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An Hour's Worth of History   1520.09.14  
Creators: Deirdre / Wyld_Dandelyon (Writer)
A Mayaloi teacher and her student reflect on teaching and tourists as they wait to give tours of the Rainbow Rainforest.
Posted: 03/10/11      [No comments yet] ~ 633 words.

Alit stood by the tour desk, resplendent in her academic robes. Her peacock-black hair shone with natural blue and violet highlights, and her iridescent black eyes gleamed in the dimmest light. She had studied her people's history, gained the rank of Science Master, published papers on everything from Mayaloi genetics to Mayaloi art.

In the afternoons, she taught classes in the university. But in the mornings, she came here, to offer a proper, academic tour of the Rainbow Rainforest given by a full-blood Mayaloi.

Seven days out of eight, all of the tourists approached the younger, paler-skinned guides in shiny wigs and mock-ups of Mayaloi traditional costume, and she headed back to the university without anyone bothering to speak a word to her.

"Why do you bother, emoses?" Kirloi leaned against the wall, wearing rainbow patchwork and skin dye. Her long hair was naturally black, though she had no Mayaloi blood at all. She gained a semblance of iridescence by oiling it and sprinkling mica dust in it, and showering to rinse the stuff out when she changed to school clothes before lunch.

"I don't know. I guess I figure some people would rather get the real thing than--" She stopped, not wanting to be offensive. She knew Kirloi's tours were just as historically accurate as her own; Kirloi was one of her students, and a good one.

"A young, smiling face and long bare legs?" Kirloi laughed. "Emoses, most people are pretty superficial."

"But science--"

"Is really important. And we're taught to revere it. But face it, most people just pay it lip service. They want their food fresh and plentiful, and their houses warm, and their entertainment entertaining, and they really don't care about truth, or reality, much less science."

Alit frowned. "How can you stand dressing up in that--that travesty of a costume?"

Kirloi shrugged. "It pays my bills. I'm paid by the tour, you know. And in the tokens people give me as tips." She stood up tall, thrusting her chest out and smiling like Alit was her dream date. "I can show you the museum, sir, or if you'd rather, we can walk in the woods and I'll show you some reed trees." She tilted her hips, and the patchwork slid open, showing her thigh right up to her hip.

Alit did a double-take. "You are wearing underpants, aren't you?"

Kirloi laughed and looked around carefully to make sure they were still alone. Then she swung her hips and twirled, revealing that her outfit had built-in underwear, in the same patchwork as the skirt. "I'm not licensed with the carnal guild. I'm just willing to dupe people into learning real history with my smile and costume--and legs, don't forget the legs." She ran a finger suggestively from above her knee up to her hip.

They saw a tour-carriage in the distance, and Kirloi leaned over to look at the polished stone wall, checking her hairdo. By the time the carriage pulled up, she was standing politely next to Alit.

Two families descended from the carriage. One eager child ran up to Alit. "Are you a Mayaloi purist?"

"I'm a Mayaloi scientist," she responded gravely.

The child ran back to his mother. "That one's a teacher!" he said, with obvious disgust.

Kirloi looked up from where she was answering another child's questions about her outfit and winked.

Alit nodded politely. "I'll see you in class," she told Kirloi. She didn't need the tour fees, after all, and she had no stomach for 'duping people into learning.'

"I told you she's a teacher!" The boy strutted for his mother, then bent to pick something from the ground, lifting his eyes to look under Kirloi's skirts before standing up again, empty-handed.

Kirloi smiled at him. "See you in class, emoses."

Author's Notes

One of my Live Journal friends prompted this story.

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Characters Featured:
Kirloi, Alit,

Referenced Articles:
The Rainbow Rainforest

Story collections:
Story Time in Torn World
All Empire Stories and Art
The Wrong Kind of Snow
Making Flowers
Flash Fiction
The Sky Rangers

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