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Sent to the Wrong Printer

Note: This story is another writing or character prompt. I edited very little. Not all stories have an end. Most of them are 500 words with a goal to work on a writing skill, then move on to a new story. I am posting these for your entertainment. If they don’t entertain you, come back later to see you like them more—or not. Please do not replicate these stories without the authors’ express written permission.

Writing Prompt from A Year of Writing Prompts by Writer’s Digest: You’re at work and you print something personal (and sensitive). Unfortunately, you’ve sent it to the wrong printer and, by the time you realize it, someone else has already scooped it up.

Diane danced to the printer. She inhaled her own vibe, ecstatic about her scolding letter to her boss, Lucas. She’d detailed all his shortcomings, inconsistent management style, favouritism and blatant poor decision making. How did an employee with two years of experience get promoted before her eleven years of toil? She whispered a thank you to her counselor, who recommended she write a letter to Lucas—ixnay on the end-say. It had helped her considerably to type all her thoughts. After writing it, her energy had peaked. She’d printed it to put on her fridge at home, where only she would ever see it.

Three cubicles separated her desk from the printer. She reached for the single-page letter to discover…where was it? It didn’t lie on top of the exit tray. She gulped. She’d clicked print, right? No doubt she had, and then headed for the printer before anyone else could have snatched it.

No, no, no, no. She hurried to her desk and opened the print queue. Her heart dropped into her stomach when she realized she’d sent the paper to the main office printer—a printer she rarely used. Last night before leaving, Duncan instructed her to send a fifty-page document to the main office printer. She’d forgotten to restore the default printer.

Duncan. Her blood boiled at the thought of his name and the promotion Lucas had given him. Duncan came to the company, lied, and sucked up to everyone but her, who he knew was his primary competition. He falsely laid his mistakes at the feet of interns and convinced them she should have known better as a senior. Now he was ruining her life again.

The main office printer was on the eighth floor, six floors up. She sprinted for the stairs and bounded up and burst into the main office. She almost choked. Duncan stood in front of the printer, grinning, a piece of paper in his hand. Her watch beeped, telling her she’d started a workout and to keep it up.

“Good morning,” Diane huffed.

Duncan looked up, slipping the paper behind his back. “Hello, Diane. Your face is red and puffy. Are you sick? You look sickly.” He stank like cigars—a night spent sucking up to Lucas in the boys’ club, she surmised.

“I’m fine. Just finished a workout.” She sneered. She peeked over Duncan’s shoulder at an empty printer tray. “I came up to get a paper”—her brain worked furiously to say something, lie about something, come up with anything, come on—“for a colleague. Did you see anything come through?”

“A colleague?”

She hadn’t signed the paper. If Lucas didn’t find out, nobody would check the printer history log. “Yes. Did you see it?”

His smirk pulled back over his teeth. He brought the paper forward. “It’s a very compelling letter. I don’t know if Lucas realizes he has so much need for introspection.” Diane reached for it, but he snapped it away. “I don’t mind taking it to him.”

“It’s not signed.” Diane felt a growl rise. “And the person who wrote it, whatever it says, should get the credit.”

Duncan chuckled. “There is certainly credit due.”

She snagged the paper, hiding it behind her back. “I’ll take this to the rightful owner.”

“See that it gets to Lucas.  I’ll let him know he has a rather tersely worded letter coming. He may want to prepare himself.”

Diane nodded. She’d burn the letter and figure out a way to delete the printer history. Her watch beeped. ”Keep going! You’re in your zone.”

2 thoughts on “Sent to the Wrong Printer”

  1. Interesting premise, one that many people could relate to.  I like how you’d built the hang on the end, that Lucas will know that an unsigned letter was written about him, that Diane was going to give it to him — but never did.

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