NaNoWriMo Excerpt #1

by johannespunkt

I am losing interest in telling this story well but there should be salvageable things after the month is over and writing can return to a more reasonable pace.

~

The Information Market seemed to breathe, or have a pulse. But it was nothing but a layer-3 suborganism and its ebb and flow was no more than that of the ocean.

Its pulse quickened, though. Garish stepped out onto a podium while three or four ghosts of him moved around on the floor like it was some sort of dance. His suits were black and grey now, his hat shorter and flatter. One of his ghosts stopped dead in front of a short hunchback.

“Why hello there, gorgeous,” he said though she hid her face. “How do you feel about a transaction?”

Her hunch seemed to twitch and she turned away. Garish stretched out his cane to poke her on the back with it but she turned around and ripped it from his grip. “What do you want?” There was a veil over her face now.

“How about, I hand you this –” he held up a small information ball like the one he’d given to Rovy a few hours earlier – “which is an extensive guide to dieting and taking care of one’s body. All I want for exchange is a little personal information from you.”

“I’m not telling you anything and I don’t need that.” Her voice was like gravel and grit. 

“How about if I tell you that the diet tips are what the elites used before they became elites. I’m selling you the comprehensive guide to maintaining wings, my dear.”

She paused. She just stood there.

“Annnnd now you’ve hesitated long enough to confirm my suspicions. Thank you, darling; your new look doesn’t suit you though,” and he walked away.

She held in her hands the little ball, and sighed. “Am I that obvious?”

“Suspicious statement observed. Commence Interrogation Sequence.” A dronelike voice boomed. The only person who seemed to be affected by this was Rovy, though. Gradually, other people faded out of existence and they appeared to be in a white, everstretching oubliette. The two butterflies accosting her hovered up and down.

“Initiate Sequence: Intimidation. Initiate Sequence: Authority. Initiate Sequence: Good cop; bad cop. Assume role: bad cop,” buzzed the first butterfly.

“Initiate Sequence: Good cop; bad cop. Assume role: good cop,” buzzed the second.

Bad cop: “State your name and raison d’être.”

“My name is Laupell Maxchiok,” Rovy said, “I’m the Perfectio–”

Good cop: “Is it always ethical and defendable to abstain? In any situation?”

“What kind of a question even is that?”

Bad cop, “just answer or you will earn two new eyeballs to replace the old ones which I will have fuckfried myself.”

Rovy swallowed some air, “it’s not ethical, always, no. Sometimes you have to step in.”

Good cop, “initiate sequence: ambiguous bluff. If you just tell us why you chose to be a hunchback my friend here won’t feel the need to laserfuck your eyeballs. It feels like that very much now, oh yes.”

“Er. As I was saying, I’m the Perfection Enhancer of section 5.”

Bad cop, “YOU’RE NOT VERY PERFECT FOR A PERFECTION ENHANCER. YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE COULD USE SOME RELIEVING.” It also made some noises like knives swisching through air, though no knives were present.

“I … am imperfect to make others appreciate their own perfection,” she said, staring at the floor. It was impossibly white. “But I’m not too imperfect, to make them feel guilt. It is all according to the First Worlds Principle.”

Good cop buzzed, “we have to go now. It was very nice talking to you. Oh yes.”

“Finish all sequences.” The information market flooded back into view and the little circle where she’d been standing before was evacuated before she fleshed entirely back.

“People!” shouted someone with a microphone. “We have two very important and sad announcements to make!”

She pushed her way through the crowd to get better into earshot of the shouting woman. She had a nametag like Garish and Portentous, but it was too small for Rovy to see from where she stood. People gathered round and stopped moving more than to fidget; and the woman with the megaphone drew her breath.

“We are sad to offer you this information, but we offer it free of charge,” she shouted, “it is important that you know. The very popular and incredible Information Merchant, Portentous, has passed away in his sleep. More information about it can be bought or traded for at any of your regular venues. Thank you.” She didn’t stop talking but that was where people stopped paying attention. Rovy heard her speak some more about the automatic safeguards against more falling angels; the city should cope with them better now and if you wanted to know exactly how it worked, you could buy the information from her right there.

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