Friday, January 30, 2009

[Fiction] Friday: Date with Denton

This weeks challenge:

"Pick three of your characters from different stories. They are all invited to be guests on a talk show. They are all sitting in the green room waiting for the show to start. What happens next?"

Shet looked up from the couch and the small espresso cup as the door opened. She knew there would be others joining her in the Green Room, waiting to be called up for their dialogue with Denton, but she had no idea who any of these people would be.

The woman who peeked in was tiny, short unruly bed hair that Shet guessed was fashionable. She didn’t bother to be a slave to any type of trend or style, preferring to keep her blonde hair cropped short for practicality.

“I thought it would be green.”
Shet grinned. “Yeah so did I! I hung out in the corridor for a while thinking I’d been led to the wrong room. Come in there’s coffee … or beer if that’s your thing.”

Shet was beginning to wish that she’d chosen the beer. The espresso was causing her heart to race and amplifying the nervousness. Talking from the moon back to earth via a telelink was one thing, but being invited to speak on a top rating talk show, beaming out to millions was an another.

The diminutive young woman closed the door behind her and looked around the room with the pique curiosity of a child.

“This is amazing.” She put her hand on fridge and stared for a long time at the espresso machine.
“It’s all rather archaic really.” Well it was compared to where she came from originally, but there was nothing like this on Th’Urn. And from the look on the young woman’s face there was probably nothing like it where she’d come from.

“Don’t you find all of this a bit odd?” Shet asked, getting up from the couch to put the dirty cup by the sink.
“How do you mean?”
“Coming here is like being transported to another place. Almost like I’ve gone back in time or something.”
“So you’re not from here.”
Shet shook her head. “And you?”
“No. But you speak Spanish?”

“So this would be the Green Room!” The voice silenced the existing conversation. “It looks pretty much like other Green Rooms.”

A well dressed woman strode across the room and thrust her hand at Shet.
“Senator Abigail Hamilton, but my friends call me Abby.”
Shet took her hand and shook it firmly.
“Nice to meet you Senator. Shet Harmon, recently of the colony of New Brisbane and the planet of Th’Urn.”

The Senator took a step back, her face darkening.
“I’m Ruby Mendez-Fernandos.” But the introduction fell on deaf ears. “You two look like you know each other.”
“Know of,” corrected the Senator. “What is this – a collection of NaNo – past, present and future? The producer didn’t tell me that when she booked me.”

The three women stared at each other.
“What is this NaNo you speak of?”
“The National Novel Writing Competition,” the other two women replied in stereo.
“You haven’t heard of it?” added the Senator.
“I don’t think so. I think you’d call me itinerant. I’m usually the last to know about anything.”
“I think you mean illiterate.” Ruby glared at the Senator.
“No I meant that I travel a lot Senator. And communication in the 16th century isn’t quite as fast or reliable as your telephones and mobiles.”

“Hold on, hold on.” The Senator rubbed at her temples, squeezing her eyes shut. “You’re from the 16th Century? But you’re not from NaNo.”
“Lately of the Port of Lisbon.”
“So I’m not caught in some warped version of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol.”
“Not unless you want to be Senator.”

“But you’re one of Her characters are you not Ms Mendez-Fernandos?”
“I may be thought of as a character, mainly an undesireable one by most of the crew of the La Gongoozler and possibly an exciting irritation to my husband, but I am my own person Senator.”
“And you Shet Harmon. You’re one of her characters. You stole my place.”
“You were the one that was meant to be sent to Th’Urn Senator?”

The Senator growled.
“Are you both dumb – don’t you see it. You’re figments of someone’s imagination. Of Her imagination. You Ms Mendez-Fernandos – you’re from the Adventures of Captain Juan and you Shet Harmon, Blue Melissae. Me – I’m from Finding Aphrodite, her National Novel Writing project from 2007.”
“You are telling me that you just suddenly appeared in this world in 2007?” Shet asked, leaning against the bench.

“Not this world – in my world.”
“But you know about me?”
“Of course I know about you – she chose to create you for NaNo last year rather than finish off my story. My life, my story has been on hold. And it’s all your fault Shet Harmon.”

“Hey hold on Senator. I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She wanted to add that the Senator was talking like a lunatic, but there was an uncomfortable resonance in what the Senator’s ravings.

“You feel it too,” Ruby said. The other two women looked at her. “There is a common thread through the three of us.”
“Why bring the three of us here?”
“You love two men do you not Shet Harmon? And you too Senator?” said Ruby, feeling the connection deeply not just with her lovers, but with the other women and their lovers. It sent a shiver through her.

Relunctantly the other women nodded, the Senator fidgeting with the bottom of her tailored jacket and Shet thrusting her hands into the pocket of her jeans.
“And you Ruby – you’ve killed someone and Senator?” Shet stared hard at the Senator.

The Senator’s cheeks flushed in a rare show of public emotion. “I was never implicated in the disappearance of Jeff Harrington. And his body was never found.”
“But you don’t deny it do you Senator.”
“You can’t lie to yourself,” added Ruby, crossing her arms. “You think this is all about fiction don’t you. You think Sh just plucked you out of her imagination and we all just happened to be invited here at the one time. Don’t you see?”

Shet and the Senator looked at each other.
“Are your worlds real to you? I know mine is real, I feel it, taste it, smell it. I don’t just see it as a two dimensional picture. I experience my world with every fibre of my being, every flicker of my emotions. It’s real. Just as your worlds are real.”
“But ..”
“Why deny it Senator. Would you like to blame her for your weaknesses or the things you don’t like about yourself, rather than be responsibility for it all.”

“But where are the men? Why aren’t they here. Why wasn’t Alex invited to be here with me. Or your men?”
“Is She a man?”
“No but she creates male characters.”
“You really can’t let go of that notion that you’re someone’s character can you Senator,” said Shet. “I agree with Ruby. My world is real, the bits of it that I remember that is.”
“You say I’m in denial – but what about you two – aren’t you in denial that you’re not real.”

“I’m real!” Ruby walked up to the Senator. “So are you and so is she,” turning back to Shet.
”But what about Her. Is she a figment of my imagination?”
“She’s real too,” it was Shet this time. ‘I feel her as much as she feels me – and as much as I feel the two of you.”
“I think we’re different manifestations of Her.”
“Living in parallel worlds?” Ruby smiled at Shet.
“You’re suggesting that I’m you, and Shet and Her. We’re all one and the same?”

The door opened.
“It’s time ladies.” They’d all lost track of time and looked up at the clock. “Andrew’s waiting for you all on set. Let’s hustle we’re running a bit behind schedule.”

“Isn’t that John Simm?” asked the Senator as the four of them hurried along the corridor past a good looking man walking towards the Green Room.

Forthose non Australians - Andrew Denton hosts a talk show called Enough Rope and he often has a segment where he invites three ordinary people along, with common jobs to share their experiences. Interestingly, Finding Aphrodite starts with the Senator being interviewed by Denton!

1 comment:

Annie Evett said...

I love the idea that the know it all "knows" she is a character - the others know they are real...and that the universes are all running at the same time - just beside one another .