Saturday, April 11, 2009

Working Late

Inspired by Fred Clark's most generous interpretation of Bailey's actions - I fear it may be obvious, but as we all know, it is the obvious things which LaHaye and Jenkins may be relied upon to miss.

May become a series or not, depending.

Eva Carlisle hit the "Send" button on the proofs she'd just finished and rubbed her eyes. Byline credit on a full feature article was quite a thrill for a college sophomore intern, but it took a lot more work than the background research and fact-checking she was doing three weeks ago, before. ("Before", she muttered to herself, and chuckled. Before and after were soloists, now, no need to mention the what.) Adding her classes and homework now that the university was back in session, and she was spending a lot of late hours in front of computers at Columbia and Global Weekly both. Leaving for the dorm at - she checked her watch - one-thirty-five was just normal. She pushed her glasses back up her nose and began quitting programs.

Suddenly, she heard a thump, and cursing. Her hand darted into her bag, and after a moment's fumbling came up with her revolver. Taking care to keep her finger off the trigger and the gun pointed in a safe direction (her roommate had been very emphatic about that), she carefully stood, slung the bag over her shoulder, and called out. "Who's there?"

The cursing trailed off into silence. It sounded like it was coming from Mr. Bailey's office. She walked carefully across the darkened floor to the door and listened for a moment. No sound. She wondered if she should go call the cops for a moment. Instead, she took her right hand off the gun and, covering the doorway with the revolver, slowly turned the knob on the door.

"Who is it?" came a voice from inside - Mr. Bailey, she realized.

"Eva Carlisle," she replied, quickly (carefully!) putting the gun back in her bag. "I'm an intern here - I was just about to leave when I thought I heard a noise," she continued, and opened the door.

The lights were out. Stanton Bailey was sitting on the couch in his office, his tie unknotted but his posture deliberately straight. A mostly-empty bottle of vodka sat on the desk with a shot glass next to it.

"Vodka? I thought whiskey was traditional in the news business," Eva joked, and blushed at her temerity. I'm not even being paid, she thought, and I'm cracking wise with the publisher?

"I prefer vodka," Bailey said, enunciating very precisely. His eyebrows twitched for a moment, and he checked his watch. "Working late?"

"Uh, yes. I was just heading out - do you want a ride home?"

"No," he said, quickly. "No, I'm just going to lie down on the couch here. I don't want ... I mean, I don't ... see a reason to go back and forth when I have to be here early. I'll just sleep on the couch, here."

"Okay, sir," Eva replied. She noticed his clothes were wrinkled, as if he had been sleeping on the couch for days. "Good night, then."

Bailey nodded stiffly. Eva backed out of the room and shut the door.

She paused for a moment outside his office, thinking. Then she borrowed his secretary's address book and brought it back to her desk, where a few minutes searching came up with his home number. The phone rang four times, and kicked over to an answering machine. It was a woman's voice.

"Hi, you've reached the Baileys. We're not home right now, so please leave a message with your name and number at the beep. God bless!"


She hung up.

Then she put her head down and cried.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's a shame that shor subplots like this, which make the character's actions more plausible, are lacking from the multi-volume »Left Behind« novel. Good post, then. I especially liked the answering machine part. Makes one recall much of the Event with just a few words.
I wonder if the central office of »Global Weekly« would be ever empty (as opposed to »Global Quarterly«, you see). But I let this slip for dramatic effect :)
The whole revolver thing is a bit over the top, I think. It's in Manhattan, not the Wild West ... speaking of Manhattan, Eva would most certainly not own a car to offer a ride home. She would offer to call her boss a taxi, I guess.