Culture

CONDITIONAL HOLIDAYS ARE ALWAYS LESS THAN WHAT THEY SEEM (4/4)


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It felt like an age had passed while I was in the restroom. Yet it hadn’t been long enough. The older I get the less these conditional holidays seem like holidays at all, and more like work in disguise.

Lalantree?”

Reluctantly, I turned towards the voice and the mountains. Either it was my imagination or the twilight on that side of the plaza was deepening; shadows darkening the flowers among the scrub, and far above them, the pines and the crags. Someone had seen fit to leave a stone table on the grass not far from me, and its weathered scrollwork, and cracked surface, managed to convey forlornness amid the rest of this zytocoke1-fueled fantasy.

Mavind was sitting there, waiting for me with her cream self perched upon the faded grey, feet off the ground and legs swaying slightly. The table might as well have been placed for her. A creeper was growing up one leg. (more…)

CONDITIONAL HOLIDAYS ARE ALWAYS LESS THAN WHAT THEY SEEM (3/4)


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I forged a path toward the washroom through the thinner bits of the crowd, conscious that my newfound powers in clearing away knots of people were 100% due to the Junoesque figure following me. And this, I realized, was one of the most exciting things that had happened on any of our CLPFC days; the expressions around us were awash with curiosity, shock, and delight. Everyone here would know that Ibrander’s date had jumped ship to Lalantree before lunch was served.

Trying to scan as many faces as possible without making eye contact (now this is a true art) I almost bumped into Loddi’s mum. This in spite of her neon floral mumu. “Oh, hello Lalantree. Loddi isn’t with you?”

No…” Mavind had come up close behind me, and Loddi’s mum did a double take. (more…)

Conditional Holidays are Always Less Than What They Seem (2/4)


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Nonchalant and all that, I waited until the last moment to look up at the welcome interlopers.

Ibrander,” said a poised, throaty, laughing voice, “won’t you introduce me?”

They stopped in front of the bench, my third cousin Ibrander1 (who detests Loddi, making me instantly suspicious of his coming over) and a tall, glossy person who was all rich brown hair and expressive mouth and hand gestures. One hand was on Ibrander’s arm but she still managed to be gesturing with it. Her clothes were nothing less than dashing – a wide hat and a one-piece dress suit in cream, its tailored A-line skirt skewing physics by ending in a sway. This was one case where I didn’t have to worry about the polite game that people played of trying to guess-without-guessing whether someone was visiting in-holo only. She was most definitely in person. (more…)

Conditional Holidays are Always Less than What They Seem (1/4)


Loddi Frisket is a black hole of neuroses. His very existence centres on an unstable singularity, which sucks in anxieties, crises, and the most outlandishly negative possibilities. From prior experience I can attest that his event horizon fluctuates around a diameter of approximately 15 metres. Sometimes the emotional debris which gathers on his accretion disk is an accurate enough warning that I can reverse course, and get away before his attention fixes on me. Sometimes it is not enough.

To give you a sense of just what I am dealing with, Loddi once asked me if I would rather lose my heart (and dignity) to a psychopathic baker, or flee the civilized world, giving up everything from clean pillow shams to NutriPills, only to waste away in boondocks replete with SABs1 and smugglers.

In my humble opinion, the baker of Loddi’s bipolar love was not psychopathic (I still buy rolls there), but merely possessed of poor judgement, seeing as she countenanced his Gothic style of flirting in the first place. Furthermore, it is well known that the Carwallian smugglers (the only smugglers within 50 lightyears to whom Loddi could have possibly been referring) live very well in their off-planet colonies, though the latter are admittedly remote places. Politics may be laissez-faire over in the Esten Economic Zone but they still don’t want blatant crime polluting the fine views and real estate values of the elite.

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ON THE IMPORTANCE OF “ISMS”, AND THE CRYOSTATICALLY RE-ENABLED (5)


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As I alluded to earlier, the Blartists of today bear little resemblance to the long-deceased statesman from whom their brand derives. To be brief in summarizing a long and dusty biography, which I pulled from my grandmother’s shelves (she collects histories of anything “queer”, as she deems it), R. F. Blart broke into Hyan politics before they were known as Hyan politics by throwing outrageous parties. He was an instant star, with a keen instinct for brokering alliances, and a flair for speeches that served as accessory to a bold appearance; he was never seen in anything but purple.

Blart set his stamp on the original Charter and Constitution of the Hyan Economic Zone (HEZ) as one of its first eleven High Councillors, and after a few goods years, he proceeded to ricochet from highs to lows – from diplomatic triumphs to day-drunk rants in the Senate. Such erratic behaviour ate into his popular support until only the most hardcore remained dedicated to him; town criers, and foot masseuses1. (more…)

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF “ISMS”, AND THE CRYOSTATICALLY RE-ENABLED (4)


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When we came down to the Conference Lounge it was five minutes to the preordained start, and hardly anybody was there. No one that I recognized, certainly, which lead me to believe that the few people scattered here and there among armchairs were probably from the infamous MV&SR, while up on the little raised speaking platform two people, faces hidden, were conferring over the intricacies of pressing the large black button to turn on the microphone. I wondered which of them might be our speaker.

I made a beeline for one of the remaining overstuffed armchairs, my top priority as the room was predominantly populated by the less puffy variety. It felt as if our group of six or so, hushed remarks and chuckles not entirely quelled as we crossed the room, was quite conspicuous in the sparse silence, and it was with a knotty mix of emotion – including modest dismay – that I found Hellinder seated next to me, very nearly tête-à-tête.  (more…)

On the Importance of “isms”, and the Cryostatically Re-Enabled (3)


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Hellinder was of the species that professes inexpensive, simple tastes, yet is always willing to go out for lunch or a drink. The kind that is ever poised to introduce vulgarity (literal excrement, for instance) into a sentence, yet demonstrates close attention to grammar, spelling, and pronunciation. After a certain point one must concede that to be confounded is close enough to being charmed, and to being willing to lend a spoon upon occasion1.

A great deal of further illustration is possible, but I will limit it to this – Hellinder was possessed of a good head of wavy dark hair, and very black eyes, and he eased human interaction in a manner that defied the laws of pseudophysics. How an extrovert finagled his way into the office I do not know.

So, although I had escaped Tertiary School without forming any close acquaintances, my worknights and weekends were now peppered by gatherings with coworkers, which was the very opposite of what I should have expected out of those two phases of my human development. As I retained some old friends from Secondary School, this left a gap associated with my Tertiary experience with which I have never been quite comfortable, as it seems to indicate that something went wrong. I puzzled over these matters, and coupled as I was at the time, to watch my partner quietly ignoring the bouleversement of my social life (a luxury that I did not have) was to be convinced that a very long joke was in progress. (more…)