“Let me tell you something…and you can’t tell anyone else, ok? I really shouldn’t be telling you this…”
I stared at her as she seemed to be making up her mind. What could be so bad they’d be willing to try to stop some small protest? She sighed, and looked back up at me.
“Miss Clemonte, this little tax thing…it was supposed to go away eventually…” Oh yeah? What else was new? I started to open my mouth, but she kept talking. “We knew the residents would get annoyed, but we figured they’d forget, and then you came in and made them do have to do something about it!”
This time I really couldn’t help myself. I really, honestly could not stand the words coming out of her mouth. I’m going to try to say this in the nicest way, but, Watcher, What was she getting out of this conversation? I want to protest more! “Seriously? Are you hearing yourself?”
She sighed. “I know it sounds bad. Really, I know.”
It did. It sounded really really bad. And, Elle Saile had been in the political world much longer than me, I’d been doing it for about 2-3 years (and hardly much at that), she’d been here, just in her city council position for five years. If there’s something you learn being a politician, it’s that you have to at least pretend you know what you’re doing, and what you’re doing is right! Why would she do this?
“Ok, so why shouldn’t I protest? Why do you care so much about my little protest, it’s hardly anything against the city council!”
“We messed up. We did.” Whoa. Maybe going to Elle was the right decision after all, and not because she’s known. Other politicians might just tell me to get out. She is seeming more and more down to earth as we keep talking.
“What does this have to do with the protest?”
“We messed up…with money.” She sighed, and looked out the window and back. “Yeah. I know. There were just bad deals after bad deals, and someone on the inside was stealing money from us. It was a bad time. Oh, and they got fired, by the way.” She made a small smile at me, and I actually thought she might cry.
“I’m sorry.” I had honestly been trying so hard to be professional. But then you hear something like that.
She smoothed her hair down, and I felt her relief that this part was over. “And…we hoped these higher taxes would help us get back some of the money we lost.”
I felt for her, and the others, but, there were so many more citizens that this was impacting! “Look, taxing your citizens, making them pay for your mistakes, wasn’t the right way to go about it, though.”
“Well, I’m sorry, but we can’t have your protest ruining this plan that’s been in the works for so long.” And like in a split second, I realized that yes, she was still a politician. “So I’m giving you two options. Either stop your protest, so we can go on, or if you don’t, we’ll stop it.”
“That wouldn’t look good for you.” I pointed out. It was the truth. “Let me think of a better plan. Please.”
“Why are you doing this? You don’t even live here.” She asked, for whatever reason. But, I had been asking myself the same question, when I first thought about doing the protest.
“Because, if you get away with it, everyone will think they, too, can get away with it. Yeah, sadly, that’s how the world works. So I’m standing up for the people in this situation now, before it becomes my situation, because I would want them to do the same for me. Besides the fact, that it’s, you know, just plain wrong.”
She stared at me like I’d grown three heads. Or more likely, cause I have damn morals. “Fine. You have a day.”
“I’m gonna need more than a day to fix the mess you guys created.” I stood up, and was in the middle of walking out when I turned around, and said, “Just because you couldn’t help but get yourself into another mess, involving your innocent citizens this time…I’m going to need a week.”
Elle Saile just stared at me. Since she didn’t say anything back, I took it as a yes, so I kept walking out, half expecting her to call me back in, but she didn’t. It felt like a win, but at the same time…it didn’t. This is really the world I live in?