You ever been at work, and your floor supervisor oils up like “hey. Got this new mirror idea, tinfoil instead of glass. Gonna need you to get those going, ten thousand to start.”
You laugh. It’s a joke, right?
Mr. Boose isn’t smiling.
“So…tinfoil?” You swallow. You need this job. Can’t say what you’re thinking. “It’s just…I’m not sure how popular that’ll be. Tinfoil’s not so reflective.”
“What are you talking about?” Boose whips out the Reynolds Wrap. He has a roll in his bag, like he anticipated your objection. He tears off a square and holds it up to his face. “I can see myself fine.”
“But you’d see more in glass.” You take the square and examine your reflection. It’s faint, sort of wavy, with a crease down the middle. “I mean, would you do your makeup in that?”
“I don’t wear makeup.”
You frown. In a way, Boose is right. Tinfoil sort of works. And is this the hill you want to die on? You could just do the mirrors, let him take the blame. (Only, would he? You’re simpler to replace. You should get your doubts on record, make sure someone hears.) You edge closer to the big boss, who’s watching from the stairs.
“Is it the look you’re going for? That cyberpunk finish? How about glass in a faceted frame, something shiny and crinkly, sharp round the edges?”
Your boss is playing Fortnite. You keep hearing him die.
Mr. Boose looks at you like there’s shit on your shoe. “Look, we’re in a recession. Tinfoil is cheap. And we did a survey. Sixty percent of Americans between eighteen and sixty-five reuse tinfoil on a regular basis. Would you just make the mirrors?”
You open your mouth to respond. Boose’s assistant cuts you off. “He’s right. Tinfoil’s on-trend. And you can do what you want with the frame. Get creative. Give it your spin.”
You glance at that torn-off square. It reminds you of the compact you got when you were five, in a kit with a blue crayon for eyeshadow and a red one that doubled as lipstick and blush. It feels like you’re losing your mind. Boose is nodding along with his assistant. All around you, work continues. Your line manager’s whistling, unperturbed. Are you the asshole?
Your boss dies again. He tucks his phone in his pocket. It rings and he gets it out again, and he answers it, and he leaves. Did he hear any of that? Did he care?
“I’ll do the mirrors,” you say, but Boose has vanished. His assistant’s gone too. The production line rumbles on. Maybe you’re sleeping: this is one of those dreams. But Boose’s cologne hangs in the air. You sneeze, wipe your nose, and sneeze again. The lunch bell rings. This is real, and so will the mirrors be, ten thousand tinfoil mirrors. Maybe they’re doing that thing where they advertise glass ones and send out the fakes. Maybe you’re part of that. Maybe…who cares?
You can see yourself in foil.
(I still, y’know, kind of can’t. I’ve been wearing dark glasses since yesterday, trying to safeguard my eyes. I got them off Instacart, with two lacquered bowls and a tube of toothpaste. I didn’t want to seem weird, ordering sunspecs alone. Anyway, I still can’t draw, but I’ll show you my glasses—which, by the way, should excuse any typos for the foreseeable future. They’re really quite dark.)