Everyone has their verbal tics. Those little space fillers we use to cover the fact that we've run out of words, and are thinking of something to add to what we're in the process of trying to explain. One that I've been noticing more and more of late is "sort of". At first, I thought it was another example of our charming Kiwi diffidence: we don't want to be too definite about anything, just in case the person we're talking to thinks we're an opinionated blowhard. An example: "I was walking down this sort of path, when this huge dog sort of lunged at me. Gosh, it gave me a fright! I was really sort of startled."
That's the (ahem) sort of statement I hear from people chatting about thing. I have also noticed that TV "journalists" use it a lot, as well - especially with the current craze to "Go live to Amanda Pertbreasts in Wellington". She'll be standing there, cute as a button, outside Parliament, speaking breathlessly to camera, "The Prime Minister today sort of explained that the new tobacco taxes..."
But it's not just us. I've heard British, American, and Canadian journos using this little verbal tic. It sort of annoys me, you know what I mean? Sort of? But not really.
In the past I've worried at the question of nobility. I think I have it nailed down: always allowing the person or people you're dealing with to retain their dignity is the true expression of nobility.
READING: Still with the Val McDermid book, but am also reading and re-reading the script of the play I'm doing. Rehearsals start with a vengeance today: Yay!
LISTENING TO: The Little Bushmen. They are simply superb. Buy all their stuff, right now.
WATCHING: Dr Who, tonight. After rehearsals...
More "Paper Heroes":
Then a quick kick sends the bodies into the Bay, for the grey and white sharks to conceal his work.
The rain has stopped by the time Night completes his work. He stands, putting his hands to the small of his back, and stretches. The moon comes from behind a ragged cloud and, had there been anyone to see him, they would have admired the smooth, even planes of a classically handsome face, framed with tight red curls. His limbs, like all Folk, are long and strong, and his chest deep, accommodating a huge heart and lungs.
In fact, his chest – again, like all Folk – is unnaturally deep, and unnaturally short. His spine was humped and curved and tortured, and a constant source of pain.
The Henrys, on the other hand, were on average shorter than the Folk, but proportioned like the Men of old. They came to Sanfrisco from the East, after the Nuking. They came from the East, with their tek, and with their Whitestar.
The Nuking had happened Before, and their poisons had filled the land with death and decay. And the Henrys came from the East with their Whitestar, which would stop the poison, and heal the land.
Which, to the truthful, it had. But it had also enslaved the Folk, and the Henrys had come with their Scarabs, calling the Folk “Unders,” as though they were less than Folk. The Henrys had made the Folk wear the Scarab on their wrists, as they themselves wore it: but the Folk’s Scarabs guaranteed them a short and pain-filled life, while the Henrys’ Scarabs simply monitored their whereabouts, and kept them healthy.
But not all Folk wear the Scarab now. Night looked at the back of his wrist in the pale moonlight. He was now the fifth Gen of his family to have escaped the Scarab. His wife, Lana, proudly carries the scar of one who had undergone the appalling pain of having Doc Ford cut her Scarab away.
Night shoulders his burden, and lopes off, keeping to the shadows, running the alleys, tapping the codes, letting all know that tonight he has relieved two Henrys of the burden of their lives.
Two Henrys dead this night. Two Scarabs taken. A good night.
9.47am, N’Yark Time, November 6th, 2386.
Gaius Andronicus Equus Gluteus Maximus adopts a PowerPose, as recommended by The Book, and stands by his window, looking out. His hands are clasped behind his back, and his weight rocks on the balls of feet. He allows himself a small smile of congratulation: it has taken him the full five years since his Ascension to get this lower office, and he wasn’t going back upstairs in a hurry. Let his minions, yes, even First Minister Fox, climb the twenty-seven sets of stairs. He was damned if he would.