The Stylist

“Nice costume!” The words flung themselves at me, punctuated with mocking laughter.

This was not a costume party. I was not in costume.

It was these children in their colorful suits and paisley prints and patterns stacked on top of patterns who were in costume.

“How do you do it?” I asked the only person in the room even near my age, though she had at least another century on me. Probably quite a few more if her stories about helping Cleopatra smuggle herself into Caesar’s boudoir in a carpet were true. Still, even if it were true, she was closer to me in age than these children.

“Do what?” Her voice was sultry and low and I knew she had to be high to resist all of this temptation.

“Keep up with all of the latest fashions?”

“It’s easy, sweetheart.” She pointed out a girl a few feet away from her that had a similar build to her. “Tomorrow, I’ll be wearing that.” She left me to approach the girl and with a single brush of her hand the girl acted as if they were bosom friends. In the morning she would turn up naked and dead and my friend would have her new outfit.

The idea of wearing another man’s clothing didn’t sit well with me. Who knows what they’d gotten up to in that, or the last time they’d washed it. And that didn’t even take into account that I was a messy eater. It was fine when all of the suit jackets were dark and the blood soaked in and hid the stain. But blood on that pale blue would pop and no amount of careful laundering would remove the stain.

There had to be another way.

***

The sun had only just set when I let myself into the trailer of my dearest friend of the past three years. He’d invited me in once after it had been assigned to him for his personal use for the duration of the movie. With that carte blanche invitation, I made myself at home.

“Ready for dinner?”

I made a show of going out to eat with my friend, even though I didn’t need to consume food. I could still appreciate the flavor and a nice, juicy steak managed to assuage the worst of the hunger cramps when I’d gone without a true feed for too long.

“You have to help me.” He sounded desperate which was odd for my typically suave friend. “I have a date tomorrow and I don’t know what to wear!”

I kind of did a half gesture at myself, dressed in fashions that hadn’t been in style in decades and were starting to show their age. A suit was a suit, or at least it had been up until this decade. “And you want my advice?” Except, that was an idea. “You should hire someone.”

“What?”

“Someone to dress you. A stylist.”

I could see him rolling the thought around on his tongue, considering it. “Where do I find one?”

I didn’t know. As far as I was aware, they didn’t exist. “…put an ad in the papers?”

So he did. Most of the people who showed up expected him to be physically infirm, unable to dress himself, but after several weeks of interviews, he finally selected someone and every time he showed up for an awards show, he talked about how much he loved his personal stylist.

And soon, everyone in Hollywood had one.

And as soon as everyone famous had one, I hired one for myself.

I nearly fired her on her first day when she put me in a paisley print shirt under a salmon suit jacket, but… when I walked into the club and had my choice of dance partners that night, I realized it was worth it.

At least I didn’t have to look at myself in the mirror.

At the age of six, Eliza was certain of two things. The first was that she had stories to tell. The second was that she had no talent for illustrating them herself. Talent or no, she still wrote and illustrated her first book, one that should be located and locked away if only to prevent her parents from embarrassing her terribly by showing it off alongside baby pictures. Now she spends her days writing stories that she isn't embarrassed to show off after a little bit of polishing.

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