Tag: Marla

Free Write #48: Everlasting Window – Walking down Roal Drive – Marla

by on Oct.31, 2012, under Announcements, Entertainment, Free Write, Writing

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.

We’re continuing the last window: Walking down Rodeo Drive! Except that we’re in Everlasting and Rodeo drive doesn’t exist. Instead we have Roal Street, which is the city of Qual’s equivalent. We’ve already seen the street in the prior windows, so this will be more or less a re-hash, except the characters will be focused more on the street itself rather than the theater that resides on it.

Today’s piece is Marla walking down Roal Street. To read Marla’s prior windows click here. Also check below for an announcement regarding Free Writes.

~~~

Everlasting Window – Walking down Roal Drive* – Marla
By Nojh Livic 

“Excuse me,” Marla murmured quietly. The nicely dressed man, who was looking over the contents of a scroll pad lifted his hand halfway to stall her before he must have realized he didn’t recognize her voice. He spared her a glance, then looked back to the scroll pad.

“Yes?” he asked simply. There was no annoyance in his voice but he obviously considered the contents of his message more important that directly addressing her. Marla was used to it.

“My compatriot purchased these tickets earlier today. We were planning to attend the performance this evening but it appears that the theater has a policy that will not allow us both to attend. Since I wouldn’t wish to deprive anyone of a chance to view the performance, I was hoping to perhaps pass along my tickets to someone at the theater so that they might be re-distributed. You see we are visiting and know very few people in town who could attend to gift the tickets to…” Marla’s voice trailed off. The man she had approached had been off to the side of the theater. He was dressed in a fine coat and slacks, with a ascot that was perhaps slightly out of style enough to suggest that he was likely someone important to the theater, which was why she had approached him. When she started speaking she had extended the tickets Lee had purchased earlier that day for them both out towards the man, in an effort to forestall any protest that she might be hoodwinking him.

Instead of protesting, as she explained her situation, the man had slowly lifted his head away from his scroll pad to peer curiously at Marla. This too was not really unsettling to the automata as she received looks from those who had never seen a humanoid mecha of her particular design or sophistication on an almost regular basis for as long as she cared to recall the memory. What made her trail off was instead how he continued to look at her questioningly as she spoke, like he was fixated on her and not her words. Marla often found it best to simply stop speaking when someone had decided she was more interesting than her intent. It saved effort.

“You wish to see the performance this evening?” the man asked suspiciously, his brows furrowing. He was looking her up and down now, likely only now noting how she had taken the time to wear her finest gown that she had packed for the trip and even some of the new jewelry she had been gifted earlier that day.

Marla quelled a slight laugh, remembering how she had all but pleaded for Lee to purchase tickets. Instead she smiled and nodded her head. “Of course. The is The Operetta. The name says it all, of course. And it is by Leons Swalari. The theater sections of the Parchen Parchment have been raving about it for issues. I was ecstatic to learn there would be a performance while I happened to be in town.” Marla halted herself to keep from gushing information she was sure the man already knew. Marla looked down at the tickets in her gloved hands and her smile turned rather wistful. “But it is not to be.”

The man followed her gaze to the tickets, then looked back up. “And you said theater policy is keeping you from seeing it?” Marla raised an eyebrow. She had assumed the man was some kind of manager but if he didn’t know their policy then perhaps he was just some would be attendee as well.

“Well um, yes. The theater does not allow automata in general seating,” Marla murmured. “I’m sorry but are you apart of the theater staff? I don’t mean to be rude but the show will start soon and I do want to turn these tickets in to them.”

The man smiled for the first time and it evened out the wrinkles in his face in a pleasant fashion. “No please, let me apologize. No I am not theater staff, however I am associated with the performance tonight. I do believe I will be able to help you. Perchance is your compatriot somewhere near by?” Marla hesitated a moment, then nodded, deciding to trust the man. He hadn’t asked for her tickets after-all.

“Yes. One moment,” she said and turned. There was a slowly growing line of people waiting to enter the theater for the ground seats, while a meandering stream of guild-ed and nobility entered the lobby to lounge before ascending to theirs. Lee was hanging out near the line conspicuously, talking animatedly with a few of them, looking out-of-place in the jacket and slacks she had selected for him. He glanced over in her direction after the group began laughing and she made a small wave to him. It took him only a few hips to wander over.

“Hello,” Lee said in greeting to the man, who half bowed. Lee, caught off guard, half bowed as well, offering Marla several side glances.

“Good evening. The lady says you were hoping to escort her to see the show this evening but there are some troubles with the theater. If that is true, I believe I can help you. Please follow me.” Without really waiting for either of them to respond, the man smiled to both of them, turned, and started walking away from the main entrance around the theater. Marla hesitated for a moment, caught off guard by the stranger calling her a lady, then shrugged and motioned to Lee. Lee took her arm almost automatically and they began following.

They turned down a wide alley, which in the darkening sky might have made Marla reconsider had it not been Roal drive and had there not already been several other people in obvious staff uniforms bustling about carrying boxes from an awaiting transport into a pair of doors. The staff paused and gave the man a respectable bow, if able, when he passed them, and continued to hold it as Marla and Lee trailed after him. The act had her bewildered. She now had no idea who she had randomly approached and started to slowly work up the urge to ask as he lead them through the back passages of the theater. They arrived at an usher just as Marla thought to interrupt their passage. The usher stood attentively but did not say anything.

“Please escort these two to my seats. I will not be needing them tonight. Also have some complimentary refreshments and utilities sent up while they wait for the performance. Oh also-” he paused and turned, smiling again to Marla and motioned to her. Marla gave him a quizzical look, then remembered the tickets. She held them out. “Please take these to the ticketmaster and with my expressed wish that they be re-circulated tonight.”

Lee gave Marla his hundredth side long glance but Marla had no answer for the unasked question. There was a small chance that he was some noble that she was not familiar with but that seemed unlikely given his age. Yet he obviously commanded some authority as the usher agreed respectively, took the tickets, and waited for them to step forward. Marla made Lee wait to address the man instead.

“Thank you,” she said but the man waved his hand slightly.

“No thanks needed. We shall see each other after the performance, I would hope. Please let me know your thoughts and feelings then? I have a few other things to attend to now, however. So enjoy yourselves. Madam. Sir.” He turned on his heels and strode back the way he came. Left with nothing else to do, Marla and Lee were escorted to the man’s seats, which turned out, much to her astonishment, to be a private viewing balcony. Lee gaped slightly, letting go of Marla to walk to the lip of the balcony and look over it, then began to marvel at the optics attached which hung from the wall to allow for a better viewing of the stage area. When he discovered the sounding tubes in the walls, he began babbling excitedly, climbing down to his hands and knees to examine them. Thankfully the usher took this all in stride, letting Marla save face by ignoring him.

“Will there be anything else?” the usher asked politely.

“Um. Yes. A question. Who was that man? The one who asked you to escort us?” Marla decided to ask.

The usher managed not to not even raise an eyebrow but answered calmly. “Mister Leons Swalari, lady.”

Marla paused, nodded to dismiss the usher, then settled herself into a chair to relax. She smiled to herself as she waited for the performance to begin.

~~~

Okay so you might have noticed that the title didn’t really fit. That is because this window is a catch up of Marla’s prior window, which you can read here. It is actually the equivalent of Marla buying a theater ticket, while the prior story is Marla’s walking down Roal street. They keep continuity with each other so you might want to read the prior window before reading this one. Which might be too late. Sorry. So in regards to this window I felt like I learned a little bit about Marla but I was swept up a bit more in the story I think. We see a bit of contrast between Marla and Lee here. For example Marla is the more out-going character, being the one who wants to return the tickets. She isn’t asking for her money back either. We also see she takes a very passive stance to discrimination. I’ll likely have to develop that further in some way.

Announcement! Free writes will be suspended for the month of November as I focus on NaNoWriMo. You should be getting nearly daily updates from me in regards to NaNoWriMo, plus Weird Words will continue to post every friday, so I don’t think you guys will be starving for content. Free Writes should resume in December however, assuming NaNo doesn’t kill me. Wish me luck!

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Free Write #42: Everlasting Window – Buying a theater ticket – Marla

by on Sep.19, 2012, under Entertainment, Free Write, Writing

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 Carlos buying a theater ticket.

~~~

Everlasting Window – Buying a theater ticket – Marla*

Marla drew a few more stares than usual. In a metropolis like Qual her kind were less uncommon than the countryside but, ironically, the people of the country side were less likely the gawk. It helped that Lee was escorting her although it likely did not help that he was escorting her by the arm, or that she was wearing her finest travel dress, hat, and shoes. Not that she was out of sorts with her companion’s clothing. She had made a point of telling Lee to wear his nicer clothing. They were visiting Qual and meeting his very first patron. Looking presentable was expected.

The train that had brought them was several pops early allowing them time to walk the city. The pair were walking down one of the busiest streets of Qual, the main street between Qual Plaza and Qual Castle. This was not a mistake. Lee had led them there, knowing Marla would like to window shop the vendors and boutiques, and she appreciated it because she knew Lee disliked the public attention.

“Oh, Lee. Look!” Marla said quickly, tugging on his arm. Lee was not very swift to glance in the direction she pointed. It was not the first time she had uttered the phrase and the prior subjects had mostly been displays of clothing or accessories that she felt would have been an excellent purchase for him. This time, however, she was pointing at an advertisement board.

Leons Swalari’s The Operetta. A special engagement this evening only! Come here the play everybody will be singing tomorrow! Don’t miss this chance! The advertisement board was painted garishly to attract the eye but not without skill, the man and woman who were no doubt the leading cast members were well drawn even if their attempt to stare into each others eyes lacked the passion she assumed the advertisement was going for. The man’s eyes needed to be smaller and the woman’s mouth parted slightly. That might have improved it. Not that she faulted the artist. The advert had done it’s work.

“Tonight only. Three-seventy five by the candle. That is pretty late…” Lee started to say then looked at Marla. She decided to go for humor, adopting the somewhat vacant expression the woman on the advertisement was making, although Marla made a point of parting her lips. She enjoyed facial expressions. It was one of her unique qualities. Lee almost laughed immediately but managed to hold it in, pressing his lips together and breathing out of his nose. “Fine. I suppose I shall go get the tickets then?”

Marla smiled brightly and gently gripped Lee’s arm before letting go. “I’ll be up the drive aways. Perhaps near Rudy’s?” Lee smiled faintly at that and nodded.

“I’m sure I’ll catch you up,” Lee said and gave a little wave before briskly walking down the road. It was too crowded a street. The mid-afternoon sun was still something to avoid even in the city and most shoppers had retired to home or a cafe. Still Marla lost sight of Lee almost immediately. Unlike her, he didn’t shine slightly in direct sunlight. Marla continued her window shopping, splitting her attention between the dress shops and the inventor shops. Fashion had changed, as it always does, since she last visited Qual and she found herself appreciating some of the latest patterns, even if they favored exposing more back and arm than she appreciated. The subtle form-fitting nature of the dresses intrigued Marla and she stopped in front of one window to study a silver and black colored one through a window for several moments.

“You are a wonder, if I might say,” said a woman from behind Marla. Marla turned, offering a smile to the stranger. She was an old woman standing a few feet away next to a stall that held various jewelry and accessories. She was obviously tending it.

“Why thank you,” Marla said. She quickly scanned the woman’s wares. They were of excellent quality on first impression, although she would have to look closer to be sure. “Is this your stand?”

“Yup. Make half the items with my own two hands,” the woman said proudly, sitting up straighter and motioning to the jewelry section of her cart.

“They are very beautiful.” Marla said, still smiling. She stepped away from the window to the cart. Other shoppers were taking notice of their conversation but, as usual, Marla ignored them. The stall tender did not, however, giving a few pointed side glances and then even an outright glare at one man who had simply stopped to stare. Once traffic had resumed somewhat, the woman sat back down on her stool and smiled at Marla.

“Thank you very much, ma’am,” she said, then leaned forward, peering at Marla’s hair under her hat. “This might be too personal a question but, is that a wig?”

Marla shook her head slightly. “Yes and no. It is obviously not my hair but it is indeed hair. Not is it hair that simply sits atop my head. It is attached to my head and takes time to replace.” She lifted her hand and carefully pulled some of the locks of her blond hair forward over her shoulder and leaned forward, offering to let the old woman examine it. The woman nodded appreciatively then as if caught with an idea, slipped to her feet from her stool and walked around her cart.

Marla peered at the old woman. She had a slight odd gate to her walk. She listened intently and heard the faint sound of hydraulics. The woman had a limb replaced, likely her leg. That helped explain why she was being so friendly. Veterans with mechanical limbs were more accepting of her type. Marla waited patiently until the woman returned. She held a decorative hair clip in her hand which she offered out. Marla smiled at it. Was it beautifully crafted of stained wood with metal of various colors, cut into the form of a flower. It was dominantly blue and black, which contrasted nicely with the colors of her outfit.

“I’m afraid I’m simply a window shopper today-” Marla began to explain before she was cut off.

“A gift. You’re obviously a person of taste. Were I several decades younger, I would have been eying that outfit in the window myself, especially if I had your skin tone.” The stall tender said without a hint of insincerity and a fair amount of grandmotherly affection. “Here. Turn around.”

Marla found herself turning around as instructed without really thinking about it. The older woman gathered up Marla’s hair, separated a lock, then clipped the piece of jewelry to half way up the lock so that is rested near the nape of her neck. She then fanned out of the rest of her hair. “There. Give them something else to stare as you walk away besides your skin, eh?”

Marla might have been offended except that the old woman had her rather pegged there. No other women on the street were wearing a long-sleeved dress and gloves. That had been out of fashion for cycles. Instead she smiled and turned back around. “Thank you. May I asked your name?” she said, wanting to know who this kind shopkeeper was.

“Olivia Wicker of Jewelry and Stuffed Animals, at your service.” Olivia said brightly.

“Well it was nice to meet you, Mrs. Wicker. My name is Marla. Thank you again for the gift but I should be going. I’ll be sure to tell of your generosity, however.”

Olivia smiled and waved her hand dismissively once, then turned it into a small wave and Marla began to walk away. She wasn’t far before she spotted Lee waiting in front of Rudy’s. She strolled up to him, smiling brightly.

“Had a nice time shopping?” Lee asked. “Got those tickets. We should probably start heading over to the count’s now if we want to wrap up the meeting in time to go see it.”

“An excellent time.” Marla said happily and took Lee’s offered arm. “And Lee? Thank you for buying the tickets.” Lee just shook his head and began leading her towards a coach parked not too far away. She caught the slight smile on his lips, however.

~~~

Okay I cheated here, hence the asterisk.  Marla didn’t actually buy a theater ticket. I did another window one that was actually Marla handling the purchase of a ticket, sorta. You can read it here. This just fit in well with Lee’s buying of a ticket because well, it was mentioned in his story that he was buying a ticket for her. Plus we got to meet Olivia, who is a side character in Everlasting and one of my favorite side characters. I think this helped flesh out Marla’s character some more but I mostly tread over familiar ground. If you’re curious what is so odd about Marla’s skin or who she is, you might read this previous Free Writing: A Fateful Meeting. If your curious, yes, this is the same Marla and the same Lee. Just… later. :) I’m not sure if these are cannon to the Everlasting story or not but I may try to work them in.

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