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The silence is broken by sergeant. You want to talk about it...you know, tell me how this happened?
It all started so innocently, he said, lowering his guard. A book report here, an essay there. One thing leads to another and before you know it...his voice falters. Before you know it youíre doing lap tops and then word processors. I canít stop myself. A few words here, a sentence or two there. Then paragraphs, I canít get paragraphs to stop. Theyíre in my head!
He didnít have to say a word, real horror was told in eyes of suspect. The extent of his condition was broadcast by those glazed over eyes from staring for hours at a blank, luminescent monitor. His hand moves slowly toward a keyboard, his fingers began to twitch around keys uncontrollably.
He continues after a pause. The disease spread. At first Iím shoving manuscripts at a few of my friends but there not interested. At first they tried to be nice but soon they avoid me. Now Iím asking total strangers to proof read for me!
A negotiator is called in to defuse terse standoff. We can help, he says. A padded cell, weíll get you some counseling, and a good treatment program. With any luck, you can beat this. Afterwards, weíll relocate you, set you up with AA, Authorís Anonymous. Listen to me, I know what youíre going through, itís happened to me too. An audible gasp fills room, uneasy members of swat team glance at each other nervously.
For first time, suspect appears to consider surrender. He ponders before he replies. What will happen if I donít turn myself in, he questions?
It will go hard on you, probably incarceration. Maybe even...he falters.
No, suspect gasps, not.. not a rejection letter!
Yes, Iím afraid so!
With that, he surrenders and is escorted to a waiting patrol car to be wisked away. All right, squad leader announces to crowd that gathered around to watch, Go home! Itís all over now. The crisis has been resolved...
...or has it?
Sergeant, a team member urgently cries out. Come here quick! He is obviously in a state of panic. What is it, man?
One of pencils is missing! Someone must have gotten it.
Here we go again!
Jim Henderson is currently employed in the field of environmental regulatory compliance. He enjoys writing as a past time and has had several articles published in various on-line publications.