Performance Art



Scene Title Performance Art
Synopsis After the latest episode of the Advocate goes unexpectedly viral, Tracy Strauss receives a ride home from an associate after meeting with a colleague at the Department of Evolved Affairs.
Date January 15, 2011


She would call for a cab, but it's not a cab she has coming.

Outside 26 Federal Plaza, Tracy Strauss adjusts her white cashmere scarf with long fingers that fidget and lacquered nails. Tinted nylons don't offer much protection against the cold. Her coat, though, is heavy and makes up for what the rest of her outfit lacks, though she speculates that in the event of a nuclear winter, New York City's fashion designers and their followers will be the first to go.

She wishes she was a smoker. If she was, she might have something to take the edge off the anxiety making a worried knot in her stomach. Instead, she snaps open the tin of mints she carries in her coat pocket, selects one of the flat white candies and pushes it into her mouth between her fingers, thankful that she splurges on her lipstick and purchases the kind that doesn't easily smudge off.

The mint clicks against her teeth and she wonders if there's anything that isn't on YouTube.

“That was quite a performance, Miss Strauss,” says a voice from the darkened vehicle on the other side of the street, and Tracy steers herself toward it, heels making a sharp sound like castanets. She opens the back door rather than wait for someone to open it for her, not because she's assertive, but because it's cold.

“I certainly hope so,” she says, pulling the door shut behind her. “It's either going to cost me my career or be the highlight of it, maybe both. Are you satisfied?”

“Very,” the man sitting beside her answers. In the rear view mirror, the driver's reflection looks to him for guidance and he nods: the signal to pull away from the curb as Tracy is buckling her seatbelt. “I was hoping to get more from Nichols, but Varlane gave us enough for both of them, don't you think?”

“I think,” says Tracy, “that Magnes doesn't know what he's talking about. He's a child with delusions of grandeur and a compulsive liar. It's why I had him fired in the first place.”

“You think he's lying about having friends who know the Ferrymen?”


“He's twenty-two, Miss Strauss. Hardly a child.” The man leans back in his seat. “If he's harbouring fugitives, or associates with people who are, then I need to know about it. You're obligated.”

Tracy turns her eyes out the window, to the ice forming on the other side of the glass. You should be happy I'm a good person, the boy had said, because I could completely ruin you right now on national television. But I'm taking the high road, unlike you. The corners of her mouth twitch into a chilly smile. “I stand by what I said,” she demurs. “You asked for a show and I gave you one. I was led to believe that my obligations ended there.”

“And your opinion on Sheridan?”

“She's sincere, but she's also harmless. No threat to you or what you're trying to achieve here. Someone at the office will probably take her aside and give her a slap of the wrist for how far she took things — you can bet I'll be getting one, too.”

“You're doing a great service to your country.”

“I know.”

“I appreciate your candidness.”

“Thank you, Colonel.”


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