This is Memorial Day weekend in the United States, a day when we memorialize and honor those who died in our country’s service. The following story is in no way meant to make fun of their sacrifices or of the tribute paid to them. It’s just a silly story.
For those who don’t know, years and years ago, I wrote a novel (currently out of print) set on Llannonn, a planet where courtesy is literally the law. When I went on a blog book tour for the novel, I ran a contest for naming a character in a short story set in the same world. Fellow writer Holly Jahangiri (the real one) was such a determined contestant, I named a character after her, too. That character commandeered the story, and I’ve been writing about her ever since.
I write a Holly story on the Sundays of Story A Day May. This year, I got started late, so today’s story is to make up for that.
Holly Jahangiri (the fictional one) becomes, is, and retires as a Librarian at a library for living books. It seems that somebody on Llannonn read Fahrenheit 451 and decided a library of people who recite books they’ve memorized was a great idea. Typically for Llannonn, they officialized it. Becoming a living book is now a respectable career, provided you can get a gig in a library.
Holly and the Green-Eyed Monster
The Library was closed for Remembery Day. For no particular reason, Holly found herself gravitating toward Council City’s Meadow of Flowers Police Station. It had nothing to do with a certain copper by the name of Pel Darzin. Nothing whatsoever.
By an amazing coincidence, she met that very same copper on a street that would, eventually, lead to the Council City Living Library Main Branch, where Holly had her office.
Holly and Darzin had just shared a perhaps a little more than cordial thumb hook when another woman joined them.
The new woman was slightly taller than Darzin – as was Holly, come to that – and tautly athletic. Her tunic and leggings were crisply neat and fit her as if they had been made for her. Her sandy hair was cut extremely short and lay flat against her skull.
Holly and the woman surveyed one another with cool calculation. When they hooked thumbs in greeting, each found the other’s hook to be cool, stiff, and firm.
“Head Librarian Holly Jahangiri,” said Darzin, with his customary courtesy, “I’d like you to meet–”
He was interrupted by the blare of 76 oompops and the tootle and flowery aroma of 110 scented twirlpipes.
“The parade’s about to begin,” said the woman. “We need to go. Now!” She looked over her shoulder and said, “Sincerely sorry. Do forgive us.”
Darzin doe-eyed-blinked his apology and followed the woman without hesitation.
Holly was surprised at how wounded she felt. She and Darzin had, she had thought, a bit of an understanding, but they hadn’t exactly carved their names on a name-carving post. He had every right to see another woman, even a borderline-rude, controlling, stick-up-her-spinal-column woman.
“I’m going to the parade,” she said to herself. “Care to join me?”
“Don’t mind if I do,” she replied.
She paid top krelp for a route-side seat, under a canopy and far from any alley, where lurked vermin like alley jammers and street urchins with light and sticky fingers.
The parade was everything a Remembery Day parade should be, with marching bands, floats commemorating the intense quarrel East Llannonn had had with West Llannonn that one time, and dancing pratties, their wool decorated with beads, non-toxic paint, and creative spot-shearing.
Then came the heart of the celebration: The parade of veterans. These were the men and women who had left their homes and families to stand on the front lines of the quarrel and trade insults with the enemy. Most had recovered from the shame of being deliberately rude, but some had never – would never – stop blushing.
The crowd stood and roared their appreciation of the former troops, splendid in their uniforms.
There was Darzin! Holly hadn’t realized he was a veteran. Many didn’t care to talk about the slurs they had cast and been subjected to. And there was his new woman, just in front of him. Ah! Comrads! How could she ever hope to compete with that!
When the parade was over, the crowd swarmed the route, cleaning up any debris.
Holly wasn’t surprised when she felt a tap on her shoulder: Many a friendship had begun during parade pick-up. She was surprised when she turned and found Pel Darzin and his fellow trooper, still in uniform tunics and trousers, smiling and relaxed.
“Glad that’s over,” the woman said. “I hate being in parades. Love watching ’em, though, so I shouldn’t complain.”
“Now I can introduce you,” Darzin said. “Head Librarian Holly Jahangiri, I’d like for you to meet Chief Draper Windra Kerns, my recommending officer in the Great Quarrel. If it weren’t for her masterful suggestions, the unit would have been utterly mortified more than once.”
“It was nothing, my lad,” said the bluff former recommender. “I had the best unit in the service.” To Holly, she said, “So this is the young woman I’ve been hearing so many fine things about.” (Darzin blushed. Holly may have, as well.) “Very pleased to make your acquaintance. Sorry if I was brusque before. Had to change tunics and pull on my boots and trousers. Other way around, of course.”
They all had a good laugh over that.
“Now,” said Chief Draper Windra Kerns, “what say we find some place that’s open and have a couple of adult beverages? First round’s on me.”
Holly decided that she liked Darzin’s friend. She liked her just fine.
Here are my nails this week. Simple and leafy. My base coat was Spoiled’s Green To Be Heard (where DO they get these names?). The sparkly topper on my accent nails was Spoiled’s Show Me The Money. I used Maniology’s Soft Sage and Born Pretty’s stamping plate BPL-026. I’m a Maniology ambassador and, if you use my coupon code MomGoth10 at checkout there, you get 10% off your purchase.
A WRITING PROMPT FROM ME TO YOU: Write about something green.