As Grammar Smith walked down the hallway of the old, high-ceilinged
building, she saw officers in crime scene gear shuffling in and out of the door at the far end. Occasional flashes punctuated the hallway.
A woman clutching a manuscript to her chest sobbed on one bench while another, looking bored
and impatient, sat on another.
“It’s a real massacre,” Dis Connect murmured in Grammar’s ear. “I haven’t seen anything like this since Stephen King blew through.”
Grammar poked her head in the door. The room was a typical editing office: desks, computers, reference books, and a giant coffee maker. Typical except for the puddles of non-repro blue ink and bodies of bloated phrases everywhere.
Grammar took Dis off to the side. “Give me the breakdown.”
“Ten due to the fact thats, 32 nowadays, 257 unnecessary uses of the verb to be, 88 and alsos, 19 we as human beings, and an it was a dark and stormy night.”
“Have you interviewed the witnesses?”
Dis colored. “Um, well, Ms. Scrivener was so upset, I figured I’d let her calm down a bit.”
Chicken! Grammar thought as she sat next to Ms. Scrivener. Patting the woman’s hand, Grammar asked, “Can you tell me what happened?”
“It was horrible! The ink everywhere! Phrases lying around! Look at my baby!” The writer thrust the crumpled, damp manuscript at Grammar. “It’s half what it was when I brought it in here. This place is a charnel house.”
“Oh, give me a break!” the woman from the other bench said. “That manuscript’s a thousand times more readable now.”
“And you are?” Grammar asked.
“Tweakly Fine-Tune. I run this business.”
“There’s no sign of a forced entry. Do you have any idea how the perpetrator got in?”
“Probably over the transom,” Ms. Fine-Tune said pointing to the open glass panel above the door.
“Yes, it looks like the Sentence Samurai has been here,” Grammar said to Dis.
“Hey, Lieutenant,” Ms. Fine-Tune said. “When will you folks be done? I’ve got to get rid of that stench of passive voice and get back to work.”