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Shiny Plastic People (A Vignette)

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The box has been sitting on Estelle's coffee table for three days, but she has not had the nerve to open it. The blond heroine stares at it as she sits on her leather couch, wrapped in a terry cloth robe as she gnaws on a thumbnail, nervously pumping her leg. Her amazing golden hair is draped majestically over the entire couch; it’s still wet from the shower that took twenty-five minutes and god knows how many gallons of water, and it takes forever to dry out.


"To heck with this."


Estelle extends a damp golden pseudopod to pick up the box and bring it to her as she straightens up to get a better look. Her extra limbs easily slice through the shipping tape and worm their way inside to draw forth several mock-ups for a proposed line of Gossamer toys. The sensitive fibers prod, stroke and probe the figures like alien life forms from a Japanese cartoon, testing the quality of the designs. After several minutes of through examination, a slender filament darts across the room, lassos Estelle’s cell phone and brings it to her waiting hand.




“Hi, is this Paul?â€Â




“Hi Paul, it’s Estelle de Havilland.â€Â


“Oh hi, Estelle!â€Â


“I’m so sorry to call you on your day off-"


“No, no, it’s fine; I’m just getting ready to prep the grill. What can I do for you?â€Â


She picks up one of the smaller figures and studies it carefully. “Well, I’ve finally gotten around to looking over the prototypes you sent me, and I’ve got some feedback.†She chuckles ruefully. “To be honest, I’ve been avoiding it, but now it’s Saturday, and the box has been staring back at me all morning.â€Â


Paul Becker, head of the toy division of Development Concepts, laughs on the other end.


“It’s a perfectly normal reaction, Stelle; either you can’t wait to see them or you live in dread of the day you do. It’s one or the other for everyone the first time they see themselves molded in plastic.â€Â


“I’m sure. I just had a few thoughts I wanted to rattle off, but if you’re busy…â€Â


“Don’t your worry ‘bout a thing, I’ve got pen and paper right here. Shoot.â€Â


“Well for starters, none of them look a thing like me; one appears to have acromegaly, this one has been inbred to the point of chinlessness, aaaaaaand this one…well, this one has two different sized eyes, one nostril and appears to be in the throes of religious ecstasy. I can’t say I’m pleased by the selection, but if I had to pick, I’d go with the Chinless Wonder; she looks a bit like my Great Aunt Pearl.â€Â


As she talks to Paul, the beautiful chemist has looped fine strands of hair around all three prototypes, and is dancing them across a landscape of golden hillocks she’s formed on the couch for her own amusement. Unfortunately, the movement attracts the interest of her cat May-Ray, who unbeknownst to Stelle has been watching the proceedings with great interest; in a flash, the cat leaps upon the chinless mock-up, savagely biting its tiny head. The low golden hills erupt in alarm as Estelle yelps and leaps to her feet, the whole of her animated head of hair roiling in a brief panic. For a moment May-Ray is completely engulfed beneath the amber waves before the heroine comes to her senses and releases his on the floor, allowing him to scamper off into a dark corner.


“Estelle? What’s going on?â€Â


She plucks the discarded phone off the floor as she scrutinizes the damage to the figure. “I’m sorry, Paul, I just dropped the phone. My cat attacked Great Aunt Pearl, and it looks the old girl’s done for; she may never show her face in public again.â€Â


There is a long sigh from the other end of the phone. “Well, we already knew you didn’t like that one, so I guess it already did its job.â€Â


“She fell bravely in the line of duty.â€Â


“Heh, yeah, something like that. Other than the faces, anything else, anything you actually like?â€Â


“Well other than the face, I really like the look of the Rondo Hatton figure; the costume is well done, the pose is dynamic, slightly heightened yet still realistic, and my boobs are just about the right size. If it wasn’t for the Neanderthal brow and Popeye jaw, I’d give my approval on that one.â€Â


“Well that is excellent news, Stelle; maybe we can schedule time for you to have your face laser scanned-“


This gets an instant reaction from Estelle, who shakes her head violently as she goes off in search of her cat. “No, absolutely not; I’ve seen how women’s faces turn out from the scans, and they look horrible. Men’s faces turn out fine, but for some reason, women’s…no, but I do have an idea.â€Â


Paul sighs. “Okay, I’m all ears.â€Â


Estelle finally locates May-Ray behind the couch; she coils her hair up into a thick braid that falls down her back and starts to gently coax the frightened cat out.


“I know a sculptor named Xavier Maki, who does the most amazing miniatures; I’d like him to have a crack at the maquette, if that’s alright.â€Â


“Does he work cheap?â€Â


Finally with her cat in her arms, the blond heroine returns to the couch, scratching behind his ears. “Not usually, no, but we might be able to get him for cheap; I think he’d love the challenge, and the novelty of the concept might give us a bit of leverage.†Estelle grins. “Also he has a mad crush on me, and a chance to have me model for him might be impossible to resist.â€Â


“Hah! Well, if you can make it work, it sounds great.â€Â


“Good. Now, onto the ‘Gossamer Glitter’ dress-up doll…â€Â

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