Dial tone.
Beep boop beep beep boop boop beep boop beep beep.
“Hello, thankyou for calling generic phone support line, your call is very important to us. Please hold for the next 47 years.”

“Hello, this is Heavily Accented David, how may I help you? Also this call is being recorded, but only if you don’t try and reference it in the future to get me into trouble for the fact that I am demonstrably terrible at my job.”
“Hi, I’m having trouble with a thing.”
“We have no reports of outages in your area.”
“I can’t be bothered arguing with you. Put me through to your supervisor.”
“One moment… Please hold for a further six months.”

“Hello, this is Slightly More Lightly Accented Shane. How may I help you?”
“Hi, I’m having trouble with a thing. Your subordinate couldn’t help me.”
“Allow me to look into it… We have no outages reported in your area.”
“Look, I’m very well qualified to tell you that the problem is with your system, not mine. Just put me through to someone that can actually help me, skip all people that are required to speak from a script.”

“Hi, this is Simon and I’m actually from your country. How may I help you?”
“I’m having trouble with a thing DON’T TELL ME THAT THERE ARE NO OUTAGES IN MY AREA.”
“There is an outage in your area, routing you to another exchange. The problem should be resolved.”
“Are you alright sir?”
“I’m fine. That was merely forty seven and a half years of frustration being released. I can’t feel my legs.”
“Would you like me to put you through to the paramedic service?”
“Thank you, I would appreciate that.”
“Hello, your emergency is very important to us. Please hold as we are currently experiencing a high volume of human suffering.”

“Your emergency is still just as important to us as it was before. For priortisation purposes, please rate your discomfort from 1-9 using the keys on your phone.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t understand.”
“Neither to I, lady robot. Neither to I.”


I tend to equate my writing deadlines with various forms of the undead. I know zombies are out of vogue these days but I think it makes sense, even aside from the obvious naming similarity. By way of example, a normal deadline is like a regular ol’ zombie: An object of dread, steadily and inexorably threatening to tear you asunder should you allow it to get too close. On their own they’re not that threatening, but in a group? Terrifying.

Last-minute or short deadlines are similar to the modern fast zombie, a-la 28 Days Later or Left 4 Dead. Same description as the above, but moving at an incredible pace, a more immediate horror. Attempting to complete a writing task under a Fast Zombie Deadline is best described as an incessant scream, undercut with the sound of a keyboard being worked furiously, as though typing is all that is holding the assailant at bay. On an unrelated note, The Typing of the Dead was awesome.

Assignments without a defined deadline are like ghosts. Ghostly deadlines are invisible and easy to forget about, right up until the point that they float up through the floor, shout “BOO” and possess you until you’ve completed their unfinished business.

All deadlines are like vampires in that if you’re not careful they’ll suck your blood, leaving you an empty husk.