Well. I’m doing much better than the last time. :) I’ve got a lot of sporks, woobies, hugs and chocolates from these people, a lot more ideas and my inner editor has been buried deep in the abyss. :P
Aaaand, here’s a first taste of my NaNo 2006 Novel, Fall Like Rain. :P This is taken from the third chapter. Click the “Read the rest of the entry” link. Comments are open, but please bear in mind that most of the words here are due to the pressure of having a 50k word count by the end of the month. So forgive any run on sentences or whatever grammatical error there may be; I’ll deal with those after I’m done. And be gentle on the comments. :D
“Forty. Fourth. Floor. Going. Up.”
I heard the familiar mechanical female voice announcing my destination and sighed. During the long, stomach churning climb up to our office’s floor, I had leaned against one of the mirrored walls of the elevator and tried to pretend that it was still a Saturday and the elevator I was on was the one in our condo, and I was about to go home to rest. Tough luck. I opened my eyes and saw what I had expected but wished against: extremely bright lights, fancy elevator buttons, a digital display flashing the number “44” and the elevator doors sliding open quietly, giving me a clear view of the carpeted hallway that lies ahead.
It was fifteen minutes to eight o’clock Monday morning. I could feel the familiar laziness brought about by Monday sickness. This time, though, it was accompanied by a feeling of exhaustion and sleepiness, which I normally don’t feel because I never used to get three calls for work within a span of twenty four hours…from the same company. Yes, I got another call from Southern Tech at one o’clock in the morning and though it was just a false alarm — again, I sigh at the thought — I didn’t get to go back to sleep as much because I knew that if I slept, I wouldn’t be able to wake up on time for work.
All I want to do now is to lie down on my bed and sleep. Ah, sleep.
“Good morning, Ma’am,” Kim, our receptionist, greeted as I entered the main entrance. I managed a small smile and a nod in greeting as I swiped my ID on the scanner. My picture showed on the small screen and a click told me the glass doors in front of me just unlocked. I pushed my way through, turned to the first hallway and wove all around the big maze of cubicles to get to my corner, which was all the way on the other side of the office.
There are two things I like about my place in the office: one is that it has a generous view of Makati City through this big glass window and two, is that it’s hidden from the view of most of the people. It’s not that I am anti-social; it’s just that I don’t like the idea of having people see what I am doing, even if it is just in passing. Having someone peer over my shoulder while I type is very uncomfortable and being in the very corner relieves me from that, believe me.
Of course, being in the corner also permits me to take short breaks to stop my brain from turning into mush after a long period of doing work, especially programming. Sometimes I surf around various websites, check out news feeds, send emails, play some downloaded games, or stare out the window and daydream for a while.
Ah, sleep. Glorious, lovely sleep.
Since work doesn’t officially start until eight-thirty, I decided to hide in my corner and take a short nap before I plunge into the day’s work. After stowing away my things and setting the alarm on my phones for thirty minutes, I grabbed my small throw pillow, snuggled my head on its softness, closed my eyes, waiting for sleep to come.
Just as I was about to doze off, I felt a light tap on my shoulder. At first I thought I was already dreaming and that was just some part of the dream, but the tap came again, together with a male voice saying my name softly.
I mentally debated if I should ignore whoever it was who was waking me up but then I realized that I did not know who the person was and I might get in trouble for sleeping inside the office. That, and the wonderful smell of coffee reached my nostrils, enough to rouse me from my stupor. I inhaled deeply before turning my head and opening my eyes. A short, slightly thin guy looked at me with black-framed glasses with an amused smile.
“Oh, hello, Francis,” I said, my head still stuck on the pillow. “You always seem to catch me when I’m asleep.” I yawned loudly.
“What, no good morning?” Francis said.
“Fine, fine. Good morning,” I said in a mock cheerful voice, which just made me yawn once again.
Francis laughed and pulled an empty chair from my neighboring cubicle and sat. He pushed a white paper cup with squiggly writing towards me. I breathed in deeply to smell the coffee.
“Is this for me?” I asked.
“How’d you know I need this?” I lifted my head up. It was a cup of tall black coffee from Starbucks. On top of it are three sachets of sugar and one of the cream, just the way I like it.
“How silly of me, of course you must have heard,” I said, shaking my head. I reached for my brush and ran it down my hair in brisk strokes. “Have you been standing here long?”
“For the past ten minutes or so.”
“I slept that long already? I thought it was only like three minutes.”
“Nah, kidding,” Francis said, sipping from his own cup. “I just got here, but I didn’t want to disturb you but I know I wouldn’t be able to drink both coffees so I decided to wake you up. Looks like you need it badly, too,” he motioned to the dark circles under my eyes.
I opened the cover of my cup and stirred in two and a half sachets of sugar and the entire pack of cream. “You don’t know? I thought you did. Vince called me at one in the morning, got me driving back to Southern Tech for the third time in twenty-four hours.” I rolled my eyes and took a sip from my drink. My tongue immediately recoiled from the hot liquid, but it woke me up as it travelled down from my throat. Ah, nothing like a caffeine dose to give a jolt to those nerves.
“The third time?”
“Denise called me in the afternoon too,” I said, stretching my arms up a bit. “The afternoon thing was just a little security problem that was fixed by resetting the password. Archie the IT guy lost the password and couldn’t get in and was blocked. You know, the system’s security measure. The one early this morning was a false alarm. Now that was just plain annoying.” I shook my head as I remembered what happened.
“What happened?” Francis asked.
“Since Vince told me it was an emergency, I went there was fast as I can,” I said. “I figured if they had to call three times something must be really wrong. I told myself that I would make sure that their system works and would not have any other bugs if it’s the last thing I’d do for this company. When I got there, Archie told me everything was okay already. Can you believe that?! Not even a call to tell me that everything was fixed already!” I sighed in frustration.
Francis chuckled. “Good thing I brought you coffee then? You looked like you’re planning to sleep the day off.”
“I wish I could! I was planning to take a nap and then get my caffeine fix later, but you caught me and brought me this,” I smiled at him. “I guess you’re my lifesaver today, then. Thanks, Francis.”
To my surprise, his cheeks turned a bit red. “Well, that’s me. Francis the life saver,” he grinned. “So what are you today? Technical writer or programmer? Or perhaps, will you be on call the entire day?”
I laughed. People know me in the office as one of the biggest multitaskers, even if I don’t really “multitask”. I just happened to be one of the people who change job functions often. Singularly, I am known as a “Convergence Systems Engineer”, but my job function ranges from technical writing to programming to on call troubleshooting for our clients. As a programmer, I help develop programs to be used by clients; as a technical writer I usually write the user’s manual and technical documentation for the use of our clients and for the company’s library as well, and as an on-call troubleshooter…well, that was what I was doing for the past day. The good thing is that these three jobs are quite related, so I can switch from one job to another, but it can also be very tiring as well.
“Today? Hmmm,” I consulted my to-do list which I pinned to my corkboard. “I am a technical writer. The first prototype for the new learning management system is due today, and I want to start on it early.” I glanced at the clock and saw that it was almost time to work.
“I guess I should just forget the nap,” I said, sighing. I drank a mouthful from the coffee. “Time to work! Would you please email me the file I created in your laptop yesterday?”
“Will do, boss.”
“Boss ka dyan? Shush! Thanks for this again, Francis.” I held up the coffee. He nodded and I reached over and gave him a friendly pat on the shoulder.
“You’re welcome,” Francis replied, smiling. “I’ll see you later, okay?” He stood up to leave.
“I am not on call today, okay?” I said with a smile.
“I’ve got you covered,” Francis said, winking at me and left.