Short Story

Impeccable Provenance

He’d made an appointment, all nice and legit, his people to my people, and he’d checked out so I’d okayed it. Of course everything had changed with reality and we hadn’t been in the Presidential at Musk City Mars after a no doubt triumphant show on the “Cabaret” tour. Instead I was stuck on Earth of all places, with the tour all over the shop, the Luna gigs cancelled because of the bloody Plague. Instead of being orally serviced at a post gig drug wallow on Mars, I was being orally serviced at a post gig drug wallow on Earth. The gig had been vintage, the drugs were A-Grade, and the oral servicing, from a girl called Louise was Primo too; but the gravity, my gods the gravity was fucked. I was almost struggling to fill my lungs at each breath. The couch was soft kid leather but I could feel creases in the material grinding into my skin.

I’d cheated in the Gig, I sang both sets, all seven songs from a barstool centre-front stage next to the keyboard – a genuine white grand piano, over two hundred years old! The manager, a Mr. Toad of Toad Hall was very proud of it. It was a unique instrument he said. It had been played by both Liberace and later, by Freddie Mercury, he said. “Was it in tune?” I said – It was. Lovely machine! I gave him the first bit of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” by way of a nod to history, and to Mr. Mercury in particular. Its a wonderful song, and it gives me a chance to really stretch my voice. I could see him desperate to rush off home to Toad Hall and tell all his little toad-poles of his incredible day. Talent does have its rewards, some of them are paltry, but when the plague is sweeping the Solar System and literally decimating the population, you have to take your fun where you can get it.

As I said, I cheated at the show. I didn’t play, I sat beside the piano in my Sally Bowles costume and sang. The black velvet of the shorts looked great against my blue skin, I could tell that the crowd strongly approved and that every time I crossed my legs I was filling the meme-verse with terabytes of pictures of my snatch.
I sing better when I’’m horny.
Which brings me to the Prime Minister’s suite of the Kirribilli House Hotel. Nice view. Black as a coal mine outside. The sky the deepest blue, almost purple. The stars reflecting off the harbour, waters as still as a millpond. Silence, except for Claudius, down the hall, approaching orgasm, and the occasional quiet slurp produced by miss Louise in my crotch. Aside from the gravity, this were pretty good.
“Miss Ganymede? Miss Ganymede? Are you decent?” It was Jacqueline. Jakksi is my P.A and knows I love her enough that she can push her luck quite a long way.
“J – you know I’m not – you let her in. What do you want? You’d better have thought this through.”
At least she hadn’t turned the lights on. She’d done that once and it seemed she’d learned her lesson. Now she wore night-vision goggles.
“It’s that guy, he has an appointment”
“How the fuck can anyone have an appointment for now? I should be on Mars!”

“I know – you have a flexible schedule. His appointment is for two hours after the evening gig on the seventeenth of Juli – I think he has a case.”
“Fuck – you mean he’s so keen he’s made a ninety day flight for this meeting? Should I be flattered?”
“You can be flattered if you want, but I think he’s from here – the Shen Zhen University of Honolulu; he’s brought the object, as agreed.”
“Double Fuck. Jakksi, would you please drape a rug over Ms Louise and I? Mr_ ?”_
“Tanagawa.”
“Mr Tanagawa may not share our showbiz morals and I am loathe to offend.”
Jakksi said nothing. A king-size bed coverlet landed on top of us. I flailed around until Louise was wholly covered and only my head protruded into the cooler, fresher air of the room.
“Miss Ganymede, I am honoured – I have been a very great fan since I was a young man.”
Considering that Mr Tanagawa was demonstrably no longer young, I took the compliment gingerly; and surely he would know that, no matter how good his Japanese genes, I would, barring accidents, outlive him by at least fifty years.
“Mister Tanagawa I am pleased to make your acquaintance – even in this most informal situation. I am sure that my assistant Ms.Jacqueline Ryder can arrange some complimentary tickets to an upcoming show that is convenient.”
“Will do, Boss.”
“You are too kind great Lady Ganymede!!”
“I am sure you are a worthy recipient of such a paltry generosity. -now-“
“To business!”
To give Mr Tanagawa credit, he seemed relieved that he would soon be able to stop ignoring the fact that my feet seemed to be upside down, and the wrong colour.
Like all Japanese businessmen since feudal times, Mr Tanagawa had his thin, ‘samsonite’ briefcase with him. Said briefcase contained one sheet of A4 typewritten paper, a thumb-drive and small oblong package wrapped in brown paper and sealed in a small zip-lock plastic bag.
Mr Tanagawa started talking, rapidly wheedlingly. “Object in airtight plastic bag, in neutral atmosphere. After original collection object immediately pickled in grain alcohol for several weeks, then frozen. Frozen for many years, first in kitchen cold room on aircraft-carrier then on land in facility in Maryland United States. All documentation in Pdfs on thumb-drive”

“Very good.I am impressed with your work on thus matter.”

“Also contained in this R.O.M memory is Tr00 provided vision of the original collection of the item. Ancillary Locus(C) costs included in item sale price to you.”
I nodded, picked up the package, reached into the bag. The object was soft, heavy. The paper crackled in reaction to my grip. I shivered with pleasure.
“Before I get ahead of myself; “ I coughed in a ladylike manner and unrolled the paper from around the object. It looked like a small sausage that had been burned crisp; which, in fact, it was.

“Jakksi -would you please feed the vision on the memory stick into the screen here so that we can see it?”
Rightio”
“Jesus.”
“Sorry.”

The deck of a an aircraft carrier, All of the anti-aircraft guns are firing, the flight deck is an inferno of fire and flying lead. It is world war two in the pacific in Locus 8K vision. In perfect slow motion a zero dive bombs directly into the deck. The Locus is unmoved by the titanic explosion.
Mr Tanagawa speaks, “The plane impacted next to the number 7 5” anti-aircraft gun. The impact killed 50 sailors instantly. The damage crews immediately set about dousing the flames and tending the wounded. As can be seen from this documentation, the fire took some 25 minutes to extinguish.”
He paused and the people in the vision scrabbled madly, speeded up at 5 times normal speed stopping almost instantly when the fire was out. The vision returned to normal speed and panned the ring of gaped jawed sailors staring at the wreck. Almost by some hidden signal, they simultaneously closed on the mangled plane and started rending and tearing at it. Brawny sailors hands tore pieces of thin aluminium skin from the plane’s wings. The souvenir hunt had started. The Locus camera followed a single sailor as he walks directly to the cockpit. His white singlet is filthy, stained with black grease and less identifiable stains. AsHe reaches down into the cockpit, a knife flashes in his hands. He straightens. Mr Tanagawa spoke “there you have it. Impeccable provenance.”

(c) Ale Rieneck, September 2020 all rights reserved.

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