Loan Some

Lone75x99Voting for Episode 2 ended September 20, 2013. The majority of readers voted for this: She told people Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, but it was really Erica Jong’s erotic Fear of Flying. Ssh. Don’t tell…

Episode 3

“My favorite book is Sense and Sensibility,” said Vera, matter-of-factly.

Bruce chuckled, taking a handkerchief from his pocket and patting his forehead from sweat. Vera wasn’t sure whether he was actually perspiring or just doing this for dramatic effect.

“Let me guess,” he said. “You tell people your favorite book is something by Jane Austen, but it’s really something else entirely. Like a sci-fi novel. Or Fear of Flying.”

Vera’s eyes lit up. He was right. She loved Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying and considered it to be a literary masterpiece, in spite of its blunt, erotic nature. She had always been afraid to offend her colleagues who were fans of more “canon” writers like Dickens, Kafka, and Woolf. 

“How did you know that?”

“Because like I said, ‘Things are not always what they seem.’”

“Well, I’m still not going to be one of your call girls.”

This made Bruce chuckle even harder.

“You think that’s what this is?”

“You said you ‘loaned’ people out.” She crossed her arms.

Bruce stood up from the conference table and dimmed the lights, as if he were readying the room for a presentation. Standing in the doorway, Vera watched as he pulled down a projector screen, which covered one of the many “skyscrapers” in the “city.”

Within moments, there was a photograph of a bride and groom on screen.

“Do you remember the Corliss wedding that was a viral sensation from a few months ago?”

Vera thought about it for a second. She didn’t really stay up-to-date on pop culture and other happenings.

Bruce continued. “The one with the couple that walked down the aisle via jetpacks?”

“Oh, right.” Vera recalled the wedding’s headline next to one about the President’s State of the Union address.

“Pretty crazy event, huh? Hundreds in attendance. At last count, the video has 1.5 million views on YouTube.”

Bruce flicked through photos on the projector, people from every walk of life, looking like they were having a wonderful time.

“What if I told you that only 20 people RSVPed?” he continued.

The montage of photos ceased, and Bruce brought the lights back up.

“The couple contacted us. They knew they wanted to do the jetpack thing for their wedding, but if no one was there to see it, what’s the point in getting married, right? So they contacted us, and we sent 200 guests out there with smartphones to make this wedding go viral.”

“You can’t be serious,” said Vera.

“They had the money, just no friends, so that’s where we come in. We provided them with  ‘loaners.’”

“Actors?”

“Nope. Just regular people, there to be landscape. Of course, this is a grand example. Most people don’t have the money the Corliss couple did, but we get called for everything from bar mitzvahs to anniversaries to funerals.”

“That is grim.” Vera frowned.  

“But in a world where communication is more technology-focused, people don’t have as many real human connections anymore, which means business has been booming.”

“How did this business even get started?” 

. . . .

Click here to read about characters.

Voting for episode 3 ended September 27, 2013. The majority of readers voted for this: Bruce and his brother literally started this company on a whim after a few glasses of wine at a sparsely-attended Oscar party.

Click here for other episodes.

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