Man of Means

I’ve worked here for 8 years, since I was 15. I get up early Friday through Monday, and I come here to staff the desk for Giancarlo’s Barber Shop, setting appointments and taking money, sweeping up and making change. He’s one of the few remaining shops in the area, mostly because so many businesses didn’t own the building they’re in, but GC does, so he’s been here almost 50 years.

The entire time I’ve worked here, GC’s first Friday appointment every four weeks is Mr. Lewis. He arrives in his sleek German sedan about 30 seconds before I open the front door, and GC comes down from his apartment upstairs, coffee in hand. The coffee goes on the counter, and GC gets to work. I usually study at the desk while there are clients in, but I’m always alert and listening when Mr. Lewis is here.

He has this soft, deep voice that he doesn’t have to raise at all, but you can hear him speaking throughout the room. I read up on him once; turns out he’s the CEO of an international company that he started in his basement when he was 15 and he went to live with an aunt after his parents died. He has a house on an island he created in a lake because he loves the water but didn’t want to be on the coast, and he had some sort of attachment to the site. He’s a few years shy of forty years old now, and despite being seen with Hollywood starlets as arm candy, he’s never been married. I’m not really sure what that says about him.

GC told me once that Mr. Lewis grew up nearby, and that he’d actually given him his first haircut. He apparently drives over an hour each way to keep this appointment, which lasts little more than that every time. That’s a level of loyalty that’s lost these days, according to my grandmother. I don’t know about that; I haven’t been around long enough to really know what loyalty looks like. But I do like to look at Mr. Lewis. I think I’ve had a crush on him since he swept in and the scent of his cologne made me weak in the knees. He introduced himself to me at the door on my first day, and kissed the back of my hand, without making it seem sleazy. Now, he still says “Good morning, Emma,” each time, and my heart does somersaults to hear him say my name.

He’s the most handsome man I think I’ve ever seen up close. I know GC was very attractive in his day — he still is, really — but something about Mr. Lewis sets him apart. It’s not that he’s got any one thing that makes him outrageously sexy, it’s like he has everything together. He’s very smart in what he and GC talk about; his laugh makes me feel like when the sun hits my face on a cold day. His eyes are clear hazel, with little flecks of gold near the center, and it seems like he notices everything around him. He complimented me on my haircut when GC styled me over, but he always has something nice to say to me before he goes. He pays in cash, which he gives to me in an exact amount with a generous tip before he smiles almost shyly and waves goodbye. It’s the highlight of every single month.

Featured Shoes: Deadwool Monk Shoes by Masa Plympton (at Monsieur Chic) and ILLI Manuel Monk Shoes by Equitum

On Mr. Lewis:

  • Head: Catwa Jackson by Catwa Clip
  • Skin: Clef de Peau Phil in Tone 2 by Marcopol Oh
  • Eyes: Mayfly Liquid Light Eyes in Desert Twilight Shadow by Arkesh Baral
  • Hair: Action Inkubator Hair Theo by MarilynMonroe Munro
  • Suit: Deadwool Peak Suit (Wool) in black by Masa Plympton (at Monsieur Chic)
  • Socks: Deadwool Dandy Socks by Masa Plympton
  • Shoes: Deadwool Monk Shoes by Masa Plympton (at Monsieur Chic)
  • Hands: Slink AvEnhance Hands in Casual by Siddean Munro
  • Sitting pose custom by me

On Giancarlo:

  • Head & Skin/Appliers: Samurai Kyle Mesh Head Aged in Default Tone by Primrosestar
  • Eyes: Mayfly Luminous Eyes in Mountain Lake by Arkesh Baral
  • Hair: Exile Traveler in Naturals by Kavar Cleanslate
  • Body: Adam Body by Ginger Chevalier
  • Sweater: Deadwool Ernst Sweater in Chamois by Masa Plympton
  • Jeans: Deadwool Worn out jeans in tumbled wash by Masa Plympton
  • Socks: ILLI Applier Socks for Omega by Equitum
  • Barber pose custom by me

Other details:

  • Apple Fall Buffalo Taxidermy by warehousefifteendesigns (gacha item)
  • David Heather -Shaving Shelf RARE by Gianni Broda (gacha item)
  • David Heather Whiskey Soap Dispenser by Gianni Broda (gacha item)
  • xin + toro // shave stuff by Superjaix (gacha item)
  • xin + toro // mirror by Jammeh (gacha item)
  • David Heather Toiletry Skincare by Gianni Broda (gacha item)
  • LISP – Mesh – Newspaper and Coffee – Blue by Pandora Popstar
  • oyasumi / cash register / grey by Kenzo Gateaux (gacha item)
  • David Heather Electric Razor by Gianni Broda (gacha item)
  • xin + toro // clipper heads by Superjaix (gacha item)
  • xin + toro // dye bowl by Superjaix (gacha item)
  • xin + toro // gentlemen sign by Jammeh (gacha item)
  • xin + toro // barber’s tools by Jammeh (gacha item)
  • Apple Fall Comb Jar by warehousefifteendesigns (gacha item)
  • xin + toro // barbershop posters by Jammeh (gacha item)
  • (fd) Cat – 11 Sitting by Toast Bard (gacha item)
  • Apple Fall Crumpled Newspaper by warehousefifteendesigns
  • Lusch Motors Excelsior Umbrella by Owen Lusch
  • David Heather Shoe Shine Kit by Gianni Broda (gacha item)
  • dust bunny . coat rack by Lxlnoel  (gacha item)
  • David Heather Cameo Bag/Decor/Black by Gianni Broda (gacha item)
  • xin + toro // barbershop station by Superjaix (gacha item)
  • xin + toro // reception desk by Jammeh (gacha item)
  • xin + toro // waiting chairs by Superjaix (gacha item)
  • xin + toro // barbershop chair (black) + rare by Superjaix (gacha item)
  • Apple Fall Barber Supply Cabinet RARE by warehousefifteendesigns (gacha item)
  • Apple Fall Barrel Chair by warehousefifteendesigns (gacha item)
  • Apple Fall Barbers’ Sink by warehousefifteendesigns (gacha item)
  • Apple Fall Country Hall by warehousefifteendesigns
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Bait & Switch

Dean thanked the assistant who had guided him through the labyrinth of cords and wires to the chair he sat in now. Half a dozen people were on the set, moving things, testing other things, using a language of their own to say that this was ready, and that was next to be done.

Charlotte wasn’t visible, but he had heard her laugh somewhere in the darkness that surrounded the one area that was well lit. He’d spent his time admiring the motorcycle on set, even though he had never ridden one. It looked like a powerful beast, and he appreciated that.

When she had told him she was a model, he hadn’t quite believed her. She wasn’t the lying type, and she was really attractive, but he remembered staring at her and the words not registering, and then he’d composed himself and said something he hoped was neutral. Seven months down the line, and she finally invited him to actually come to the set. In the meantime, she didn’t talk about her work, and he didn’t really ask. Seeing all these people today, and seeing that they were professionals and not holed up in some little warehouse shooting soft core porn made the whole scenario a bit more real to him.

So far, everyone had come and introduced themselves, shaken his hand in greeting, and smiled. They were all very attractive people, too, and if he had thought his way along a bit more, he might have been intimidated. But he was here at her invitation, and that apparently opened more than a few doors.

John, the British-accented photographer, called out, “Shooting set 3!” The noise level dropped around them, and Dean settled back into the canvas chair. A big, industrial fan started, John took his place behind the camera.

And then a tall, leggy redhead stepped into the lights, sitting gingerly on the bike, leaning forward to get her foot on the peg and steadying herself with her other foot on the floor. She reached out for the handlebar and raised her head. Dean froze, his mouth hanging open. The moment she looked up, he actually recognized her. THIS was Charlotte. And she was stunning. The fan caught her hair, blowing the long, straight strands away from her face. She looked toward John as he barked some movements she should make, and her eyes were the most intense green he had ever seen.

Flashbulbs popped and Dean shied back a bit at the bright glare. His eyes still weren’t able to reconcile the woman he knew with this person he was seeing. All the features were there, of course, but makeup, clothing, a different hairstyle, all made her into this person he barely recognized. It was remarkable, he thought.

A short time later, she came off the photo set, and put her hands on the arms of his chair just as the lights in the building came up. At close range, he could see exactly what sort of magic had happened to transform her from the Charlotte he knew, into model Charlotte. He kissed her nose, and decided that he really liked his Charlotte better.

Featured shoes: Essenz Stockholm in Black by Senzati0n Domenitzo

Other details:

  • Head: Catwa Annie by Catwa Clip
  • Eyes: Mayfly Luminous in Deep Paris Shadow by Arkesh Baral
  • Skin: Bold & Beauty Lindsey in Fair by Jourdan McMillan
  • Body: Maitreya Lara by Onyx LeShelle
  • Makeup: YS&YS Kate by Monicuzza Babenco
  • Hair: LeLutka Pocahantas in Jessica by Thora Charron
  • Jacket: Addams Charlize Biker Jacket in Black by AmaliaRainwood
  • Shirt: Addams Rubik Tank Top in White by Amalia Rainwood
  • Jeans: Emery Kerr Jeans in Dark by Sunami Beck
  • Jewelry: Mandala Nyorai Silver Choker by Kikunosuke Eel
  • Hands and Feet: Slink Avatar Enhancement Hands in Casual; High Feet by Siddean Munro
  • Manicure: Hello Dave in Nude Mattes by Maia Gasparini

Scene Details

  • [Con.] The Garage Collection – Industrial Fan by Wavie Haller (gacha item)
  • (fd) Workspace Table by Toast Bard (gacha item)
  • Trompe Loeil – Brooklyn Carriage House by Cory Edo
  • [sau]mouse[Lite][Black] by NiR McBride
  • (fd) Camera + Tripod by Toast Bard (gacha item)
  • (fd) Umbrella Light by Toast Bard (gacha item)
  • (fd) Softbox by Toast Bard (gacha item)
  • (fd) Large Backdrop by Toast Bard (gacha item)

Crimson Darling

The knock on the door made her jump.

“Crimson,” came Margie’s voice in a near whisper from behind the door, “it’s about Randolph.”

Xi Xi sighed and rubbed her thigh where the prosthesis met her flesh. Randolph had left only fifteen minutes ago, but apparently had not gotten far.

“What is it?” she asked, and Margie’s blond ponytail swung around the door before her pinched little face was visible. Her mouth hung open as she looked in. Margie wasn’t usually privy to seeing Xi Xi as Crimson Darling, her work persona, especially seeing her so quickly after a customer had left. Her watery brown eyes were as big as saucers. They scanned the worktable, the sitting room, and seemed to take note of the made bed in the distance. Margie probably thought Xi Xi slept with her clients, but she wasn’t about to correct that thinking. Skills like hers were best hawked by the people who knew her worth was more than merely physical.

Xi Xi turned her head and pushed her hair out of her right eye, staring at Margie. “Yessss?” she prompted, irritated by the interruption.

“Randolph says he would like to come up and talk to you for a while, if you ‘are amenable,'” Margie said, imitating Randolph’s accent.

She really didn’t want to see him again, even though he was partial to telling her things that were of interest to her. Randolph worked for the Illirium, an underground network of information runners she shouldn’t have known about. But he paid her well to keep his secrets, and she knew he often tested her by telling her things that no one else knew, just to see if the word got around. Of course it hadn’t. Xi Xi was legendary for the length she would go to keep her secrets. The dull ache in her leg reminded her of just how far that was. Those who wanted their secrets kept paid her well to keep them. Since that money came while she learned things, it was a trade she was often willing to make.

“Tell him I have 30 minutes, have him pay Money before he comes up, and prompt him away when time is past.” Margie nodded and ducked back out of the doorway. Xi Xi tightened the strap that held her leg to her thigh, then checked the movement of her foot via the electrodes, to make sure nothing had been disconnected while she had prepared to remove it. She could only hope that Randolph had something interesting to say tonight. If he didn’t, it was going to be a very long half hour indeed.

Featured shoes: [ContraptioN] Classic Leg Prosthesis in Gunmetal by Faust Steamer

Other details:

  • Head: Catwa Annie by Catwa Clip
  • Eyes: Mayfly Luminous in Palest True Grey by Arkesh Baral
  • Skin: L’Etre Xiaoyu in Buttermilk by Dam1710
  • Body: Maitreya Lara by Onyx LeShelle
  • Hair: LeLutka Dakota from the Range set by Thora Charron
  • Lingerie: Dead Dollz Victoria in Brown by Kiddo Oh
  • Watch: Mandala Billionaire Genius in Brown by Kikunosuke Eel
  • Hands and Feet: Slink Avatar Enhancement Hands in Casual and Mouse; Flat Feet by Siddean Munro
  • Manicure: Hello Dave in Nude Mattes by Maia Gasparini

Scene details:

  • NOMAD // Microscope by Piraiyah Novikov (gacha item)
  • [TheForge] Lampv1.2 by wiredexperiment (Premium from Epiphany)
  • NOMAD // Armillary by Piraiyah Novikov
  • -David Heather-Industrio Book Stack2 by Gianni Broda
  • Fashionably Dead Cat – 02 Sleeping Curled by Toast Bard (gacha item)
  • Apple Fall Crumpled Newspaper by warehousefifteendesigns
  • +Half-Deer+ Great Horned Owl – Brown (Forward) by Halogen Magic
  • Paper Moon Qitou – Paper Parasol – Peach/Lotus by Sohma Dix (gacha item)
  • [ContraptioN] Decor: Mark’s Lamp by Faust Steamer
  • junk. bartlet wheel table. worn. by Tab Tatham
  • junk. redfern chair. mustard. by Tab Tatham
  • Bazar Paris – Wine set by Ria Bazar
  • Zigana . holiday spirit . books by Nalena Fairey (gacha item)
  • Ex Machina Bookcase Ending Element by Hatris Panacek
  • Ex Machina Bookcase Element B by Hatris Panacek
  • junk. cage stool. by Tab Tatham
  • POST: Damaged Gorodetsky Nouveau Rug by Van Auster
  • Ex Machina Prof Baltazar Lab Table by Hatris Panacek
  • Ex Machina Vulcano 2 by Hatris Panacek
  • Ex Machina Zeitgeist Clocktower Skybox by Hatris Panacek