OK, say I, how big, and how soon?
About 12 pages. By tomorrow. As in today.
OK, this I can do. It's money, after all.
So at 11.15 there's a zip archive landing in my home directory. Lots and lots of pdf files. Guh-reat. Editing PDF files is not something I like.
And it's been written - I shall be diplomatic here - by someone whose primary craft is not writing. There's not one paragraph - barely even a sentence - in the whole thing that doesn't need some fixing.
So I slog, and slog, and cuss a while, and slog some more, but at least this is bread and butter work. Jus gets home about 3am, I cook him some supper and prepare to discuss the document. Little things like who's responsible for the abomination, and why the deadline's so tight, and if Mark (the Big Boss) wants little freelance me to do this kind of thing again I'll appreciate it if I could have a deadline more than 9 hours away, just so I don't end up having to charge him 'you scumbag' extras :)
Who's responsible? Ah, it kind of got put together by some people...
It's going to the printers tomorrow, then? Uh, actually it went to the printers today, but, you know, there's always a little time to do small changes.
Small changes? the whole thing's a wreck! Mark had better be nice to me...
Except. This Wasn't Mark's Idea. This Was Jus's Idea. He'd seen one of the pages about 9.30pm and realised there were some fairly glaring problems with the document (frex, not distinguishing between 'least' and 'leased'), so he asked me if I'd fix it.
I was halfway through the first iteration of correcting page eight by then and hating every word. The realisation that I'd probably just done all that work for NOTHING... no contract, not even a verbal agreement, just a boyfriend who knows how good I am with documents. Gaaaah. Gaaaah, I say again. And thrice Gaaaah.
I admit it, here and now, I'm officially Too Nice To Live. I finished the work with as much diligence and care as I'd used when I thought I was actually going to get paid for it, because I value quality in what I do.
There are two outcomes, I think, that could turn up. In one, Mark realises that I've turned an embarrassingly shoddy text into something fairly decent (to do a good job would take more than six hours, believe me) and he might even cough up the thirty quid an hour I charge for this kind of work; in the other he acknowledges that I do damn good work and that he'd better be putting some work my way in the near future, because morally He Owes Me Big.
What'll probably happen is that my labour gets the Not Written Here treatment, the printer prints the uncorrected PDFs, and I writhe every time I see a copy of that booklet with every little uncorrected flaw radiating malevolently at me.
And so to bed.