The Devil's Lettuce Strikes Back
rating: +7+x

Senior Researcher X. made himself a cup of coffee. The aroma smelled nice and he took a moment to bask in the bitter nutty smell. Leaning against the counter, he sighed and looked over at the stack of folders on his desk. He always preferred prints of the junior researchers' submissions to edit first. There were plenty of things wrong. It was easier this way- far more tactile to edit.

He yawned and put both milk and vitamin supplement in his coffee. He was getting old and his back hurt from years of editing these damned papers. Even if he had used a computer all of these years to do the edits, his back would still hurt.

Opening the first manilla folder, he read the abstract and sighed. Already there were numerous numerical errors and spelling mistakes.

He took off his glasses and cleaned them, Surely I'm seeing things. Do they even give these a few looks over before sending them to me? he pondered, Or do they just send them to me cold.

He blew on his hot coffee and took a sip. Errors in their calculations were always the easiest for him to correct. Those corrective calculations he made and after an hour he had gotten through twenty-four folders. His back was stiff again, and his cup was empty.

He poured himself another.

Reading more papers, making more blue marks, his eyes glazed over.

‘They’re’ instead of ‘there’? Really? That’s any easy one Junior Researcher… he flipped the paper over to see the name, …Davis, he scoffed, adjusted his glasses and edited out the offending term in blue ink.

Junior Researcher Davis' maths was incorrect. Horribly so. Senior Researcher X. groaned. Tonight just wasn’t his night. He took a drink from his coffee and crunched the numbers on Junior Researcher Davis’ paper. Regardless how good, quick and efficient Senior Researcher X. was with correcting the calculations tonight, his mind felt like it was melting.

He sighed and took another drink. Surprisingly, it was empty, Oh for heaven’s sake, he stood up to get more. His canister was empty and he brewed another. While he waited he mocked the junior researchers, They are terrible tonight. What in the name of Hades happened?

His canister finished brewing and he resumed work. Milk, vitamin, coffee, ink and papers. Repeat.

Calculation errors, upon calculation errors, It’s a wonder the Site-███'s staff hasn’t had a breach in the last month, what with all of the deplorable files they keep submitting, he drank his coffee.

Pausing for a moment, in an attempt to relax, he took a sniff of the heavenly vapours.

Maybe I should switch to black, he thought to himself. He opened another folder. Errors greeted him, he fiercely laughed, Nah! and took a sip.

More blue ink, more calculations. Too many calculations. Too much coffee. Repeat.

Should I take a break? he absentmindedly thought.

Feeling haggard, he started to make errors with the edits. Senior Researcher X. couldn’t continue on like this. He drank more coffee, continued and after four hours he had gone through one-hundred and sixty-eight folders. The office was grey and his head felt heavy.

Only a little over a hundred folders? he sighed and drank. Once again, it was empty.

Unfocused, yet hyper-fixated, he stared at the bottom of the empty cup. He shook his head. Eyes glazed over, he gazed at the paper in front of him. He pushed up his glasses.

Are those my edits?

The room spun as his head came crashing down on the desk. As he blacked out he thought, I need to stop pushing myself so hard.

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