“So, where are we going?” Paul asked following Amanda_adnamA’s shapely form down the spiral staircase. She had her gold spun hair in a bun, held tight with elegantly adorned chopsticks. Their simple refinement shouted subscription heaven. Perhaps they were as easy to remove as they were on the eyes…Stop it, told himself, forcibly letting go fantasies of taking her in this cozy space. Just stop it.
“Your interview, like I said.”
Paul waited in the the apex of Taste!’s HQ, staring out the panoramic windows that offered little in the way of an interesting view. The building’s just not tall enough, yet, he thought. A small slice of the pie shaped space allowed one to peer out, towards the edge of the Expanse, where the Business District buildings receded like…like something from a dream. The Floor was teeming with folk. Of course it was, it always was. It seemed so calm from here, though, at this level. How calm it must seem from the top of PanPro? How calm from the president’s suite in the Center? Places he would never enter. Nor did he ever really want to. He realized that now. After all his time on the Expanse, in the Capillaries, under the Skylight, his ambition in life had been nothing more than to get out from under his parent’s watchful eye and just be on his own. And that’s exactly where his was now, on his own, looking to a bunch of kids for salvation from being Dispossessed.
The next morning he set off for Taste!. With his account on fractions of cred, he didn’t want to waste a chance to make contact by talking to Amanda_adnamA’s voice mail. Better to just go in person. There were twirling sensations in his stomach. Why am I nervous again? This girl is prolly half my age. I’m an idiot. Doing the shuffle routine through the streams and currents of humanity, he mused again, I’m an idiot who’s about to be but out on his arse. Play it cool, doofus.
Taste!’s building had grown. It’s dome top had gained at least two storey’s height since his last visit, it’s exterior was now a reddish sort of pink that transitioned to various shades of brown and then back to bright red, and it’s diameter had widened, displacing it’s neighbors by a couple of meters at least. The surrounding Floor area was teaming with people, pushing in and out of the now multiple portals into the place, all filled with that same mist that had boggled Paul’s mind before. More people than mist, now. Halfway up, Taste!’s purple glowing sign was gliding around the building’s circumference. As it glided out of sight, a new glowing image in green flicker strobing “WANT IT>>> NEED IT>>> TASTE IT” followed. A voice over an unseen PA boomed, “Only 12,456 left! Only 12,455 left! Only…” The Detective was right, that kind of economic growth was unheard of in the business district. Even PanPro only grew about a centimeter per fiscal year. This was all very bizarre and slightly disturbing.