Ask a busy person

You’ve probably heard the saying: “If you want something done, ask a busy person.”

Here’s some of my job list from today:

  • finishing my story for the Authors of Main Street box set
  • getting ready to go spend a week at our daughter’s place looking after her three children while she takes a much needed holiday
  • meeting realtors to choose a new one after the house has sat on the market for far too long (and it’s Spring, so a great time to sell, with all the fruit trees in blossom)
  • having coffee with the person who runs Featherston Booktown about my ideas for events in the next two years
  • finalising plans for the physical book launch of my novel at a local shop in two weeks
  • sending my three most recent books for deposit at our National Library
  • organising transport for our disabled son to take him too and from his national camp at the end of the month
  • fixing a mistake on the cover of the Bluestocking Belles’ box set that has just gone on pre-release
  • updating my books on Nielsen’s book table.

So by all means, ask a busy person. But the answer is no.

Here’s a wee bit from my Authors of Main Street story, The Gingerbread Caper.

Meg climbed the stairs, fishing for the keys she’d tucked into her jeans pocket.

Patrick was good-looking in a geeky kind of a way—tall, dark hair that needed a trim, earnest blue-grey eyes. He was lean to gauntness, but that would be the glandular fever. According to Aunt Margaret, he’d gone back to work before he was well enough, and suffered a relapse, so he was leaving Wellington so he wouldn’t be able to overdo things again.

Damn Aunt Margaret. When she told Meg about the lodger, she managed to make him sound old, feeble, and innocuous. “He’s something in government, sweetie,” she said. “A clerk. Something like that. He has had glandular fever, poor thing, which is difficult at his age. He needs somewhere to finish convalescing. He lives with a family who have children, and he isn’t finding it restful.”

At his age, my bony left foot. Patrick was no older than her, late twenties or early thirties. Even gaunt from his illness, even standoffish, he was hot. A clerk? Aunt Margaret’s ‘Something like that’ translated as senior policy analyst. He was cagey about what that actually meant. As if I was being nosey! She was, of course. Old journalist habits die hard.

He stumbled on the top step, and caught himself with a hand on her hip, snatching it away with a muttered apology as even the tips of his ears turned red. In another guy, she’d suspect a pass, but Patrick had already proved a klutz. Was that a result of the illness, too?

“No problem,” she told him. “This door is yours. Mine—or, rather, Aunt Margaret’s—is on the other side of the landing.” She turned the key while she spoke, and swung the door open onto the small flat—an open-plan living area and kitchen, a pocket-handkerchief bathroom, and a bedroom just big enough for a Queen-sized bed and a couple of bedside cabinets.

“I’ll leave you to it. There’s tea and coffee on the bench, and milk in the fridge.” She waved towards the kitchen, where a welcome basket of baking and another of fruit waited by the kettle, coffee plunger, and teapot. Canisters of tea and coffee bags lined the shelf above the bench. “Come down whenever you like. Dinner is at 6.30pm, if that’s okay. Aunt has a folder of ‘Things to Do’. It’s on the coffee table.” Another wave.

“Thank you. I’ll be fine, I’m sure.”

He had a sexy American accent: Canadian or US—she had trouble guessing, sometimes. Probably the States. They had a reputation for good manners.

Did she need to tell him anything else? She thought about it while he waited, watching her with just a hint of apprehension, as if she might suddenly do something alarming.

“Okay, then,” she said, breaking the silence. “See you later.”

As she turned to leave, Mr. Major slipped past her ankles and streaked across the room to disappear into the bedroom.

“Drafted cat! Sorry about that. I’ll just get rid of him for you.”

“You can leave him if you want,” Patrick said. “I like cats.”

“No one likes Mr. Major,” Meg warned. “Mr. Major is a fiend from hell.” The counter bell rang—someone was in the shop and young Emma was 30 minutes late getting back from lunch. “I have to go,” she said. The man was a grown-up. She left him to the tender mercies of Mr. Major, the cat-monster, and hurried back downstairs.

3 thoughts on “Ask a busy person

  1. I’ve always loved that quote. I seemed to accomplish so much more when I had to write while the kids were in school and I had limited hours to myself. I feel busier as a retired person than I ever did during the mommy years.

    Liked by 1 person

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