Suppose, I consider, already enjoying the windfall my lawsuit would bring, I build an airtight case, forever lauded as a precedent in the annals of labor history? I will argue thus: If I collect the telling phrases of my subjects, I can't just toss them after I've filed the story. They stay with me. I think of the overworked Louisiana lawyer I spoke to last week who told me, "I'm up to my armpits in alligators." Or the Texan who described her skinny husband as "standing just this side of gaunt." My job requires me to sweep the phrases in, tuck them in a mental crevice, dredge them for later use as I sit down at the computer to re-draw these characters, invoking these colorful, country-western idioms to share an image with my readers. I apply the phrases to page, but it is not as if I have discarded the words. I have merely cut-and-pasted them. The original words—the thin cowboy, say, who I visualize as standing beside his thinner friend, Gaunt, or the bespectacled attorney in his three-piece suit splashing around in a swamp of alligators—remain inside my head, added to the plaque narrowing the pipes of my mind and slowing the efficient production of words.