“No, no way. I don’t want anything to do with it.”
“That’s exactly why you’re the right one for the job, Aesop.”
Aesop looked up at the dry-erase calendar behind Gill Kane’s desk. He looked at the wall where a window would be if this was the kind of office that had a window. He looked at his shoes, black sneakers on the verge of falling apart but incongruously snazzed up with new red laces. He blew into the tiny hole on the lid of his coffee and then took a short sip. He finally looked back at his boss’s face and shrugged. “I don’t have a choice, do I?”
“It’s only one day. Maybe two. No more than three. Most people would jump at the chance to be a media escort.”
“Most people are idiots.”
Aesop walked out across the hall to the even smaller office that he shared with the four other people on his project. The job was mostly done out in the world, but there was always paperwork to be done, mostly at the beginning and end of each twelve hour shift. There were odd down times, when there simply wasn’t any action in the streets and there was nothing else to do but wait for the phone to ring. Some of the other team members used that time to cozy up the office. Dreamcatchers, faded heavy metal record sleeves, thrift store oil paintings and Christmas cards competed for wall space. A stack of well-thumbed Daredevil comics in the top drawer of the office’s single desk was Aesop’s sole contribution to the office’s decor.
A wild-eyed beardo in a black t-shirt and cut-off jeans beamed at Aesop from the communal desk. Al Toth worked the Wednesday to Friday line and was a certified desk hog.
“I heard you got a riding partner this weekend.”
“What, did you guys decide this yesterday? Stick it on me because I wasn’t there to turn it down.”
“What are you saying? That we did this to you? Nah, man, we’re doing it for you!”
“For me? What the hell am I supposed to get out of dragging some media parasite a-hole around all day asking questions and making promises while I’m trying to get things done?”
“Media parasite? But I thought–”
“Then why don’t you do it?”
“Seriously? Me? You think the bosses are gonna let me and my Fourth Dimension collective consciousness anywhere near the press? Nah, you’re the most reasonable guy on the Downtown Eastside. That, and Ramona F., who usually handles this sorta thing is at a Harm Reduction conference in Barcelona.”
Emmet Matheson is a freelance writer who blogs at A Bulldozer With a Wrecking Ball Attached. You can e-mail him at: bulldozerDOTwreckingballATgmailDOTcom