I have a special fondness for SIDESHOW IN THE CENTER RING. It was my drawer novel for many a year: I worked on it, played with it, didn’t care if I finished it, messed with it if I was stuck on another project and just wanted to write a scene for fun. I took out all my sarcasm and bile through Connie’s attitude, and what a relief that was!
But, alas, the day came when everything fell into place and I actually made a finished manuscript out of the damned thing, sarcasm, bile and all.
In this scene, Connie, vacationing with a group on a planet where slavery is legal has fought a slaver to a draw and has learned that one of her “friends” commissioned him to do it. The Shar is a native who has been following her around for (at this point in the story) unknown purposes.
The natives are completely covered with cat-like fur. A “shave-tail” is a native who shaves most of that fur off, wears clothes, and hobnobs with Earthlings.
The Slaver’s Sister
excerpt from SIDESHOW IN THE CENTER RING
by Marian Allen
Budhi considered for a moment, while I braced myself for fight or flight. I didn’t like his toothy smile, when he finally nodded.
“Let’s talk price,” he said.
I went for him.
The Shar caught me by the upper arms, and held me only as tightly as he had to.
Budhi jumped back at my lunge. When he saw the Shar had me, he began again.
“After all, you ought to be worth more to yourself than you would have been to Mem Moran. You Terrans talk about ‘freedom’ like it’s better than life, or something. Can you really put a price on that?”
“Your sister dates shave-tails,” I said.
Budhi’s jaw dropped, then he wrinkled his nose and wheezed.
“Is he choking?” I asked the Shar. “I hope?”
“Laughing.” To Budhi, he said. “Maybe you should settle on selling her for what your other buyer was willing to pay.
You would get the same commission.”
“But she hit me, and kicked me. I was injured–”
“I’ll give you injured.” I struggled against the Shar’s gray hands.
“I don’t know how much longer I can hold her.”
He could have held me till Kingdom come; there was no doubt of that in my mind.
There was in Budhi’s, though. He reached into his pack and pulled out a book and a triplicate form.
SIDESHOW IN THE CENTER RING is available at Amazon in print and for Kindle and all free Kindle apps.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Invent an insult and have a character deploy it against another.