The offices of Data Analytics Marketetic Normalisations were housed in a modernist steel-and-glass construction that stood on the site of a four-hundred year old house. They'd had to obtain special permission to demolish the house, and had ended up paying to have it vandalised first when English Heritage had looked ready to step in. Their CEO had been quoted in the papers about the event.
"Well blast it all, we wouldn't have had any of these problems if this had been America!" he'd said to the reporter.
"Ah yes," said the reporter. "They don't have any buildings 400 years old in America though."
"Exactly! There's a culture that knows how to renew things regularly!"
Those particular interviews were carefully kept absent from the book of cuttings and other publicity that the firm had managed to obtain.
The building towered over the surrounding houses and small shops. The row it was on had originally been factory houses built early in the Industrial revolution and subdivided ever since, until modern day residents boasted about their cupboard-sized kitchens and bathrooms not actually big enough to fit a bath in, even stood up on end. Minguy, looking out of a tinted glass window that occupied the entire wall, liked to stare down at the rooves below and fantasize about pushing his office safe out of the window to see if it would crash all the way through the ground. He thought it might.
"Minguy!" He turned lightly on the balls of his feet and saw that Jeronica was stood just outside his office clutching a vase of pussy-willow stems. He smiled, the exact smile that he practised every evening in front of the mirror for fifteen minutes until it felt like it was part of him, and beckoned her on in. She wobbled a little as she walked over, and he realised that she was now eight inches taller than him.
"New heels," she said as she got close enough for him to be able to hear her without her having to shout. "A little gift from Leshoutier for getting their adverts shown in Dubai. There's something waiting for you in reception too."
Minguy smiled a little wider, feeling the corners of his mouth tear slightly. He dipped his hand into the pocket on his waistcoat for some vaseline to rub on them. "They make you tall," he said, tilting his head back slightly so he could make eye-contact with her. "Intimidatingly so."
"Yes," she said, tossing her hair back over her head. Immediately two heavily-styled locks fell back to obscure her vision and give the impression of a scared young girl peering out at him. He thought it was creepy, but expensively so. "Yes, and not all of our doorways are tall enough."
"You won't be wearing them around the office much then?"
"What?" Jeronica looked at him as though he'd suggested she wear viscose. "I've spoken to Jack, he's going to get another three inches clearance for the doors. I've also given Ozwald a call and told him to design me something that won't look like ankle support but actually is, and I've called Scholl and told them I'm going to need a whole lot better toe care and aggressive foot therapy."
Minguy nodded, this was pretty much what he expected from Jeronica.
"Anyway," she said, "Leshoutier has sent you something too, and reception swear that there's no airholes in the box this time, and it's not been barking, or trying to move by itself, so there's probably no hurry on this one. And when you have a minute, the National American Society of Hipsters are looking to hire us."
"What do NASH want?" Minguy let genuine interest creep into his voice. NASH had only managed to organise properly in recent months, mostly as a response to what they saw as a direct attack on their core beliefs and everyone else saw as justified mockery. Much to his (and his research assistant's) surprise they'd attracted substantial funding and membership. It seemed like there'd been little pockets of hipsters scattered around everywhere just waiting for the chance to find like minds and start doing things together. Their Facebook page had been an absolute success, with all the hipsters firmly disliking it instantly and then rushing to change their opinion once it was so uncool that liking it was the only cool thing to do. While the group oscillated wildly out of control and newspapers made sardonic comments on irony the members had somehow managed to come together, form a coalition and a society, and now had a grand building somewhere in Manhattan where they looked down condescendingly on the rest of America.
"The Presidency," said Jeronica. "They've figured out that the primaries are just ways for special interest groups to get the right candidates in front of the electorate and that the final election is about as fair as coal. Rumour has it they have a hipster on the Supreme Court already, so they can take the Presidency so long as they get a candidate up there."
"Well, there's the problem," said Jeronica, but Minguy interrupted her.
"No, I meant which Supreme Court Judge? The little one?"
"Eff knows," said Jeronica breezily. "It doesn't matter at the moment, the problem we're going to have is that they want a President only a hipster would vote for. Someone who's not cool and no-one else would vote for."
"Ha!" said Minguy. "That figures. But then how could such a person get elected?"
"That's another problem they want us to solve."
"Hmm. What do you think?"
"I think it's a challenge," said Jeronica, carefully. "And having the group that picked the American President a happy client is certainly something to consider. I think we need to think long and hard before we say either yes or no to this. And finding a suitable candidate is a significant problem."
"Maybe not," said Minguy. "Don't we still know that woman who sells suicide-ducks?"
"Marlene? Straps mines to the underside of ducks and sets them loose in kiddie-parks?"
"Yes, she's the one. She's American, isn't she? And not in jail?"
"Well then, I think we have options! Let's go market, Jeronica dear."