Evil Editor's unpaid assistant had been reading slush sixteen hours a day, seven days a week, ever since college had let out for Christmas vacation. "I want to go home," she said. "It's Sunday, it's New Year's Eve, and it's freezing in here."
"I told you before," Evil Editor told her again, "if you get cold, shovel some manuscripts into the furnace. Heating fuel is expensive. Manuscripts are a dime a dozen. And not my dime."
"But I worked Christmas. And I have a date. Have a heart, Master."
"All right, already," EE told her. "Anything's better than listening to your whining. Be back by five A.M., or you can forget about that job recommendation."
Five minutes passed. There came a knock on the door. "Now who could that be at eleven o'clock New Year's Eve?" Evil Editor grumbled.
He opened the door. "Ah, Veronique," he said. "I was afraid you'd forgotten about our annual get-together."
"Don't call me that! Someone could be listening."
"Where's the poodle? What's his name again? Vaseline?"
"That line wasn't funny when you used it last year. And nothing's gonna be funny now, not after reading 700 crappy hooks in two weeks. Pour me a tall one."
"No, nitwit, skim milk. Of course gin."
"I couldn't help noticing that by the time you reached the 400's you were panning obvious Pulitzer prospects and requesting pages on mule crap."
"I'm surprised you could tell the difference. I printed them off, put them on the floor, and whichever ones KY peed on I asked for pages. Hell, I'd have been working till August if I'd kept reading them."
"Look on the bright side, you dashed the hopes of 90 percent of them, and next week you can take down the other 10 percent."
"Aw, Eb. I mean EE. You always know the right thing to say to cheer me up."
"Maybe we should start our 'celebration' a little early. I've changed the sheets since last year."
"Sheets? No, I have a better idea. Tip over those piles of manuscripts and spread them on the floor. We'll give the authors what they deserve--literally."
"Ah, Miss S. Happy New Year."
Continuation by anonymous