This story is by Tracy Woodfield and was part of our 2017 Winter Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Look, here’s the deal. I have a deadline to meet. A very important deadline and a lot rides on my success in achieving this one simple thing. It involves me completing a specific task. But here’s the rub – I am missing the most crucial component of this task. You know, the part that makes or breaks any contract, the part that will make or break me.
So you find me at my desk, trying with some frustration to find the bit that’s missing.
I turn the radio on and then wish I hadn’t.
“It’s the final countdown” Blurts out.
Poetic justice – that dratted song had to be the first thing I hear. Yeah and that Europe Band weren’t kidding.
It’s the final countdown.
The deadline. The definitive by that time or else! And I am, as they say, “ pushing down to the wire”. The last minute…no the last second even.
And, boy, am I aware of it.
In fact nothing else has occupied my thoughts for the past week. Can you believe that? This is something I have to do (I want to do even) and yet it is still not closer to being completed than it was a week ago. It’s not through lack of trying, believe me. I have tried. I have tried so hard to find my answers to this dilemma and dilemma it is.
I used to be good with deadlines. They never bothered me. I always managed to hit them in a way that may not have been the most glamorous, I admit, but at least I got there and usually with some breathing space in between. However, this time around, it’s different. All my usual methods have totally failed me and it’s almost like they’re sitting on my shoulder whispering to me but all I can hear is the soft murmur of a voices without words. Words are so important, don’t you think?
In the past week as my deadline looms large and scary, I’ve racked my brains, wondering if I could’ve done things differently. Would starting earlier have made a difference…now I’m being stupid. I did start early…in fact as soon as I knew about it but maybe starting later might have been the better option. I hate it when I start to second guess myself, don’t you?
But I can’t go back, the past is the past and it changes nothing.
The countdown continues with each minute getting closer and closer. And I’m still no nearer a solution; an answer, than I was a week ago despite all the thinking. Believe me, thinking may not technically hurt the brain but it can give you a massive headache all the same.
So here I am – stuck in one big rut with no answer and whopping great big deadline looming – have I impressed upon you how seriously important this deadline is?
It feels like the sword of Damocles about to fall.
And what really bugs me is that I want so much to meet this deadline. To achieve what needs to be achieved. It IS my goal, my dream, if you like. I want to do it. But right now I feel a bit of a failure. II am lost. I have no idea of how to do what needs to be done by the deadline. The true irony is that it used to be so easy. Once I would have looked at the others struggling and wondered how they could find it so hard when really it was so easy. Now, I understand. Thoughts elude me, solutions appear then vanish into the ether – worthless. Still I persevere. This dream is mine and I am not going to give it up.
“It’s the final countdown….”
Perhaps my Guardian Angel up there will take pity on me and help me find my answers. Possibly its beyond even the skills of an Angel. I idly wonder if Angels have deadlines too.
Of course none of this really matters and it’s not really helping but what else can I do? If you could think of something, please let me know. All ideas gratefully received right now. Any ideas…anything?
Right now, I’ve progressed from the desk to outside. Yes, I’ve moved. Maybe a change in location will provide the inspiration I need. After its lunchtime and sitting in the courtyard is very pleasant this time of year. The sun is beating down on my back, warm and comforting, and I find myself wishing that all I had on my mind was sitting in the sun. Heck – I really wish I had more time. Another week perhaps would be nice. Or would I remain in the same position – still searching for my answers; still frustrated. Maybe another week wouldn’t be all that helpful.
Now if only I could borrow Hermione’s Gizmo, you know, the one that let her be in two places at once. Then I could have my week over again and that would work better. It would be a cool trick though – being in two places at once. I think most of us could use it at time. The Harry Potter Series were good movies although personally I like the Twilight Saga. It was that Confederate Officer, Jasper, that I thought sweet with his gorgeous accent and he didn’t appear to brood on his short-comings like Edward did. Now I can just image your indignation – fancy preferring Jasper over Edward or even Jacob. How could you? Well, actually it wasn’t hard. Wonder what that makes me? Weird perhaps?
See, how easily I get distracted from my task at hand. The warm sun, the remembrance of a fun book & movie and another half an hour has passed. And the countdown is approaching faster than a speeding bullet…
It is incredibly frustrating because I have a dream and this was my start on the road to fulfillment. This is something I want so much to do and be able to do and now the countdown is on. And all I can do is struggle to find what is needed within myself to complete this so important mission.
It needs to be done now…there is no more time left…and sadly no great inspiration that has enlightened my path forward so all I can do is tell you my tale and wonder if anyone else out there feels exactly like I feel right now.
When inspiration fades away
And time too fast does fly
Writing contests wait for none
So here’s my reason why
This tale has turned a little strange
For Inspiration’s deserted me
All I could write on this page
Was my writer’s block, you see.
But I take heart for in the Spring
Another chance will come
To share a story with you all
But for now this tale is done.