Polished Opening Scene - Sierra Grayson

Polished Opening Scene - Sierra Grayson - student project

ORIGINAL SCENE

Serena’s eyes dart across the screen of her desktop computer. She finds the cell she’s been looking for and double-clicks into it to type the new number, muttering to herself that the freaking formula should have done this for her. She’s been working on this same project since Monday - it’s Wednesday, and the thing is due by the end of the week.

    Crunching numbers has never been a strong point for her, and the spreadsheet she’s working on now basically demands it. Or well, her lack of skills with formulas in Excel demands it. Every time she clicks somewhere, a formula breaks, and she’s forced to do the math herself. When did it become difficult for her to use a computer?

To make matters worse, the work she’s doing in this spreadsheet isn’t even supposed to be for her. She’s reminded of it every time she looks at the file name - “End of Quarter Review - M. Stanley” appears at the top of the sheet. Madison Stanley, the company’s business manager, has been away in Cabo for two weeks now. Madison’s work on the quarterly numbers has been deferred to Serena - for who the hell knows what reason. That kind of stuff happens all the time at that place.

    Ding! A new message pings on Serena’s Outlook calendar. When she sees the event, her heart drops. A red line is crossed through the original project deadline of Friday at noon, and red type has replaced that date with a new one - today at four o’clock.

    A sliver of ice sits on her chest, and Serena reels as she recognizes that she will not be able to complete this spreadsheet that soon. She’s had this job for all of a month, and already she won’t be able to complete something to her boss’s wishes.

    Maybe they’ll change it again - maybe it was a mistake! Serena thinks, staring at the red date and time contrasting the white of her screen. Okay, it probably wasn’t a mistake… She toys with the idea of asking her boss to get someone to help her - someone better at Excel formulas! Again, her mind drifts back to only having gotten this job a month ago and not wanting to upset her boss already. She decides not to bring it up at all.

    And then three o’clock rolls around.

    “Serena,” Garret says, announcing himself as he saunters over to her desk. He’s the VP of the company - and her boss. “How’s that spreadsheet coming? It’s due at four!”

    She swallows the spit currently forming a lump in her throat and says, “I’m honestly not sure if I can get it done by then Garret. It’s a lot of numbers and -”

    He shoots his pointer finger in the air and shakes his head, confused and concerned. “You can’t get it done by the deadline?” he asks. “Why did I give this project to you if you weren’t going to be able to get it done by the deadline? And why didn’t you say something before?”

    “I’m sorry, I’ll help you find someone who’ll be better at this stuff and can get it done faster!”

    “No, you won’t be helping me with anything. You’re fired.”

 

POLISHED SCENE

Serena’s eyes dart across the screen of her desktop computer. She finds the cell she’s been looking for and clicks into, editing a new number and muttering to herself that the freaking formula should have done this for her. She’s been working on this same project since Monday - it’s Wednesday, and the whole thing is due by the end of the week.

    Crunching numbers has never been a strong point for her. Serena’s lack of skills with formulas in Excel demands constant attention to those numbers. Every time she clicks somewhere, a formula breaks, and she’s forced to do the math herself. When did it become difficult for her to use a computer?

The work she’s doing in this spreadsheet isn’t even supposed to be part of her job. She’s reminded of this every time she looks at the file name - “End of Quarter Review - M. Stanley” appears at the top of the sheet. Madison Stanley, the company’s business manager, has been away in Cabo for two weeks. The company deferred Madison’s work on the quarterly numbers to Serena - for who the hell knows what reason. “Deferment of work” - especially to Serena - happens all the time in this office.

    Ding! Serena’s Outlook calendar pings with a new message. When she sees an event change, her chest tightens. A red line crosses out the original project deadline of Friday at noon, and red type has replaced the date with a new one - today at four o’clock.

    An ice bucket on fire weighs on her chest, and Serena reels, knowing she will not be able to complete this spreadsheet today. She’s been in this job for all of a month, and already she won’t be able to complete something to her boss’s wishes?

    Maybe they’ll change it again - maybe it was a mistake! Serena thinks, staring at the red date and time contrasting the white of her screen. Okay, it probably wasn’t a mistake… She toys with the idea of asking her boss to get someone to help her - someone better at Excel formulas! Again, her mind drifts back to only having gotten this job a month ago and not wanting to upset her boss. She decides not to bring it up at all.

    And then three o’clock rolls around.

    “Serena,” Garret says, announcing himself as he saunters over to her desk. He’s the VP of the company - and her boss. “How’s that spreadsheet coming? It’s due at four!”

    She swallows the spit forming a lump in her throat and says, “I’m honestly not sure if I can get it done by then Garret. It’s a lot of numbers and --”

    He stops her, his pointer finger in the air, and shakes his head, brows furrowed. “You can’t get it done by the deadline?” he asks. “Why did I give this project to you if you weren’t going to be able to get it done by the deadline? And why didn’t you say something before?”

    “I’m sorry, I’ll help you find someone who’ll be better at this stuff and can get it done faster! If we just--”

    “No, you won’t be helping me with anything… You’re fired, Serena.”