Paradigm Shift 12
eating, and when Gregor somewhat frantically began talking about a
movie he'd seen, Park made interested grunts and offered a few
Soon Gregor was laughing and it felt like things were going to be all
right. He even thought it was pretty incredible how Park had let his
verbal faux pas go so easily.
There were depths to Magister Dylan Park.
* * *
Gregor was letting himself be entertained by some of the younger
Family members in the communal media room when the tailor appeared to
grab him for a fitting. He'd just started getting along with members
of the Family and really felt like he might be making a connection,
and it was just broken. So easily, like spider silk.
He reluctantly followed the tailor back to his room, and once again he
couldn't help but be grateful for Park's presence. The woman was
giving off even more of a creepy vibe and she kept none-too-subtly
sniffing the air around him.
It made him wonder if he was already pumping out pheromones, though no
one else had mentioned anything. Still, he couldn't resist giving
himself a paranoid sniff the second he was alone, like he was going to
be able to smell his own Scent.
He put on the trousers and shirt and stepped out of the closet
dressing room so she could check the fit. It was all strange and new
to him; everything he'd ever owned had been machine manufactured. He'd
never been able to afford handmade clothing and had never thought what
it would be like.
He wasn't that enamored with the process. A Fitting Machine, while
completely automated and lacking in human charm, got the job done with
a minimum of weird looks and social groping. Plus he could have the
whole process done in less than ten minutes.
Seeming to sense his mood, Park told the tailor, "Please hurry.
Blessed Tierney is expected at the Image Makers in less than half an
"You cannot rush quality work," the tailor grumbled, but she picked up
her speed nonetheless and soon was finished.
She made Gregor take off the suit so she could make some last minute
alterations and promised it would be waiting for him when he returned
from the Image Makers. He was just glad to escape her sharp pins and
The minute the door closed behind her, he sagged in place. "Why do
rich people put up with this?"
"Pardon?" Park sounded genuinely confused.
Gregor bounded across the room to the refrigerator and a cold bottle
of carrot juice. "Seriously, a Fitting Machine is much more my speed.
There's no way I'd flaunt my wealth by having that lady paw every bit
of me. To be honest, that seems more like something *she* should pay
"She does get a bit handsy, doesn't she?" There was sudden speculation
in Park's tone. "I think I will have some inquiries made about her."
Gregor wondered if he'd just earned someone an Investigation by the
State, but he didn't really care. That lady had pressed his every
danger button and he wanted to make sure he was going to be safe.
The State might have been controlling, and regularly crushed all signs
of free will about some things, but they were also very protective of
Thirds. Which he happened to be now.
He figured that since he'd already been discovered and there was no
escaping his lot in life, he might as well take advantage of the perks
He drank his carrot juice.