I’ve referred to my friend Naomi Kritzer on this blog before, but generally to point to her political research. What I might not have done is mention that she writes kick-ass short stories. This is very silly of me, since she does just that. On the occasion of her releasing her first collection of shorts for Kindle (other formats and a second collection soon to come), let me rectify my oversight by featuring one of the stories from the collection.
“Masks” is set in the same world as Naomi’s first two books. It is a story of hidden identities set within the context of a masquerade, but there is nothing crudely metaphorical about it. An excerpt:
“What about his Lordship?” That was Marietta, the priestess who’d looked at me earlier.
“Well, we’ve heard unfortunate things about his reluctance to seek out the Lady’s blessing.”
“Perhaps he’s just waiting for the right girl,” Marietta said.
“I’m sure. But he might look harder for the right girl with some encouragement.” Gemino licked his lips. “There are rumors that he has a preference for — other company.”
“You’re not seriously suggesting that we threaten the son of the Emperor with a heresy charge?” Marietta rolled her eyes.
“Is the son of the Emperor above the law of the Lady?”
“Of course not. But while of course the Lord and the Lady wish to see Prince Travan honor them, so that they can bless him with a child, that doesn’t mean he must find himself a girl to bed on a nightly basis. Prince Travan is known to be a bit shy; I’m sure the Lady understands that.” She turned to refill her wine glass and Falco caught her eye. “You seem quite interested in this conversation, Falco. I suppose that’s not surprising — aren’t you always the one we send in to terrorize the fichi?”
My shoulders tensed; fico, fig, was slang for a man like me. Or like Falco.