E doesn’t enter the warehouse, but the mood within is electric.
“Congratulations!” Stipple yells. He’s drinking.
“Thanks!” I yell back. The music beats on the metal walls. “Is the bill what we’re celebrating?”
“Not entirely,” he shouts and motions to meet at the door. We dissolve into the late-night city sounds beyond the impressively insulated warehouse.
“She got them all jobs,” Stipple says excitedly.
“Pye, Otis, Blight, Helium, Glow – all the rest. Even me.”
Cindi joins us with a pulse of music through the door. “Did you tell her?”
“So, what jobs?” I ask.
“Various legislative offices,” Cindi says.
“So, they’re spies or…”
“Not exactly. Well, yeah. But they will also be there to share E’s perspectives.” Stipple throws back the rest of his beer.
“Perspectives,” I say. “She’s going to push the bill through, isn’t she? No matter what?”
“It’s best not to ask if you don’t want to know,” Cindi says.
“I’m done, then?”
Cindi and Stipple exchange a look. “E didn’t tell you?”
“E doesn’t tell me anything cogent.”
“You’ll stay at least until it’s through the Senate,” Stipple says.
I feel deflated and more tired than I did when I got here. Apparently, my subconscious got a bit ramped up for being out of this mess.
“You’ll be fine. Victoriana will handle any press inquiries that might try to hook you. Birch won’t need much incentive to take the credit.”
“You don’t even know Birch,” I say too harshly.
“Cool your jets, Noname,” Stipple says. “I’ll not besmirch his name. I didn’t know you two were close.”
“We aren’t. Smirch all you want,” I say but my cover is blown.
“Come in and celebrate. The guys are beside themselves over their new jobs, new clothes.” Cindi takes me by the hand to lead me indoors. I wonder if I should let them find out on their own just how unthrilling their fresh posts will be. That may be kinder than killing the dream now.
The fashion show inside stops all wonderment. They are happy. Who am I to spoil it?
Pye acts the part of emcee while the others strut a loop around the long table. Otis and Helium lock arms and skip the distance, both looking dashing. Even Crash and Cali get in on the fun.
Despite my aching everything, I take a beer and horn in on the emcee job. We suggest random names, boring names, legislative names. They cackle, dance, twirl for us. Fields can’t stand for the clothes to touch the floor, so he hangs up each discarded outfit.
I wonder how it will be on the Hill with most of my favorite people.