Here’s a sample from “Aardvark with an Arrow,” one of the stories included in my science fiction collection, OTHER EARTH, OTHER STARS.
ReeMarie is a pop sensation in the near future who jumps on the fadwagon and buys an aardvark. Fortunately for the aardvark, she also hires someone to look out for his welfare.
The Things We Do For Success
excerpt from “Aardvark with an Arrow”
by Marian Allen
Aardvarks went out of favor, and it didn’t take more than a year. As I told ReeMarie, they get big — BIG — and they live for over twenty years. Most of the people who bought real ones during the craze lost interest in the animals when the fashion moved on to pangolins.
“I can’t be out of date,” she told me, when she handed me my pink slip. “Plus, I’m established now. I don’t need a gimmick. It just makes me look like I’m grabbing for attention, and I don’t need to do that.”
I couldn’t just walk away, though. “What about Valentine?”
“He’s yours.” She handed me an envelope. “I thought you might ask. Just in case you did, I had these drawn up. I transferred ownership of Valentine to you. And ownership of that little place I bought in Indiana for him to play in.”
That little place was five acres of woodland with a house and barnyard. It was amazingly generous.
“Thank you. I don’t know what to say. Thank you.”
She looked away. “You’re a good guy. I’m gonna miss you. I’d keep you on, but I don’t need the aardvark.”
By “aardvark”, she meant “expense”. Fame is almost as fleeting for singers as it is for exotic pets. ReeMarie’s revenues were sinking and her retinue needed shrinking. If she wanted to hop out of the category of Flavor-of-the-month and try for Industry Icon, she needed to simplify her profile, cut back on costs, trade extravagance for gravitas.
She smiled. “I’m gonna miss Valentine, too. Just when I was getting into him.” She had been spending more time with us, taking refuge with his quiet snuffling, quizzing me about his habits and preferences and peculiarities.
She gave a laugh with no amusement in it. “The things we do for success, huh? Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it.”
Buy OTHER EARTH, OTHER STARS
A WRITING PROMPT BASED ON MY POST: Write about buyers remorse.