Chapter 74

                “This feels… risky.” Bubble Bubble set down the stack of papers on Lenny’s desk. The outline of their counter-strategy to her scandal was in-depth, smartly-worded, and shockingly comprehensive. Especially given that the whole thing had only gone down the night before. She’d known anyone who represented Titan would be good, but even she was taken aback at so much planning done so soon. That said, this was a far bolder strategy than she’d been expecting.

                “Risky is an understatement. This is outright courting trouble,” Lenny corrected. “If done improperly, this strategy will torch what little goodwill you have left, pretty much putting you out of business. Whereas, if you just try to lay-low and weather the storm, you’ll probably end up back to square one, career-wise.”

                “I take it there’s some greater gain to be had by this strategy then, if the chance at loss is so much higher.”

                Lenny smiled, a surprisingly charming feature on the squalid, clearly sleep-deprived man. “Smart call. I’ve still got Heroes that I’d have to handhold to that realization.” He reached over and rested a thick finger on the stack of papers resting in front of Bubble Bubble. “Your old image, really your whole character, is dead. No matter what we do, no matter how we frame it, that demur gal who embodied polite, quiet beauty is never coming back. If we sit this through quietly, playing it defensively, all we’re doing is clinging to last vestiges of something that’s already lost. If, on the other hand, we take this route, then we can create a new image out of the ashes from your old one. But, like I said, that only works if you can play it right.”

                Bubble Bubble picked up the documents once more, Lenny’s finger sliding off as soon as she touched the papers. “What do you need from me to make this work?”

                “There will be lots of soundbites, some PR work, and I’ve got an interview tentatively scheduled for this afternoon to kick things off, but more than anything I need to know if you believe you can make that girl come to life. You have to be bold, certain, and unwavering. A lot of people aren’t going to like what you’re selling. This isn’t some milquetoast persona that no one talks about and some people admire. You’re going to piss some people off, and if you give so much as an inch, that’s all it will take to tear the whole thing down. Only you can say for sure if you’re up to the challenge, and really only you should make the call on something this dangerous.”

                “It’s certainly a change of pace,” Bubble Bubble agreed. “But in a lot of ways, I like this one better. If nothing else she seems a lot more fun. Tell me something though, if you don’t mind. Were I one of your Hero clients, would this be the strategy you recommended for me?”

                “Depends on the Hero, but probably not,” Lenny admitted, no sense of shame in his voice. “Heroes need to play it safer, they’re civil servants sent in to keep people safe. Making a Hero polarizing is dangerous; some folks will outright refuse to be saved by someone they disagree with. If a Hero were in your shoes, I’d have to recommend something that was a half-step between this and playing it safe.”

                Lenny leaned forward slightly in his chair, a wicked gleam suddenly twinkling in his eye. “But, in that situation, I’d be sitting, silently wishing I could recommend this tactic to them. Heroes don’t have the freedom that you do, Bubble Bubble. I can’t make you use it, or even tell you if it’s right to. All I can say is this is the only strategy I can see that has a chance at putting you ahead of where you were before the fiasco started.”

                “You do know how to sell a pitch, I have to give you that,” Bubble Bubble said. She skimmed the documents one last time, then set them down. “This new version of character, she seems a bit combative. Do you think people will respond to that?”

                “In my experience, it’s not the fact that someone’s aggressive that turns people off so much as what they're aggressive about. And yeah, you’re going to alienate the shit out of a lot of folks. But you’re also going to draw in a lot of people who are just as sick of this bullshit as you.”

                “If I do it right,” Bubble Bubble added.

                “Goes without saying,” Lenny agreed. “Think you can handle being a little more abrasive and mouthy than before?”

                Bubble Bubble chuckled, a soft, practiced sound yet with a touch of harshness to it. “I didn’t make it this far in business by not having a bit of asshole in me. Honestly, keeping that suppressed was the hardest part of my job, far worse than jumping into fires or risking injury. I understand that this has the potential to utterly lay waste to my career, but since that could happen anyway, I think I’d prefer to go out swinging.”

                With quick motion, Lenny produced a new stack of documents from under his desk and slid them over. “That was what I wanted to hear. Welcome aboard, Bubble Bubble, if you sign these then you’re now officially one of my clients.”

                “Wasn’t I already?”

                “Yes and no,” Lenny said. “Titan asked me to help you, so I was going to do that no matter what. But there’s a hefty amount of difference between getting you through one scandal and actually taking you on as a client. To be frank, I dislike working with people that have no guts. Life, at least this life, requires people take chances. If you want the big pay-off, you have to be willing to take the dangerous gambles. You’re not obligated to sign on, of course. I just wanted to let you know the offer was on the table.”

                Bubble Bubble stared at the contract for a long moment, then motioned for Lenny to slide them over. “Mr. Greene, the man who manages us at Mordent, wanted me to take the safe route. Hole up, let the team do damage control, try and wait for it to pass. That’s the sane move, isn’t it?”

                “Unquestionably so,” Lenny agreed.

                “Then I’m happy to sign on with you. I too dislike working with the gutless.” Bubble Bubble grabbed and pen and began flipping through the papers initialing as she read. “Besides, I can’t wait to see the look on Hexcellent’s face when she find out I’m challenging her for the title of baddest bitch in the house.”