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Chapter 23 - Mirror-Mirror
With all the publicity her employer thought it might be time for Margery to move on. She felt that Margery was a trifle too litigious for that organisation but made the mistake of hinting that something was not quite as it seemed with Margery.
As usual Margery had secretly recorded the interview and this was enough to prove that there was a hidden agenda in her being asked to take such a generous redundancy. As a result she successfully sued for wrongful dismissal and got the redundancy as well.
She didn't really care about that job. She was making good credit from Find-a-loo@Air-ones&twos and together with her various settlements was moving into a nice apartment in a good area.
But a new apartment on its own is not entirely satisfying. She needed more excitement in her life - a new start - maybe as a housewife now that age was creeping up on her. The virtual property agent's Avatar had assured her that several wealthy single men owned apartments in the block. She still had Phillip in reserve and his training was coming along nicely but he's not wealthy enough and although she'd thought that it would be fun to introduce him to sex with men she found that he was now less appealing to her.
After the move as she was un-packing her trophies, like the shoes Mohandas had licked clean so many times, she settled on his clever widget. She opened it and to her surprise when she pressed down on the powder-puff the mirror glowed green.
When she tried her door she found it was unlocked. So she went down to the security room and walked right in. That was strange. There was some sort of recording thingy in there and she asked Circe, her VPA, to access it. It had recorded all the of the other apartment owners and their visitors coming and going, except for her own recent decent, while holding the widget.
One of the other owners was Claude Ball, the famous celebrity astronomer. Margery had already decided that he's the best pick of the available bachelors for this next phase of her life. She would make him her new boyfriend and maybe, if she decided to, her husband.
He had the floor above. She let herself into his apartment and gathered enough data to 'accidentally' meet him in the lift.
In the lift the following day they discovered they had interests in common. Among these were early animated movies by someone called Dinsey; at least she thought that was the way it was pronounced.
Anyway it didn't matter, because Claude laughed when she told him about her love of Dinsey's animations.
That night he invited her in to watch an old animated movie: Snow White. It wasn't nearly as silly as she expected, except that the ending was disappointing. The silly romantic girl with the dwarfs reminded her of Bianca. On his stumps Mohandas was almost a dwarf. She decided that he was Grumpy, and the magic mirror was like the one in her widget. It was quite eerie how the author or screenwriter had anticipated elements of her life and even knew something of her Craft, except that they made the usual mistake of thinking that applied science was magic and early scientists were wizards and witches.
That was when she realised that a magic mirror would be a great App to have available to Circe then it could be in The Cloud and she could call it up on any screen anywhere. She would call it Mirror-Mirror.
Otherwise the evening was uneventful. Claude was polite but quite distant. He made no romantic move whatsoever and didn't even set up a reason to talk to her again in future. A current girlfriend?
She was slightly disappointed. It was going to take some time. She hoped he wasn't gay. She didn't think so. She would do a comprehensive search of his apartment.
When she searched more thoroughly she found evidence of a woman in a bathroom and a closet. Then Circe hit the payload: some home-made videos featuring Cindy, the current girlfriend, and stored in memory on a local device that were definitely heterosexual.
She saw it all as positive: He was definitely interested in women. In the recording business he was a rank amateur compared to her. Fancy keeping recordings like that at home when they should be safely hidden in The Cloud. As for Cindy, she was obviously a tart considering what she was prepared to do in-front of a camera that she obviously knew was there. And when wasn't there already another woman if a man was half decent? It would have been more of a concern if there wasn't a woman in his life.
The usual mix of deceits, miss-directions and diversions should see her off. She would mount a campaign to get him.
In the meantime he had given her another App idea. A Cloud search by Circe revealed that amazingly no one had built it already. She could get Mohandas to build it. He had plenty of spare time now but she would need to get him away from that wily witch Bianca and that might prove troublesome. Anyway he no longer had his own place and she certainly wasn't having him here, running into Phillip or Claude, stumping around or scratching her floors and banging into her furniture with his metal legs and needing to be serviced all the time.
Margery had a lot of contacts in the industry. She could do a lot better in that department. As Pitti-Sing says in the Mikado: "There's lots of good fish in the sea."
Margery asked Circe to up the Gilbert & Sullivan recording on her apartment's sound system. As she looked in her address book she happily hummed, occasionally singing along:
On this subject I pray you be dumb — dumb — dumb.
And with that she'd identified just the developer to invite to a Christmas party. He was a nerdy guy called Woodsman.
His home address was easily found by Circe and she paid his home a visit using her widget, which she now thought of as her Mirror.
He was heterosexual and porn addicted, ideal for her purposes.
She arranged to have him sent an invitation to an industry dinner the following week. She was amused to see him there standing on the sidelines, inappropriately dressed and very uncomfortable, like a fish out of water, not knowing a soul and lacking the skills to introduce himself. She watched him surreptitiously while happily chatting to the president of the Computer Society and generally flirting with everyone. At last she put him out of his misery and introduced herself. She flattered him by knowing about his coding skills and reputation and insisted that he sit with her at the dinner.
He had a wonderful night and couldn't believe his good fortune at being invited to the dinner; meeting this beautiful woman; and then getting his Christmas surprise.
He turned out to be even better fun than Mohandas: faster to grovel, already familiar with a number of fetishes, and a superior physical specimen all round.
Very soon he delivered her a prototype of Mirror-Mirror for user acceptance testing. It seemed very satisfactory when Margery installed the App in Circe's program library. She used a short list of her closer female acquaintances as a trial. Obviously she didn't want competition from all the women on the planet, just the ones that she was confident of beating. She was able to see where they were on a map, each tagged with an icon of their image as they went about; and she was able to zoom in to any Cloud connected camera in their vicinity and see what they were doing, even in some cases when they thought they were in private like in the shower, on the toilet or making love. People seemed to forget the cameras and microphones in almost everything these days or to assume that the encrypted data streams were private. She immediately learnt some interesting things about several of them that she could use later.
Mirror-Mirror was very flattering to her too. At her instructions Woodsman had modelled it on the Dinsey one so it told her:
"You my mistress are the fairest of them all."
But when she made the mistake of extending the list to women at her previous place of employment it told her that Bianca was fairest; as fair as her name implied: Snow White.
"No way! How could that witch be fairer than me?" No wonder the beautiful heroine of Dinsey's Snow White had been enraged.
She decided to find out what the 'sleazy tart' was up to. But Mirror-Mirror promptly crashed. The software obviously had a bug and when she demanded that Woodsman fixed it he couldn't find out what was wrong. It had just stopped working. There was something wrong at the heart of the decryption algorithm.
Margery was furious. The thing was a piece of crap.
But the movie was a good object lesson. She wasn't going to repeat that woman's mistakes. No turning herself into a crone or attempting to unsuccessfully poison Bianca with an apple. Her previous encounters with Bianca had taught her not to underestimate her. She had a better poison for that one. She would poison her heart.
"I'll ensure that someday her prince won't come; and her dreams of marrying poor Mohandas are futile." she said aloud, persisting in the belief that Bianca was in love with him.
"In the meantime I've got a Woodsman to punish for his incompetence."
Margery had no other way of judging Woodsman's coding ability, except by results. Mirror-Mirror had turned out to be useless rubbish, so he was a rubbish developer. Fortunately, she thought, training him continued to be the most fun she's ever had training a man.
"He's such a hunk," she thought, for the hundredth time. "It's a case of 'nominative determinism', when people become good at things suggested by their name?" she mused happily.
"And I'm sure that someday, when he's properly trained, and reduced to his pure animal state my new prince will make some princess very happy."
She heard the metallic voice Adriana Caselotti singing the song from the movie in her head:
Some day my prince will come
Some day when spring is here
"Well the first line will certainly be accurate. I'm not too sure about the rest of it," she thought, smiling at her favourite joke, as she was wont to do.