They used to say that the clothes maketh the men. Of course, any critical look at that statement would expose it for the sham that it is. I, for instance, could put on a flash pin-striped suit, and a $200 shirt, with a $100 necktie. I may look like a Lambton Quay lawyer, but I'd still be the same old shabby bum.
That being said, sometimes clothes can make a difference. My dear old Mum is with us for a week. She's spent the last 60+ years doing voluntary work; of late, she's managed an Op Shop, for her church in Napier.
A few months ago a young fellow walked in. He was, he told them, a father of two, on the bones of his arse, and had no decent clothes. He also had an important job interview that afternoon.
The Op Shop girls - average age 78 - went to work. They found him a suit, shirt, tie, socks, and a pair of shoes. He looked, apparently, a million dollars. Well - $10,000, anyway.
Off he went, in his "new" clothes. All up the outfit should have cost him $15: money he was reluctant to spend. He had kids, he was on the dole, his partner was unemployed. You know the story. They gave him the clothing on credit.
Two months passed. The ladies gave up. Actually, they'd given up on their $15 when he walked out the door. Kind-hearted they may be. Stoopid, they ain't.
A s I say: 60 days had gone by. He walked back in, wearing a brand new suit, and a smile that'd dazzle a sun-god. He laid $200 on the counter, and thanked them. He'd got the job. It took him a little while to get back on his feet, but when he did, he remembered the girls at the Op Shop.
Good stories need passing on. Feel free.
Listening to: "West", Lucinda Williams. She is hugely good. For a country singer. Actually, she's to country what Satchmo was to Jazz.
Reading: "Lunstrum", Robert Harris. Good good good good.
Word of the Day: Bloviate. I have yet to find anexcuse for using this word, but I love it.
About to Watch: Dean Spanley. Cool.
More "Paper Heroes".
It was also found that the weapon worked by turning an individual’s embots against their hosts, re-programming them brutally and instantly, sending the citizens into a killing rage.
It was obvious that the weapon must be destroyed, or neutralised. What was difficult was the doing. The law constrained The Defence Team from making personal acts of violence, and the very low frequency waves were immune to jamming.
“Which means,” Charles said dryly, “we’re stuffed. There is, however, an answer: we send others to do the task for us. We need to find a band of heroes who are not constrained by our Law.”
“But everyone on the planet is held to the Law.”
“Everyone except ‘Merikans,’ said Cienwyn.
“Problem is, old girl, getting them. So I propose we don’t look for our heroes in the here and now. We look for them in the past. “
“The past?” Paulus was curious. He was dressed in a purple kilt this day, and he perched on the side of a desk, his tattooed legs swinging.
“Yes. We use heroes from the times before: men and women who are now dead, but who we can recreate and rebuild, and remake with their old memories intact.”
And so the planning began: scouring the old records for people who were of an heroic nature, people whose stories had been recorded in detail. Soldiers, lawmen, gunmen – killers.
3.23pm, January 12, 2387.
There are six of them left. There is space for another 48, but only six survive. The failure rate has been appalling, but necessary. As it is, no-one has died who was not already dead, so the Law has remained intact. Such is the rationalisation.
The last six are still sleeping, their vital signs monitored constantly. If you were in the room with them, you’d hear a quiet susurration as the air-conditioners pumped the oxygen-enriched air into the room at a constant and gentle 29 degrees centigrade.
The room has no corners, no hard edges, and is bathed in a soft white light that emanates, eliminating any chance of shadow. The observation window near the only door provides the only hint of colour to the room. There’s a woman seated in there, murmuring instructions to her P-See. She’s dressed in a startlingly yellow kimono, has bright red lacquer on her fingernails, and an elaborate tattoo graces the left side of her face. Her neon-black hair is animated tonight: it writhes and flares around her head, reacting to the intensity of her concentration.
Behind her a man is working, head bent down in concentration as he taps the keys of his antique style keyboard. She turns to him, to speak. Her voice is soft, and warm, with a honeyed texture that has caused more than one woman to bridle with envy. Her hair spikes with her irritation.
“Charles: would you mind working elsewhere? I need to think.”
The man who she is addressing is her brother. Almost naked, narrow-chested, and balding, Charles murmurs “Sorry, Cienwyn. Shan’t be long.”