Message #6: H&R Block
Tempest had left me a phone number I could use to get in contact with her, so I decided I’d give her a call.
“What is it, Messenger?” she asked.
“Well, I’m…I’ve been trying to sort of chronicle everyone’s pasts. I was wondering if you’d be willing to help with that some?”
“Out of the question.”
“Because it’s out of the question. Keep in mind that I’m your supervisor, Messenger. If this were a more traditional job, would you still be asking this of your boss? You wouldn’t want me asking about your love life, so don’t be surprised that I expect you not to ask for my life story.” Not like a kid’s life story would be that long anyway.
“But this isn’t a traditional job. We’re a cult, not fucking H&R Block.”
“Even more of a reason to decline, then. However, I’d like to advise you that that’s an opinion I’d avoid voicing aloud in the future. Even if you believe us a cult, forget your stupid notions of people in robes slitting the throats of chickens inside of pentacles illuminated by candlelight. We have standards. Codes of conduct. Is it too much to ask that you respect the job? Most cults just steal your money. We offer you a salary.”
“If you can call it that.”
“Listen, Messenger, I’m opposed to this whole project of yours in general. Operating in the open isn’t our modus operandi. Despite that, I’ll allow you to continue with it if it helps bring you some level of comfort and makes you more productive.”
I sighed. “Fair enough. But…can I at least have some information on, like…how this place works? I’m really in the dark here, and the people I’ve met aren’t doing much to help me out.”
“Ask different people.”
“I’m doing data entry for you guys, though. Shouldn’t I know at least what I’m putting in the database? I’m being told to keep track of things but I know so little about anything here that I don’t really know what I’m doing.”
It took a bit before she spoke. “Fine,” she said, resigned. “Information on anything other than the division is privileged information, but I suppose that at least something to help you out is fair. I’ll check with my superiors and see what I can do. Keep in mind that this is only for the purpose of your job, though.”
“Yes, ma’am. Thank you, ma’am.”
“No, don’t…don’t call me that. Ew. Ma’am is a word for old ladies.” It was brief, but in that one moment her mask dropped and I was able to remember that, at the end of the day, she was still just a kid. “Anyway, I’m serious about this, Messenger. Don’t rock the boat. You’re not doing people some great honor by interrogating them.”
“I understand, ma—um…miss?”
“Just ‘Tempest’ works. Oh, and Messenger?”
“In the future, please use this number for business or emergency purposes only.”
So that’s where we’re at. Tempest is trying to get me some new information. Maybe soon I won’t be so in the dark.