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Deal 1275: Mannequin

The mannequin stands silent, at attention, dressed in the finest white tie fashion.

His classic appearance is marred only by the secchi disk emblems seen on his hips, temples, and knees. Exactly why a display mannequin would need fiducial markers is left unsaid, and is probably a question better left unasked. A smudge on one marker suggests that the mannequin’s life is not all wine and roses. If the mannequin could talk, he would likely have stories to tell.

He stands in an alcove cleverly lined with mirrors so that the view past his shoulders extends to infinity, almost as if he is stuck in the transition from one plane of existence to another. He does not seem too happy about that.

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Deal 1263: Mastery

The scene laid out before me was a rush of sound, colors, flavors, and smells.

At the center of the storm was a man dressed in crisp chef whites. He hardly needed to speak as his kitchen operated like a well-oiled machine around him. As he reached for each part of the elaborate dishes he assembled, they were always at hand. The choreography perfect, the timing impeccable, and the finished presentations works of art. At the outer fringes, interns worked frantically, hoping one day to be noticed and brought into the inner circle.

Almost as an afterthought, the finished works of art were whisked away by the perfectly attired staff for delivery to the patrons.

No movements were wasted. Each player knew their part in the larger dance, and each arrived on their marks exactly on cue.

And yet, somehow, each managed to make room for the kitten that wandered from station to station as if inspecting everyone’s work, and who seemed to be giving the final approval to each dish served.

I knew without asking that no one would admit the kitten was there, that the kitten was the real master of this kitchen.

But of course, she was.

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Deal 1254: Well dressed Mr. Bond.

Being on a mission did not have to mean I was too short of time to admire this year’s fashions. Especially when the case took us through the core of the district and all the shop windows were freshly decorated.

It stood there on a mannequin, one that lacked details like head, hands, or feet. It was also an unnatural pale blue color. Often, that odd color would throw off the clothes. This time it mostly held the eye long enough for the figure to resonate. Perhaps the black fabric had a hint of the blue cast on it?

The window also held a ballgown or two, probably in blues as that was the fashionable color. But they were secondary. The only thing that mattered was the tuxedo. It called out to me on some base level, perhaps through the use of some subtle magic to reinforce the call, or perhaps just because I suddenly wanted to own that tuxedo.

Regardless, the jacket only needed a touch of tailoring for comfort, almost as if they had sized it to catch my eye then conceal my weapon. Or perhaps some old trickster knew I could be captivated.

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Deal 1242: Bond

We’re all in disguise, hiding our hero within. Releasing that hero is the first step towards enlightenment.

By day, I’m an unassuming teddy bear.

But at night, in my young human’s care I become the hero she needs, the hero she deserves. None of those rats that live under her bed and in the woodwork have a chance against me.

Do I know about the rat sneaking up behind me right now?

Certainly. Those damn rats spend some of their time every day looking for ways to overcome my protection.

But my attention to detail is legendary.

Just ask my friend Bond here…