Story Bit: Sharp Dealings

Credit/blame a comment at According to Hoyt for inspiring this (in process) story . . .

<<What’d he say?>> Zabet demanded, whiskers rigid, tail-tip vibrating like a seismograph needle on Burnt Mountain. <<He’s full of bull-sh—>>

<<Shut it!>> Rada commanded, overpowering her True-dragon partner’s mental sending. Zabet’s eyes bulged and she went silent. Rada kept her polite expression intact as she continued, <<Master Taurak has a good point.>>

Actually, Rada Ni Drako thought to herself, watching the customer as he went over the tapestries thread by thread, he had two very sharp, prominent points that she would just as soon not get impaled upon. She and Zabet stood well clear of the display table, lest the gentleman’s horns make contact with a delicate part of their anatomies. If we’d have had him in the Scouts, we’d have had to develop a whole new type of drop-capsule. And there’s not a good way for Bovarodes to pass as anything else. Come to think of it, I’m not sure there are any other sapient bovines that have reached the interstellar civilizational level. Rada brushed the observation aside and rubbed under her blind eye. Zabet’s tail drooped as much as her whiskers did, and even if she had not been an empath, Rada could have sensed her Boss’s disappointment and frustration. This was not supposed to be happening.

The large gentleman straightened up, removing the loupe from over his eye as he stood. Perhaps towered was the better term, because he stood over two meters tall, and that was from hooves to top of skull, not counting his very respectable horns. His overall coloring reminded Rada a little of Master Thomas, aside from the Bovarus’s white eye-rings and the white hair at his wrists. The bases of his horns, also black, blended into his cranial hair coat. The horns faded into a rather attractive silvery-cream at the tips. Master Taurak’s muscles showed through the fabric of his over garment, enough so that Rada suspected the silvery green jacket served to accent rather conceal his physique. “The weavings are certainly of the highest quality and suit the size of the space quite well, he enunciated carefully in Trader. “The subject matter, however,” he gestured with two hooflets, taking in the uppermost of the stack of three weavings. “It is a touch overly, shall we say, disturbing for my guests.”

What could be disturbing about a garden scene? Rada considered the upside-down (to her) image. The Dream Weavers’ Sisterhood produced amazing textiles, and while not one of their best, Rada admired the workmanship. The three meter by two meter piece depicted a garden just at the cusp of summer, she would guess, as spring started yielding to summer. Lush greens and soft pinks dominated the image, with a grassy foreground leaning to the garden proper, and fruit trees curved around the back of the flowers, forming a living fence of sorts. The trees alternated species, some still blooming, others with young fruit. Brilliantly colored flowers formed the outside edges of the central display, fading into soft pastels in the center around a blue-green fountain that tossed silvery water drops into a clear lapis blue sky. Rada could almost hear birds singing and fought the urge to stick her hand under the spray of water to feel the cool drops on her palm.

<<I think that’s the problem>> Zabet said privately to Rada. She tipped her head a little to the side and rubbed one silvery talon under her narrow muzzle. <<The verdure is too lifelike.>>

“Ah, I believe I begin to understand your difficulty, Master Taurak,” Rada replied. “Your guests prefer a more stylized depiction.”

He nodded, a slow, deliberate motion that made the heavy muscles around his neck bulge then relax. “I confess even I find myself drawn too intensely to the herbage shown here.” He reached forward and took the edge of the weaving in his five-hoofed hand and flipped it to the side, folding the tapestry in half and breaking the spell, so-to-speak. “The geometric is quite acceptable, and,” he started to flip the second weaving when Zabet held up one forefoot.

<<Allow us, please, Gentle Sir.>> She and Rada stepped forward, rolled the offending tapestry up and slid it into the protective sack, and rolled the second tapestry as well, sacking it but leaning it against the end of the table.

“Thank you. This is exactly what I need: inspirational, encouraging, but not overly real.” He tapped the surface with two hooflets.

Rada supposed that she’d be inspired by the scene if she were an omnivore, or more exactly, an omnivore struggling with herbivore impulses. It reminded her of all the paintings of banquets and fancy food from Ter-Tri, the still lives or something like that, depicting fish and hams and cheeses, fruit, bread and other edibles. A few vegetable-looking things appeared in the weaving, and while Rada admired the ham, with a little tracery of white fat on the pink meat, it was not realistic enough to make her hungry.

(C) Alma T.C. Boykin 2015. All Rights Reserved.

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2 thoughts on “Story Bit: Sharp Dealings

  1. Rather obviously, I like this. You’ve managed to inspire the thought of “Looks good enough to eat” without actually using those particular words.

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