Character Windows: Short little pieces of flash fiction that have characters from your novel doing everyday things. I’ll be doing this for my free writing for the foreseeable future. The goal is to help create highly distinct characters for my current ongoing draft of Everlasting.
Today’s piece is Sylvia buying a theater ticket.
Everlasting Window – Buying a theater ticket – Sylvia
By Nojh Livic
“Oh really? We could just send Robert around-” Sylvia’s mother chided quietly as Sylvia drew her towards the line of the ticket counter. It was a short line composed mostly of servants, by her estimation. It wouldn’t take a fourth to buy some tickets.
“Mother. This is the Operreta. By Leons Swalari. You think by the time you are done shopping and we find a carriage home, there will be any seats of sufficient quality to appease Father?” Sylvia chided back quietly. She understood her mother well. The advertisement board Sylvia had spied earlier, while her mother attempted to talk her into purchasing a completely impractical black and silver dress, had said it was a single engagement. Since it hadn’t made the Qual Times, the paper her parents scoured religiously for social events of sufficient quality, the event would be exclusive enough for her parent’s taste. Claiming that her father might refuse their attendance were they forced to purchase seats that did not sufficiently communicate their status as family of a brother of a Count Johnson would appeal to her mother, who despite being a social climber knew her daughter disapproved how overly concerned her family was with status.
“You might have a point there…” Sylvia’s mother admitted. She made a show of thinking about it, although Sylvia suspected she was actually covertly looking for any peerage who might recognize her.
“If you prefer, mother, you could go on ahead to the next shop and I will purchase the tickets myself,” Sylvia suggested. She was showing plainly how much she wished to go, not that being this upfront would persuade her mother. She had heard some patients talking about the Operreta several weeks ago and it had sounded like an excellent piece of modern entertainment that she would very much enjoy. After the last few family outings to the theater, she had grown tired of the small variations of the flight from The Old World to Salvation or the poetic renditions of the Commoner Clash. Something completely new and original sounded exactly like what she was looking for. And after her last week dealing with a new chief medical offer, she needed something relaxing and entertaining.
“I wouldn’t want to leave you here unescorted…” Her mother replied. Of course it would be unthinkable to leave Susilla, the maid they had brought along to carry packages, with her as a chaperon, not that Sylvia needed or wanted one. She was a grown woman and she could purchase tickets to an event and walk down Roal Street unescorted. She was Sylvia nel Johnson Pulmer after-all. It would hardly cause a scandal.
“I’ll be fine mother. I’ll catch you up. Go on.” Sylvia waved with her hand but her mother hardly needed encouragement. She wandered off to the next boutique, leaving Sylvia to face the line and ticketmaster. It wasn’t particularly arduous. The line moved quickly and while she made no conversation with the men and women in line, neither was she made to feel uncomfortable. She spent her time waiting thinking over some of the medical journals she had recently read on new techniques for increasing the survival rate of full limb replacement patients.
“Yes, Miss?” the ticketmaster asked, breaking Sylvia out of her thoughts. She blinked in surprised, then smiled at the man. “Good day. Sylvia nel Johnson Pulmer. I would like to request five tickets for tonight’s performance, please.” The man offered a faint smile back and glanced at a sheet, made a note on it with one hand while he absently flicked several knobs on the ticket machine.
“Yes, Ma’am,” the ticket master said finally, taking five pieces of paper from the machine. “Would you like to take them now or have them delivered?”
Sylvia considered for a moment, then idly waved at the tickets. “Please deliver them, if you would. With a small note informing Mister Pulmer as to the time and place of the event. Also please mention that it is a special engagement.”
The ticketmaster’s pleasant smile didn’t falter. He simply nodded. “Very good, Ma’am,” he said.
“Excellent. Thank you very much.” Sylvia said brightly, then made her way from the line back towards the street. The crowds were thinning thanks to the late afternoon heat. She made her way quickly towards the boutique she was sure her mother was patronizing. It was the one with several people making their escape from it.
The character actually bought a ticket this time! Yes I’m making fun of my prior window with Marla not actually buying a theater ticket. I thought about writing an actual window for her but I decided to go with a new character this time. This window seemed to focus less on her buying the ticket and more on her family background and how she might go about purchasing at ticket or what she wanted to go to the theater. I think this was productive none the less. Nothing was particularly surprising or new, other than I learned Sylvia likes to talk with her hands. This makes sense, since she is a surgeon. I also need to come up with a good name for replacing people’s limbs with mechanical versions. A name for the procedure or something. Perhaps based off a dead language from The Old World? Preferably a formulaic language like Latin, Arabic, or Esperanto.