Wednesday July 19th, 2017

The exercise:

Write about: the trajectory.

Had some time to rest and catch up on comments this morning before taking over with the kids for the afternoon. Natalie came over to play with Max (and Miles) for a bit, which was a nice break for me as well.

Got the boys for most of the day tomorrow, so I best get some sleep.


I was a rising star in this company, once. They said I seemed destined for the top and I believed them. Why wouldn't I? They already held the riches and power I desired. Their wisdom came from experience and lives of luxury.

So I sacrificed. I put in the extra hours, I skipped holidays and birthdays and weekends. Gave up friends who were more distraction than motivation. It would all be worth it in the end - that's what I kept telling myself. Every morning and every night.

But then something... happened. Things took a turn. I'm not sure when, exactly. I have no idea how. But suddenly I was no longer the favored son. I was not the heir apparent. Doors no longer opened at my approach.

Sometimes... sometimes they were slammed shut.

I do not understand the how or the why or the when. But I do know the who.

Elliot Gordon.

He's getting the special treatment now. They're grooming him, stroking his ego. Telling him the same lies they told me.

Because he is the new me.

I wonder if there was a me before me, as it were. That seems rather likely, now that I think about it. I wonder what became of him? Or her, I suppose. Doesn't seem likely in this company, but I guess you can never be too sure of anything around here.

I've learned that lesson, all right.

Just a bit too late in the game to do anything about it.

... or is it?


Greg said...

Well done on the comment catch-up, especially with getting ahead of the Dream Kingdom. I think I've added to the chaos there, but I'm starting to enjoy this "imagine it and it happens (with caveats)" magic system!
I like the ruminatory nature of this piece, with the steady trajectory of the story arc from golden boy to bronze buddha-statue in the corner gathering dust. I especially like the bits I'm familiar with: giving up time and holidays in order to advance. I'm less familiar with suddenly-closed doors, but I guess that kind of happened at the job in Malta in a way (though I think that's more to do with mediocre managers in my way rather than genuine hostility). I'd definitely like to see more of Elliot Gordon and find out how that all goes -- another one for the "to be continued" list?
Great writing, as usual from you :)

The trajectory
The society matron was still standing there holding my glass of lukewarm Shampagne and looking unhappy. Mortified was probably the word, and even though Meredith was quite right that I needed to leave before Lieutenant Rache could locate me, old habits die hard. I sauntered back up to her and took the glass from her unresisting hand.
"Good news," I said with the cheekiest smile I could muster -- and I've won over the hearts of princesses with that smile -- "I didn't explode and no-one needs to clean anything particularly hard. This time."
Her fixed smile became a rictus and I could see the tension in her jaw as she resisted grinding her teeth together.
"I hardly ever explode," I said.
"Inappropriate," she managed, her lips barely open and her teeth still firmly pressed together. If ventriloquism were still anything anyone cared about, she'd be impressing everyone.
I put a hand on her shoulder and felt her quiver. Of course this was even more inappropriate than my conversation, but -- and this was the important thing -- she was still here, still talking. She wanted to be seduced. I leaned in closer, and her perfume tickled my nostrils: something floral with a woodsy undertone, hinting at innocence on the surface and earthiness beneath. I won my bet with myself about her aim for the evening in that moment.
"Perhaps," I left a small pause there, just to build the anticipation, "you could educate me about inappropriateness?" It was hard to detect but I was looking for it: another quiver of stiffening muscles, the body responding to instructions before the brain could quite clamp down on them. "Discipline me, perhaps?"
"Madame Howager," said a clipped voice behind us both, and Meredith pulsed electric impulses through my clothes, an AI's way of saying "I told you so."
"And... Mar Coquan unless the forensic AIs on my ship have bitrot."
I smiled.
"I'm actually Harry," I said. Madame Howager next to me nodded, and her hand sought mine. "I've been called Mark before though."
"Mar," said Lieutenant Rache, with the most insincere smile I'd ever seen outside of a mirror. "Well, Harry, the problem is that Mar is a very dangerous man and we can't take chances. So you'll have to come with me to my ship to confirm that you're actually Harry, and then we'll apologise nicely and bring you back."
The electrical pulsing up and down my sleeve this time was the laughter of an AI.

Marc said...

Greg - and here I am, three weeks behind on comments. I think that might actually be an improvement? Hard to say.

Thank you! And I hope Kiev works out better than Malta did for you.

Ah, so pleased to see you continue this scene. So many great details, and you've left me wondering how our hero(?) shall get out of this bind he's found himself in.