Wednesday, October 3, 2012


"And, sent." It was Tuesday afternoon and Emily sat at the head of the giant table in the largest conference room. Black Andy and Brian stood on either side of her. The other Andy sat a few chairs away. A large screen portrayed the contents of Emily's laptop display on the other end of the room. They had just delivered the entire contents of the next issue to their printing vendor electronically, a monthly ritual for the four of them. After five years using this vendor, the process was relatively smooth, though it always took at least three hours in this room together to work out last-minute kinks.

Normally Dave would be in the room with them, running things, but he was still en route from El Salvador. Number ninety-six would be the magazine's first issue that would go to print without Dave Pike's micromanagement on the last day. Brian therefore saw Aggie's and Brady's very brief incarceration as an unfortunate boost to his career, since it had been up to him to take the leadership reins. He would always think of this issue as his. He wanted to hug the others, but he restrained himself.

"Well, that's that," said the elder Andy, still looking at the screen. "Hope Dave likes it."

"If he doesn't hate it, I'll feel like we succeeded," the other Andy joked.

"Come on, Black, we did great work here," Brian said, grinning.

"I agree," Emily said. "Brian, congrats. I think it's a great issue. Look at that cover. I'm ready to see Belarus myself now! Michelle's pictures are fantastic." The reminder brought an ominous silence to the room.

"Four thirty," Brian said after a few moments, looking at his phone out of habit even though the time was displayed on the large screen. He sighed, his grin now gone. "Let's sneak outta here and head for Nemo's. First drink's on me today."

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