Paige567830993 is a registered Artist (Class D) and as such is required to serve food and drink at Ye Olde Tavern Bowl for no less than 20 hours per week. After six months of servitude she can freely apply for a 14 day break and after 12 months she may even qualify for a 7-day vacation at one of several Class D resorts. While at the Class D resort she would be able to book services from an array others Class D specialists: Nail Technicians, Massage Therapists, Fitness Trainers, Indoor Surf Instructors, Indoor Golf Instructors, Bowling Instructors and the like. As a result of these generous government concessions, many Artists (Class D) become quickly satisfied with their status and never even bother to apply for Class C recognition; but Paige is not like other Artists (Class D) she actually still has a vision.
Paige567830993 lives in a shared Class D apartment in the Chicagoville Unified Art District (CUAD); which, though clean, safe, and comfortable, always seems to have at least one major appliance that requires repair. It being summer, of course, it is now her air conditioning unit that is operating at about 40% efficiency and Paige is forced spend all her free time of late personally submitting a service requests.
“Yes, Ma’am. There is some air moving through the unit but not the kind of air that can fairly be described as cool by any stretch of the imagination.”
“I see,” the Service Technician(Class C) on the other end of the VIDCOMM paused to take note of this evidence. “Not cool air, huh. If not cool, the how would you describe the air coming out of the unit?”
“Have you ever had a dog stand by your face and pant? My air conditioning unit feels like a big old dog is breathing in my face.”
The Service Technician(C Class) was appropriately sensitive but non-committal. “Oh dear, that doesn’t sound very nice at all.”
“No, Ma’am,” Paige reiterated. “It is not a pleasant experience.”
“What is the unit’s current efficiency rating again, darling?” The tech had already requested this information four times. Paige couldn’t help but sigh softly; but she was careful not to actually flinch or display any visual signs of frustration. To do so would only serve to delay any useful activity on the part of the service technician. An actual outburst could result in disconnection and an immediate request cancellation. That would mean she would have to start over whole process over again the following day – after an appropriate cooling off period.
“Currently it is working at 42% efficiency, Ma’am. But, as it is now the middle of summer, I think that qualifies as an emergency level malfunction, doesn’t it?”
“The middle of summer is still 7 days away, dear. And 42% efficiency is actually very close to acceptable operation for a Class D unit.” The tech paused, in part for dramatic effect but mostly to see – one more time – if she could get Paige to crack. Paige wasn’t falling for that old trick. She was resolute. “Ok. Let me see what I can do…how about I come around Friday morning first thing sweetie? Let’s see if I can’t get that old unit up over 80%.”
“That…” Paige gasped with genuine gratitude, “That would be so, so great. You don’t even know how happy that would make me.”
“Aw…ain’t that sweet. It warms my heart to hear you say that, darling, honest it does. But you don’t want to hear about anything being warm now do you, hon?” Satisfied that she had made this Artist (Class D) sweat it out long enough, the Service Technician (Class C) was content to move on and torment the next poor Class D sap she had waiting on hold. “See you Friday then, babe. Bright and early!”
“Thank you, again.” Paige added for good measure before disconnecting. “I really reallyappreciate it.” Then, as the screen went blank, she sank down against the wall and began to sob like a baby. “Damnit,” she snarled eventually. “If I don’t get re-classified soon I swear to god…” But, before she said out loud what she felt inside she decided to flip her whole mood. “myMuse.” She said quietly. “Access Beach Boys. God Only Knows.”
As a registered artist – even at the lowly Class D level – Paige had unrestricted access to most the art, writing and music did still exist. Most recorded music, of course, had been erased during the Last Great Data Dump (LGDD). It was actually quite a marvel that such an unforgettably beautiful song as God Only Knows was still around. It gave Paige a momentary glimmer of hope.
I may not always love you / but long as there are stars above you / You never need to doubt it / I’ll make you so sure about it. / God only know what I’d be without you.
“How could it possibly be,” she wondered out loud, “that a simple Company drone got a hold of something like this?” Before Paige had time to ponder this more, Sheridan634027008 burst through the door.
“Oh my god! It’s as hot as Madonna’s sweaty ass after an extended encore in here! When is that damn air conditioner going to work?”
“They’re coming Friday. It’s all taken care of, myMuse off.” Paige lifted herself off the kitchen floor as she knew that Hurricane Sheridan would soon carry her off on some new adventure.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” Sheridan said, kissing the hot air around Paige’s face. “I don’t know what I’d do without you. I don’t have the patience to deal with those people. You know I’d go right to: Bitch! You come fix this fucker right this very moment or… And then… Click, Zzzzip…and then I have to listen to that annoying-ass bitch that only knows how to say the one goddamn thing: Home and Energy Services welcomes your call. Please call again at a more appropriate time.”
Sheridan, like Paige, is an Artist (Class D). He also works at Ye Olde Tavern Bowl but he spends just about every other waking hour (and many of his non-waking hours) at the totally classless establishment known at L’Dragge Cabaret. You see, Sheridan634027008 is better known around the Arts District as, the one and the only Sheridan L’Dragge.
Cabaret had long been declared dead before Sheridan L’Dragge staged his now infamous Drag Resurrection. Officially, of course, drag is still dead. Were it not for the fact that the L’Dragge Cabaret rarely appears in the same location more than a few nights in a row, Rights and Permissions would have shut it down months ago as well.
This primary issue R&P have, of course, is Sheridan’s lack of a Performance House License and, in addition to that, there is his tendency to allow patrons of every class in to any show and then there is the totally unscripted and therefore wholly unregulated nature of his act. But, above and beyond all these misdemeanors, there is his peculiar insistence on using his pseudo-surname in all his publicity material. Surnames, of course, are deemed relics of The Age of Unenlightenment. Although they have not yet been outright outlawed, their on-going use by anything less than the few remaining traditional Class A “families” is most definitely frowned upon. It is widely known that if you are not a Rothschild, a Murdoch, a Koch, or, at very least, a Bush, you really have no reason to go around flashing a surname around in public.
“Girl,” Sheridan said twirling Paige around in a tight circle. “You are one hot mess. We need to get you out of this sweat box and pamper your soul with a mani pedi before Rock and Bowl tonight.”
“I got to get out of this dump, that’s for sure.”
“Well, let’s go! This one is on me, babycakes. I owe you for dealing with that service bitch all on your lonesome; but first, you might want to take a shower and put on something less…damp.”
As cool water splashed against her face and ran down the length of her body causing goosebumps wherever it flowed, Paige began to sing, quietly at first but line by line with more and more passion.
If you should ever leave me / Well, life you just go on believe me / The world would show nothing to me / So what good would living do me / God only knows what I’d be without you / God only knows what I’d be without you / God only knows
“Dang,” Sheridan said sipping on a pink kool aid margarita. “Girl’s got some serious pipes when she lets it all hang out.”