ysabetwordsmith: (Schrodinger's Heroes)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem fills a square on my second card for the [community profile] cottoncandy_bingo fest. This fest encourages people to create and share material focused on what is variously called fluff, schmoop, gentle fiction, light reading, comfort reading, positive thinking, chicken soup for the soul, or anything else that offers a fun alternative to usual run of sex, violence, and angst of modern media. I'm hoping to attract some new readers for my writing.

The following poem belongs to Schrodinger's Heroes, featuring an apocryphal television show supported by an imaginary fandom. It's science fiction about quantum physics and saving the world from alternate dimensions. It features a very mixed cast in terms of ethnicity and sexual orientation. This project developed with input from multiple people, and it's open for everyone to play in. You can read more about the background, the characters, and a bunch of assorted content on the menu page.

Pat's car Scarlett is introduced in "Black and Blue in Waxahachie" and "Scarlett Bond."

Fandom: Original (Schrodinger's Heroes)
Prompt: Gifts / Gifting
Medium: Poem
Summary: After a crisis, Pat takes care of his teammates. Alex, who has stupendous amounts of money, decides to give him a very special token of regard.
Content Notes: Conspicuous consumption that is actually justified in context. Graphic mechanical detail. The gift matches his car, and I did not make that up.


"Tourbillon"


After an attack on the Teflon Tesseract
lays out two thirds of Schrodinger's Heroes for a week
and Pat stays the whole time to take care of them
until everyone is back on their feet --
without going home to his husbands and wives once --
Alex decides to commemorate the occasion
with something special.

It takes months to set up,
because these things are custom made
and only two of them come off the line per month.

Even the wrapping is part of the gift,
for the box is walnut carved by Chris
tied with a ribbon of ivory silk
donated by Morgan.

Inside lies a watch,
not just any old watch,
but a Breitling for Bentley
Limited Edition Mulliner Tourbillon.

The case is yellow gold with a pattern along the rim,
while the dial is the same linen color as Scarlett's interior,
held in place by a rich brown strap of alligator leather.
Twenty-six gems lie within the watch;
the face is covered by a cambered sapphire glass
and resembles the complexity of a dashboard.

The tourbillon complication shows through,
its tiny pieces flicking with exquisite precision
like a little mechanical heart.
The dial has two subsidiary chrono counters
and a pointer-type date display.

The watch is intricate yet also robust,
water-resistant to fifty meters;
accurate no matter what position
the escapement happens to be in;
mechanical rather than electronic,
to stand up to temporal shifts
and stay true to its eigentime.

Pat is speechless.
"Turn it over," Alex prompts.

Around the rim that encloses
the transparent back of the case,
an elegant inscription reads:

To Pat, who has given
so much and so generously of his time,
and deserves to get some of it back
.

* * *

Notes:

This poem came from me reading an issue of Afar magazine, in which I saw a $10,000 watch that reminded me of Pat's, except I knew his was gold. When I looked up the magazine watch, I found the Mulliner Tourbillon, which is priced at $154,000. So Pat is walking around with a watch worth as much as a house. As far as I can remember, this is the most expensive accessory I have actually priced for any of my characters. And a black guy is wearing it, as a gift from a white woman, who is not one of his spice but part of his teamfamily instead. I love my characters.

This also helps me triangulate Pat's taste. (Yes, this counts as Pat's taste, because even though Alex bought it for him she put a great deal of thought into picking something he'd appreciate.) He loves having nice things, because he can. He loves them not because they're necessarily rare or expensive -- although the examples so far have been -- but because they are finely made, exquisitely beautiful, and superlative in performance. Elegant, useful, and yet not gilding the lily. I was intrigued that Pat's watch doesn't have the vivid red of his car (which is an option). Why not? The gold and linen look is subtler and will go with almost anything; if he wears a black suit, all he has to do is swap out the brown leather for a gold band. It's lavish in its way, but not the in-your-face bling of gold and diamonds around the neck.

Alex, now, she's rich but she doesn't fling it around carelessly. She doesn't try to buy people's affection. She doesn't shower them with random things. She sometimes acts like a kid in a candy shop. But a real present, she'll take her time choosing and analyze someone's prior choices with her gigantic brain. She can be oblivious when her mind's in another realm, but she knows how to bring it back down to Earth when she needs it.

I further discovered that tourbillon watches in general are made of 24-karat WIN. Better equipment is more resistant to environmental challenges. The word tourbillon is French for "whirlwind" -- a nice ulterior reference both to the crisis past and the Teflon Tesseract in general.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-11-19 02:27 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
Oh, my.

I don't know if you stumbled across this tidbit, but there's a reason that tourbillion is French... the first production model? Was for none other than Napoleon himself.

Teamfamily. *smiles* One of these days I'd like to work with people like that... folks I could count as `ohana...

(no subject)

Date: 2012-11-19 05:31 pm (UTC)
thnidu: A shield-shaped hunk of watermelon rind, with bits carved away to make 2 staring eyes and a mouth. By bensanaz (melonhead)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Oh... wow. That's for the poem/story as well as for the watch.

They actually produce only two of these per year, but that's in this universe.

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2012-11-20 04:30 am (UTC)
thnidu: cat staring out at you, photoshopped into wild colors (Pow Wow cat)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
I was at work when I looked it up (don't tell my boss), so I don't have the link in my browser history. But let's see... I used Google... let's try Mulliner Tourbillon year:

  • hautetime.com: With only two examples of the new watch to be produced each year, the technicians have ample time to customize each one according to the buyer’s specifications.
  • elitechoice.org: Breitling is capable of making only two Bentley Mulliner Tourbillon timepieces in a year.
  • outofaces.com: Breitling produces only two Bentley Mulliner Tourbillons per year.
  • luxpresso.com: This timepiece is crafted with so much care and precision that Breitling only produces two such watches in a year!

I'm sure there are more in there, but I don't want or need to look at them all. These all seem to be dated this August or September, and I suspect they're based on the same press release or some such -- not a press release, because the wordings are all slightly different.
Edited (wrong URL for first quote) Date: 2012-11-20 04:39 am (UTC)

Lovely gift

Date: 2014-04-11 12:52 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
I think my favorite part of the story is that it shows how much effort Alex put into choosing the gift. The price tag is actually irrelevant to that.

Thank you for yet another piece of this universe to enjoy!

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