Why Can’t Knowing Things Be Cool?
Eugene tapped his foot nervously, as was his habit when making a difficult decision. It was 3:15 in the afternoon, there was enough of the work day left that he couldn’t pretend like there wasn't enough time to do what needed to be done. Christ, he didn’t want to be dramatic about it. He stared at a hard copy of the report he had spent the morning writing. Everything had to be printed out now and he hated that. Around every corner of the White House was a empty space where a recycling bin once was.
“United States Office of Government Ethics, A Helpful Guide.” He had worked hard to come up with a title that was neither patronizing nor too aggressive. He hadn’t written anything like this since high school. In the Obama years he could type up white paper reports with the fervor of a coke-fueled orgy, or at least what he imagined those to be like. Graphs that could only be produced by someone who was really good with excel, embedded links, footnotes that took up half a page; it was the first time in his life he had truly felt alive. The report he’d put together was unsolicited and he had used the banal vernacular of a fifth grade school teacher. It was all accurate, even if he still felt it barely qualified as a Wikipedia entry, but it was useful: it was important information for the people who run this country to know.
Now the question was would he work up the nerve to leave the White House basement, go upstairs, and take this thing to someone of consequence. Hell yeah he would! Eugene was no coward. He practically skipped past the empty cubicles, reserved for staff the president had not gotten around to hiring.
“Oh, hey man.” Jared said this in a friendly way, though he was not Eugene’s friend. Eugene had learned this trick in high school, rich kids were always friendly before they did something mean to you.
“Actually it is Advisor Jared.”
Eugene knew a number of reasons why this could not be an official title, but in the last couple of weeks he had learned to choose his battles. “So, Advisor Jared.”
“Yes, Eugene.” Jared skewed his voice just a little bit higher when he said Eugene’s name. Eugene just hated shit like that.
“I thought I’d put together this for you.” He started to hold out the paper, Jared looked at it just long enough to read the title but did not extend his hand to take it.
“Oh, yeah that’s like cool and all but I really don’t think the president is going to have time for something like that. Sorry that you spent all that time putting that together, buddy.” Jared smirked, and walked past Eugene as if he had never even been there. Eugene tried hard, very hard, not to let his upper lip move.
Eugene found himself alone in a bar. He used to go there with the coworkers that he thought of as friends, but there weren’t any of those left. He tried not to think about anything. Not his job, or the future of his country, or the intricacies of how the federal government worked. Those used to be his favorite things, but now they just depressed him. He sipped his beer.
He hated the idea of going to work tomorrow, and he worked at a place where they took ten-year-olds on field trips.