Haute Couture

The party was very posh, very haute couture, and very, very boring. Why he’d been contracted here, Brian couldn’t really understand. He’d heard the rumours, of course. The whispers flying around the office that tonight’s “special guest” wasn’t like the rest of the patrons here. He thought he might be grateful for that, really. The guests at this party were certainly of a social class all their own—the type trying to outdo one another constantly, trying to prove their wealth one-upped that of those around them, by snatching up the most expensive pieces in the gallery with barely a regard for whether or not there really was anything they could get out of the pieces.

It bothered him, perhaps more than it should have, because he barely made in a year the $64 000 that woman—who was barely more than 30, he was sure—had just agreed to spend on that mermaid statue.

It wasn’t an ugly statue by any means, but carved from wood and with metal plates attached to it representing her scales… Well, justifying that kind of money for it made him more than a little irritated, even if, as merely the head of security for the event, it was hardly his place to judge what people were going to spend their money on. He just had to make sure they didn’t get mugged while doing it.

Standing by the door and watching as the party continued, the premium open bar already causing more than a few of the patrons to lean toward tipsiness or beyond, Brian wasn’t sure if he was the first to notice the smoke coming from the teapot (was it a teapot? He’d been sure the Mystic’s Board had said this was an entirely human gathering when they’d issued him the job, but he could have sworn that was a lamp) but he was fairly certain he was the first—if not only—to realise the bluish tinge and slight twinkle to the smoke meant the teapot was indeed a lamp and home to some sort of Djinn.

He supposed he had been warned that the special guest was different.

Brian made his way forward, slipping between and around the gallery patrons as though he were much smaller than he actually was—Sidh blood gave a good illusion of it to anyone not Otherworldly, anyway—and managed to be between the Djinn and most of the crowd just as the spirit fully materialised.

“Are you aware, Sir, of just how many fright laws you’re breaking right now?” Brian asked patiently. The Djinn appeared to be looking around the room instead of at him though, and Brian sighed, letting the spirit gain his bearings before continuing.

“Fright laws? It isn’t entirely—or at all, really—my fault,” the Djinn replied. Brian held up a hand for silence, flicking his other one and bringing a branch into existence. He shook the branch once, making the apples hanging on it tremble, nodding in satisfaction as the humans in the room fell to the floor, sound asleep at the first notes that played from the shaking of the apples.

“You can’t claim unwilling summons to get around the laws,” Brian informed him, unaffected by the Djinn’s frown, though any human would probably have broken down in fear.

“I’ve found myself in the wrong place,” the Djinn replied. “I am supposed to be appearing at a reunion, not an art show…” the spirit shook its head. “Probably ‘Aisha’s joke… But no harm was done, yes?”

Brian frowned at him, then looked around at the sleeping humans sprawled all over the floor. Gas leak. They could explain everything away with that excuse. They always did.

“’Aisha. The head receptionist at the Mystic Board?” Brian asked and the Djinn nodded.

“That’s the one. Nice enough, for a Magi, but irritating her… Well, I wouldn’t recommend it. Might find yourself up for auction, and only going for…” the Djinn paused to look a the tag attached to the handle of its lamp. “$5 000.”

Brian shook his head at the irony of the lamp being worth so much less than the mermaid statue. Haute couture. He wouldn’t even pretend to understand it.

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~ by A. Chels on 12/18/2009.

6 Responses to “Haute Couture”

  1. Tight, precise writing, A witty Djinn, as one would expect. A very good story that left me with a smile on my face.

  2. Seems like he should be getting paid a lot more! Definite fun read! Thanks!

  3. I really liked it, Alyssa!

    Nifty world you’ve begun to set up.

  4. What a very good story!

    Breaking fright laws made me laugh.

  5. I liked your descritpions of the statue and the teapot-like lamp. Made for a very visual piece!

  6. I like the set up for the world. The little details add a lot.

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