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Josh had heard the term “egghead” but he hadn't imagined one, much less seen one, until he had started working with a particular clerk at the stables. The overall appearance of the man's head was that of a slightly elongated, and top-rounded, egg. This was enhanced by the fact the man had no hair on his scalp, and a scant thinning line around the edges. Moreover, it was an ugly egg. His eyes were deep set, surrounded by dark circles. Half-moon spectacles sat halfway down his hawk nose. His somewhat large ears sprang away from his head slightly, and his thick lips formed a gash of a mouth which seemed to be in a constant, practiced frown. He wore a dark business suit and tie that fit and provided something pleasant to see on the figure that might otherwise be described as a goblin. However, Josh didn't mind this clerk.

Josh waited patiently in the small, sparse room. It was designed to hold 10 people quite comfortably, but rarely even held two. Wooden benches were built into the white painted sheet rock walls. It wasn't designed for comfort, as the clerks typically moved quickly and efficiently. This was facilitated by the fact that not many people appeared at the stables to make purchases, since the stock was expensive.

“Next,” the clerk's low, gravely voice harshly erupted through the plain waiting lobby.

“Thank you,” Josh spoke as he stood from one of the benches, taking with him a solid steel attache case.

The clerk grunted as he held the door to the office as Josh passed through and seated himself. The office itself held a large desk, on which was piled stacks of paper, books, and a computer monitor and input equipment. A space was made in the middle for the clerk and customer to work.

Josh watched, in turn, as the clerk walked to his side of the desk. Facing each other showed up the contrasts between the two. Josh's face was more rounded and dignified, and he wore his naturally red hair combed to the side in a businesslike manner. Once the clerk was seated, he attended to the matter at hand. “Lot 352,” he said simply.

“Hm.” The clerk seemed to frown, but it was hard to tell. A hint of stale coffee hung in the air on his breath. He consulted the screen in front of him. “Coin or transfer?” His hands moved expertly over the keys and mouse.

“Coin, as usual.” Josh always preferred dealing in coin. Although lugging around the kilos of gold and silver was not entirely convenient, it suited his purposes.

The clerk moved his arm and clicked on the computer's mouse. “Mr. Collins, the lot you're requesting is five kilos gold.” He watched as Josh placed the payment on the desk, then added, “Mr. Collins, this is the second time in as many months that you've made a purchase here.” He saw the neat stacks of gold coin. Each coin was a standard 100 grams. He made no move to accept them.

“Is there a problem?” Josh inquired curiously. “I wasn't aware of there being a limit on purchases,” he continued politely and pleasantly. He was in fact well aware of the regulations regarding this particular transaction.

“There are no specific limits on the number of lots that one may purchase, per se, Mr. Collins. However, regulations at the Terran, provincial, and local levels all demand that any lot purchased must also receive care and provisioning. If an individual acquires too many lots, the governments may look on the owner's capabilities with a bit of suspicion.”

Josh took a silver coin – also a standard 100 grams – and pushed it close to the clerk. With his finger still on it, he said, “Please, be direct,” then removed his finger.

The clerk watched as Josh released the silver. “Right. Direct. Sir, Terra does allow slavery, but it must be benign and the slaves well treated.”

“I'm aware,” Josh responded coolly.

“You can comply, then?”

“I wouldn't be here if I couldn't.” Josh maintained his patience. “Lot 352” was a top performing fighter.

“Mr. Collins, your generosity with your slaves is not a secret.” The clerk's objections were scripted, and somewhat feeble. “If you purchase too many -”

Josh interjected. “How many is 'too many'?”

The clerk flustered slightly. “Well -”

“Is there a fixed number?”

“No, sir.” The clerk managed to sound somewhat indignant, even though he stood on weak ground.

Josh continued with a professional directness, “Is there a legal definition of 'too many'?”

“Not exactly,” the clerk admitted.

After a brief silence, Josh added politely, “Very well. Shall we finish the transaction?”

“The government may have concerns,” the clerk offered a last token resistance.

Josh knew the resistance had nothing to do with his treatment of who he considered his employees. “Lot 352” was currently possessed by the rings association, and would eventually meet his death if he didn't surrender himself to a sale. After reading some information about him, Josh decided to purchase him out of hand, which made the cost much higher than it would have been. The association still didn't like losing prized fighters, which is why he was facing some objection.

Josh held his hand cupped, palm facing down, and moved it across the desk, stopping where he left the silver coin. As he did, he stated, “I think you'll find that there will be no concerns for me, or you.” Coins clinked under Josh's hand. He moved it away and two standard gold coins were on top of the silver. “Understand?”

The clerk looked closely at the stack beside the payment. “Very well. I see, Mr. Collins.” He began processing. “Lot 352. Male, 20, physically healthy and strong built …”

Mr. Collins would call it "tipping for service with care to both the client and the lot."

I have a whole world in my head to which this belongs, mind you.  There are a couple of things I hinted at that I'm hoping are a bit discomfiting.

Okay, I'm just going to throw out some questions.
  • What sort of feel or mood do you get from this?
  • What sort of tone does this convey?
  • Did I describe the surroundings well enough for you to visualize?
  • Did I describe the clerk well?
  • Did I describe Josh well?
  • Could you see things?
  • How did this flow?
  • What impression do you get of the clerk?
  • What impression do you get of Josh?
  • Please feel free to share other thoughts you may have.
Thank you.

Edit: HOLY SMOKES A DD?!?!  :faint: :blushes: :) Wow. Wow. Wowowowowow.  Wow.  Just ... wow.  I think that's the extent of what I can say right now.  Thank you for featuring this, LiliWrites!
Add a Comment:
 

Daily Deviation

Given 2015-09-11
Snapshots in Dystopia No 01 by Steve-C2 is a short piece that's stuffed to the brim with great description and just enough intrigue to make you want to know what happens next. ( Featured by LiliWrites )
:icontheflawedone:
Critique by TheFlawedOne TheFlawedOne/critique/1286739538">Aug 30, 2015, 7:49:01 PM
What sort of feel or mood do you get from this? I thought it was kind of surreal and a bit creep. But! I LOVE creepy...in a way that it was disturbing that they were buying people.
What sort of tone does this convey? It's almost like he 'needed' more people. Is that a status symbol?
Did I describe the surroundings well enough for you to visualize? YES you really did. I felt gross thinking about Josh.
Did I describe the clerk well? I think so, you really went into detail with Josh, maybe you could go into him a little more.
Did I describe Josh well? Yes! I think you did a real good job showing Josh to me.
Could you see things? Yes, I really could.
How did this flow?It flowed very well. Sometimes I stumble over certain parts of poetry/prose. But I didn't this time.
What impression do you get of the clerk? I just mostly felt like he was trying to do his job while maybe trying to stop Josh from so many purchases.
What impression do you get of Josh? I felt while he might be a little gueasy he was a man who knew what he wanted and how to get it.
Please feel free to share other thoughts you may have. You mentioned a Jack who is that?
What do you think?
The Artist thought this was FAIR
4 out of 5 deviants thought this was fair.
TheFlawedOne/critique/1286739538#comments">2 Replies

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:icondragontygress:
DragonTygress Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Aight! So you've obviously gotten quite a bit of feedback, but I'm going to contribute anyway!

- very serious mood, probably from the starkness of the setting and sort of organized, busy (?) silence of the place.
- certain descriptions were very good and useful! words like "goblin" contributed a lot. though I'd recommend only describing things that are important -- for example, it's interesting to know that Josh's face is comparatively boyish, since that lends a hand to an implied innocence that's overturned by the piece's true nature, revealed at the end. but it doesn't seem as important as knowing he has red hear, because even though it helps with visualization it doesn't contribute nearly as much to the story as his face shape does.

also think i should comment that this seemed like a very formal business transaction ... until Josh took a coin and "pushed it close to the clerk." with that phrase, the whole thing began to become more sinister. what? bribery? then the hints at slavery came, and it all got dark, and yeah. so in my case that was a really vital transition!
Reply
:iconsteve-c2:
Steve-C2 Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2015
Thank you!  The more feedback, the merrier. :)

I like what you got out of it.  I especially like how you felt that there was an implied innocence that's overturned.  Josh, in many respects, isn't all that he appears.  He's definitely a businessman, and he definitely buys slaves; he also treats them well.  What's his motive?  It's a mystery ... :shifty:

Haha, I like your response though.  As I said to others, both Josh and the clerk spoke "money" rather fluently.  If anyone asked Josh, "It wasn't a bribe, it was a tip.  The clerk is doing a splendid job, watching transactions."

I was surprised at just how much was happening in this piece, after I wrote it.  Such a simple transaction - and it brings up so many question.  :o
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:icondragontygress:
DragonTygress Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
no problem!
You love not telling readers what's going on. xD
Reply
:iconsteve-c2:
Steve-C2 Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2015
It's a bit of a joke that started when I was trying to avoid a spoiler when I was talking with Jestloo.  Now I just have fun finding ways to say things, without really saying them.  :D
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:iconjestloo:
Jestloo Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2015  Student General Artist
Darn right you do. XD
Reply
:iconejeans7:
ejeans7 Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2015   Writer
First, congrats on the DD! :happybounce:

To answer your questions, the whole scene left me feeling a bit unnerved, and worried for whoever was being purchased.  In this case, though, I think that icky feeling is a good thing.  After all, it is a bit of an underhanded business deal, isn't it?  Where bribes are involved, things can't exactly be all on the level.  Going off of this, I felt an immediate connection with the person being purchased, but not with the other two characters - too much mistrust going on there for me.

I think I could visualize everything all right, but the use of the word "stables" had me thinking horses, which brought to mind all sorts noises (and stenches) associated with horse farms.  I like the parallel it draws between horses and these slaves, but if there's some way to work on horse-noise reduction?  You might want to have a look at that.  This may just be a nit-picky, country gal kind of thing, though. ^^;

I did have a bit of trouble visualizing the clerk - it was the lips that threw me off.  A thick-lipped gash of a mouth wasn't easy to picture at first.  Aside from that, I think you described him well.  I don't remember seeing a reference to his height, or an eye color for Josh, though, and for some reason, that bothered me.  Again, this could just be personal preference, though.  They are only minor details, after all. I was picturing the clerk as head-and-shoulders taller, and Josh with blue eyes.  I hope I didn't screw up your characters in my head! ^^;  Aside from not being able to visualize the minute details, I could see the scene pretty well.  I did like the description of the cluttered desk.  I think it added to the scene quite nicely.

The only thing that really jarred me was the transition from the waiting room to the business transaction.  For some reason, Josh seemed like a much more meek and mild person to me when he was in the waiting room.  Aside from that, it flowed nicely.  Nothing seemed out of place or confusing at all.  The clerk seemed to have a stick up his butt, which seemed natural, given the setting.  I found it a bit odd that he was so easily bribed, though.  I don't know what to think of Josh, really.  I do not trust him, but I have hope for his character yet.

Overall, it is quite interesting, and I'm left with all sorts of questions that make me want to read more.  So write more!  I want to see! :D
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:iconsteve-c2:
Steve-C2 Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2015
Thank you!

And thank you for the feedback.

The folks who comment in-depth, usually mention the confusion about the transaction involving a human being; and one person mentioned the murkiness of the business deal itself.  You know what, I really like that people felt like that. :evillaugh:  Seriously, one subtext I was going for was that the slaves were being dehumanized - and that involves a whole long discussion itself.  So if everyone's confused on it, I accomplished my task; possibly more than what I expected.

In the story's context, there's nothing wrong with the transaction per se.  As the clerk states, slavery is permitted.  As Josh states, there isn't a limit to how many a person can have or purchase.  I think it's interesting that you're walking away from this with a mistrust of both Josh and the clerk.  I can see why you would walk away with that sort of mistrust, too.

The term "stables" has me thinking horses, which is impressive, since I've seen a couple of farms with a horse or two, and I know exactly what I meant by stables when I wrote this, since I'm the author!  :lol:  Although, given what I said earlier, I'm not sure I'd go for a different word.  I would say that they don't stink as much as the horse stables.  :D

Hm, I suppose the trouble may be from a difference in background?  To me, I associate "slash" wounds with being thin; a "gash" wound is thick.  Yeah, the height wasn't mentioned ... I didn't imagine that much disparity, but it wasn't as important as the business transaction itself.

Josh ... well, it is possible to know how to influence others and wield power, while also being meek.  What I can say for now is that he definitely knew what he was doing here.

I'm glad you found it interesting - and something in me likes leaving readers with questions.  Thank you! :D
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:iconbomberhead67:
Bomberhead67 Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2015
I found the clerk's characterization a bit off. He seems so strict and by-the-book, yet accepts a bribe without any hesitation. Otherwise, very good!
Reply
:iconsteve-c2:
Steve-C2 Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2015
I understand what you're saying; in fairness, I wouldn't say that it's "off" - in Hayslip's When Heaven and Earth Changed Places, the author spoke of needing to have something done at a government office in Vietnam.  The bureaucrats there did everything by the book.  There was a tin by a coffee machine in the office, and people were encouraged to put money into the "coffee fund."  The author noticed that things moved very slowly for her, until she put money into the "coffee fund."  Then suddenly, things moved very quickly.  By the book, of course.

Or, as I said in the description, Josh would call it a tip for great service.  :)

In either event, if you got the impression that he was a professional - and the fact he took a bribe had you scratching your head ... I'm going to call that good.

("But Steve, why didn't you say something in the story?"  Well, because it wouldn't have been a "short" story, now would it? :XD:)
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:iconbomberhead67:
Bomberhead67 Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2015
Hehe, you're such a smartass.:) But yes, a good story should also surprise you in some way.
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:iconfehnryr:
Fehnryr Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2015
Holy crap, congrats!!!!!!!!! I didn't see your DD journal until just now o.o That's amazing!

I'll fill this out, since i'm here <3

  • What sort of feel or mood do you get from this?
    The transaction was very well done- I felt like the "mood" was a professional type of atmosphere that one would expect at a bank.
  • What sort of tone does this convey?
    (skipping... bad at tone questions)
  • Did I describe the surroundings well enough for you to visualize?
    Yes, but the focus on the benches and wall made it a little hard to visualize the rest of the room. Perhaps if there were a desk, or decorations on the opposing walls, or something?
  • Did I describe the clerk well?
    Yes, though perhaps the description could have been spaced out a bit through the story rather than all in the introduction.
  • Did I describe Josh well?
    Yes, it was brief but fitting, and his personality and described image fit together well.
  • Could you see things?
    Yes, I imagined it to be quite like a bank on a very slow day, with the little side rooms for loans and account matters.
  • How did this flow?
    Fairly well. The transition from description to story is a little jarring in some parts, but otherwise it was smooth. Conversation flowed very well.
  • What impression do you get of the clerk?
    A man that is perhaps slightly uncomfortable with his job.
  • What impression do you get of Josh?
    At first, not much, but at the end I started to get the impression that he might be an "underground railroad" type.
  • Please feel free to share other thoughts you may have.
    The first words to establish the setting are "clerk" and "stables". This immediately told me they were at a farm. From that point on, I was rather confused. By "stock", I assumed that perhaps they were selling horse feed or farm equipment. The word "Lot" made me think that, instead, they were selling pieces of land, and that it must have been a massive farmland area. When the issue of the lots being cared for and the government being involved came up, my mind jumped again to a new picture of pieces of land that were being used illegally (perhaps to store drugs or stolen items) and if they were not kept up well enough, notice would be taken. So when the "prized fighter" bit came up, my mind had been jerked around so much that it really didn't know what was going on. If your intention was to pull the rug out from underneath the reader everytime they get comfortable, than you did very well xD If that was not what you were going for, then perhaps adding something at the very beginning to keep you guessing would help. Not outright telling the reader that this is about slavery, but perhaps making it clear that it is not about farmland? 

    All in all, very nice read! So glad you got a DD <3
Reply
:iconsteve-c2:
Steve-C2 Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2015
Thank you!

And thank you so much for taking the time to go through and answer everything!  :D

"An atmosphere that one would expect from a bank."  Interesting.  I think a lot of people felt, especially at first, that this was a typical everyday transaction.  Which is good - that's what I wanted.

For tone - at the end, did it seem a little surreal/creepy/ordinary?  Just curious.

Well, it was a plain room ... not much to be said.  As I said to another person, it's not supposed to be extravagant and luxurious - just a plain space.  Maybe I'll put an office plant in there or something. :D

You mention spreading out the clerk's description.  I actually thought about doing that.  TBT, I still struggle with describing stuff at all.  My mind is like, "Just get to the story!"  And I'm here asking, "But what does this LOOK like!" :D  So when I have a description in mind, I consider myself lucky.  In any event, as I was writing, I wasn't sure how I could get the clerk's full description spread through the story, and still have the same visual impact ... I kind of did want people to see right away he was an ugly fellow.  That and my brain just might have been stuck on, "Oh, we're describing a goblin!  Cool!" :blushes:  Anyway, I do agree with what you're saying, while at the same time asking how I could have done it without affecting the overall impact, or even make it better.

"Like a bank on a slow day."  Okay, that's good. :)

I've been wanting to address the last points you brought up in other comments.  I'll start by saying that my intent was to not immediately disclose the nature of the transaction; only reveal that it was a slave trade at the end.  Based on what you and others have said, that bit was successful.  The tricky part is that I want to say "I'm sorry you felt your mind had been jerked around" while at the same time I don't think I'd change how I worded things.  The reason being (short version) is that the words I chose reflect the fact that the people being traded as slaves are systemically being dehumanized.  Where they are kept are not "homes;" they're "stables."  They are not referred to as "people;" they are referred to as "Lots" like at an auction.  I hope that brings things together.  As I stated, my intent was simply to "not reveal" - to see that readers may be surprised every time they get comfortable in a line of thinking, well, I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy the thought.  :evillaugh:  :)

Again, thank you so much for your feedback! :D

I'm glad you found it to be a nice read. :)  Thank you!
Reply
:iconfehnryr:
Fehnryr Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2015
The end seemed a little strange in that it hooked me into really wanting to know more. You did a great job of that! (Kind of off topic, but not really, have you watched the show How to Get Away With Murder? They're really good at that last minute hook)

For spreading out descriptions, it really depends on the story and what else is happening. In this case, I'm not sure if there is much you could do to spread it out without having to change too much. What I usually do when I can is try to work the description into a small background action, such as:

Ver 1. Nika was beautiful, that was for sure. Her hair was so long it nearly brushed her wrists as they hung at her sides, and it was a pale color that reflected the moonlight perfectly. Her skin was pale as well, and unmarked, her features so perfect that she might have been a porcelain doll. The most striking thing about her, however, had to be her eyes. They were narrowed, calculating, and feminine with long lashes, but most importantly, they were bright red. 

Ver 2. Nika was beautiful, that was for sure. When I stepped a bit closer, I could see that her hair was so long it nearly brushed her wrists as they hung at her sides. "Hello, young man," she greeted, lifting one hand to twirl a lock of her hair. It was a soft pale color that reflected the moonlight perfectly. Her skin was pale as well, and unmarked. Her features were so perfect that she reminded me of the porcelain dolls in one of the shops I had walked past on my journey here. The most striking thing about her, however, had to be her eyes. They were narrow, calculating, and feminine with long lashes, but most importantly, they were bright red.

That isn't the best example, really, because I haven't had my coffee yet and I'm trying not to nod off, but maybe that makes sense? I like to include little actions like walking, picking something up, brushing lint off a jacket... things we do absentmindedly every day. Not only does it keep the description from getting too run-on feeling, but it's actually a trick to trap readers like me. I'm a speed reader (not really on purpose) and for the sake of "getting to the good stuff" my mind tends to gloss over descriptions, but pick up actions. If a whole paragraph looks like description, my eyes usually zoom right over it. But if I see "the character did this", I read the paragraph. Of course, I take special care not to speed-read through stuff like this, or work done by friends of mine, but that's how I read novels.

And I like that you're sticking to your guns! <3 I think that if I hadn't mistaken "lot" for a plot of land, everything would have fallen together much more quickly. That's just my own mind making the assumptions it wants to, though, so nothing on your end. Either way, it was a compelling read and it certainly piqued my curiosity :3
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:iconfierydownpour479:
FieryDownpour479 Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Oh my goodness; this was rather unexpected. I thought that perhaps lot 352 was an actual plot of land, and I thought that maybe they used slaves on the land, but knowing that the lot was an actual human, that was very unexpected. Very well written and interesting to read! You definitely deserved the DD; congrats!
Reply
:iconsteve-c2:
Steve-C2 Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2015
Thank you!

I'm wondering - at what point did you realize "Lot 352" was a person?

Thanks again. :)
Reply
:iconfierydownpour479:
FieryDownpour479 Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Honestly, I didn't know until the very last line.

However, I supposed I should've found out at this line: '“Lot 352” was a top performing fighter.'
Or when they started mentioning slaves. However, I suppose I'm a little slow at times, and I though they were still just talking about a lot of land that he was using slaves to work. Needless to say, still an excellent piece!
Reply
:iconsteve-c2:
Steve-C2 Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2015
Thanks; I was curious.  I was going for "subtle," so I suppose it worked. :)

Thank you again. :)
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:iconlindartz:
LindArtz Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well done!  Congratulations on your DD! :clap:!
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:iconsteve-c2:
Steve-C2 Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2015
Thank you!

And thank you for adding this to your favorites. :)
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:iconcinnamoncandy:
Cinnamoncandy Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Congratulations on your DD! :heart:
Reply
:iconsteve-c2:
Steve-C2 Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2015
Thank you!
Reply
:iconthekerwinator:
TheKerwinator Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2015  Professional Writer
This is damn good. :clap:
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:iconsteve-c2:
Steve-C2 Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2015
Ha!  Short, sweet, and to the point.  Thank you!
Reply
:iconshadowworldred:
ShadowWorldRed Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2015
I will eagerly await the more of this world that is in your head. The dystopian feel of this crept up on me at a nice pace, and a subtly sinister tone drew me in sentence-by-sentence. I've learned just enough of both Josh and the clerk to want to know more about them and their relationship as this progresses, and of course I am quite curious about the slavery angle, and Josh's specific intent with his purchases. 

Please don't keep me waiting for too long! :stare: Congratulations on receiving a DD! :nod:

- Red
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:iconsteve-c2:
Steve-C2 Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2015
Thank you! :D

I'll try not to - all depends on how well my mind cooperates. :)

Thank you for adding this to your favorites.
Reply
:iconpiratelotus-stock:
PirateLotus-Stock Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2015
What sort of feel or mood do you get from this? Dusty.  Did you say it was dusty?  I can't find it, but that's the feeling I get from it, if that's a feeling XD
What sort of tone does this convey? Quiet and a bit secretive
Did I describe the surroundings well enough for you to visualize? I personally just have a hard time visualizing the inside of buildings, but unless the surroundings are super important, I think you said enough.
Did I describe the clerk well? Yes, I could picture him well
Did I describe Josh well? I could do with some more description of him...I just remember he has red hair
Could you see things? Yes, especially Josh sliding the coins on the table
How did this flow? Nicely, I think it all made sense going along
What impression do you get of the clerk? He's a boring bureaucrat, a bit slimy since he follows the rules but then takes bribes (I don't mean you wrote him boringly, I mean he'd bore me if I were in the same room with him. Doesn't seem like a super pleasant person)
What impression do you get of Josh? He seemed a bit shady at first, when the clerk says his generosity with slaves is well-known, it changes a bit.  Still not quite sure what's going on, but I'd want to read more to find out
Please feel free to share other thoughts you may have.  I have one small critique: "It was designed to hold 10 people quite comfortably, but rarely even held two. Wooden benches were built into the white painted sheet rock walls. It wasn't designed for comfort..."  These sentences seem to contradict; was it built to be comfortable or not? You could say something like "It could easily hold ten people..." maybe?

Nice work!  Fun read ^.^
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:iconsteve-c2:
Steve-C2 Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2015
Thank you for the input!

I can go for a "dusty" feeling.  I get it. :)

Quiet, yes.  Secretive?  That's a new one.  I'm wondering, since some folks said "creepy" or "surreal" did that come across to you, as well?

The descriptions worked, then; for the room, it wasn't too important, it's a lobby.  The clerk, well, I wanted a nice strong mental image for folks, but I didn't really get a good picture in my mind for Josh.  I almost said "cherubic" for him but I dismissed that because I felt it would have been far overboard.  That all said, I'm happy to know you could visualize stuff. :)

Ha!  I knew what you meant when you said "boring bureaucrat" ... pretty much the sense I wanted to convey.  That and a bit of bored with his job.

I know how you mean that Josh may have seemed shady at first.

Hm - what you say about the room description is a good point, and you're right, it does seem self-contradicting.  I was trying to say it was bland, comfy enough, but not luxurious.  I may revisit that.

Thank you! :)
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:iconpiratelotus-stock:
PirateLotus-Stock Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2015
Yeah, it was a bit creepy, probably just because the egghead guy sounds so icky :D

Maybe Josh doesn't need much of a description.  Or he could have more later as the reader gets to know him.  Plenty of time, for sure :la:
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:iconlintu47:
Lintu47 Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
Congrats on the DD! :DALove: by Ikue
Have a nice day! :love: by CookiemagiK
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:iconsteve-c2:
Steve-C2 Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2015
Thank you!
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:iconlintu47:
Lintu47 Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
My pleasure! 5 seconds hug by Bad-Blood
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:iconjuju712:
juju712 Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2015
It was excellent bot has a teaser (I want to know more of this world) and a one shot. The hints alone would not be enough for me to picture a real dystopia, just enough to make me slightly curious, but with this title I am looking forwards for more.

I felt a mood and a tone more professional and neutral than else, and that clashed a lot with what one would expect slave trade to be. Which was the point, I assume.
I couldn't visualize the surrounding well, but they seemed irrelevant for the story. But the characters were well described. I liked the contrast between Josh's hazy physical appearance but quick and clear mind development (Not sure of the expression. how fast we understood his personality) next to the clerk's precise appearance but hazy mind development.
The whole flew pretty well, like I would expect of any kind of civilized transaction (which added to the creepiness).
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:iconsteve-c2:
Steve-C2 Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2015
Thank you!  I get that you got the feeling that there's a bigger world behind it, and truth be told, I have imagined a world with some rules and such.  Am I ever going to be able to write out everything?  :shrug:  I'll definitely do what I can.  :)

Yes, the point was to depict the purchase of a slave as an everyday, ordinary transaction ... and I was wondering if it caused some double-think on the part of the readers.  A few mentioned it was surreal, and I think that might have caused it ... or at least been part of what made them say it was surreal.  I get what you're saying about the people.  I did spend a lot of time imagining the clerk's appearance, more so than I did Josh's.  However, the important part - the transaction - came across as I wanted.  Perfectly civilized, and a bit unsettling, considering that it was a slave in question.
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:iconclara-01:
clara-01 Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
First, I hope you make more chapters after that one, because I really want to see what's going on!!

Okay, so...

The mood: Ummm, that is hard to describe... I felt like.. well, TheFlawedOne said it perfectly: surreal. I didn't found it creepy, but indeed surreal. Both felt perfectly normal, as if it was everyday business, but it was definitively weird.
The tone follows in that vein: surreal, both real and weird.

The descriptions of people and places was absolutely perfect, and I have to give you ten stars for writing perfectly what an egg-head clerk would look and feel like. :D

I felt like the clerk was just doing its job, no question asked as long as the rules are followed. And if not, its not his job, but whoever's on top. As for Josh, I am pretty sure he has a reason for buying all the slaves. My guess? He saves them from less generous and more violent owners. That's my opinion.

I really hope you write more of that story, because it look extremely awesome!

Oh, and once more, you have this je-ne-sais-quoi in the style of Asimov, which makes it even more enjoyable!
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:iconsteve-c2:
Steve-C2 Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2015
Wow, thank you.  I hope I do, too! :D

Surreal?  I can take that. :)  Given the overall world behind it, that's likely an easy take-away.

I take it you could "see" the clerk and the person, and the waiting room.  You're more or less in the park with both of those folks.  Did you get that they both spoke "money" rather fluently? :shifty:

Thank you.  This was on bit that I thought, "the less, the better."  If I do more, I think I may keep it that way.

Wow, thank you.  (I'm actually reading Prelude to Foundation right now.  I'm at the part after he's seen the woman in Dahl.)
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:iconclara-01:
clara-01 Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Yeah!! :happybounce:

Indeed I could, and yes, they spoke "money".

Cool! Is it too difficult or boring for the moment? I know he has a slower pace in his novels than in his short stories, and sometimes the lack of actions can make the story very long, so... 

P.S.: You might be glad to know that I'll publish my novel's chapters on DA... at least those who are finished and in order. :)
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