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 Tigh buying a theater ticket.
Everlasting Window – Buying a theater ticket – Tigh
By Nojh Livic
Tigh whistled as he wandered down Roal drive, hands in his pockets. He nodded in a friendly manner to the cart vendors he passed as he walked, particularly any who tried to catch his eyes with trinkets or wares, but he didn’t break his stride for any of them. He kept up his tune and kept walking.
The mid-afternoon heat was settling upon Qual City and most were finding a spot to rest it away or at least keep to the shade. Tigh welcomed the heat. It helped stave off the chill he always seemed to feel in anything but direct sunlight. Despite his friendly nods to those around him, most of his attention was focused on the tune he was whistling. It was an old tune that he didn’t quite know and one part in particular kept escaping him. So focused on finding the lost verse of the music that he bumped right into a man standing in the middle of the street.
“Whoops. Sorry there,” Tigh said immediately, reaching out to steady the man who had to stumble to keep from falling. The man muttered a half-hearted neutral response, then moved back to join the line of people that was stretching several storefronts down the road. Tigh found himself inadvertently standing at the end of the line and before he could step away, two more moved up to stand next to him, a small boy and what was likely either his mother or governess.
“Nanny! Nanny. Are we going to see it now?!” the boy shouted excitedly, tugging on the woman’s skirt, earning some grumpy heat inspired looks . She leaned down, shushed him, then smiled apologetically to Tigh, who simply smiled back forgivingly.
Curious, Tigh turned back and peered down the line. With so many people of obviously different backgrounds willing to stand in the heat to purchase it, obviously whatever was at the end of the line was important. From his position, however, Tigh couldn’t see what it might be. Three more people had joined the line when Tigh glanced back to the child and nanny again. He wasn’t about to leave the line to go see.
So Tigh waited.
Eventually Tigh went back to whistling his tune. This earned him a glance or two but since the tune wasn’t unpleasant to the ears, nobody asked him to stop. He moved forward when the man in front of him did and mostly just enjoyed the heat and focused on his song. So it was that by the time he remembered the last verse of the song, he was only a few people away from a ticketmaster.
“Oh. This line is for some kind of show,” Tigh said out loud without thinking, earning more curious looks from the people around him that he normally did. He smiled brightly back at them.
“Yes!” the boy behind him pipped up, forcing him to turn to look at the boy. “It is for the opera etta. Mom really wants to see it because it has a Swalari in it,” the boy explained very seriously.
“An opera etta?” Tigh asked the boy seriously. The boy simply nodded, smiling up at the pale man. “With a Swalari? No wonder so many people were standing in line!” Tigh laughed and the boy grinned back at him. He twirled around to face a ticketmaster sitting in a booth, no one between them.
“How many?” the woman asked, not even looking in his direction.
“At least one I imagine,” Tigh said. He stepped up to the window and peered around at the booth. It wasn’t small but most of the room was taken up by a large machine, likely some kind of ticket making device. The woman’s attention was mostly focused on the knobs and buttons attached to the machine. However Tigh gained her attention with his answer and he continued speaking. “But first I would like the know the name of the show for which I am purchasing admittance.”
The woman, perhaps the young niece or cousin of one of the managers of the established, stared at Tigh for a moment before she pointed to an advertisement. It was sketched upon paper and hung in front of the glass. It explained that there was only one engagement for the evening. A play entitled The Operetta by a Leons Swalari.
“The Operetta?” Tigh asked, putting emphasis on the first word. “A strange name. I mean there are many aren’t there? A bit pretentious to claim to be the one operetta.” He rubbed at his chin thoughtfully.
“Hey buddy. It’s hot out. Do you mind?” called a voice from the still rather long line behind Tigh. Tigh glanced behind him and gave the man a polite wave.
“Sorry, sorry! Yes I think I will purchase one ticket.” Tigh said to the ticketmaster. She quickly dialed a knob and pressed two buttons. The machine whirled to life, much to Tigh’s pleasure.
“That will be fifty-one in Qual Script,” the woman said. Tigh blinked in surprise, then looked down at the hand she hand extended past the glass.
“Oh. Really? Hmmm,” Tigh said. At least one person behind him groaned. However without too much hesitation he reached into his pocket and pulled out a single one hundred Qual script and passed it over. The girl took it and fed it into a slot in the machine, which quickly printed out some more script out another slot. A tray slide forward exposing a ticket. Both pieces of paper were handed to Tigh.
“Thank you,” Tigh said exuberantly before stepping away from the window. He gave the boy and his nanny a wide smile before making his way back out into the sun, stuffing the pieces of paper into his pocket.
I like Tigh. He is one part comic relief, one part mystery, and one part something else I’ve yet to define. I love that he ends up buying a ticket simply due to curiosity and that he is (so far) the only character to call out the weirdly pretentious title of the play. I learned a few things about Tigh here. He whistles. He is far more jovial when he isn’t fleeing for his life, and he likes the sun (which is odd but I can’t explain why).