Monday, June 13, 2011

Dearly Beloved

Setting: Here There Were Dragons
Plot: Quest For The Rest
Narrative Device: Attending Your Own Funeral
Hero: Faux Action Girl
Villain: Villain Ball Magnet
Character As Device: Escape Artist
Characterization Device: Holy Hitman

"...we are gathered here today..." he continued, in the tone of one reciting something that had been memorized for more than three-quarters of one's life.

It was a little depressing how quickly they bought it. Granted, I wasn't as strong as my spread-as-a-joke-and-never-lived-down reputation had people believe, but I had some skills. They just weren't brass knuckles-to-the-gut fighting.

Honestly. "No, sorry, the woman you've seen escape locks, chains, boxes, tombs and, oh yeah, strait jackets--six times!--couldn't escape a strait jacket. Because she was underwater." Give me strength.

"Knockety-knock," said my new company in the tree.

"Hush. They're about to get to the part where the presenter has to work around my utter lack of accomplishments."

My companion smothered a laugh and choked out, "Poor guy," before shutting up.

The guy really did have a rather difficult job. I had done some tricky "How will she get out of this?", but he hardly approved in the first place. Jeremiads about the distractions of the non-educational entertainment community were pretty much half of what he did. Not that I particularly blame him. I bored me.

"Jane..." I blinked. That was the first time he'd used my first name. It sounded so weird. "Was a good, forgiving soul." I nodded. Now say, "She will be missed," so you don't have to claim me or not-claim me and look bad. I don't know how many people figured out that's what he was doing, but since he talked to himself while he wrote his speeches, I knew.

"We will all miss her." I started and froze. "I know she has found peace."

Inconsequential things happened. Some teared up, but they were all accomplished liars; I didn't take it very seriously. Eventually, the crowd finished and filed away.

It hadn't been a fantastic service. I hadn't been a fantastic person. But he seemed genuinely hurt. I hadn't realize anyone would be.

"Janey," my partner murmured from ground level. "Time to get."

I nodded. "Yeah."

We walked down the trodden path and I thought about what it meant to be part of the order.

Extreme makeover, of course. I had to fool my own mother, if it somehow came to it, so I had to look different. And act, too. Literally, acting, to complete the makeover, and action. I already has escapology skills, and that was going to be my specialty. Thing was, I was also supposed to get other people out, which I was still relatively new to. I'm fine on the tests, but I keep failing the practicals. It's so weird to have the locks facing me.

I was guessing that my partner was either a tracker or someone lethal. No one's told me exactly what the lethal ones hunt, or what the trackers track, but hey, experience. And I am allowed to quit, if it comes to that. This is just to get me out of here, really.

"Hey, partner?"


"What should I call you?"


"Um," I said, articulately. "Should I capitalize that, or...?"

"As you wish."

I stared, then fell turned my eyes ahead and tried to find something more productive to think about. Like communicating the escapology. If I could get basics to the people I'd be helping, then they might be half out by the time I get to them, and then I'd have that many more out...

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