While the Judge was in DC on her mission, I was back in Chambers trying to keep the cover story going. As always, she wanted her work Fed Exed to her. I had the address of the hotel where she was staying. Of course, the clerks had to think I was addressing the package to her daughter's home, not somewhere in Pentagon City. To cover this I did not put the shipping label on the package until the last minute and delivered it to the Fed Ex drop off myself, every afternoon. Her husband called a time or too, saying he could not get her to answer her cell phone. I told him I had not spoken with her either.
The national press was working with a long list of possible candidates for the open position on the Supreme Court. I was really hoping her name would not be on it this time. However, no such luck. It was listed there, albeit at the bottom - thank God for small favors. The clerks continued to banter among themselves about her chances. I reminded them that her elevation would most likely mean the end of our positions immediately. Of course, they hoped they could go with her and become Supreme Court Law Clerks. (This was the uber position sought by all bright law students and only achieved by a very few. Most Supreme Court clerks had been Appellate Law clerks first.)
The next morning her husband called, "I have a legal document she has to sign today. I spoke with her last night but cannot get again today." Once again, I assured him I would tell her when I spoke with her. That night the Judge called me at home. "Well, I had to tell him [her husband], I had no choice. He called tonight me about that deed I need to sign. I tried to stall him but he figured it out. He's none too happy, but I don't think he'll tell anyone." She shared a few details of her day and then we went over some work issues and she told me she would be up there another day.
The idea of dealing with the charade one more day was exhausting just to think about. Suddenly the idea of taking a "mental health" day and playing hooky from work sounded terribly appealing. However, the next morning I found myself back at my desk. The clerks were circling. Our chambers was such a close bunch, the idea of trying to pull something like this off was first, not a simple task and secondly, almost disingenuous. However, I knew this was how the game was played and the Judge would deal with it after she returned. Knowing her, she would tell the clerks. After all, she needed all the help she could get now.
The first phone call I got that morning was from the AP. Supposedly, someone had seen the Judge at a restaurant in DC the prior evening. Could I confirm she was in DC? I quickly told them, that I doubted anyone saw her there, since she was taking care of her grandchildren. Then they asked if I knew if anyone had contacted her about the Supreme Court. I laughed and said, "Only the press." And, so the morning went. Garth Brooks' song, I Thank God for Unanswered Prayers, kept running through my mind. As a little girl, I used to pray at night I would grow up to be a secret agent. After the past few days - not so much.