Title: Out Sick
Author email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Author webpage: http://edie22.livejournal.com/ Category: Humor
Rating: PG for language
Disclaimer: I don't own a whole lot, and if you take away my Michael Shrine I will cry.
Summary: if everyone calls in sick, can Lex deal? Notes: adellyna gave me a challenge "I want a slice of life fic, from Lex's POV, Where an epidemic is going around smallville and half the office staff for the Plant call in sick and he has to run around like a crazy man all day, filing, answering phones, and doing crazy, office scum shit like that. I want it funny, and endearing, and NO SEX."
He used to think that he was lucky. He used to think that just because he didn't get sick like everyone else that he was somehow better off, better than the 'normal' people that had the sniffling and sneezing of allergies and colds. He never had stomach issues or even worried about anything more than a headache after his father visited.
Those thoughts all came crashing down today.
It seemed most of the plant staff had called in sick. Well, he assumed that they had all called in sick. He wasn't about to check everyone's voice mail, and the only one that had called in to him was his personal secretary. Last year, she hadn't called in sick once, so Lex figured she must be pretty bad off.
When he'd gotten her call, he'd called Nell's shop to have a nice 'Get-Well-Soon' bouquet to be delivered, but no one had answered there. Maybe Nell was sick too.
He called Gabe's office. He didn't answer. He called Gabe's secretary, Charlotte. No answer there either. He got up and went down to the older man's office, and it was empty. He thought Gabe would have called him. Maybe he was too sick.
As he walked around, he didn't see many people. He was really glad that he didn't believe in science fiction books like "The Stand" or in things like alien abduction.
He didn't know how many times he had accidentally buzzed Jenny's desk to have her come in and do something for him before he remembered she wasn't there. He needed several reports faxed and three letters typed and sent, and he really needed some coffee.
By 2:00, he decided he couldn't put it off any longer. It was time to face the office equipment. He stood in front of the machine and stared at all the buttons. "Ok, Lex," he said to himself. "You can figure this out. Years of schooling, and degrees, and you're supposed to be a genius."
Did he have to dial '9' to get the thing to dial? Did he have to put the papers in face up? Or face down? Was there some kind of code that ultimately enabled him to fax? Some number that only Jenny knew?
Lex slammed his fist down on the table the machine was sitting on. He glanced around quickly. Well, with everyone sick, at least no one could see his little 'emotional outbursts.'
He managed to type up his own letters. That wasn't really a problem, except for time. But today, he seemed to have all the time in the world. There were no calls being put through, so no one to talk to. When he stood in front of the postage machine, he stared at it for a good twenty minutes when he realized he didn't even know how much it cost to send a letter. He wanted this one to be delivered the next day. Was that more? Was there a special envelope? Was there a secret to getting the machine turned on in the first place?
Once he finally got the thing turned on, it kept blinking and asking for a validation code. He owned the stupid machine. Why wasn't that enough?
It was beginning to be ridiculous. Lex thought about just driving to Metropolis and hand delivering the letter.
When his cell-phone started ringing, he flipped it open and without checking the number, just snapped, "What?" into the phone.
"Yes, Lex. I'm sorry I didn't call earlier to let you know I was sick."
"Gabe, yeah, it's fine. A lot of people aren't here. Are you feeling any better?"
"Not really. Chloe didn't go to school today either, and she said Pete and his family are sick too."
"What's going on? Did everyone get food poisoning or something?"
Gabe seemed to be thinking about it. "That's certainly a possibility. There was a back-to-school picnic yesterday for the kids and their parents. It could have been the potato salad."
"Hey, Gabe, do you know how to work this postage machine?"
"Charlotte usually does that kind of thing for me. Is Jenny out sick too?"
"Yeah. It's deserted here. You don't happen to know where the Anderson file is? I've been looking for it all day."
"Sorry, I don't know where that is either, Lex. I'll try to be in tomorrow."
Lex slammed the phone shut, thrusting it in his pocket as he said, "Yeah, Gabe. Thanks. You were no help."
He sighed and trudged back to his office. Angry that simple office machines had gotten the better of him, he tried to calm himself.
He fished his cell from his pants and dialed.
"Kent farm, can I help you?"
"Of course, what's with the formal phone thing?"
"That's how my mom always answers the phone during the day. She and dad are sick so I stayed home do the chores, and help with the orders that come in."
"Yeah, most of the plant is sick too."
"But you're fine?"
"Yeah, I wasn't at that picnic yesterday. Gabe said that it was probably the potato salad from that thing you guys had at the school yesterday. Hey, I have a favor to ask. I need some flowers delivered to my secretary."
"Why? What'd you do?"
"No, she's out sick. She didn't miss any work last year, so I wanted to send her a bouquet."
"Well, I could shove a handful of flowers in a vase, but I really don't think that's what you want."
"Maybe I can order them online."
"That might be better, but don't tell my mom I refused a sale." Lex could almost hear him grinning into the phone.
"Right. Well, when you get a chance, you can bring over some vegetables, and then you don't have to worry."
"Thanks, Lex. Good luck with the flowers."
Lex closed his phone again and looked at his computer screen. He managed to get the flowers ordered, and he visited the postal service's website and figured out the cost of sending his letter.
He decided a quick call to Jenny wouldn't be out of line. He got the codes for the fax and the postal machine and even got an approximate location on the Anderson file he'd been looking for all day.
Things were looking up.
Until he needed some copies. He figured it should be reasonably easy. The codes he'd used on the fax machine worked in this one as well. He hit the 'copy' button. The light moved across the glass, he was almost proud of himself for figuring out how to do it without help. But then there was a noise. A little dinging alarm and something was flashing on the display.
He could follow instructions. The display walked him through on how to dislodge paper. But it didn't work. Three little dings. He found himself slamming the doors and talking to it. "Come on, you stupid thing. Make my copy."
It didn't seem to be listening. Lex sighed in frustration. He turned around and left everything where it was. Jenny could fix it tomorrow. He really hoped she was well enough to come in then. He thought about giving her a raise.
There was a stack of things on his desk that needed to be copied, faxed and then filed away. The elaborate filing system was completely beyond him. He remembered he'd been looking for a file earlier.
When he'd asked Jenny about the Anderson file, she'd said something about color-coding and a lateral file. He tried looking himself, but when it wasn't in the first drawer he looked in, Lex slammed it shut. It shook almost violently, and threatened to fall over on him.
"Wonderful, Lex. Get trapped under office furniture. That'd be great. I wonder if Clark would save me." Lex thought to himself.
It was nearing three o'clock, and Lex decided to give up on the file. He wasn't looking through every drawer.
When Lex made it back to his office, he sat down at his desk and looked around. Nothing had been accomplished. He'd managed to fax one thing and while he had the code for the postage machine, he hadn't gotten it to actually do anything. It made a loud whirring noise but despite him pressing all the buttons, nothing worked. It just kept whirring.
And he couldn't even make a simple copy.
He could come up with complicated chemistry formulas, make compounds in his lab that others could barely fathom, but filing was obviously too much for him.
He wondered if Lionel could make a copy.
Lex snorted in disgust at himself. He powered down his computer and started putting things away. He thought about taking things home, but decided that he probably wouldn't accomplish anything anyway.
He needed a drink and something to eat. Lex decided that if everyone was sick again tomorrow, he staying home.
As he left, Lex cursed that which was the root of all of his problems. Goddamn potato salad.
Also, why not join
Level Three, the Smallville all-fic list?