been there before

I don’t know why I let it happen every time. I think this is one of those things where I just don’t learn. This happens every year when I’m in this particular business. I’ve been in this situation too often and I’ve obviously not learned a single thing from it. My inbox is overflowing with commissions request. At the very least, unlike past years, I’m not going to just go ahead and accept them all. I’m not crazy, I’m not stupid.

That and I want to spend as much time as possible with Eoghan, to help him along with the converted church project. I’d feel that this is more important than these commissions but I know I can’t just turn them all away. I do this job for a living, so to speak, while I could turn it off without much of a thought, since I honestly don’t even need the money I make from it, I don’t. It’s not how this world works. When someone offers goods, they can just walk away as they might want to but it’s not exactly the best of ways to go about things, it’s actually a pretty shitty way to go about things.

When I woke up this morning, I didn’t expect to find my inbox jam-packed with so many emails. I check it every day. I suppose it might be because I set up the reminder on the website last night before I settled into bed, letting people know that I would only take commissions for one more week. I should have also written down that I wouldn’t take anything bigger than a certain size and nothing more detailed than my usual work.

Some of these requests are absolutely outrageous, I don’t see how people can believe this could be done in just a few hours. Some folks out there don’t seem to really think with their heads at all.

One of the email in particular was for a dozen life-sized skulls with filled in brain cavities. I suppose I could have managed that well enough in a week’s time or so but the guy was wanting them for the following day. For one, I don’t even have a skull mould. I would have needed to either create one or buy one and that would just add to everything else. Now if he’d asked for little skulls or just one of them, I could have sculpted one out of a huge chunk of chocolate but most certainly not a whole dozen of them, not even if the brain cavities hadn’t been requested as filled by something other than chocolate.

Eoghan was looking over my shoulder while I mulled over which commissions I could take and which I had to politely decline. He laughed as I opened up the skull one. “Does this guy think you do commercial work? I mean, does he think you’re a factory or something and he only has to tell you what he wants for you to somehow and magically send that information down to your workers and they’ll get it done in a blink?”

“Some people just see ‘you have one week left to order!’ and they forget everything else. That and they only think about their own needs. I don’t know what he wanted a dozen full-sized skulls for but I just can’t do that one.”

“Honestly, Lex. You need to stop getting yourself stuck in this situation every year.” His voice was soft, a light hint of teasing somewhere in there and I shrugged with a wry note. I knew it was my fault, I knew I should have set the deadline up earlier and I should have set clearer details. The attorney part of my brain was laughing at me for how poorly I’d set myself up. At least I’d set myself up this year, on my last year before I stopped and turned back to law I’d forgotten to set up the note to remind people that I wouldn’t be taking commissions during the holidays and I answered calls every single day without fail. I had to turn all of them down and eventually I just turned my phone off altogether.

When I checked my messages, the inbox was full and that was just another sad, sad day in my life where I flushed them all out without evening listening to them.

I’m not here to cater to the folks who seem to think that ‘last minute’ is a good time to request really complicated stuff that they could have thought about at least a couple of weeks earlier if not a month or two. I have taken commissions where the buyer asked me to hold on to the completed piece until a certain date where they’d then come by to pick it up. That much I can do and I do more than willingly. The rest, well not so much.

“Open this one, I want to see this one.” He was pointing at one email in particular, it’s title was ‘wedding favours’.

I opened it up, a little bit curious. I’ve done party favours before, little bags with four or five small pieces of stuffed chocolate inside but that had been about three dozen small bags and the request had come a month before it had been due.

“You’re kidding me.” Still standing over my shoulder, Eoghan scanned the email and scoffed at what he read. “Is this woman for real?”

She had to think she was, here was an email demanding, not even asking, to have four hundred boxes of mixed chocolate of a particular kind for her wedding over the holidays. She went on to describe what exactly she wanted in the chocolate and how exactly she wanted them done, not a single mention of when those were required until the very end of the email. At this point I’d figured that she might have wanted them around the twenty-fifth but no, she was demanding to have them on the fifteenth, five days from now, so she could check them all over to make sure they were in good order and the quality was right.

Four hundred boxes with ten pieces of chocolate in them. Each piece different, three-quarter of them stuffed. This one seemed to think I was a factory or something.

“I wanna answer that one!”

I shook my head with a wry note. “Let’s not, Eoghan, who knows what you might think you can get away with saying, you’re a smart-ass on your good days and I think today might be one of your better days so I’ll just answer her myself.”

He huffed from above my shoulder, whining because he knew I’d let him get away with that for the time being. Eventually he rolled his eyes and kissed my cheek. “Okay, okay, still, don’t let her off easy, I’m sure she’s stressed about her big day but it’s no reason to go about those last details the way she is.”

“I’ll be firm but gentle and tell her that if she wants what she’s asking for, she’ll have to turn to a full on chocolaterie with a whole team to get her request done because I wouldn’t be able to get it done in time for her.”

“You mean her demands.”

“Same thing, really, just different timeline and different haughty ways to write things out.”

“You’re too good to this woman. I hope the poor sap she’s marrying knows what they’re getting into. Though maybe they’re from the same kind of circles and they’re completely perfect for one another.”

“Since when have you been a love expert?”

“Since never, I’m just saying. What about that one email?”

He was pointing at another one and I turned my attention to it. I knew I’d have to read all of those emails before I did send out answers to tell people whether or not I could get their requests done. I really need to stop doing this to myself, it’s more stressful than it really needs to be.


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