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Fake News

Bracha Stein & Rikki Ehrlich

“And now,” Shifra continued, “is a time that will test us all. Because we have a magazine we need to put to bed in 12 hours. And readers who count on us”

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

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GOT THIS I regretted the next few words even as they were still semi-formed syllables stuck in my larynx. “I’ll deal with everything.”

T uesday, 5:15 p.m.

“Okay, people!”

I looked up from my spreadsheets in annoyance. Shifra, our senior editorial assistant, strode to the center of room, clipboard in hand, adjusting her sunglasses to lie perfectly on top of her sheitel’s glossy waves.

“I appreciate your all coming down on such short notice. We have a crisis!”

I rolled my eyes. I’d been working at the Jewish Zone as an editorial assistant for the past three years, alongside my friend Etti — we’d gone to high school together — and a group of other staffers, most of us in our early-to-mid-twenties. Shifra had joined relatively recently, but we were already used to her melodramatics.

“Oh?” Etti barely looked up from Reva’s brother’s wedding pictures. “Like a real crisis? Or a you-broke-your-nail-again crisis? Reva, who did your hair? Awesome.”

“I said,” Shifra snapped, “a crisis. Look. We know why we’re here. Because we have a mission. Because we have talent. Because we have—”

“Bills,” Temi supplied. “That need to be paid with cash, not mission or talent.”

“And now,” Shifra continued, “is a time that will test all that. Because we have a magazine we need to put to bed in 12 hours. And readers who count on us. And a community that depends on us. Not to mention advertisers who—”

“Um,” I interrupted, “what’s with the pep talk? Mrs. Baron left the files closed and ready to submit.”

As if Shifra knew anything anyway about the magazine I’d poured my life into over the past three years… No, she’d just shown up after her wedding, clueless as that newborn baby bird that thought a cow could be its mother, and waltzed right into the promotion I’d basically been told was mine.

But okay. I’m not obsessing over it. Mrs. Baron is her aunt, after all. The fact that my uncle’s sister-in-law was her cousin didn’t seem to matter.

I’m totally not obsessing over it.

Shifra frowned. “Guys, long story, but our computer — some crazy glitch, there’s a guy working on it… We just need to quickly kind of rewrite some stuff—”

“We what?!” shrieked Etti, Temi, and another secretary I didn’t recognize, in unison.

“We just need to rewrite a column or two.”

Reva narrowed her eyes.

I sighed. Covering for Shifra, as usual. “Remind me why we’re doing this again?”

“We are going to what?! Which columns?”

“Well. All of them. But really, no big deal, we’re a magazine, this is what we do—”

“We are not a magazine!” shrieked Reva. “A magazine is a glossy periodical containing ads and articles and staples! I am a junior secretary! I don’t even write e-mails! I specialize in remembering coffee preferences and ordering lunch!”

“And I,” said Temi, “am an hourly employee. Who is after hours, Shifra.”

Shifra paced the room, heels clicking with each syllable. “Now is the time for all good women to come to the aid of their employer! Ask not what your employer can do for you but what you can do for your employer! There is nothing to fear but fear itself!”

We all stared.

“Okay, whatever. Let’s get started with the assignments. Reva, you get the editorial.”

“I don’t even know what an editorial is,” Reva said, her face white

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