Perdita

Midges danced around lanterns. It was well past midnight in Lima. The lipstick-red Corsair V pulled into the recharging station. Its supplies of solar power were depleted, and Perdita hadn’t had time to check the battery levels before leaving her father-in-law’s Hacienda. They were empty. Typical, she thought. Every jolly servant was allowed to drive around in her personal vehicle. It only showed how, after all these countless years – twenty-four of them – she still owned nothing. Well, she’d had enough.

While her Corsair recharged, she slipped into the all-night kiosk and bought herself a small bottle of carbonated water and a box of chocolates – another thing she had never received from anyone other than herself. And a pad of neopaper, the erasable kind, and a good old writing tool – a hand stylus – because she’d had to leave her electronic palm-pad behind, and she needed to plan. She keyed the old man’s pin number into the automatic cashier. That old miser could pay for this, one last time! She had slaved for him for free long enough!

She returned to the Corsair V and opened its door, and smiled.

Carlos!”

The bodyguard smiled back at her from the passenger seat, with his rows of crooked teeth.

Señora, the Señor has ordered that you come back to the Hacienda.”

Perdita opened the box of chocolates. “Have one, Carlos,” she offered as she slipped into the driver’s seat, noting the bodyguard’s motorbike that would be abandoned here.

He had an override key for her car, this she knew. There was no other way he could have got in. And it was the old man who’d given him that key. Running the risk of the ex-drug-addict stealing her car! The man couldn’t even drive! It was this reckless way of requisitioning everything that irritated her. People were possessions too, in the old man’s books. Nothing was treasured, nothing was sacred; everything was there to be used and, if need be, discarded. And everyone, too!

But Carlos hadn’t stolen the car. He’d taken the passenger seat, leaving her in control. A show of respect. The bodyguard knew she was the only one in that whole rotten family who dealt kindness to anybody. This was to her advantage, tonight.

You know, Carlos,” she said as she activated the engine with the touch of her fingerprint, “you’ve always been my favourite amongst the servants! You’re quiet and strong and respectful.” She didn’t add that he was also fairly dense. “I think you’re not getting all the benefits you ought to have, working for my father-in-law. What do you think?”

Carlos smiled uncomfortably. “I’m not complaining, Señora.” She could see in his eyes that he agreed with her. Who wouldn’t? Servants were always underpaid!

You don’t have to keep working for him, you know,” said Perdita, offering him another chocolate. The car lifted off the road on its magnetic grid mechanism. Roads in this part of the world were badly maintained – so Perdita had responded with RND that resulted in some cars not having to touch the road surface at all. “You could work for me!”

The Señor will kill me, Señora,” said Carlos fearfully.

Yes, he’s ruthless,” agreed Perdita with a small, feline smile, “but not as ruthless as me. If it came to a contest – whose side would you rather be on?”

*

© Lyz Russo, 2012

 

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