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Last Updated: 2023 Mar 17

Pillow Seller

“O-oh my gosh!” a girl at the booth pushed her cheeks together. “That’s an awesome Nathan costume!”

“Yeah. Thanks,” Nathan said.

Some time ago, Nathan attended Klokicon. He had a beer bottle in hand. He wasn’t yet drunk, but he was getting tipsy. He didn’t have his stage appearance: the full face of corpse paint. The skin of his arms and neck were of his natural skin tones. As he had gone to the beach, a light tan deviated him from his iconic pale and corpse-like look.

He walked up to a booth of a fan girl. He stared intently at the merchandise she was selling.

That’s Charles.

Printed on the cover of a body pillow was an anime drawing of his manager: legal counsel and chief financial officer of his company.

That’s a stupid-looking pillow.

And so Nathan contemplated.

During the routine internal discussions that Charles hosted, Nathan often created distractions. He, among other members of the band, threw bullshit at Charles. Why?

Charles strictly adhered to professional conduct. He reserved emotions and seldom expressed opinions, and Nathan knew that was a persona. There was a person hiding behind a mask exclusively for practical reasons. But even the royal guards of Britain who stand statuesque at the palace gates return home, laugh, cry, and live normal lives like regular jackoffs.

That was a character Nathan wanted to break: to see the human behind the robotic business man. At one point, the band successfully earned a flustered response from Charles, but the subject matter was still business.

Yet every line recorded for the goofy band mascot Facebones had come from Charles mouth. The mascot had giggled, made crass sex jokes, poked fun at regular jackoffs and the band itself in a high-pitched, wimpy voice that could not be taken seriously. How much any of Facebones’ assets reflected Charles’ actual opinions was still uncertain.

In the previous fan day, Facebones spoke softly as though the audience were children learning about exotic animals. The narration for the event played as visitors came to the band’s personal quarters and bedrooms. Nathan remembered the narration from Facebones for his exhibit.

“Because of the tremendous drinking it takes to entertain all of you Dethklok fans, Nathan must undergo a series of liver transplants!” as the widescreen display showed footage of Nathan drinking heavily and vomiting.

Fucking fan day. Charles is going to be a part of fan day next time.

“Hey, uh,” Nathan said. “How much for that pillow?”

“Charles dakies are 14 dollars,” the girl smiled.

“Yeah okay.”

Okay. 14 dollars. Nathan brought out his wallet and thumbed through the dollar bills in the cash compartment.

Hundred dollar bill.

Hundred dollar bill…

And a hundred dollar bill…

“Break this,” he handed her a one-hundred dollar bill.

“Okay, I’ll get your change!”

As Nathan waited for her to finish, his eyes drifted to a large banner just above the booth. It featured social media logos paired with usernames. There was one that Nathan did not recognize.

AO3: moondestiny9595

“What’s A-O-3?” Nathan said.

“Oh! That’s Archive of Our Own,” the girl answered. “Some of the older fan sites are going offline, and AO3 is on a mission to save as much fan content as it can.”

“Oh. Fan site. Okay.” I wonder what the fans are up to.