The Writers Voice
The World's Favourite Literary Website

San Francisco Story


Theresa Allen

Part IV

Snake in the grass. Conspiracy. Pasting Groucho Marx eyeballs onto the back of my head. I must be vigilant. I must never loose my edge. I must always be aware. I must lock all of my documents lest they be tampered with later. Such is the Word Processor's credo.

"Update this employees' manual. It needs to be absolutely accurate. It gets handed out to every one of our security guards and failure to comply with this manual leads to dismissal. Dismissal is a very serious matter. That's why, since this is the guide that I use for firing, it must be one hundred percent correct."

Thank you. I'll keep that in mind.

What I was handed to update was a 300 page manual on policy and procedure for security guards who were posted at various office buildings in and around the major San Francisco Bay Area. I set out to work.

Day one: Open Format. Choose Styles. New? Yes. Choose elements, Heading One, formatted to be inserted into a Table of Contents, but worry about that later. Paragraph style? Yes. Page setup. Margins, headers, footers, Portrait, not Landscape. On it goes...

"Pubic phones are located at the marked kiosks."

Hmmm...what's wrong with this picture? I noted that Word had not underlined anything in this sentence with a red line. I read on.

"Pubic access to the building ends at 7 pm."

Again, there was no red line. Has Word clairvoyance been disabled?

"Pubic restrooms are to be under 24 hour camera surveillance, even though pubic access to the building ends promptly at 7 pm."

Pubic restrooms? Oh there any other kind? I did a universal Find and Replace, "Public" in the place of "Pubic."

Day two: Open file. Apply styles. Run Spell Check. Nothing. Good job. But, what did I see?

"Pubic must not be able to gain entry through the Delivery Dock."

What is this? Hadn't I taken care of that yesterday?

Find and Replace.

Go to Insert. Choose TOC. Let's see...what did we have here that looked good?

Day three: TOC entry number 15:

"Pubic Assistance in the Event of an Emergency."

I got up from the desk and started plowing through the potted ferns, software end-user manuals, and pictures of the vacation at the lake looking for a hidden camera.


I grabbed my cosmetic mirror and headed straight to the women's room. I stood with my back facing the full length mirror adjacent to the paper towel dispenser and waved the cosmetic mirror around until I could get a clear view of my back. signs pasted to my back inviting the reader to "kick me."

Back at my desk, I reran Find and Replace.

Then, I noticed my coffee mug. It was down on the floor. Why was it down on the floor? I'm not in the habit of getting down on all fours to sip my coffee, canine-style.

Find and Replace.

Day four: Find and Replace. You never know.

Find and Replace, Control-Y, Control-Y, Control-Y ad nauseam, until my supervisor came in to collect the corrected manual on a set of discs.

It was finally over. I got through.

Part V

Critique this work

Click on the book to leave a comment about this work

All Authors (hi-speed)    All Authors (dialup)    Children    Columnists    Contact    Drama    Fiction    Grammar    Guest Book    Home    Humour    Links    Narratives    Novels    Poems    Published Authors    Reviews    September 11    Short Stories    Teen Writings    Submission Guidelines

Be sure to have a look at our Discussion Forum today to see what's
happening on The World's Favourite Literary Website.