto." Nelson started tapping his foot but stopped when he realized the carpet muffled the effort.
Ellie sat back in her leather task chair and stared over Nelson's head. She surmised that Nelson was too thick headed to try a subliminal bluff, so she tried to concoct another reason to get him out of her doorway. She shook her head and then gave up. Digging through a pile of papers that were perched haphazardly on the corner of her credenza, Ellie pulled out a sheet and waved it in Nelson's direction. "Here's one. By time you deliver it to Larkin and come back, I'll have the other one.
"Oh no. He told me not to come back until I had all three from you."
"Well, that puts you in a delicate hoosegow, doesn't it? You see, Nelson, I don't have them complete yet and I can't work with you standing there. If you leave, I can get them done. If you stay, well, there's no dispensation."
Nelson growled and turned on his heel. It took a great effort not to slam her office door, but he shut it with just a smart snap instead. He looked at his watch, then back at Ellie's office door. He leaned back against her wall, crossed his arms over his chest and slid down to sit on the marble floor to wait.
Ellie, relieved that the door had closed, called up her latest files on her laptop. There was the story about the evacuee who inadvertently ran afoul of the local law, and there was the other story she wrote about farmers trying to winnow their wheat while cringing to staccato artillery fire across the river from their fields. This story, as was the other, was essentially finished, but lacked her trademark smart ass concluding comments at the end. The jokes just weren't there anymore.