My science fiction “comedy of bad manners”, SIDESHOW IN THE CENTER RING, is now out in paperback!
Here’s a scene from it which I call “The Sap Actually Bought It.” In it, Connie Phelan has reluctantly taken charge of two natives of a planet where slavery is legal, but only in order to rescue them from Darryl, a manipulative bastard in her tourist group.
“The Sap Actually Bought It”
excerpt from SIDESHOW IN THE CENTER RING
by Marian Allen
“What is it?” Darryl said, his mind on other things.
“Don’t listen to her,” I said. “She might tell you something you need to know.”
He gave her what passed for his attention.
“Mem Phelan has claimed the slave, Tiph, in the name of the Empress. Interference with the slave, Tiph, is an Imperial crime, enforceable by extradition from anywhere in the Terran Union. Do you understand, Mem? There are some things you aliens can’t do and then run home and brag about.”
“I understand, I understand. I’ve had my fun out of Tiph, anyway. The Empress is welcome to her.”
“Yes, Mem.” The Registrar looked at Tiph, at Tosun, and at me, nodded, and left.
As for Tiph, her golden eyes were not only sparkling again, they were glittering.
“Shall I make him leave, Mistr–Managlawn? My pads are harmless, but I still have my teeth.”
“I’m going.” Darryl looked at me from under his lashes and grinned boyishly. “The Season’s only started. So far, I’ve never enjoyed one more. I’m going back to the party now–What a story this’ll make! Coming, Connie?”
“I’ll be along later. I wouldn’t want to steal your thunder.”
The sap actually bought it, and left looking pleased. What a chump. It was almost a shame to take advantage of him – almost.
He’d go back to the party and turn this series of random pratfalls into an uproarious story, and he’d never realize that, goofy as I was, I won the fight. He must have made it on the streets on meanness: it couldn’t have been brains.
Available in paperback.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: A character violates a conviction or principle so deep, violating it throws their very identity into question.