a surprise in the slush pile

I was given the task of looking though the slush pile again today, but it was far from the usual this time!

The man from the post room came in as usual and I said hello as usual but that is where it stops being usual.

He had several new manuscripts for the slush pile and one of them looked horrible. The people who write the manuscripts usually put a lot of care into making sure they look nice and are properly wrapped up in a big envelope. Most of the manuscripts that came today were like this. However, there was one manuscript that was not very carefully wrapped up at all and it was covered in dirt. When the post delivery man tipped the manuscripts onto my desk, the dirty manuscript burst open! The envelope was so damp and rotting that it just tore apart at the edges when it hit the desk and its contents spilled out all over the desk and onto me as well!

It was a manuscript, but all the words were written on pieces of rubbish out of a dustbin, all the pieces of paper that there were mixed in with the vegetable peelings and half empty take away cartons, were all old bits of newspapers and tattered shopping receipts. There were no real typed out pages at all! There were bits of story written on the backs of ripped up envelopes and tissues with horrible sticky things in them.

I was covered in all these horrible things, in front of everyone in the office. When the package had split open I had screamed in surprise and after that I could feel that everybody in the office was looking at me. I felt so embarrassed that I ran away to the toilets so that nobody could see me. My eyes started to ache and before I even got out of the office I was crying. I didn’t want to be crying, but I couldn’t stop it happening. I stayed in the toilets until Julie came and found me to see if I was OK.

I asked why anyone would send something so horrible and she said it was probably just a crazy writer who was bitter about not getting their manuscript published. She said I should go out for a long lunch and get something to change into. Julie is really kind.

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