Jul 18, 2019 1:15 AM
Jaime in Fabulous
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“Jaime. It’s a pity it isn’t Sunday, you’re an artist and we’re in a park and everything - I’m sure you’ve heard that joke a thousand times. Did you like the performance - I was just practicing, at first, but then people started gathering and I ended up getting carried away.”

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"Oh, yes, it's gorgeous. Classical training?"

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“Mostly. I also do contemporary styles.”

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"You're very good. I'm not a professional critic or anything, of course, but still."

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“Thanks. Have a nice day?”

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"You too!" He salutes ironically and strolls away.

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Charming fellow.

She flies home, munches on a granola bar, and checks her email, in case whoever reviews swarm-response-team-forms has already gone over her own and contacted her with confirmation. A girl can dream.

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If she doesn't check the answering machine she will never know.

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It eventually occurs to her to try that!

(Her parents have also left a message. She deletes it, unceremoniously, after the first three seconds.)

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The message from the swarm response people says, "Hi, Jaime! Sorry we couldn't catch you at home. Squad Malachite has availability for a ride-along outside of school hours on weekends; our primary squad on most weekday afternoons already has a ride-along but our pinch squad, Squad Chatoyance, takes some weekday afternoon shifts if you don't mind being called up last minute to know they're on. Call back and let us know which of those works better for you!"

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Oh, god, they have theme naming.

- she can call them back tomorrow, when she sets up an appointment with a stylist.

It's been a long and unusually interesting week. She reads up a bit about busking, asks her uncle whether she can indefinitely borrow that large plastic vase they procured at a garage sale - "Sure thing, dudette" - and goes to bed. 

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Nothing interesting happens in the middle of the night at all.

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She's shocked. Shocked! 

She makes breakfast, moves on to the second book she borrowed - fiction, this time, it's been a while since she read anything with a genre - and kills an hour sketching out fashion designs that never quite lead anywhere concrete. 

... it occurs to her that she hasn't tried getting her darkness to adhere to an object, yet - by default it seems to anchor in space, not to the air or to physical objects, but it isn't necessarily always like that, and - come to think of it - if her darkness actually anchored on space it would immediately fly away from her into the upper atmosphere. She tries coating a wooden spoon with shadow, such that the shadow clings to it without active intervention on her part.

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She can do this. Now she has a dark spoon.

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And now her spoon is back to being pale beige.

... she can't immediately think of any way to incorporate darkness into her outfit, but the idea has potential.

She calls up the emergency-swarm-response number.

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"Swarm response, please begin with your current address."

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"I don't have an emergency. I'm Jaime Berlanga, I submitted a ride-along form and I'm calling to confirm a time slot, you might have to redirect me."

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"Please call the number that appears on the form for non-emergencies." Click.

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There's a number on the form for - yes, apparently, there is.

She looks at the online copy of the form, and calls the non-emergency line listed there.

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"Yellow," says the fellow on the line, "if you have an emergency, please hang up and dial nine one one."

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What a colorful response.

"Hue to you too. This is Jaime Berlanga, I filled out the paperwork associated with riding along for emergency swarm response, they left a message asking me to call back."

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He laughs. "Lemme dig that up - yeah okay, which squad did you want, pinch or weekend?"

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"Weekend works."

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"Okay! Malachite can take you along. Meet them at the HQ during shift handoff at eight in the morning Saturday or Sunday, it's nice to call ahead but it's okay if you drop in as long as you get around to it at least once in the next few weeks, after that they're gonna assume you changed your mind and aren't going to call you about shift changes. You can leave any time during the shift but it goes till three on a typical weekend day. Once you've shown up a couple times you'll be able to get their work phone number and meet up with them mid-shift."

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"Thanks. Do they have spare stardarters on site or do you need to bring your own, I don't think the website mentioned."

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