Thirty-Six

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“So what sort of work do you do for him, then?”

It was a pretty simple question, or at least it would be for just about anyone else. “Oh you know,” she said trying to be as nonchalant as possible and failing at it miserably. “I just do whatever needs doing.”

She imagined it sounding cool and vague enough to be confident but judging by the look on the man’s face, it came off a lot more like dark and threatening. This was always happening to her. No matter how many times she had to answer the same question she never came up with a satisfying way to handle it. “Mostly like lunch orders and stuff, you know,” she added with a little laugh to try to lighten things.

“Hah, yeah.” His eyes stayed focused on her the whole time he turned to walk away.

It was frustrating being able to make any problem evaporate into thin air for one of the most powerful people in the system, but not being able to have a conversation with a doorman without making him suspicious. Everyone she ever saw doing a job like hers in the movies so charismatic and charming, like the James Bond of politics. The doorman stared at her from behind his desk while he held a single finger on his earpiece. She wondered when exactly that skillset would develop as she fidgeted nervously in her hard plastic seat.

He was late, of course. The only part of his schedule that ever ran on time was the sound of his wake up alarm. She knew what meeting he was in right now but checked the schedule anyway to at least look busy. It should have been little more than a friendly handshake and some pleasant banter while they signed the agreements, so the fact that it was now 19 minutes over schedule offered the impression that it had been a bit less smooth. She quickly ran through the possible sticking points in her mind, but she knew there was only one that could keep them both trapped in the room for this long. The kids.

She didn’t know the Senator’s now soon to be ex-wife very well, not personally at least; they’d never met. But she knew enough about her in the kind of detail that she’d be surprised to see laid out. In her experience, most people hadn’t done the kind of inventory on their own psyche that one of her reports would lay so bare. But then again, she hadn’t yet met anyone married to the Senator before.

Her com buzzed once while she was writing noting possible follow up points for later, and she ignored it. It buzzed six more times in rapid succession. The doorman shot up from his post and sprinted down the hallway and around a corner. She looked back down to her com at the headline:

CENTRAL TERMINAL BOMBED BY TERRORIST ATTACK

The door burst open and the Senator stood in it, pale and wide eyed, holding his own com with the same messages flashing across the screen. His eyes were red. She was right. It had definitely been about the kids.

Thirty-Seven

A morning gets off to a rocky start.
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Thirty-Five

A man tries to earn his final payday.

Thirty-Four

A change can be hard to detect sometimes.