Drumknott put the yellow pencil inside the new pencil sharpener that the supply office had given him and turned the wheel. It was a large contraption that was now fixed sturdily onto the edge of his desk.
He gripped the end of the pencil firmly as the wheel turned slowly and his other hand moved in a slow circle around the contraption with the end of the handle grasped between two fingers and a thumb.
He looked...intently at his own actions. There was a very calm but almost pleasurable expression on his face.
It was as if he was thinking about something else? This is what the Patrician of Ankh-Morpok wondered, what could he be thinking about? He was gazing over the top of his paperwork at Drumknott's actions. So many issues to focus on, he was beginning to get a headache. He looked again at his attractive secretary. He was certain that Drumknott didn't usually pay this much care into the upkeep of his stationary. Well, ok, but not in that way. That oddly ...sensual way. The Patrician bit his cheek bringing tears to his eyes. Dear Gods man, he thought, what on the Discworld is he up to now?!
Drumknott had decided to test the sharpness of the pencil when it emerged and so he touched the end. Wow, it certainly was more than sharp enough, he gasped. It had pierced his skin and caused the tip of his forefinger to bleed. Drumknott sucked his finger slowly in an effort to stop the tiny wound from bleeding further.
The Patrician stared. His paper hadn't moved and his pen was firmly in place in his other hand, being gripped very tightly. He tried to talk some sense into himself but sense was being gradually pushed away as his secretary further attended to his work.
Drumknott licked the end of his pencil and tried out the lead. It seemed to draw and write very well. He paused for thought before he wrote further and as he did so he rolled the rubber end of the pencil against his lips. It felt nice and it was better than chewing the end. It helped his concentration when using his imagination as he found this hard to do because he was a man of logic and order.
Gradually, he was aware that he was being watched. You almost always were if you worked in the palace being observed by somebody or something. As it happened from time to time, he recognised it and had learnt not to react immediately. However, what he was doing, was not very interesting, surely, to the patrician?
He thought about it as he rubbed the pencil against his lower lip.
He pretended to read a document.
He absentmindedly stroked his pencil.
" Drumknott!" Barked the Patrician.
" Wha-?" Replied the startled secretary. Dropping the pencil, he watched it fall to the floor and roll under his desk.
" I can't concentrate. "
" Uh, would you like some herbal tea?" Enquired his dutiful secretary hesitatingly.
Lord Vetinari looked at him levelly.
" Well, that may help, indeed please fetch some."
Drumknott went to fetch the tea from his smaller office that he hardly used. ' I'm playing a dangerous game, I think. How did that happen? Is something happening?' Thought Drumknott. He was slightly panicked and felt hot and sweaty as well as just a little excited. ' Can anything I do actually have that sort of effect in that man?' He wondered. 'No, I must be mad to think so.'
When he returned with the tea, his lordship was standing by the window. He didn't turn around when Drumknott entered the Oval Office.
" Drumknott stand here with me."
The secretary approached him.
" Look outside. "
They both gazed down at the palace grounds and out further afield to the city beyond them. It was so busy, so many colours, smoke, fumes, he could almost smell it from here...actually he really could. Ew.
His Lords voice startled him.
" Amazing, isn't it? So many problems, so many people, everything changes all of the time. Everything is absorbed and churned out, the city is so alive Drumknott. Sometimes, however, do you not find that it overwhelms?"
Drumknott gave this a thought. He didn't trust himself to reply with the best answer and so responded with a question.
" My Lord, does it overwhelm you?"
" Only if I think too much about it." He smiled warmly at his secretary.
" Sometimes it helps to be distracted."
Ah. Thought Drumknott and failed in his attempt not to blush. Glad to be of service.
He smiled in return, looking at the patrician under his eyelashes. Well, well, well.