Lighten our darkness . . .

10 Jan

THE paper has been put to bed. Most of the office lights have been switched off and the shadows creep ever nearer. Only me and Leek Man remain on the subs desk as the early hours settle on the roofs of Nitherley.

Wandering towards us from the only other pool of light in the office, like the alien in the final scenes of Close Encounters, is Middle Tom, the late duty reporter, clutching a piece of paper.

He asks: “What’s our house style for the word ‘affect’ – do we use affect or effect?”

We look at him blankly.

He continues: “Y’know. Like, we spell protestor with an ‘o’ not protester with an ‘e’. Do we have a preference for affect with an ‘a’ or effect with an ‘e’? Or does it not matter?”

Leek Man scratches his head and says: “They’re two separate words. Affect is a verb and effect is a noun. When you affect something, the result is the effect. Broadly speaking.”

Pause.

“Oh, right.”

Middle Tom wanders slowly back towards the newsdesk saying: “I’m in the wrong job, here. I’ve always had trouble with the English language.”

He is consumed by his pool of light, and that spooky Spielberg music starts. We leave the building hastily because it looks like they’ve found a new way to eliminate us.

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