"You quit? What do you mean, you quit?"
"No no no," the Times Editor said hastily, "That's not what I mean. I just want to take a break. A possibly very long break."
"What... what.... a long break?" City Hall sputtered out. Never in her wildest dreams would she imagine that the Times Editor would say that he needed a break. After a moment's pause, she asked, "So, where are you going?"
"I have made arrangements with Akbar to stay with him in the South of France while I'm away," replied the Times Editor, "He has been very kind to offer to let me stay at his brother's place. I hope you understand," he sighed, "that I'm also under a lot of pressure. There's so many articles to look through! I'm trying to do my best, but sometimes I delay and some people don't like it. Well," he rubbed his shoulders, "it's been very tough on me. That's why I am applying for leave, but don't worry, I might come back. It's just the question of when."
City Hall imagined Akbar and Times Editor, discussing about how Whyvillians stressed them out, with suntan lotion on their noses. She choked back a giggle and recomposed herself.
"But," she protested, "Who will fill up your shoes? I depend on you to do the Times. I wish I can help you out, but I have got a lot of things to do. I'm not trying to stop you from having rest, I hope you won't think that I did not care for your health."
Times Editor scratched his head and said, "That I have thought about already. I'm not too sure, but perhaps we can ask Grandma."
City Hall thought nervously, "Hmm, Grandma?" Out loud she said, "Let's give it a try. It couldn't hurt." And off they went in search of Grandma.
"Huh? I thought you just said that you were going on a break," Grandma said, after City Hall loudly explained to Grandma the situation. Grandma laughed, "That's the funniest joke!" City Hall and Times Editor looked at each other helplessly. City Hall sighed, and explained to Grandma once more.
"Welll," Grandma said, looking at them, "I'll try!" and laughed some more. "Hohoho, Grandma, the Editor!" She sobered down and said, "Eh, young man, don't worry, Grandma will do her best!" and gave them her toothiest grin.
City Hall and Times Editor both went," Phhheeewww," in relief.
Times Editor packed his bag and went off, feeling rather relieved. He was way too stressed, the break would do him good. He took a plane to the South of France, where he was received by Akbar.
"My brother was just here yesterday, it was a pity you missed him," remarked Akbar.
"Akbar, are you feeling better?" the Times Editor asked with concern. Akbar still looked haggard.
"I'm better, but still recovering," Akbar said. "Never mind about me, enjoy yourself!"
* * *
It was just five days into his break. Times Editor was feeling much more relaxed, but he still felt something was wrong. Despite all, he kind of missed the hecticness of Whyville and in the Times. Also, he was kind of worried about Grandma. She was also quite busy at times when many donations were coming in. He sighed.....
Back in Whyville, Grandma was telling City Hall, "It's been a very busy week at my house. But I was worried about the Times, so I picked some articles out and write out the editorial page, so I thought I'll let you see it first," and handed her some articles and her editorial page. "I know that it's not very good though," added Grandma.
City Hall scanned through and stifled her dismay. Grandma's editorial was about helping newbies and donating more to her, and also about poor children in Africa. The articles she chose were about her and about helping and donating clams to newbies and some were on poor children from third world and undeveloped countries. City Hall half-wished that the Times Editor would appear, but there was little hope of that...
"HELLO! I'm back! How are all of you doing!" boomed the Times Editor. After much thinking, he'd decided he would never sleep well unless he got back to Whyville. So, he had hopped on the first plane back to Whyville.
City Hall asked him, "Aren't you on a break?!?"
He replied, "I missed everything!" and grinned.
Grandma said excitedly, "Good, young man, you are here again! Now you can take over the Times again," she gestured helplessly, "Grandma's made a mess of it! See you around!" She ambled back to her house, glad that one thing was off her mind.
The Times Editor was glad to be back to his job; he had to redo everything, but it was very enjoyable. However, the whole event was only known to the three of them....
What did City Hall do to Grandma's Times? Of course she will never, ever throw it away. She kept it in a file in her office, and maybe one day she will let Whyvillians see what Grandma wrote....
....you never know!