Selling your soul to Wolfram & Hart is a heck of a lot easier than most people would imagine. For most employees, it’s not some grand Faustian pact, with the devil forcing you to sign a contract in blood, swearing away your immortal soul. Well, OK, yeah, there’s a bit of that. But that’s pretty much window dressing, just the mechanics of getting everything properly recorded. It’s the power, and the money: that’s what gets you, even the lowliest of us – the clerks, the secretaries, the mail room men.
See, that old saying is true. You know the one: all it takes for evil to triumph is for good men (or, presumably, women) to do nothing. I could take my secretarial skills (I can type at 90 words per minute and am pretty damn handy with a shorthand outline) to places where they’d be far more valuable. I could work for people who helped, who did good. But, not surprisingly, I’ve never made that move. Good doesn’t tend to be loaded, and working in a hospital, or a school, or for the DA’s office just wouldn’t pay me what Wolfram & Hart do. I wouldn’t get the perks, the holiday entitlement, the great medical insurance.
I’m not evil. I’m not. I love my family, even my grandmother who’s going a little nuts. I donate to charity, I help out with girl scouts, I’m not a bad person.
Last month I typed out a court motion that would eventually evict an orphanage.
I’m not evil.
I’m not the one kicking them out. I just type what other people have already decided. If it was a machine doing it, you wouldn’t say it was an evil machine, just because it did what someone told it to. OK, well, maybe. But the point is that it’s going to happen anyway. Whether I type it or not, whether *anyone* types it or not, the decision’s still been made. My contribution is effectively nothing.
Of course, when it comes down to it, that’s all crap. For a lot of money, and a few (great) perks, I tuck my conscience away every time I come to work. I’m doing my part to help evil keep its grip on the world. I’m not naïve, or so egotistical to think that, from the Senior Partners’ point of view, I matter a damn. In the general scheme of good and evil, me typing contracts and court motions and lists of People To Screw Over is pretty much irrelevant.
But from my point of view, it makes all the difference. Every day I’m here, I slip just a little bit more. You know the orphanage thing? Well, I was reading it as I typed (and no, the two don’t automatically go together – it’s very easy to type something without registering what it’s about), and for a moment, just a moment, I though ‘well, serves them right, really’. I thought that poor little orphans deserved to be kicked out into the (metaphorical) snow. What kind of person have I become?
It does something to you, this place. You think you can control how you feel, you think you can make sure it doesn’t affect you, but you can’t. After a while, you stop thinking about it at all. I did. And then came the change of management. The Senior Partners gave the LA branch of Wolfram & Hart to Angel and his friends. We all thought it was crazy. There were rumours that we would all be killed. It was kinda stressful. I had to start taking lavender-scented baths.
But then, one day, I realised that it was happening to them, too. The stalwarts, the mighty ones, the defenders of light and truth and justice and the American way: they were being seduced by Wolfram & Hart as much as anyone else. And that freaked me out. Because there had always been the comforting thought, right in the back of my mind, that there were always people fighting back. It didn’t matter who, exactly, it was just People.
Wolfram & Hart could take over the world. Seriously. Because, let’s face it, most people have their crappy side, and the prospect of a huge salary and a free company gym on the 12th floor would do it for a lot of people. Everyone has their trigger – with Angel and co it was the prospect of having the power of Wolfram & Hart doing good. Except it never works like that. You can’t control it, not even Angel. It will just gobble you right up.
Mr Gunn – he’s the head of my department – didn’t even seem to pay much attention when I gave notice. I told you – I’m not really important in the general scheme of things. Not as far as people can tell. But I think I am. I think we all are. Wolfram & Hart might want to take over the world, but the world is just made up of individuals, and though, by ourselves, we may seem inconsequential, if we *all* make the decision to resist, then there’s nothing they can do. We all have power, we just have to realise it.
I work for a children’s charity now. I still love my family (even Grandma), I still donate to charity, I still help with girl scouts. But I’m not evil anymore.