OK, this is a little late, but Paula, I’ve tried to meet your challenge of a loaf of bread, a sign, and railroad tracks. Here’s a story fragment inspired by story fragments I’ve already written for a strange science fiction fantasy, which was inspired by Gundam and art, but has taken on a life of its own, over the years. I’ve named the fragments ‘Lift Your Gaze to the Heavens’, which I’d like to turn into a complete story, but other projects currently are fighting for my attention, which need it more.
Dylan squirmed, unable to look at his hands bound to the railroad tracks. “Rizzo,” he said, trying to keep his teeth from chattering.
“Isn’t this great?” Rizzo turned to grin and him. Unlike him, she was seated comfortably, long legs crossed, as she tore off a piece from a giant loaf of french bread. “You’re bound to a piece of Ancient Earth! Or at least, I think this existed on Ancient Earth. There was a time, when humans worshipped in theatre an artistic god called Melodrama, in which girls would be bound to railroad tracks and sacrificed. Unless it was an early expression of bondage.” She offered him the piece of bread. “Want some?”
“How am I supposed to reach for it with my hands tied?” Dylan snapped. His nipples stiffened with the cold. The chill of the iron chafed his bare skin. “Why are we doing this, again? Also, why am I wearing nothing, except your briefs?”
“Because they look good on you,” Rizzo said in a reasonable tone. “Not as good as they do on me, of course,” she said, tossing a long, purple lock of hair over her pointed ear. “However, I think we’ll both agree you fit on the train track better than I do.” She rearranged her legs, examining them. Riselle Taliha was over six feet tall, standing. Much taller than Dylan Stuart, at his pitiful height of 5 foot eight. “I could feed you the bread, if you’re getting hungry.”
“No, thank you,” Dylan said, in as dignified a manner as he could, considering his position. “Why are we doing this?”
“Because we’re broke,” Rizzo said, flatly. “Did you see our paychecks for our last performances?”
Dylan tried not to wince and failed. “Try not to remind me. I’ve got a foster sister and brother at home on Gaia. How am I supposed to support them on this kind of money?”
“You can’t,” Rizzo said, flatly, shaking her head. “I think Marchen and Sasha may end up supporting you, instead. They’re actually successful at your jobs. Plus, they own a house on Gaia. That’s more than you’ve managed to scrape together, doll.”
“I can’t deny that,” Dylan muttered. “If I wasn’t getting support from my family, I wouldn’t be able to afford being at the Accademia.”
“Exactly!” Rizzo said, with a wag of her head. “I’m in the same elegant, yet leaky boat. You don’t like the situation any better than I do, do you?” She stuffed a piece of bread in her mouth. “You wish to be free from parental control, correct? Or rather marental? Escape from Evelyn Stuart’s tightening grip, so I can finally spit in my beloved clanfather’s face?”
“Well, yes,” Dylan said. Trust Rizzo to make it all about her. How very sidhe. He tried to get a better look at her face, turning his head, but his own arm blocked his line of sight to the side. “I’m not sure how tying me to a train track is going to help.”
“We need attention! We need to do something really daring, in order to make some money!” Rizzo said, once she’d finished chewing. “Which is why I posted a sign in the dormitory-“
“What sign?” Dylan asked. Oh, no, he didn’t like the sound of this. He already didn’t like being tied to a railroad track. The self satisfied glee in Rizzo’s voice didn’t reassure him.
“The one I just posted, of course,” Rizzo said, reasonably. “It said ‘Historic Man Candy Auction’.”
“What?!” Dylan yelped. He squirmed, tried to turn, but the bonds around his wrists and ankles were entirely too tight. “Exactly what is that supposed to mean?”
“I decided to enact the ancient earth tradition of melodrama by tying you to a train track,” Rizzo said, smiling brightly at Dylan. “You’re only wearing your boxers, so everyone can see what a nice body you have. After all, I did promise potential buyers man candy.”
“You’re selling me off?” Dylan yelped. “Like a slave?”
“Of course not!” Rizzo looked genuinely offended. “You’ll get half of whatever we make. It’ll be like another ancient earth tradition, pimp and prostitute.”
“That tradition isn’t as ancient as I’d like!” Dylan growled. “You might ask me, before you decide to pimp me out!”
“Oh, I’m not really pimping you out, like a real prostitute!” Rizzo looked genuinely shocked. “I’m charging everyone who comes out here to look at you 30 credits.”
“30 credits? Just for looking at me?” Dylan groaned, as he looked up at his bound wrists. “Rizzo, people can get free porn just by surfing the web. Why would anyone pay 30 credits just to come look at me?”
“Marchen might,” Rizzo said, with a sly grin. She took another bite of bread. “In fact, she might pay extra to have a private view of you all to herself.”
“How many times do I have to tell you?” Dylan said, with a sigh. He was getting a headache from trying to look up at his hands. He stared at the grayish blue sky overhead instead. Just like a sky on earth. Just who’d decided to build an old fashioned set of railroad tracks on Reni 7? “It’s not like that between Marchen and me.”
“Yes, yes, she’s the little sister you never had,” Rizzo said, rolling her eyes. “Personally, if you really care for her, I think you should boff her once. It’s quite unkind to keep denying someone who wants you. Downright rude, in fact.”
“It would be worse than rude to try to be something I’m not to her,” Dylan said. Why was he talking to Rizzo about this? Maybe because he needed to talk to someone about it. Someone who wasn’t close to Marchen.