His very own cubicle. Not quite as good as his carrel in Wilson, since it had no door. His very own phone. Not quite as good as his cell phone, since it wasn’t on VOIP and not integrated into the directory.
His very own paycheck. $20 an hour. Better than his assistantship.
Eran reported to Sunitha. She wasn’t much older than Eran. They traded stories about educational paths. Her parents had hoped for a lawyer and had advised her to do computer science for security; Sunitha had obliged by going to Cal Tech and getting a dual option in political science. Admitted to law school at the U, she had left after one year and gotten an MFA at Mankato. “I’m the disappointment,” she said. Her sister was a microbiologist and a veteran.
“You have a humanities degree and your title includes the word ‘Director,'” Eran said. “Makes you a hero to me.”
Eran had thought market research would involve advanced statistical analysis of the kind that he hadn’t done since considering a minor in sociology. “Market research” turned out to involve searching Google Maps and feeding profiles of potential clients to the sales team. It mostly involved the ability to sit still and read for an hour at a stretch. Eran had honed this skill, thanks to grading.
The sales team had already landed a new client based on Eran’s research. They asked whether he’d want to make sales calls. The answer was no, except the prospect of commissions turned it to “Yes.”
“You’ll do fine,” Sunitha said. “All you need to have is a killer instinct.”
“But I don’t.”
At the sound of a crash, Oxana bolted from her chair. In the front room, she found what she knew she would: the windowpane, shattered onto the floor. If Leysa hadn’t taken Ivan to the market, he would have been cut to ribbons. For Kliment.
(Ivan – her grandson? Leysa – her daughter-in-law? Eran recognized no thought of a son or a husband.)
She stormed out into the sunshine. The streets of L’viv thrummed. The Russians had as much as evaporated – good riddance – and their sympathizers, their triumph turned to ash, were flinging sacks and trunks into any wheeled conveyance they could rent.
You could have killed my grandson! Oxana shouted. A tendril of shame curled into being. A lie. But it could have been true. The shame disappeared in a puff.
Kliment, tall and stout like the father of the current tsar, slammed his family’s heavy table into the cart. An accident.
You don’t have accidents – you have policies. You closed our schools. Now Ivan speaks only Russian at home.
A splay-fingered hand rested on the cart. I didn’t do that.
You sent Sheptytsky away. Is he still alive?
Kliment ducked inside his house. I didn’t do that either! he called back.
Oxana lifted a chair from Kliment’s cart. Your priest in the church. Your language in the schools. Isn’t that what you wanted?
Oxana heaved the chair. Kliment’s window gave way. No one on the street even glanced at her.
She waited for Kliment’s bellowing voice. There was not a sound from inside. So Oxana went through the black rectangle. In the room stood Kliment, his beard folded upon his chest, his fingers threaded in supplication. He was afraid of her.
Go, she said.
“None.” Eran prayed that his face remained neutral.
“It’s this simple,” Sunitha said, grinning. “Pretend.”
When the Russians occupied Galicia in September 1914, they instituted a policy of Russification on the local Ukrainian population, with the support of local Russophiles. This policy was aggressive, involving the imposition of Russian education and religion, and carried out by administrators who were often incapable and unloaded on the region by their home offices elsewhere in Russia. Austria-Hungary retook the region in June 1915. As a result, many local Russophiles fled to Russia.