Platypus Journey

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Aristocrats!

A man walks into a talent agent and says, 'Have I got the act for you!'" Squeezed into the talent agent is more like it. The man was corpulent; there was no getting around that. He weighed 300 kilograms if he weighed a kilo and the talent agent wondered how the man even fit through the door. On the other hand, the agent would have wondered if that was part of the its programming.

It’s not often one runs across someone this large, the prospective client is quite remarkable on his own; he would stand out in any crowd, in any of the settled planets. To say he is massive misses the mark; it just does not capture the bulk of the man. The client not only fills the frame, the focus is not wide enough to capture him completely. He is dressed fashionably, and obviously takes pride in his appearance. There is a sparkle in his eyes, and his short black hair curls softly around his ears.

Scanning the man’s chip, the agent produced a suitable chair for the man. The chair blank in place quickly and quietly morphs into a comfortable yet sturdy chair and a half, upholstered in pink cabbage rose chintz.

While the chair was designed to be physically comfortable, the chintz fabric was specifically designed to unnerve the man, ever so slightly. It did its job. It was designed to give the talent agent a little more of an upper hand in the dealings that were to come.

The man lowers his bulk into the proffered chair and waits for the Agent to appear. There was a time once when receptionists were quite common. Now those niceties belong to only the highest level of society. While this was a posh area, there are levels of classy and this did not quite rank a receptionist. Almost, but not quite.

There are rumors that there was a time long ago when talent agents were actual people, not rooms. Now they are all automated, robotic and holographic. The talent agent scans the man and quickly determines the best hierarchical Talent Agent Hologram to use with the man. The Keith model is chosen, very generic, and very bland.

While the Keith could have quickly materialized or morphed in front of the prospective client, it was considered poor social convention for humanoid objects to do this. While it is certainly done in some sectors, it is frowned upon in more polite circles. This being a posh talent agency, the Keith simply used the cover of the side door to materialize.

The Kevin sits directly across from the client. Nothing like a little face-to-face with human males to create a little tension. All the better for bargaining. He touches a small button on the desk and a carafe of ice water with two companions glasses materialize on a tray to his left. He offers a glass to the client.

The man introduces himself. “The name’s Kepton, Norton Kepton.” But of course, the talent agent already knew this. The talent agent already knew many things about Mr. Kepton because it has scanned his public H chip the moment he’d walked into the agent.

The Kevin waited a moment while Norton greedily gulped down the ice water, not so much finesse to the fat man’s drinking style. It should have been obvious to even the casual observer that Mr. Kepton was using the robotic enhancement though help maintain some mobility but it was still going to be a struggle to move that much personal mass around. It didn’t matter if you were a heavy worlder or not, 300 kilograms is 300 kilograms is still extraordinary amount of weight to move.

When Norton poured himself a second glass of ice water, the Kevin knew this was his cue to start his sales pitch.

“Welcome to The Sparkle Sky Talent Agency, Mr. Kepton.”

“As you know, we supply The Imperial Cruise Experience almost exclusively. While we do handle other companies and other liners, The ICE makes up the bulk of our business. While most Talent Agencies manage their talent, we are more concerned with our contracts with our large customers. That is where our loyalties lie. It is important for you to understand that up front.”

“I assume you manage this act?”

Mr. Kepton nods, although not entirely enthusiastically. He reaches into the folds of his blue velvet robe and produces what looks like a sheet of holographic paper. He places this on the desk in front of himself. “The act is not your typically act, but you will understand once you see a performance.”

Norton, of course, had done all his research. He knew that The ICE was not small time. He knew that one typically did not just walk into The Sparkle Sky Talent Agency with dog and pony shows, or small acts. Only the best acts would do for The ICE, and he was confident that his would meet the criteria.

“So, Mr. Kepton, tell me about your act, and how they could possibly serve the discriminating tastes of the passengers of The ICE?”

Norton smiles and settles back into the depths of the chair. If it had not been created specifically to handle his bulk, it would have groaned ominously.

“It’s an aerial act. Meet the Duchess.” He leans forward, lightly touching the paper in front of him. A tiny lavender shooting star leaps from the page and hovers at eye level. “Now the Viscount and the Palatine, if you please.” An emerald green and a crimson star join the lavender one. Norton whispers something quietly to the lights and they begin to swirl and twirl about each other. “Now the Baronet and the Dame please.” Yellow and orange stars leap off the page and join the others in an aerial ballet, dancing to music that slowly becomes audible. As the music becomes louder, the lights become larger, more than just points of light, they become fairy royalty. Fairy princes and princesses.

It is only later that The Kevin realizes that as the fairies become larger, Mr. Norton Kepton shrinks smaller and smaller, until he is the size of an unremarkable man.

"The agent asks, 'and what do you call an act like that?' 'The Aristocrats!'"

(This short story is from the Seattle NaNoWriMo 1K Thursday challenge. I had to use the beginning and ending sentences and write a story that fit.

The fish pictures I drew on one of my last trips down to OHSU.

I'd had a really bad day. I mean, it was about as bad as they come. I'd gotten lost in Vancouver Washington on my way down to OHSU. I was supposed to drop a UFC and have a blood draw, which was fine, but then I got lost. I never get lost, not like I did. I couldn't remember my husband's work number. The one he's had for 10 years. It was bad. Really bad. Everthing just seemed to suck. They didn't even have rooms at the hotel we usually stay. I was a total and complete wreck.

But that night, to console myself, while I was eating dinner, I got out my pad of paper and my pencil pod and pretended that I was a famous artist from Seattle. I was a famous artist and I just drew. My husband found me a hotel room before it got too dark to see, and I of course got lost on the way there. But it was ok, because I was a famous artist... Play acting and denial are useful tools...)


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