You may sometimes get the feeling that in these stories women get dicked on a bit. This is true, and this is true because women getting dicked on for incredibly petty, dumb reasons is something I’ve noticed that happens rather a lot and is something that never ceases to bewilder me.
I can’t exactly help much, being an idiot, but I do enjoy writing dumb stories about it. In this case, fashion, something I find doubly bewildering anyway…
Gabrielle was crying, not that her former employers cared. They had long ago given up the optional and utterly superfluous ability to feel sympathy, not that they would have done anyway. They would have felt sympathy wasted on one who had so utterly failed themselves and others as Gabrielle had done. She was unworthy.
For a while she had managed to reach the acceptable weight of one and a half stone, but even then she had been sailing close to the wind. In spite of repeated warnings she continued to have the temerity to possess ankles that were still visible if looked at in just the right way. This was the very height and definition of unacceptable, and so she had to be made an example of.
“But please! I can lose more!” She pleaded. She would have had tears in her eyes, had her ducts not shrivelled away to nothing some time ago. Instead, she wept dust. Fat-free dust. Her former employers remained unmoved.
“You should have thought about that before we decided you were too dense,” one said, arms folded across a blubbery chest. This was the meaner of the two, the one who was the de-facto head and the one who wore the largest and fluffiest wigs. The other, who was only slightly less mean, would have replied but they were too busy cramming crème-cakes into their face with one hand and signing off on the Fall range with the other. They nodded anyway, to express support.
“I tried so hard! Please give me another chance?”
“Another? And you couldn’t fulfil our arbitrary and inhuman whims with only one chance? And to think you called yourself a model…begone with you!” The Wigged One said, flapping a hammy fist in the direction of the window which – interpreting this gesture – snapped open. Before Gabrielle could utter another word of protest a gust of wind caught her potato sack of shame (which she had been compelled to wear, and which she was almost too weak to stand in) and tugged her out the window like a twiglet attached to a length of fishing wire.
Her former employers watched her go as her body – far too light for gravity to even noticed – slipped straight from the neck-hole of the sack and wafted off up and away into the air, screaming and flailing until she finally disappeared into the clouds and out of sight.
“God she was pudgy,” said the Wigged One, to which the Crème-Eater nodded.
“She was, yes. I’m glad we’re shot of her,” they said.
“It’s a little embarrassing that these land-leviathans even think they should be allowed to work, really,” the Wigged One continued. A small creature attempted to escape from one of the Crème-Eater’s folds but was caught by the lightning-quick talons of the Wigged One and devoured alive.
“We are now bereft of a face for the new line, of course. What shall be the defining characteristic of our new choice?” The Crème-Eater asked, leaning back in their chair – a chair made up of three other chairs welded together. The Wigged One picked up a dart and played it about their fingers.
“Good question. The gap in the teeth was an inspired choice,” the Crème-Eater gave a ‘no, you’re too kind’ hand gesture at this “but I feel we should leave the next choice up to fate,” the Wigged One said.
“Quite so. Fate away!” The Crème-eater said, whooping happily as the Wigged One hurled the dart down-range at the board hanging lop-sidedly from a wall festooned with poorly-aimed darts. This one was well on target however, and struck something of note.
“Aha! Perfect. The next model should have eyelashes slightly longer one side than the other. We have decreed that this shall be glamorous. Fate – as guided by divine hands – has decided that shall be Fashion.”
Both of them performed the sacred and arcane hand gestures that should properly accompany the name of their callous and inscrutable God. Stories were told of a Vogue editor who had once dared to use the name without due reverence, and was to this day still writhing in the appropriate level of torment such a hubristic act deserved – though no-one could agree on what actually what the appropriate level was. It was just agreed that, whatever it was, it was being inflicted as was only right and proper.
“Which candidate fits the bill best with these new parameters?” The Wigged One asked as the Crème-Eater’s fingers whizzed about their tablet, smearing it with jam as the new data was inputted. With great triumph a button was pushed and a little tremor of haptic feedback from the tablet set the Crème-Eater jiggling as the Model-Dispenser huffed and puffed into life. The tube jutting from the ceiling gave a great cough, and the nothing.
“Isn’t there supposed to be an interviewee here?” The Wigged One asked, peering about. The Crème-Eater did likewise and also saw nothing.
“I’m right here!” Said a small voice, though the source was unclear. The Wigged One narrowed their eyes.
“Turn around,” they said. They had experience of this. At first there was silence and nothing but then, for a second, there was a flash of something.
“Turn back. Slowly,” the Wigged One said, leaning forward, squinting. The flash came again.
“Stop!” they cried and the flash remained; a razor-thin line of humanity just visible now the light was catching them at just the right angle to make their monomolecular body visible.
“That’s her?” The Crème-eater asked, not particularly impressed.
“That’s her. Personally, I’m surprised you managed to fit through the tube. Get out,” the Wigged One spat with disgust, slamming a fist on to the ‘REJECT’ button on the desk and opening up the teeny-tiny little hole beneath the model through which they slipped, screaming.
“I think we’re going to get a lot of girls like that,” the Crème-Eater said, sadly.
“I agree. Girls these days just don’t take the level of care in their appearance we decided they should take. It’s almost as if our arbitrary and ludicrous standards of what constitutes physical beauty are not easily compatible with a healthy and happy life,” the Wigged one said sadly. These were notoriously dark times.
Last year, someone had pointed out how odd they found it that the Summer Line had been specifically designed to be unwearable by humans unless they’d had massive and unnecessary surgery. Or when during the winter there had been more brainless heathens coming out of the woodwork making a fuss about how clothes made out of razor-wire, medical waste and radioactive material wasn’t ‘safe’. It was almost as if people were trying not to understand how Fashion worked.
“Nonsense! We’re healthy, we’re happy! Look at us!” The Crème-Eater said, skin splitting about their gut and a thick loop of entrails poking out for a moment before they were shoved back in and the whole mess stapled shut. Again.
“Yes. They must be the problem. Not us. We should never have to change. Not that we have to,” the Wigged One said.
“No. Never. We never have to change,” the Crème-Eater sighed happily, and the two shared a moment of bliss.
“Who’s next?” The Wigged One asked, once the moment passed. The Crème-Eater fiddled with their tablet a bit more.
“A wind spirit is next.”
“That sounds exciting,” the Wigged one said, never have heard of a wind spirit before. They sounded thin. They hoped they were.
“Yes. She is an insubstantial manifestation of a primordial force – wind, in this case – and thus has no real physical form,” the Crème-Eater said, rattling facts off from the tablet in their fist.
“No bones?” The Wigged One asked, raising an eyebrow. The Crème-Eater double-checked. It was hard to see through the film of jam and crumbs.
“I don’t think so, no.”
Bones were one of the many banes of the fashion-designer’s existence, ranking up there among models being allowed opinions (and having the nerve to express them sometimes), the inflexibility of the human form and – ultimately – physical matter itself. Bones were fundamental though because they were tiresomely necessary. A model without them would be a coup indeed.
“Send her in!” The Wigged One exclaimed, slapping a thigh they just happened to have lying around for this sort of thing. The Model-Dispenser chugged again and dispersed a cloud of lightly tinted air. It shimmered in front of them and they looked at it with fresh scepticism.
“Is this her?” The Wigged One asked.
“This is her,” The Crème-Eater confirmed. They shared a look of silent agreement. A look that said all that needed to be said about this candidate. At least behind her back. To her face – not that she had one – there was much to say.
“Are you the only fat wind spirit? Is it lonely?” The Wigged One asked. The tinted air quivered disconsolately but said nothing, for it could say nothing.
“I’m sorry, I couldn’t understand you over the sheer amount of blubber no-doubt clogging your face. You don’t even have a face. Shameful,” the Crème-Eater said, expression twisting into the most horrendous sneer.
“Despite your obvious – shockingly, horrifying obvious – shortcomings you are still vaguely close to what we are looking for,” the Wigged One said, apparently forgetting the thing about the eyelashes but far more apparently not even starting to care. The shimmering air perked up a little.
“However. Before we take you on we will have to get a promise in writing that you are willing to lose a bit of weight. Hopefully taking you down into something a little more reasonable, such as negative mass, where you weigh so little you make others around you weight more,” the Wigged One said. This was not how mass worked, of course, but it was how the two of them thought it should work, and they would never hear anything that went against it. The wind spirit changed tones in a subtle dance that conveyed ambiguous meaning.
“Is that a yes?” The Crème-Eater asked. The air changed tones slightly less ambiguously.
“Ah. Good. We’ll see you back here soon then. Don’t call us, we’ll call you. Etcetera,” the Wigged One said, showing the wind spirit the door through which they wafted gaily.
“Well, that’s that settled,” they said, leaning back and cracking their knuckles.
“Indeed,” the Crème-Eater said, doing likewise. Their knuckles failed to crack, however, as they were stiff from gout and refused to bend enough to crack.
The intercom box sat atop the desk made a squawk, followed by actual words:
“The rest of the council has arrived,” it said before clicking off.
“Ah, excellent. I have been waiting,” the Wigged One said, safe in the knowledge that the Council of Elder Fashionistas would be on their way up even as they spoke. What would follow – as it followed anytime the council met – was a glorious occasion of small-talk and gay banter, segueing nicely into a circle of mutual masturbation with eyes firmly closed.
A great many fabulously fashionable ideas had come from this time honoured practise, and those plebs who dismissed it as an insular and literal circlejerk were missing the point.
It wasn’t supposed to make sense or be useful or be nice or accept people who didn’t fit a standard mold or make anything actually nice. It was just Fashion.