Written 23 June, 2008
A Three-Donut Vacation
VIII. The Consultant
We were in luck. Our friend Tozh was available and willing to help.
She teleported in in a Catwoman crouch, which was entirely appropriate, as she was in Nekofab mode.
Most nekos play cats so cutesy-wutesy I want to go throw up in the woods. You know what I mean. They lick their wrists, stand prissily about, swish their too-long tails. It’s the universal bad neko AO, I suppose. Tosh (and my brother Mordecai Scaggs) are different. Mordecai is a dignified Victorian tiger and Tosh—well, let’s just say Tozh was working a Salvador Dali / R. Crumb / M.C. Escher / Edvard Munch look. She looked fabulous.
“What’s this emergency?” Tozh asked.
“We need something special for a counter-counter terrorism breaking-and-entering,” Sweetie said. “None of our usual unusual outfits seem to work.”
“And you’ve tried mixing and matching, I suppose?” asked Tozh.
Sweetie favored her with a withering look.
“Right, then,” said Tozh. “That means it’s time to shop.”
Tozh, like Sweetie, carries a platinum Fashionista union membership card. (My own is mere gold. I’ve been told it won’t be upgraded until I lose my resource-consuming Mai hairdo from Zero Style, but I get a lot of compliments on it from strangers who are able to overcome my avatar rendering cost enough to type, so I’ve not yet been able to bring myself to drag it to the Trash folder. Well, once I did, but it was by mistake. I misplaced it, and there it was, in the last place I looked. It was good I peeked in the trash, for besides my hair, my folder of fabulous poseballs was there. I still break out in a cold sweat whenever I empty the trash.)
Being a platinum member, Tozh of course knows all the hole-in-the-wall boutiques. We hit three or four of them, without luck. But in the fifth!
“These are astonishing!” said Sweetie.
“Yep,” said Tozh. “Hand-drawn. Lovingly Photoshopped. Unnoticeable seams. And they come with prim shoes, which of course you must immediately throw away.”
“Yeah, I said. “Shoes that come with outfit = fashion disaster.”
“Who’s this designer?” asked Sweetie.
“An unknown. Apparently she was once high-up in government circles, but she had some sort of breakdown. She had a hard time after that, camping, working as an escort. Finally, she opened this little shop. It’s an underground hit in Second Life fashionista circles.”
“I’ve heard of it,” said Sweetie
“I haven’t,” I said.
Sweetie gave me a pitying look. “You wouldn’t have,” she said.
“Yeah,” said Tozh. “It was the subject of a notice on the Platinum Fashionista group.”
“A group?” I asked. “A group for platinums? Grrr!” I resolved to straightaway dump the Mai hair so I could be advanced to the fashion elite. Tiny Empire players have nothing over fashionistas when it comes to desire for advancement! Not that I’m competitive!
“I remember the notice,” said Sweetie. “The place was called—”
I looked at the sign above the door. Savidton. There was something about it. Savidton. Savidton. Then I read it backwards.
Sweetie and I spoke at the same instant. “NotDivas!”
“OMG!” said Sweetie. “Say, isn’t that a Copybot leaning in the corner?”
Indeed it was.
The three of us turned our pitiless fashionista gazes on the merchandise.
“Say,” said Tozh. “I know this top. It looks like a Last Call blouse.”
“Those are PixelDoll swimsuits,” I said. “I know; I have the polka-dotted one.”
“Those gowns are from Rebel Designs,” said Sweetie. “And—”
“Look!” I gasped. I pointed at a poster above the door. And guess who the photo was of?
Sweetie raised her gaze and immediately swooned (meaning she looked in her Animations folder, found her Fall Down Stiff pose, and double clicked on it). When she had been revived, she said, “I’m calling for professional help.”
“We already have professional help,” I whispered, nodding toward Tozh.
“No, silly Chey. Not fashion help. Police help.”