And so I’ve made it (in mathematical terms) 2/9s of the way through my placement and today was ‘deadline day’…
I can just hear the faint palpitations of journalists’ across the world at the mention of ‘the D word‘, and in typical deadline day fashion, there was more drama than in an episode of Corrie!
On arrival, I was acutely aware of a member of the public screeching down the earpiece of Mike’s phone about some life-or-death-advert for his ‘multi-million pound pigeon sausage business’.
(I joke. I don’t in fact know why the man was in uproar. However, if he did in fact have a pigeon sausage business I’m sure he’d be on the front of the paper, never mind having to advertise, and he’d be hailed the local hero as pigeons are about as popular as the tax man around here.)
My friend’s dad shoots the ones that land on his TV arial on the roof of their house and subsequently poop all over his car, with the aid of a laser gun (and with pin-point precision may I add!) Much like how Lee Evans tells his ‘fire alarm’ routine, I half-expect to walk in one day to him bent over his latest kill, and with a nervous twitch in his right eye declare: “I KILLED IT! I KILLED IT!”
Anyway, I digress…
With years of experience behind him, Mike managed to worm his way out of a threatened lawsuit in a way only a married man could.
But after the heated phone call, the stress in the office could be cut only with a fine cheese wire, and so I thought it best not to pester Mike for a story while I waited for some woman to phone regarding a ‘walking bus record attempt’…and so instead I scoured the internet for weird and wonderful Guinness World Record attempts, until nearly an hour had passed by and Mike suddenly realised I was there and subsequently thrust a handful of press releases and warbled a few potential ‘leads’ at me, while I scribbled them down so fast sparks flew from my trusty papermate <3<3<3.
One of the most promising leads was about the Government’s proposed plans to cut the current drink-driving limit by half in the coming year. Mike wanted me to contact local alcohol-type businesses and members of the public to spice the piece up a bit.
I immediately thought of the ‘alcohol and drugs misuse community group’ that is ran from a building just down the road from our offices, and so I decided to give them a ring.
I wish i hadn’t.
‘Arsey’ Woman (you’ll understand why in a minute): “hello ‘bla bla bla centre'”
Me: “Hi I’m Natalie from the Chase Post”
‘Arsey’ Woman: “mm”
Me: “We’re covering the recent announcement that the Government plans to cut the drink-driving limit by half and I was wondering if I could get a quote from someone there or from yourself on the matter, just a sentence or so.”
‘Arsey’ Woman: “I don’t understand what your on about.”
(I repeated myself, with added details so as she couldn’t be ‘confused’ again)
‘Arsey Woman: “well how am I suppose to know anything about that?!”
*thought*: because you work at the f****n alcohol misuse prevention team!!!
Now I don’t normally let arsey members of the public annoy me, as I work on the Customer Service Desk at my local supermarket, and customers with complaints about being over-charged by a penny and complaining about cookies when there aren’t any left in the packet to analyse is my forté … but she was just something else!
Having bled enough usable words out of her to string a sentence together, I cracked on with the rest of my work, and I could sense the tension of the foreboding deadline at 1430 was upon us.
Suddenly the inevitable happened …
RING RING RING RING RING RING RING!!….
Mike: it isn’t?!….
Juss: it is.
Yep, it was the fire bell.
Silently, I looked about the office of people, who continued their work, apparently unaware of the alarm, and so I continued to do the same.
Mike: “I’m not going. This is ridiculous”
There was a general mumble in agreement from the other staff, but the boss was approaching…
“come on, the sooner we’re out, the sooner we can come back in.”
Mike: “I’m not going”
Adamant to soldier on, he took some convincing. Semmingly keen to ‘sink with his ship’, just like like the white-bearded chap in Titanic. My mind started to wonder and i imagined him, chaining himself to his monitor, while screaming “save yourselves!” as 6 foot flames licked at the only exit.
After a further 5 minutes or so, and with the threat from the boss that if she died because he refused to leave, and consequently render her children orphans, she would come back to haunt him, and the last few dribbled out of the office.
According to Charlotte, it has a knack of going off on a Wednesday when they’re at their most busiest, although she had a theory someone had a secret vendetta against The Post and set it off every Wednesday, although it did incur a lovely half hour in the glorious sunshine, and an equally-nice ‘ogle’ at the firefighters who turned up to tackle the imaginary fire.
Once we were released back into the office the tension subdued somewhat, and as far as I’m aware, the whole paper got to print ok and so everyone relaxed.
I was even allowed to get off just after three, which was a nice gesture, considering I had to start my part-time job at 5:30, and so I grabbed a cheeky Maccies on route home, scoffed my face, and had a nap beforehand.