As some of you have already noticed I recently published a new novelette, available exclusively on the Amazon Kindle. And just to give you all a little preview here’s the opening scene.
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As some of you have already noticed, I recently published a new novelette, available exclusively on the Amazon Kindle. And just to give you all a little preview, here’s the opening scene.
Faking a smile had never been a problem for Bonnie Neman. As a former, regular fifth or sixth place contestant of the assorted beauty pageants her mother adored, she found she was able to maintain a pleasant expression far longer than the average person. In her running for Miss Teen USA, she even had a nervous breakdown and claimed it as her talent.
“I can create a lasting aura of contentment despite the adverse situation of being presented like some prized pig in a room full of people who honestly don’t care because Miss Georgia won this façade twenty minutes ago when she first walked on with slightly perkier breasts than mine.” She then continued to stand on stage for four and a half minutes, smiling and staring at the audience. Although she had been disqualified for speaking against one of the other contestants, a clear violation of rule 27, appendix B, the judges did admit that despite her comment, they were in fact quite relaxed and felt comfortable for the duration of her presentation.
Some talent. If anything it had been a curse. As it turns out, smiling despite the circumstances had led a lot of men on over the years. From bad dates to random suitors on the street believing they were having a moment, it was just her natural expression. Something her mother pushed so fiercely as a child that Bonnie couldn’t help but show her whites whenever she felt all eyes were on her. Not that it wasn’t without its advantages. She was the first of her graduating sorority sisters to find a job, something she felt she owed significantly more to her smile than any other qualification.
Over the phone she had told her mother the same line she’d used on all her friends, “The place is called Exponential Innovations. They’re a privately funded subsidiary that invents and innovates for of some global conglomerate. Kind of like Thomas Edison, but with an explosive budget. –I know, not bad for a particle physicist and biochemist. –And before you say anything, I’m still glad to be working on something that isn’t my figure. –No, Mom. I’m done with pageants. You need to let it go. Have you considered the lucrative world of dog shows?”
To herself, alone in her apartment, standing in the mirror, she faked her smile even to her own reflection. “The first rung of an infinite ladder,” she whispered. With that motivation applied, she zipped the side of her navy-blue miniskirt and buttoned her matching, quasi-jacket/blouse. Stepping into her heels she decided there was something mildly futuristic about the uniform. Or classical with a futuristic twist. It seemed reminiscent of the conservative, classic style of Jackie Kennedy, but then tweaked with a hint of slutty. Or at least if there had been a line defining what was appropriate and what was not it could be drawn at the exact height of her skirt.
The futuristic feature came in the form of her nametag. It was a brass plate featuring a digital 3D display of her face, faking that same smile and turning to the left before looping back to center. In front of the animation, her name and job title were prominently displayed.
Snapping the plate to magnets already stitched within the fabric of her uniform, she regarded the animated display of herself with a confused blend of pride and uncertainty. Only the text and tip of her nose seemed to pop out of the screen. The rest of her head was sunken within, occupying an illusion of space that was otherwise filled by the top of her not-quite-Miss-Georgia chest. On one hand, the nametag was clever by design without being too gaudy. On the other, who in the world wouldn’t be staring at her breasts now that she had a TV on them?