The Case of the Possessed Police Department
Summary: After a bad couple days of work, this wouldn't leave me alone; I had to write it. Basically the Major Crimes department gets taken over by a publishing department.
Author's Notes: Okay, this is gonna take a little explanation. I work at a community newspaper, and this is something I dreamt up this past week when my publication software was acting up on me. It's short and silly, and I mostly wrote it for myself, but I though it might be amusing to someone else out there too. :)
Here's a glossary of terms you'll need to know to really understand what's going on. Sorry if some are a little obvious; I've sorta lost track of what's common knowledge and what's mostly publishing jargon.
- agate: a unit of measurement.
- crop: when you crop something (like a photo), you basically are cutting off the sides to get it down to the right size or shape instead of resizing the whole image.
- ellipsis: three dots indicating a missing word or statement ('...')
- grease pens: pens that can mark and remark photos temporarily without hurting them.
- guides: virtual lines used in publishing software that you can see on your screen, but won't print. They're used to make sure stuff lines up and stays the right size. This particular week, my guides kept jumping all over the page, *never staying where I needed them* (important).
- line tape: just like regular, clear tape with lines printed down the centre.
- page boards: actual-size, cardboard sheets that are used to build the pages on.
- picas: a unit of measurement. 1 pica = 1/6 of an inch.
- screens: large sheets of sticky plastic that have varying shades of gray printed on them. Used for backgrounds and stuff.
- waxer: used to put a fine layer of wax on the back of printed paper so it will stick to the page boards. Ours is really sick. It doesn't heat the wax evenly, and makes a lot of noise.
- white space: areas inside layouts that are left blank. Generally a bad idea; it leads to a messy look.
Also, we get a lot of faxes from people giving us story ideas, letters to the editor, and others about stuff that really doesn't apply to us, like a new Starbucks opening up across the province. :P
Disclaimer: You know the drill -- I own nothing, Paramount is God. This is my story, and credit should be given if distributed.
"Hey, Chief! Could you come over here a second?"
Blair looked up from where he was standing, talking to Rafe at his desk, and smiled. "Sure," he said as he started towards him, "what's up?"
Just then, the lights flickered and went out. Simultaneously, Blair felt his knees buckle and watched as the floor flew up to meet him. The lights almost immediately came back up again, and Blair shakily got to his feet. He looked around; everyone seemed to be busy looking confusedly up at the ceiling, or cursing the resetting computers in front of them. Thankfully no one had noticed his little spill. Shrugging it off as 'just one of those things', he put it out of his mind and made his way to Jim's desk.
Jim was glaring into his computer screen, fuming. Blair hesitated and approached cautiously, not wanting to get caught in any sort of tantrum the detective might throw. "Uh, Jim? What's wrong?"
He continued glaring, answering under his breath. "I was just reaching to save it. A whole mornings work, and I was *just* reaching to save it." Blair but his lip and looked around, thinking of something to say so that Jim wouldn't try and take the power outage personally. "Yeah, it looks like the whole department lost a lot of stuff. Anything I can help with?"
Jim sighed, the fury leaving his face as he seemed to remember there was nothing he could do to help the situation. His work really was gone; might as well get over it and start again. "Sure, Chief. Can you pass me those folders beside you?"
Blair nodded, relieved that he wouldn't have to be diffusing any bombs named Jim Ellison right now. "Sure, Jim. Just what were you --" as he reached for the folders, Jim noticed a small flash of light, and suddenly his partner disappeared.
"-- working on anyways?" Jim's eyes shot to where the voice was coming from. Blair was now standing halfway across the room. Noticing something wasn't right, Blair looked around at the astonished faces gaping at him, and realized what had happened. "Whoa."
Everyone stood in shocked silence for a minute, then a couple dozen similar flashes went of in a cascade around the room. Pens and pencils were replaced with highlighters and exacto-blades, rulers which usually measured inches now read measurements in picas and agates, and the shredder in the corner turned into something that *looked* like a shredder, but obviously wasn't.
Brown approached it. "What the hell is that?" he said, as Rafe came up behind him, who looked equally puzzled. "I'm not sure. It looks like it's still meant for paper though, doesn't it?"
Brown reached out to touch it, and snapped his hand back as if he'd been burnt. "It's hot!"
"Here's a switch, let's see what it does." Rafe flipped the switch and the top bar started spinning in a sick sort of way.
*kaCHUNK whirrrr, kaCHUNK whirrrrr...*
"Odd." Brown nodded in agreement. Just then, Simon came storming out of his office, yelling and waving a hand full of pen sizes objects around. "What the hell is going on?!? My fax has started spitting out an endless stream of faxes from people telling me what they think of anything and everything around them and mothers wanting stories written about their child's accomplishments, and all of the pens in my office has turned into these stupid things!"
Blair, almost recovered from the shock of finding himself suddenly across the room (under no power of his own), looked up at the captain who had happened to stop in front of him. "Grease pens," he said simply.
Simon looked down, as if noticing Blair for the first time. "What? Could you explain that?"
Blair opened his mouth to continue, but another flash of light interrupted him, and he found himself standing back beside Jim. "I am so not going to get used to that," he muttered.
That seemed to set off another series of flashes, and soon papers were replaced with large page boards and sheets of screens, and line tape was lying where scotch tape had once been. The only things left untouched were the cluttered desks and half-filled cups of cold coffee. The last of the flashes happened just to Blair's left, and he looked towards it concerned. "Jim?"
Jim opened his mouth to answer, but nothing came out. Simon walked up to him with what would have been concern, if he wasn't so furious at his loss of control over the room around him. "Detective Ellipsis, you answer right now or..." he trailed off. Ellipsis? That didn't sound right. Suddenly the walls flashed, and he couldn't help but notice that they'd all closed in one yard, making the room noticeably smaller.
Just then Megan walked in, not really looking like Megan at all. Her hair was put back in a hasty bun, locks spilling out messily around her face. There were dark circled under her eyes, and she moved jerkily, like someone who hadn't slept in about a week and was running on too much caffeine. "Come on, people!" she said, "The deadline's in two hours, and we've got work to do!" she looked around, snatching a paper from Brown's desk. "What the hell is this? This is horrible! The layout's all wrong! Make it a two-column format, it's easier to read, and get rid of that white space!" The paper went up in flames, as did every other poorly laid-out document in the room. She looked around again. "And re-crop this room! It's wasting too much space already!" The walls flashed again, moving another two yards in. She turned to Blair. "Get up along that wall; it's good where it is, I want to keep it there." Blair jumped at her command, and ran towards the wall, but upon reaching it, immediately disappeared and reappeared back where he'd been.
"Ugh! This is the day I'm having!" Megan ranted, not hearing the 'Tell me about it' Blair said under his breath.
"..." replied Jim.
Suddenly the lights flickered again, and Megan, Jim and Blair all sank to their knees. Looking around, everyone noticed that everything had returned to normal.
"Okay, that was weird," said Blair, accepting the helping hand from Jim.
"Hmph," said Simon, satisfied that things were back under control. "Okay, people, back to work. We *do* have things to do." With that he walked back into his office.