Swash Swash, Buckle Buckle

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I recently signed with a new line that specialises in Cavalier fashions.  The process of signing, at my stage in the game, goes something like this:

First, my personal assistant–Danny–looks for open contracts and does some recon on the lines.  He checks for responsible designers with promising futures, overall sales numbers, Fashion Week reviews, and, if he likes what he sees, he sends my book around with my print ads and numbers.

When I first started, this was terribly worrisome–followed up by in person fittings, interview, and trial runway walks.  Now, it’s primarily a formality, expressing my interest in their designs.  Like a calling card.

After my “card” is sent off, we wait to hear back from the line.  If they feel I’d be a good fit for the line, then they send along my requested materials.  I always ask for clothing from the line, so I can see how I feel in it and check the fit, and I also ask for letters of recommendation from the current models, expressing the personality of the line and their experience as a part of it.  I also get a copy of a current contract, so I can get a sense of their requirements and policies.

Finally, if I like the clothes, the letters, the base-line contract, then my company enters into negotiations.  When I first started at AMMA (Afterlife Magazine and Modelling Agency), HR took care of this, but my heightened position within the company now leads to high profile negotiations, which the director of the company–Robert–likes to take care of himself.

Robert is loud, shrewd, and very willing to ask all of those “but what will you do for us?” and “can we add another zero?” sorts of questions.  He’s a businessman through and through, and his own sense of fashion–dad jeans and ill-fitting white button downs–requires a bit of sprucing when the negotiations exit the land of email and close in person.  His long-suffering PA attacks him with a suit, always some shade of green for some reason, and threatens to quit if he won’t put it on.

Robert always puts on the suit.

I am not actually involved in the negotiations.  I really couldn’t give a ruddy raincloud how much the contract ends up being worth–that’s Robert’s area of avarice.  And all my riders–primarily relating to family considerations–are clearly outlined and clearly required.  So I just wait for the contract to land on my desk, have Marc check it over, and then immediately begin planning my next charitable contributions.

I also immediately set up to meet the designer and shake hands with the models who sent along their letters.  Provided everything feels right, I sign the contract and leave a copy with the line.  This is also primarily formality.  I have never not signed a contract at this stage–my company (Danny, especially) does a brilliant job of setting me up with the right people.

However, I have never signed a contract quite so quickly as I did this one.  As soon as I met Richard, feet up on his enormous beat-to-hell scrolled desk, looking for all the world like a seventeenth-century Errol Flynn, I asked for a pen.

Literally the only man who can make that mustache look good.

But with boots, a gold-embroidered waistcoat, and a rapier.  No, I know.

He handed me a quill and grinned, and I about forgot how to write.

As I muddled my way through my own goddamn name, he airily commented that my riders were rather interesting, and that I must be the sort of bloke with thousands of pictures of his children.  I admitted as much and passed him my phone so he could flip through a few while I finished crossing Ts and dotting Is.  He giggled appreciatively a number of times, and I fell further in love.

Contract signed off, and phone back in my pocket, we chatted a bit about the line and its origin and direction.  It became known to me in the course of this conversation that Richard had dabbled in nearly everything under the sun–including piracy, women, and men–and that he could wear the hell out of an earring.  I was suddenly very glad that I had worn mine.  Made me feel more credible, haha.

I asked toward the end of the conversation why he had hired me, and he threw his hands behind his head and said, “well, you’ll have to forgive me if I hired you on account of you being a choice piece of finery.”

And then he eyed me up and down.

And smirked.

I managed to smirk back–quite proud of myself on that count–and told him no apology necessary.  He laughed and said, “but don’t worry, I know who your husband is,” and held his hands up to display their innocent intentions.

Flirtations finished, he took me down to the next level of his offices where I found a cloistered, smokey, velvet bar.  Truly, right on premise.  And at the bar were a number of devilishly handsome models, two of whom Richard introduced to me as the blokes who wrote recommendations.  Jeremiah, like Richard an actual cavalier, has cascading blonde curls and quite the reputation as a casanova.  And Lucius, a dandy from the 1920s, surveyed me akin to Richard and then reintroduced himself as Fox–he’s quite taken with the Batman films, you see.  I noted that he should drag as Luscious Fox, and he determined that we would be quite good friends.

And then…I learned how we advertise…

As it turns out, we engage in piracy.  We dress up to the nines, head out into the Mediterranean on Richard’s pleasure yacht, roll up to rich-boy party boats, forcibly board them, and then proceed to drink them dry, throwing a festivity using their own liquor and niceties and leaving business cards behind after we boisterously sell the brand.

I’m not sure I can even express how much I am in love with this.  I love pirates.  I love fashion.  I love drinking.  And now I get paid to be a drunken fashion pirate.

Like this, but with...well, with similar numbers of gay men, likely, but...no, similar amounts of liquor, too...newer boats. We'll have newer boats.

Like this, but with…well, with similar numbers of gay men, likely, but…no, similar amounts of liquor, too… Newer boats. We’ll have newer boats.

I just…

I can’t.  But I will.  But I can’t.

But I will.


Ghost Cats and other Energy Pets

It has come to my attention–and how could it not, really–that people are obsessed with cats these days.  Other animals, too, but primarily cats.


So much so that moderns have gleefully pointed to Victorians as the arbiters of this trend. I say to you–that’s an automobile. Victorians did not have automobiles, primarily speaking, so this cat thing is still all your fault.


I’m willing to play along to a point–I will NEVER use lolcat nomenclature, but I AM willing to relay to the people of the ubiquitous internet that there are, in fact, ghost cats.  All sorts of pets, actually.  And here is how that works:

Animal Energies

The first variety of ghost world pets are those conglomerations of slobbery/sinister energies that maintain their furry/well-groomed form from the alively world to the next.  In other words, yes, your pet can become a ghost.

This is incredibly common amongst dogs.  The going theory is that there’s something to be said for that protective inclination of dogs–that many of them stay on to protect their families or singular owners.

The benefit to this crossing-over of pets is, of course, that alively families maintain some sense of connection to the animals they’ve loved.  Even I am not grumpy enough to deny the sweetness there.

The negative side to this crossing-over of pets is that they often, after a point, detach from families and wander about as ghost strays.  Or they crossed over as strays in the first place.  This means that the rescue shelters in ghost world are absolutely bursting at any given time with Fidos and Felines looking for homes.  They are incredibly well treated–it’s much easier to care for a ghost dog than a real dog on account of the fact that…ghost.  But they’re still not at home, you know?

So why aren’t ghosts adopting these sorts of pets?

Well, because there are also…

Energies turned Animal

There are loads upon heaps of energetic conglomerations rushing about through ghost world, behaving as they wont without much in the way of form.  No one is quite sure where these come from–natural elements? disaggregated ancient humans? something in-between?  But in any case, ghosts can basically scoop up one of these configurations and remould it into whatever sort of pet-shape we wish, while maintaining the higher level thinking and personality that come along with its long-time independence.

These conglomerations often say, no thanks on the ownership, and then run off into the forests again, as happened with a baffled and belligerent kiwi-bird form that Marcus moulded at one point a while back.  But just as many stick around, happy to have a family with which to interact, food-type energies to consume most freely, and shelter from the elements, which can scramble energy post haste.

You’d likely rather not be struck by lightening, as well, right?

So, given the choice between a dog that stares at you lovingly, but blankly, and a dog that can help you do chores, respond to thousands of commands, and act independently without need for boarding…most ghosts go with this latter option.

This latter option also allows you to recreate the pet you knew and loved in life but didn’t follow you over or wait for you.  All you have to do is find an energy with a similar personality, mould it into the animal you remember, and then share your memories with it.

So, what does all of this look like in practise?  Well, on account of the fact that my husband is a great animal lover and we now have a vast menagerie of pets, I can introduce you to a few of each type.

Our first pets were of the energies turned animal sort.

First, Marcus formed his horse, Nox.  Truly, this is the second thing he did after manifesting as a functional ghost (more on what that means at a later date).  This goes to show that if you were an animal lover in life, then you will be an animal lover in death, to the point that it becomes nearly instinctual for you to create or adopt those sorts of friends who comforted you without words.  Animals are a huge part of newly ghosted acclimation groups for this reason, and as much as Noxwell’s proud, warhorse mentality grates at times, I have to hand it to him…he made Marcus’s transition much easier.

Following that, I determined that I also needed a pet to spend time with while Marcus was out riding, and I formed a dragon on account of the fact that I fucking love dragons.  I formed Toothless the Dragon, to be specific, but in miniature–he’s about the size of a very large Great Dane.  The energies I moulded were petulant, flippant, but utterly joyful, and he’s also taken to helping with construction projects over time, flying about with roof beams and helping me raise walls.  So I’d say he’s pretty true to the film version.

No, I do not fly him.  I’m afraid of heights…

Upon seeing my dragon, Marcus determined that he, too, needed an indoor pet.  And thus Globus was formed.  Glo.  Shitty Kitty.  Destroyer of my home and wearer of capes.  This energy cat is basically all the most entitled and destructive parts of my husband rolled into one tiny ball of fur.  Marc loves him.

I retaliated by forming the exact opposite of Glo–a little duck named Harlequin who is made of sweetness and helpfulness and loveliness.  All the nicest parts of my personality, but in feathered form.  He is so kind and good-natured that it just breaks your heart to see.  If Glo knocks something over, Quin tries to clean it up.  If we forget to make the bed, we come home to find the sheets pulled up and little duck foot prints on the pillows.  If you look the slightest bit sad, Quin is there to cuddle you.  Ugh, I’m getting teary eyed just thinking about how adorable he is.  I need to find him before I finish this post…

Ok, duck in lap, continuing.

Our final pet at home is Sam, a roly-poly hedgehog.  We formed Sam later in our marriage because we realised that we had our own pets, but not a pet together.  He’s exuberant like Marcus and spiny like me, and he has a great love of rolling about in paint and making little artworks with his quills.

After finding that we had access to a great, wide ghost world beyond our home, Marcus and I also discovered all the other types of energy pets.

We discovered that you didn’t have to make a pet that looked like anything in particular.  Our mates Ed and Jacques have this sort of…rectangular box with a tail and one eye and a bit of a snout.  It’s a monstrosity.  They call him Monkey.

We discovered that actual animal energies could cross over when a tiny parakeet flew into our flat in Toronto and took up residence, effectively becoming our son’s pet bird.

We discovered animal shelters when our daughter asked for a little cat for her birthday.  She adopted a tiny, jet-black kitten and named her Cozy.  We thought this was perfectly sweet, and entirely unexpected, until Mira informed us that the full name was Lady Constanza III of Motherfuck Island.  Because of course it is.

Side note: Glo has since met Cozy and fallen madly in love, to the point that he’s tried to take on some more cat-like behaviors in order to win her over.  He refuses to wear his capes around her after he near-strangled himself in the cat door, he’s taken to more regular grooming, and he behaves more respectably in her presence.  Cozy, however, cares not a jot for any of it, because she is, in fact, a real ghost cat, and cares not a jot for most things.

Marc also has a rescue bearded dragon named Barbu in his office at work–a gift from a fellow designer.

Oh, and he recently added a giant toad to our pond at the family home outside Toronto.   Marc has a thing for toads.


This toad, specifically. No idea.

So, there you have it.   Ghost pets of all beloved varieties roaming about in the afterlife and making both themselves and their owners rather happier.

Alright, it’s a bit cute.

…I has duck.