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Old 05-29-2005, 04:43 AM   #266
Fair and Cold
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"You know, the West is just another ideological construct used to perpetuate stereotypes and dictate the nature of diplomatic relationships," a tiny voice sang sweetly to Leninia as she walked down a long, dark corridor toward her destination.

"Uh huh." Leninia brushed it off. She was concentrating on her task so hard that she didn't even resort to telling the voice to shut up. "Wait a minute, who is this?"

"The voice in your head, of course," the voice replied.

Leninia remembered the vulture from her previous dream, vision, quest...thing. and decided that she'd had enough weirdness for today.

"Could you go away, please?" She implored the voice in an uncharacteristically polite and only slightly irritated tone.

"Sure. Please don't think that my entire existence revolves around you. Yet before you throw me out so rudely, perhaps you should know that I have something say about the task that lies ahead of you."

"You do?"


A long silence followed, interrupted only by the sound of Leninia's high heels clicking on the polished marble floor.

"What was that again?"


The voice did not come back.

"Hello?" Leninia ventured. "Hey. Loser. Moron. Weirdo. Emotionally constipated freakoid who still lives in his mother's basement and wears the same socks for a week at a time! Ok. It really is gone. Great."

And at this, Leninia reached the door at the end of the hall. It was rather unremarkable and shabby, bearing graffitti along the lines of "Abandon all dope at the door, plz." Leninia prepared herself, tossed her hair about for extra confidence, and knocked.

Another long silence followed. Then a toilet flushed. Then a dull and disinterested voice yelled "it's open!" and Leninia stepped through into what appeared to be a particularly low-end office, with garish lighting from cheap novelty floor-lamps shaped like trees and stacks of dusty folders rising like towers and getting lost somewhere in the great heights of the ceiling.

A young man sat at a shabby desk and quietly yet deliberately thumped his head on it. Another young man, in suspenders and a not-so-crisp shirt, was eyeing Leninia suspiciously.

"The hair salon is down the hall in the opposite direction," he finally said.

"You think my hair needs a sa..." Leninia bristled, then quickly regained her composure. "I mean, I wasn't looking for the hair salon, I was looking...well. For you."

"For me?" Young Man #2 raised an eyebrow. Young Man #1 meanwhile continued thumping.

"Excuse me," Leninia smiled a glittering, toothy smile. "But is there anything wrong with your, um, colleague over there? Does he need help? Maybe we could give him a pillow?"

"Oh, no, that's qute alright, actually," Young Man #2 grinned. "He can't concentrate on his job otherwise."

"Must be a pretty tough job."

"Tell me about it," Young Man #2 groaned. "We keep getting our budget cut in half. It's supposed to be one of the most important jobs in this entire sorry establishment, assisting Our Beloved Foorer Mantoes himself. But guess what? This place has its priorities so screwed up that I'm beginning to think of transferring, before I go insane and get pushed into early retirement. All they care about is their defense fund!"

"Maybe I can help?" Leninia fluttered her eyelashes so much it seemed for a moment as if she might take off and sail straight up and away. "I'm sure we could get the budget improved drastically for the coming fiscal year. I have connections."

"What's the catch?" Young Man #2 eyed her cautiously and hungrily at the same time, like a bird eyeing a particularly bright-colored spider on The Yearning Channel documentary.

"Oh just a little bit of fine print, dear."

"Very fine?"

"Excrutiatingly fine, darling."

"Extremely fine?"

"Gloriously, divinely fine, pumpkin."

"As fine as you are?"

"Hmm. Why not?" And all the while Leninia's eyes continued to blink and glitter and radiate like miniature nuclear power plants. Young Man #2 began swaying from side to side, drooling, smiling, and muttering utter nonsense:

"And then we're going to have a...yes, barbeques on the back porch...the first one we can name, hmmm, something fashionable, like Arden...Maybe the second one will be Dior...Pink pram...Of course, you can keep your job...Cocktails in the den...Summer holiday at St. Tropessea...Pretty trinkets on your birthday...Yes, the lace one.." And so on.

This was enough to rouse even Young Man #1 from his head-banging stupor.

"What have you done?" He roared at Leninia. "We get off at five and we still have work to do? You want to get us fired?"

"No, sugar," Leninia smiled sweetly. "I want to help you."

"Listen lady, your tricks ain't gonna work on me..." Young Man #1 began.

"I know," Leninia interruped gently, remembering the voice's advice. "That's why I had to get your colleague here out of the way. Now listen to me very carefully: Rule number one, you do not talk about what happened here today. Rule number two, you do not talk about what happened here today. Rule number three, this so-called office decor really has to go. Rule number four, helpmefreeyourpoliticalprisonersandallyourfinancia lproblemsaregoingtodisappear."

"Whoa, lady, that's a whole lot of fine print."

"Well, put your glasses on," Leninia snapped.

"...And then we can install a pool...My mother can babysit the kids...You in your nightgown, brushing your long gorgeous hair...And the pink ribbons...Yes, of course, we can...A sale at the Gap of Rohan, you can get anything you want..." Young Man #2 was still going strong.

"And why should we listen to you?" Young Man #1 persisted.

"Because I know how this whole business was. I used to be slightly evil, you see, Leninia Tiny and Terrible, you may have heard of me. But then I met some people, entered a 12-step program..." Leninia trailed off, smiling, for Young Man #2 had come out of his stupor and was staring at her like a rabbit at a cobra on The Yearning Channel.

"Come, gentle revised budget, come, loving, green-coloured revised budget,
Give me my sanity; and, when I shall retire,
Take my stock options and cut them out in huge financial benefits,
So that all the world will be oyster, and pay no worship to my garish looks.
Oh, I will buy a mansion..." He whispered.

"Shut up!" Young Man #1 yelled. "Tell me instead if there are any political prisoners in our jurisdiction whose case may be up for review."

"We only have one. One lousy one." Young Man #2 ruffled a paper-stack, then another. On his twelth paper stack, as Leninia yawned, he finally came upon what he was looking for.

'Last name LaBamba. First is this? Too-thin? Since when can somebody be too thin? Or too r..."

"Ok, I get it man, you're obsessed with your retirement fund, I get it!" Young Man #1 roared.

"So, can we do something about this LaBamba gentleman?" Leninia coughed charmingly and politely.

"Wait, hold on, there is also something here about an...Hmm. An army dispatched here by Mogul? All classified under, er, enemy 'combustants'? Held without trial? Tortured with watching mid-level sitcoms and uh, other stuff...Hmmm. Seems like a huge violation of basic hu...I mean *cough wheeze* Maybe they were all mis-filed? An entire army mis-filed?"

'I'm telling you, we can turn this organization around," Leninia said. "Make it stand for something glorious again. Let it never mis-file another being, human or otherwise, ever again. Mis-filing. That word should have new meaning for us today. We can't be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will not go quietly to early retirement or otherwise! We will not vanish without a fight! We're going to move on! We're going to survive! Today we celebrate date is it today?"

"No clue."

"Ok, fine, whatever, do whatever needs to be done."

"And..." Young Man #2 looked at Leninia like a prairie dog popping out of its hole and staring with astonishment at whatever it is there is to be stared at (all this Leninia of course learned from The Yearning Channel, copyright, whatever year it is right now).

"And what?" Coy Leninia asked.

"And all of that before this? I mean...You probably think that I'm an uncool materialistic..."

"Emotionally constpitaed frekoid?" Leninia finished sweetly.

"Yeah...I mean no...I think...The things you said to me before? Are they...? Are they?"

Leninia remembered the voice in her head.

"Yes." She said. "Yes."

"Hold me closer, tiny and terrible Leninia."

Last edited by Lush; 06-07-2005 at 08:09 AM.
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