Expository Dinner

“What did you think of your first day open?” Mrs. Sharp asked Jane. They sat in Mrs. Sharp’s office with a feast of Chinese food on the desk between them.

“It was more fun than the first month,” Jane replied with a smile. “I’m glad to finally get some human interaction.” Jane worked the job for a month before that day and almost quit out of boredom.

“You did great today,” Mrs. Sharp smiled. “Tomorrow we’ll arrange your paperwork to get you on board full-time. Any questions?”

“Tons,” Jane replied while she picked up a red and white container to serve herself some more fried rice. “I have to know,” Jane leaned over the desk and lowered her voice. “Do you really buy souls?” Hearing herself ask the question made Jane flush red with embarrassment. Mrs. Sharp nodded.

“Yes.” She replied with a flat tone that did not sound like she was kidding.

“Wow…” Jane leaned back in her chair as she tried to process Mrs. Sharp’s admission. “How? What do you do with it?” Jane’s brown eyes sparkled while the gears turned in her head, then she added another pair of questions. “How much do you pay? Will you buy mine?” Mrs. Sharp smiled, but shook her head.

“The price varies per soul, I only buy specific ones,” she said.

“Specific how? What makes one soul different from another?” Mrs. Sharp reached into her desk drawer and pulled out a small black gizmo with a rectangular screen on it. She pointed the device at Jane and pressed a red button on top. The display came to life and displayed a dim purple light. She held it up for Jane to get a clear look at the light.

“Purple means your soul is normal, I don’t buy those.” Mrs. Sharp pointed the device at herself and pressed the red button. The purple light transitioned into a bright golden light. “These are the souls I buy. As for what I use them for, that’s a trade secret for now, but if you work here long enough you’ll find out. Any other questions?” Mrs. Sharp finished her food and started to separate trash from leftovers.

“What’s that trick you do with the black holes?” Jane asked. Mrs. Sharp smiled and waved a hand in the air over the desk. A small dinner-plate sized black hole appeared and she threw the trash into it before making it disappear again. “Yeah, that!” Jane laughed.

“These…,” Mrs. Sharp’s hand traced an arc in the air and five small black portals opened between the two women. “… are portals to alternate universes. Each one is a different universe.” She gave a dismissive wave and all five portals disappeared. She waved her hand at one corner of the room and opened a single portal large enough for a person to walk through. Jane stared at Mrs. Sharp with wide eyes.

“Ar… are you from a different universe?” she asked. Her boss nodded then closed the human sized portal.

“This job’s gonna be awesome!” Jane smiled and clapped to herself.  Jane stood from her seat. “Thanks for the meal and the job! Oh, uh,” Jane bowed part way. “I mean Mrs. Sharp.” the woman had not introduced herself all day, but all the clients called her Mrs. Sharp.

“Please,” the woman stood from the table and offered Jane a handshake. “Call me Melody,” she said.

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