Author : Sam Clough, Staff Writer

“My card.” The smooth-shelled android pressed a small square of cardboard into Gin’s hand.

Gin turned it over. Printed, in a fine copperplate script were the words ‘Best Supporting Actors’, and then underneath that, there was an address, a URL, and an e-mail address. He held it between his forefingers, and turned his head about to ask the android question, but it’d already moved on, circulating amongst the crowd. The android was part of Jamie’s entourage: he had shown up to the party with a half a dozen people and two androids. This, in and of itself was unusual — Jamie was a well-known introvert, however much of a contradiction in terms that seemed to be. But today, he had accepted an invitation, he’d shown up, and seemed to be the life of the party.

Gin carefully pocketed the card, and looked after Jamie in admiration.

* * *

“Good morning, Sir. How can I help you? Are you a new customer?” The pretty receptionist smiled at Gin, her entire demeanour exuding confidence and enthusiasm.

“Yeah, I was given one of your cards. I was wondering exactly what you…did…here.” Gin scratched the back of his head, feeling pretty awkward.

“Well, you’d probably be surprised at how many people come in here asking that question. Tell you what, one of our advisors is free. I’ll call him, to give you a rundown of our services.”

“That’d be awesome, thanks.” Gin availed himself of one of the comfortable seats that were available in the reception, and waited whilst the receptionist spoke quickly and quietly into a phone.

Five minutes later, the receptionist looked up at him.

“Mister Gibson is free. Down the hall, first door on your right.”

Gin nodded his thanks, and went to the door mentioned. It opened with his approach, revealing a comfortable-looking office. ‘Mister Gibson’ was sitting behind a desk bereft of paperwork.

“Gin! Gin Holden, it’s an honour.” Gibson got up and darted round his desk, clasping Gin warmly by the hand and shaking it vigourously.

“Uh…do I — know you?”

“No, not at all,” Gibson laughed, and released Gin’s hand, “as a point of fact, I don’t know you from John Q: just got your name and a bit of background data thirty seconds ago. We provide a service, Gin. Your life, everyone’s life is a story. Often an unspectacular, petty, boring story, but still a story. A play, a plot, that sort of thing.”

Gibson gestured to the seat in front of his desk, and returned to his own. He leaned forward conspiratorially, and Gin caught himself doing the same.

“You see where I’m going with this? You’re the lead role. We can cast someone to play second fiddle, to take up the supporting roles. We can be your backstory, Mister Holden. We set up jokes, deliver carefully crafted anecdotes, admire, intimidate and bluff our way through. With one or two of our Actors, you’ll be the centre of any event. We script and thoroughly choreograph everything. We have helpers, advisors, fall guys, muses, sparks, henchmen and the odd nemesis.” Gibson leaned back. “We assign a creative to each client and they decide which of our actors would work best with you.”

“Wow. So…” Gin was taken aback. It did sound like a good idea.

“Let me guess. You want henchmen?”


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