Today’s sample is from SIDESHOW IN THE CENTER RING, a science fiction comedy of bad manners.
Connie Phelan is a TerraNet holovision star from the wrong side of the tracks. She manages to become a hanger-on in an exclusive social group, with the unworthy goal of becoming its leader. The group goes to a planet where the residents vaguely resemble human/cat hybrids and slavery is legal. Darryl, Connie’s nemesis, buys Tiph. Another resident offers himself for sale and Connie buys him to keep Darryl from owning anybody else.
In this scene, the Captain of the tour boat the group takes to a resort just asked Connie to tell Darryl that, if he can’t treat Tiph humanely out of simple decency, he should know that the law protects her. When Connie meets Darryl’s mistress leading Tiph on a leash, she makes an attempt.
A Word to the Unwise
excerpt from SIDESHOW IN THE CENTER RING
by Marian Allen
“I’m surprised Darryl trusts you with his trained monkey,” I said.
“Darryl knows he can trust me with anything,” said Honey.
“I was talking to Tiph.”
“That wasn’t funny, was it, Tiph?” Honey asked.
“No, Mem Clayton.”
“Connie Phelan isn’t funny at all, is she?”
“No, Mem Clayton.”
“Tell her she isn’t funny at all.”
Tiph turned to me. “You aren’t funny, at all.”
“I’m glad to hear it,” I said. “Because I’m not trying to be funny now.” I straight-eyed Honey, willing her to listen with her mind, not just her ears. “Tiph came with a manual. Before you start trying to please your flea-brained sweetheart by poking at Tiph with a sharp stick, you’d better read it.”
Honey’s eyes shifted.
“They aren’t treating you right, are they?” I said to Tiph.
Darryl joined us before she could answer.
“Darry! Connie’s trying to make trouble, as usual.”
“Not trouble between us.” He put an arm around Honey’s waist and gave her a squeeze. “She couldn’t do that, could she, Honeybunch?”
Honey gazed down at her darling with enough adoration to gag a Magi and shook her head.
“This is touching,” I said.
“She’s jealous,” Honey stage-whispered. She giggled as Darryl hugged her again.
“Gosh, who wouldn’t be? Just looking at you two kids makes me all misty-eyed. In fact, I feel so darn tender, I’m going to do you two a favor. I don’t know why, because it can’t possibly profit me, but I am.”
Darryl gave me a thin smile. “An altruist. This is a new side of you, Connie.”
“I was telling Honey, you’d better read that owner’s manual that came with Tiph.” I moved closer to the lovebirds, though I felt like a dinosaur edging up to the tar pits on a dare. “She could o-gay to ourt-cay if you don’t atch-way out-way. Get me?”
Darryl didn’t understand Tudolinguo, but Pig-Latin was about his speed. He wasn’t impressed, though. “It’s sweet of you to care, but I’m not afraid of someone I own. If I thought I needed to be….”
…It wouldn’t be good for the someone. He didn’t have to finish that sentence for me to see how it would end. Tiph stood like a stone, pretending she wasn’t listening, which was probably wise.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Write about advice falling on deaf ears. Really deaf or metaphorically, your choice.