“We aren’t getting anywhere!” Martien exploded at me.
I, Maku Ibn-Selat, also known out of twig as Fecal Varnish, didn’t reply, just nodded, from the crate I was sitting on. All my plans were going very, very wrong, the ship of dreams rent stem to stern on the iceberg of practicality.
As part of my role – the legitimate one, not that this refugee of Mondrago is up to anything untowards, of course – in New Babbage, both of us knew I needed room (and thus prims) for a shop touting not only my tasty ice treats, but also other delicacies and interesting objects. Which wouldn’t have been so bad if the damnable place wasn’t so big.
“What about renting?” my humble self asked at last, “You still have that rentals system from Butler, don’t you?”
“How many prims?” the martian Grand PFV Poobah snapped. “I know you like this Art Nouveau building, don’t deny it, but it is hefty. Let’s say we replicated it: one face to the park west, the other looking over the Vernian Sea, twelve rentals.”
“Yes, exactly! This humble one suggests a mere hundred Lindens per-“
Martien’s face darkened as he extracted a blackboard and chalk. “Let us work out. I can reduce the building to seventy-seven prims, add six for the rental boards and another six for teleports into the upper floor; that is eighty-nine in all…”
This one jammed fingers into ears against the screeching chalk.
“…one hundred and seventy-eight. Now we subtract that from our maximum four hundred-three-score-and eight…”
This one felt sympathy for that poor chalk, which evidently disliked my main’s cold equations as well.
“…which leaves only twenty-four prims per rental.”
My broken heart bounced on my hindpaws for the umpteenth time. There was no chance anyone would settle for such a paltry sum. And furthermore…
“However, what if we made a slightly larger building facing north?”
“North?” was this one’s bewildered response.
“Yes, north! With windows east and west… Maybe an artist’s loft in the roof and so on… and then people could stroll around us to the Vernian Sea, lapping at your sorbets!”
What a concept! In this one’s mind, behold! happy shoppers wandering before us, maybe some extra rental carts and outside tables, how bohemian!
“Hello boys.” Precipitate Flood had arrived, pretty in purple, and this one noted the scent of those blasted meeroos on her. “Still alive?”
“More or less,” Martien responded, “It seems I have some remodelling to do.”
“Lovely! Will there be a place to sell my nests?”
Oh, reader, take pity on this poor sand-harried son of the sea! Visions of writhing sacks sinking brick-laden into the Vernian depths filled my head. Our master Martien glared, alas, preventing this one offering such a useful service.
“We could stuff them in the attic,” was my eventual sniff.
Martien’s ensuing silence should have warned this one.
“I could kiss you,” certainly did. This one may bear no ill will to all bar the most openly neurotic and obnoxious of manly lovers, but alas for thee! This one prefers the opposite sex.
With an alarming jig Martien departed abruptly, and left myself and my dear sister blinking at each other. “I never got the chance to suggest my scrapyard,” was my lament.