Feb 13, 2015

"Dear Diary" ---- Quantum learning (teaser)

Yes, folks, we have been goofing off. It's a bit more complicated, though, but the net effect is that we have no new teasers for This Is Heaven. It's not exactly a writers block (we're at 2/3 of the manuscript already), but there's the need for a creative break. So we started writing on a new---and very old project. It's prose, it's fiction, and it's YA. That's all we can tell in this era of ubiquitous spoiler angst:

(Date?)

Dear Diary :

I can’t really tell you how pleased I am to hold you in my hands, or, more precisely, have you lain out open like a “book” from the old days while sitting on an office contraption that looks modernistic but was described by Xato as an antique heirloom of “the family” when rolled into the room. Xato, who at that point had known me for several hours already, sensed my reservations and looked around for alternative sitting options, but I (who had know him for several hours already), hurried to agree and said: “It will do, Xato.”

“Whatever your preferences,” Xato replied.



Whatever-your-preference…I really ought to call him that, were it not impractical as the name of a young guy that appears on your bedside and introduces himself as your PA (“pee aah?”---“Yes, Miss, pee aah,”---“Really?”---“Oh, excuse me, Miss, that would be ‘personal assistant’”). He then apologizes profusely for the “unscheduled void” of “the family”---and in particular for the “most unfortunate” absence of “The Senator” who had “longed” to be at my side “at this critical juncture” and who had been held back “by the most urgent business of State” but who “had not failed to send his greetings in redemption.”

Redemption, yes. I lost my train of thought. I am not very clear still, and certainly wasn’t at that critical juncture when I felt---I’m searching for a word---completely unredeemed.

My PA (“Could you tell me your name?”---“Whatever your preference,”---“You don’t have a name?”---“I am completely at your disposal,”---“My preference would be for you to tell me your name,”---“I can tell you my previous name, Miss,”---(yes, great)---“Xato, Miss, they called me Xato”)---so Xato is a bit peculiar. He is overly pedantic, he’s unbearably solicitous, but he’s also very handsome. In point of fact, I have barely been able to take my eyes off his classical features since I woke up. His face is framed by high cheeks and wide-set eyes, his nose is expressive (the nostrils), his (sensual) lips are always ready for a sheepish smile, his torso is proportioned, the butt stands out. His attire is a bit off, though, he wears an iridescent, sleeveless shirt of mysterious material that drops down to the knees and is hemmed in a mismatched fabric, also iridescent. Weren’t it for the hues, he would look like an antique, underdressed hero. If only my mind weren’t so foggy, I’ve seen his face before.

(Let me think.)

Yes. “What is a PA,” I asked right into this handsome face, and the eyes twinkled and his voice (a bit too sonorous for his age, the voice) answered: “Personal assistants are versatile agents providing ill-defined services.”

“That would include tea?” I asked.
“Most certainly Miss. The kitchen could offer you white, green and Olong tea, black, herbal and Rooibos tea, not to mention Mate and blooming tea.”
“Just tea.”
“White tea is the purest and least processed of all teas. This loose leaf tea brews a light color and flavor. Green tea is the most popular type of tea, mainly because it is the beverage of choice in Asia. Some loose green teas are scented…”
“Just tea.”

(And---you know what---Xato got the message:)

He disappeared through a mysterious opening in the wall (I’ll explain later), reappeared through the same opening only seconds later with a silver tray in his elongated hands, (perhaps I dozed off in the meantime), and proceeded to pour Earl-Gray-scented black tea---well, no, he didn’t. He put the tea pot (finest china; iridescent) back down on the tray and asked: “Wouldn’t you prefer to pour the tea yourself?”

I shook my head and expected him to reply ‘Whatever your preference (Miss).’ Instead he said: “The Lady of the House always insists on pouring the tea herself.”
“The lady of the house,” I echoed and dropped my head back into the downy pillows.
“It would cast a spell upon the house, she believes.”

I was still fairly foggy---I have no idea how sharp I am under normal conditions---so I didn’t say anything for a little while, but then sighted: “Whatever my preferences.”
“I need to confer,” he replied, put the tray down on the night table, disappeared through the mysterious opening, reappeared in due course (just giving me the time to think a little self-centered thought), and began pouring the tea. We were back to normal.

There was a full array of tea things, all eager to enter the ceremony, a silver sieve for errant tea leaves, containers for cream and various sugar cube options (white, brown---“or honey, perhaps,”) and a silver spoon to round out the work. There was also a non-tea thing, a square brown little bottle of carved glass labeled Cointreau. Xato handed the cup to me, on its saucer, pointed at the bottle and said: “How about a fortifying little shot, Miss?”
“Whatever your preference,” I answered.

He chuckled, unscrewed the bottle, poured the shot, and the held the neck of the bottle under my nose.
“It’s orange liqueur,” he said, “Lady Abercrombie’s favorite, the only one tolerated on the premises.”
“Alcohol, you mean?”
“Of course,” he answered, “She drinks of it three bottles per day.”

Perhaps I should have mentioned this earlier: at that point in time I had no idea of my identity, no memories of my past or future, no recollection of my position regarding alcoholic beverages. Well, the deed was done. I started sipping the tea-grog and discovered that my tolerance for booze was low. One cup and I felt transposed into a newer state of fogginess. I dropped the saucer and went back to sleep.

°°°

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