Apr. 22nd, 2011

The Wordsmith paced up and down within the Creatorium. He was uneasy. It was late, unusually late, and there was nothing on the Creatorium floor to work with. This was completely and utterly unacceptable.

The Thesaurus and the Master Typist exchanged worried glances. It was unlike their boss the Wordsmith to be so highly strung. Normally he was a pleasure to work with, an absolute joy, competently and confidently guiding the entire creative team through the process of writing the daily story. But now he was snappish, kicking sawdust in the faces of hapless transcriptionists and imagery-craftsmen who haplessly wandered across his path. Wringing her hands, the Thesaurus approached the Wordsmith meekly.

"Perhaps there has been some sort of delay," she suggested delicately. "It's been known to happen from time to time. An emergency of some sort out there in the Outer World; some kind of crisis…"

The Wordsmith sniffed the air suspiciously. "No," he growled. "There's no crisis. I'd know if there was a crisis. The whole place would stink of adrenaline. He's just late."

"Then perhaps we will simply have to accept a short delay in our delivery schedule," offered the Master Typist meekly. "We've done it before. We simply generate a short message now stating that the story will come out later…"

"No!" barked the Wordsmith. "I'm tired of delays; I'm sick of excuses. That's not the way this is supposed to work. The Higher Mind up there generates the Idea in a timely manner; the overhead door opens and the Idea is lowered via crane to the Creatorium floor; we work it up; and presto, we deliver a daily story. And we deliver it IN A DAY. A DAY!" The Master Typist cringed and wiped spittle from his face.

"I understand that," said the Thesaurus in her most placating tone. "But we have no Idea at the present time…"

"Ah, you have grasped the main thrust of the problem!" said the Wordsmith, his voice dripping with sarcasm. "Why is there no Idea, pray tell? Is the Higher Mind out of Ideas? It's April for Christ's sake! Surely he can't be out of Ideas in April!"

"No, of course not; I've heard there's a list…"

"Have you seen this list?" the Wordsmith demanded. "Has anybody?" He turned around and around, appealing to anybody who met his eyes. "Have any of you people actually witnessed this Idea list I've heard so much about? If it exists, why doesn't he just pull an Idea out of it and drop it down here? How hard can that be?"

The Master Typist looked at his feet. "I don't pretend to understand the workings of the Higher Mind…" he said.

The Wordsmith opened his mouth to say something really cutting, but just then there was a grating noise coming from the ceiling. The doors were opening.

The Thesaurus smiled. "There, what did I tell you?" she said. "We're just a little behind schedule…"

Something fell from the portal in the ceiling. It wasn't a bulky Idea; it was something small and white. It fluttered as it fell to the sawdust floor of the Creatarium. Then the stone-on-stone sound of the portal grated again, and the door was closed.

The Wordsmith crept towards the small object in the middle of the floor, and the rest of the creative staff ringed around to observe. It was an envelope. The Wordsmith picked it up by a corner, sniffed it, and then tore one end open. He pulled out a sheet of paper – a single sheet of paper with a few scanty words jotted on it in the Higher Mind's terrible penmanship – and read it to himself. Then the note slipped from his fingers and fell to the floor. The look on the Wordsmith's face was one of profound disappointment and lost.

"What is it?" begged the Thesaurus. "What did the Higher Mind say?"

"That bastard," groaned the Wordsmith. "He's mailed it in."

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