“Can you believe she said that?” Shelly’s voice was too loud. “I swear, I’m going—”
Mr. Lafayette and his assistant, Shelly, were leaving an interview. Mr. Lafayette didn’t do them often. The interviewer had grilled him and pushed his back against the wall. It was said to be a very damning interview.
“Stop it, Shelly,” said Mr. Lafayette. He looked at the driver who wasn’t paying any attention. “You never know who is listening.”
Shelly went quiet, still seething. Mr. Lafayette felt her anger radiating off her but was able to keep himself appearing calm. It was only when they were inside his office that Mr. Lafayette loosened his tie and unleashed his anger.
“She doesn’t understand who she’s dealing with! How dare she!” he thundered. He turned to Shelly. “Put a PI on her. Get someone to go through her trash.”
“You didn’t trust that driver?” she asked.
“Are you listening? Just do as I ask! Find something I can use on her.”
Finally, Shelly left. Mr. Lafayette sat at his desk and reached into his lower desk drawer. Hours went by.
“Sir…?” Shelly poked her head in the door. “Are you still here?” Her hand hovered over the light switch.
“Stop! Don’t touch that!”
Shelly pulled back her hand. She came into her office holding something but Mr. Lafayette couldn’t make out what it was in the dark.
“Why are you sitting here in the dark?” she asked, sitting at the edge of his desk. She leaned in, squinting. “What is that you’re drinking?”
“Never mind that, Shelly.”
“I thought you didn’t like being under the influence, sir. It’s the government’s way of making sure we’re not thinking straight.”
Mr. Lafayette didn’t give a response. Shelly left the room and came back with a candle. In the low light, Mr. Lafayette could see she was holding her laptop.
“Get that thing out of here,” he spat.
“Sir, you get into these moods,” said Shelly. “I think it’s best to not let yourself stew like this. I’ll get rid of the laptop but I think we should at least turn on the light.”
Shelly disappeared for a few moments before coming back into the room without turning on the light.
“We’ll start with something small,” she was saying, bending down by his desk. She took the wire from his desk lamp into her hand.
Mr. Lafayette sat up abruptly. “Are you crazy? You can’t plug that in!”
Shelly moved towards the outlet. “Sir, I know you don’t like it but it’s not good to—”
Mr. Lafayette jumped from his seat and seized Shelly’s wrist. “Don’t you see what’s pouring out of the outlet? You’ll kill yourself plugging that in!”
Shelly looked at it. “What are you talking about?”
“Put that wire down, Shelly,” Mr. Lafayette said still holding Shelly’s wrist. She opened her hand and let the wire fall to the ground. “Do not plug anything in. That woman is listening in.”
“Who’s that, sir?”
“The one from the radio, Shelly! Be quiet and don’t say anything.”
Shelly stayed quiet and looked at the empty outlet again.
“Don’t you see it?” Mr. Lafayette whispered. “There’s electricity pouring out from it…from all of them. Don’t plug anything in until I say it’s okay.”
“Please let go of my wrist, sir,” said Shelly, not mimicking Mr. Lafayette’s hushed voice. “You’re hurting my arm.”
“Shelly, don’t you listen to me at all?” Mr. Lafayette was still whispering. “Lower your voice.”
Shelly did. “Sir, my wrist.”
Where do you want to run off to?”
“Nowhere, sir,” whispered Shelly. “You’re just hurting me.”
Mr. Lafayette looked down at their hands. He let go. Almost instantly, Shelly stood up. She ran out of the room quickly. Mr. Lafayette only gaped at the door. Shelley was in the other room, hovering over her laptop.
Despite Mr. Lafayette’s previous directions not to, Shelley searched his name. She looked through the articles with dismay. Then, she ripped the sticker covering her laptop’s website clean off.
Suddenly, Mr. Lafayette came bursting out of his office.
“Shelley! Turn that thing off!”
“Sir, I only—Ah!”
Mr. Lafayette grabbed Shelley’s laptop and threw it to the ground. He smashed his foot down on it. “And what have I told you about the internet?!”
“Sir, I think you should,” Shelley paused, sucking in a nervous breath, “I think you need to lie down.”
“Are you leaving me, Shelley?”
“No! No, sir.”
“Because if you’re planning to,” said Mr. Lafayette. “I would have to end your life. No one can know what you know.”
“What? Why…” she trailed off. “Why would you need to do that?”
“I just told you!” Mr. Lafayette took both her hands into his. “Now, you’re not leaving me, are you?”
Shelley moved her gaze to the laptop. It wasn’t broken. The camera wasn’t covered anymore. Her fingers itched, twitching slightly to reach for it.
“Of course, I’ll stay with you, sir.”