Minerva set the heavy tray on the table with a thump. A puff of white dust blossomed upward and made her sneeze. These old fishing weights certainly were dusty. She sneezed again.
Somedays she really hated her predecessors. Whoever had thought it was a good idea to just throw these weights in a box without any kind of protection and stuff them up in the attic, was really making Minerva’s life difficult.
She started pulling weights out of the box, white powder coating her fingertips. Some of them had numbers, but most seemed to be unmarked. Well, bugger. Hopefully the genius who put them in the box at least catalogued them.
Minerva wiped her hands on her slacks and went over to the card catalog behind her desk. She pulled out the cards for “Fishing” and sat down to flip through them. As she sat down, her computer screen popped to life and indicated new email. She set down the cards and clicked on her inbox.
After answering two research queries and one “What happened to the box of photo albums by the front desk?” email, Minerva grabbed two ibuprofen and washed them down with energy drink. She unwrapped a sticky nut bar and slowly ate it while checking other internet things on her computer.
Minerva picked up the index cards and flipped through them scanning for the word “weight”. on “Fishing p.3″ she found a listing for “144 Lead Fishing Weights from Todd Sanders estate.” She looked down at the powdery film still coating the backs of her fingers.
She googled “Poison Control Hotline” and started dialing.
Minerva jerked her hand, out of the map drawer, in pain. Blood dripped down her palm and spattered the old wooden floor.
“Shit! What the hell!”
She wrapped her other hand around the wound. Something had cut her. Cut her bad. Blood welled between her fingers and soaked her shirt sleeve.
Well, that was a lot of blood but nowhere near fatal. What was it, 2 maybe 5 liters depending on body size before someone bled out? Do non-writers have these kind of facts off the top of their heads? wondered Minerva as she opened the first aid kit on the wall leaving bloody smears on its pristine white plastic. She grabbed a gauze pad and ripped it open to press to the wound. Well, this was a fine start to the week.
Six stitches, 2 hours in the ER (who says there’s no benefits to living in the middle of nowhere) and a unscheduled lunch break later– Minerva went back up to the attic to figure out what had cut her. This time she pulled the drawer completely out. Inside was a cloth bundle with a glinting blade sticking through the gray canvas. Minerva turned over the attached tag. It read, “Veterinary Equipment CAUTION Knife is sharp”.
“Ow!” Minerva dropped the dirt-encrusted wooden crate, with errant nail back down on the table, and sucked her punctured finger. Thank God this day was finally over.
She grabbed a band-aid and covered the puncture wound. It wasn’t the best, but it’d keep her from bleeding all over on the drive home. Minerva stacked up her paperwork and grabbed her keys off the desk as her computer shut down. Another workweek done.
Minerva wiped sweat off her forehead as she tried to stop clenching her jaw. Just a few more form letters and this week would be done. She rubbed under her ear where the muscles were spasming. It really was warm upstairs. Had someone turned the heat on today?
Her vision swam and she felt faint. Lack of oxygen? She’d just used her asthma inhaler twenty minutes ago. Minerva felt her pulse racing. Why wouldn’t her jaw quit spasming?
I’m stealing the title of this entry from a comment by Nate Crowder on Twitter, because it is incredibly apropos.
Guys. Guys! I turned in The Place Between manuscript’s finally final edits. Like, they won’t let me touch it again. Not even to straighten its collar before it toddles off into the world. Which it will be… soon.
It should be heading off reviewers soon, and I’m gearing up for a flurry of self-promotion. Hopefully, not so much that you’re sick of me, but enough to reach people who like female superheroes and tricksters but wouldn’t be able to differentiate me from my good doppelgänger (I’m the evil one) in person, much less online.
Exciting things are afoot!
“What is it?” asked Tilly.
“Hmm?” Minerva had been too busy flipping through Pioneer portraits to notice the metal cylinder her intern had picked up. “What that? It’s an insect sprayer.”
“Sprayer? How does it work?” Tilly peered at the device dubiously.
Minerva went back to looking for the portrait of Mr. & Mrs. Elmore
T . Johnsen. “You pull back the handle and pump it.”
“Pump it?” asked Tilly.
“Yeah. Pull back that ball on the end and shove it forward real fast.” Minerva found the portrait and pulled it down from the shelf.
Minerva turned and caught a cloud of insecticide residue in the face.