He stares at the computer screen nervously, his eyes scanning the words quickly, his brow furrows, causing a cascade of sweat to run down into his eyes, he squints, and wipes his forehead with his arm, letting out a grunt of frustration.
“So?” a woman’s voice asks from the other side of the room, he turns to her, sighs, and collapses into the chair.
“It’s bullshit,” he says, as he pulls a cigarette from a half empty packet that sits next to a smoldering, overflowing ashtray, and lights it up. “I mean that in the nicest way possible you realise, but, I wanted an in-depth look into the folk-lore behind it all, what made this story insert itself into the mainstream mythology of various religious sectors, not some wacky story that bridges the realm of shock fiction.”
“Seriously? I’ve given you something much better than minor league bible bashing, I’ve given you the end of the world, thousands of years worth of religious nut-jobs pompous ramblings proven to be fact. If you don’t want it, that’s fine, but, when shit starts turning real, I’ll be selling this to the top buyer and your price, your chance to be number one, will never happen, you’ll stay at the bottom of the ladder, while the big boys take all the glory, just like your wife did when she divorced you.”
“Shit Cathy, calm the fuck down, I never said I wouldn’t fucking run it, I just said it’s bullshit, it’s full of uncertified information, for fuck sake, you lead into parts of the piece with, my feeling, shit, my feeling is this is a load of hog wash. If you want to run with it the way it is, you’re only doing yourself damage, let me rewrite a few line, tidy it up, and then, we’ll talk money.”
“It stays the way it’s written, no changes, that’s the deal I made for the piece, that’s the deal you make in printing it.”
He laughs and takes a drag on the cigarette, then, butts it out, “Ain’t going to happen, I’ve never let a writer tell me how to run my paper, and, I’m not starting now, so either, you compromise, or, you go TRY selling this to someone else, and honey, trust me, ain’t no one going to let you get this printed the way it is now, unless it’s an anthology of fiction stories,” he says, as he pulls out another cigarette.
They sit there in silence, staring at each other, while he smokes the cigarette down.
“Y-Y-You don’t understand, you have to..,”
“Honey, I don’t have to do anything, now, are we at an impasse, or, are you wiling to change your mind?”
“I-I-I, I can’t, you ca…” she stops, mid-sentence, her eyes grow wide with terror, her lip trembles, and she turns white as a ghost.
“Are you okay?” He asks, as he feels it’s warm, putrid breath, on the back if his neck.