|Edmonton snored quietly in the corner, a cup of carrot juice held loosely in his hand, just on the edge of tipping out, but not quite. Rosalie Rabbit stood in the doorway and looked around, before walking in with a determined look on her face.|
The downsizing of the EBD unit had been necessary over the past few years, what with so many drabble authors having to reluctantly attend to real life. The current set of authors were also so much better behaved now that there just wasn't the need for so many staff. Budget cuts meant that there had been some painful but necessary reductions in staff numbers. The Beecharmer bunnies in particular had been hard hit, and sadly their low attention spans and tolerance for boredom led them away from the EBD unit, one by one, and drabbles drifted into nowhere. The Big Brother Chalet School Edition bunnies had been trapped for months in a war with the Story Awareness Snails, until even Edmonton had given up hope that any resumption of normal service was possible. Rosalie Rabbit was so unused to story failure that she had taken it quite badly, and had taken a much needed leave of absence, returning today to find things seemed to have been hugely neglected in her absence.
She tutted and moved a box under the edge of Edmonton's cup, to catch any drips, then left his office, and made her way to the desk of her second in command, Ribert, a harrassed looking hare with paper cuts all down his paws.
"I'm so glad you are back, he WILL insist still on having his e-mails printed out for him" Ribert gibbered slightly as he guestured towards the pile of paper built up and around his desk. "Then he doesn't always read them, but I don't know which ones he hasn't read, and I don't think I'm cut out for office work, and ..."
Rosalie patted his shoulder reassuringly and suggested that he go and get himself some Cabbage Pie, and think about whether he wanted to go back to field work, or thought he could cope with his old job in the Bunny Allocation centre better. He nodded and blinked back tears before giving her a most unexpected hug.
"Oh I'm so glad you did come back!" He said before hurrying off in case she changed her mind. Rosalie smiled, then looked at the paper mountain with a frown.
"Polkadot?" She called over the piles of rabbit reports and attendance sheets. "You there?"
A tiny white and brown speckled rabbit peeked out from a gap in the piles.
"Rosalie! I thought I heard your voice ! How are you?"
"All the better for a break" said Rosalie with a slightly forced cheeriness. "Do me a favour will you, get any bunnies not on active duty in here and get them to take this over to the shredding room. Free bedding for anyone that wants some, waive even the shredding fees, we need to get rid of this little lot I feel!"
Polkadot grinned widely and went off with a happier hop and a jump than she had had for a while. Oh it was good to see Rosalie back ! She was the only one who could control grumpy old Edmonton, and his insistence on everything in triplicate and on paper had made work a living nightmare recently.
Rosalie looked at the overflowing e-mail inbox and sighed, if she tried to catch up with that little lot then she wouldn't finish until next christmas. With a tiny feeling of dread, just in case there really had been anything vital there, she deleted the lot without looking at them. Right. A nice clean inbox for a true fresh start, she thought.
Tapping her intercom button, she sent a message out for all Department Heads to report in, and then sat back waiting for them to arrive. Their glee at her return was rewarding, however she was experienced enough to know that it was because they wanted her to solve all their problems for them. No. Not this time, she told herself firmly. She would advise, and help, but no more doing everyone else's jobs for them. No.
She listened to the Heads bicker, and finally felt that she had got enough of a picture to stop them in their flow of chatter.
"So actually it sounds pretty organised then" she said brightly, and they all looked at each other doubtfully, unsure whether to be pleased or worried. They didn't FEEL organised, but it was pleasant to hear some positive feedback, Edmonton had been tending to either ignoring problems or getting into mad panics about little things.
"As I see it, we have quite an organised lot of drabblers at the moment" Rosalie continued, leafing through the active drabble dossiers. "Some excellent battling with paperweights and time travel going on in the cross-over department ..."
Three resourceful looking female bunnies looked pleased, the combination of Sister Fidelma, Nell and Hilda was an unlikely one, but they had been pleased with the results.
"... Things seem to be going brilliantly with Meg and Co too, although I'm rather worried about her and D-Day coming up soon, I hope there isn't too much angst heading our way?" Rosalie said, with a nod to the head of the Scottish department. They replied with something she assumed was positive, and was reassured by her assistant that Shesings always did provide a translation, even if the bunnies themselves didn't always remember to explain. She nodded and smiled in their direction, hoping that it was the right answer.
"Been lots of work for the Scandinavians - sorry - Finn's bunnies by the looks of things" she mused, " Although I'm quite concerned about this love triangle thing going on. Just remember to keep the Beecharmer bunnies out of the way while Tristan and Susie's possible romance is going on, there is far too much Matty and Tristan shipping going on, it's not helpful!
Some of the male Beecharmer bunnies looked disappointed, but nodded agreement. She softened slightly, and suggested they had a try for Nell and Con having a chance. "You never know, after all. Just don't be disappointed if she refuses to give any of you happy endings, I warn you that is quite possible!"
"There seems to have been some interesting takes on being at the Chalet School in modern times, views of the afterlife and changes of direction for Chalet School characters, well done everybody, nothing seems too untoward here..." Rosalie looked through and heaved a sigh of relief. " I can see why you have been promoted to Section Heads Daphne and Mortimer, with not just TB to think about, been a couple of close shaves there for Jo, and a tough time for Jack but looks like they are on the mend... Congratulations on getting her through the birth, that must have been a difficult time. Ok everybody that looks good, carry on... Just routine office tasks I think need sorting out now ... Except..."
The Heads had begun to sense an end to the meeting, and start to stand up, but her tone made them freeze and turn to her. For a non albino bunny, she had the whitest face that any of them had seen. She looked up in horror, before pointing to a sleeping allocation sheet. They looked at the names of the sections she was pointing to and each in turn, and the more experienced of them blanched and started to verbally back away from any responsibility.
Rosalie finally regained the power of speech. She brandished the piece of paper and started barking orders for staff to be immediately reassigned to different locations. In the noise and confusion, Edmonton woke up and came out, wiping carrot juice off his trousers and demanding to know what was going on. On being told, he looked at the sheet and admitted that he was the one who had rearranged the bunkhouses.
"Economy measure, no need for such big distances between platoons, what is all the fuss about?" He barked. Much as he was glad to see Rosalie, he wasn't going to give up command that easily, despite the fact that he knew she really was better at it all. It was his unit after all.
Rosalie fixed him with a glare, and motioned into his office. Once behind closed doors, she told him exactly what she thought of his economy measures.
"Did you even notify the section heads?" She finished, and he mumbled something about a written memo. He was still defiant and defensive until her last sentence finally got through to him, and he looked green, understanding what a close call they had had.
"You have put Vick's bunnies in the same quarters as Ruth's..." She said through gritted teeth. "What do we all know young rabbits like to do? Mate. Do you have ... ANY ... Idea what sort of consequences that would have for Jack and Jo, mixing Ruth and Vick bunnies? Not to mention the fact that you have them both there, surrounded by a lot of wartime and battle bunnies with major angst potential? It would be a massacre ! Now. Do you approve my reallocating the funds to get the separate buildings back?"
As he thought about the cascade of gay drabbles that had resulted from the various Sapphic bunnies being in close proximity over past years, and then thought about the chaos that always ensued when a main character was killed or badly maimed in a drabble, Edmonton nodded weakly.
"Um... Yes... See your point" he mumbled. "Carry on Rosalie, I'll, um be in my office."
Rosalie rolled her eyes and then busied out into her own domain again. Really, it was nice to be needed, but what had Edmonton been thinking! No sense, some rabbits. No sense at all.