And it isn’t. Victoriana, as abrasive as steel wool, makes a better ally than enemy. She knows absolutely everyone and a couple of advanced degrees more about law and politics than I’ll ever know. Besides being beautiful with great clothes, she is truly passionate about the law I’m now responsible for drafting.
Keeping a low profile while drafting major legislation: a thing impossible without Victoriana. She will head finding support for the bill and, as she says, ‘ensuring best outcomes.’ I don’t ask how or even what all those outcomes might be. I hate it, but E is right – I don’t need to have all the information.
My second week flies by with a few Victoriana meetings but no more run-ins with Senator X. I do most of my unsanctioned research and writing at the warehouse, not in my cubicle. This means a full day of researching and writing real data used by Birch and the rest of Senator X’s office and most evenings researching and writing other stuff.
Luckily, Stipple and Cal are the real deal, lawyers anyway. They pass me corrections almost nightly when I get home from work. Cranky, tired, and feeling put-upon, I broach their share of the task in a midnight argument.
“You guys don’t need me doing this! Why doesn’t E set me up with a news outlet. At least then I could tell the stories of these viral victims. Now all I’m doing is grunt work I’m not even trained to do!” I splutter and gasp, trying to hold back tears.
Cal, of course, laughs. Stipple shoves him in the arm, saying, “Shut up, man.” He turns to me to add: “You are where we need you. What’s the problem you’re having? Your work is solid.”
I roll my eyes, turning away to stretch my neck. Where to begin? “First, I don’t know the law and the two of you, who are supposed to know this stuff, redline every little thing I write. Why don’t you just write it and send it to Victoriana?”
“Dude, look,” Cal says, “we haven’t disappeared as thoroughly as you have. We still have faces on the web.”
“I hadn’t disappeared until this! Not thoroughly, as you say!”
“If you get some sleep, you’ll feel better,” Stipple says.
“No, I won’t. Because when I wake up, you two will have more corrections before I go to an office and do a completely unrelated job as a cover. Just write what you want and I’ll hand it off to Victoriana, then I can quit this job and find some way to actually help.”