Commonwealth: A Novel of Utopia, part 3, chapter 2
Author’s Note: This is an excerpt from my novel Commonwealth. The rest of today’s installment is free, but only on my Patreon site. If you want to read the next part today, it’s already up on Patreon as well. You can sign up for as little as $1/month, or $2 for exclusive author’s notes and behind-the-scenes material. There’s also a table of contents for all published chapters.
From the outside, the tower had nothing to indicate its purpose. It had an anonymous steel-and-glass facade, polished blue and glinting with winter sunlight, just like countless other corporate buildings in the city. It had no logos or adornment, except one: a golden ornament in the shape of a dollar sign, mounted on the roof.
On the top floor of that building, Morale Secretary Asha Remington strode down a long hallway. Aside from the swish of her skirt and the brisk clicking of her heels, it was silent: a rich, luxurious silence, as thick as deep-pile carpet.
This was one of her favorite places. The floors were imported white marble. The walls were hardwood panels buffed to a high sheen. Every few paces, there were priceless artifacts in niches: famous Old Master canvases, or ancient classical statues of muscular men and comely women in poses of athleticism, or pedestals where the crown jewels of a dozen bankrupted countries sat on velvet cushions like hunting trophies. It was an oasis of wealth and peace, a refuge from the noise and dust and chaos of the outside world.
She gave a tiny, satisfied nod as she walked past the artworks. She had personally overseen the decoration of the building, and she was pleased with the results.
Thank goodness we rescued these beautiful things from museums, where they were exposed to the pawing and ogling of the unwashed masses, and brought them here, where they’ll be appreciated by true connoisseurs. Nothing’s as wasted as an object in a public window.
Trailing behind Secretary Remington was her chief aide. He was a tall, muscular young white man with curls of blond hair and guileless blue eyes. He hastened to keep up with her, juggling a briefcase, a clipboard and a bundle of folders.
Like most of her staff, he had been recruited from the pool of hopefuls applying for jobs at Remington Holdings, her media company. He had dreamed of becoming an actor, which made it a surprise when he was instead offered a job as the Morale Secretary’s valet, but he had risen to the occasion. His duties included managing her schedule, overseeing her correspondence, cleaning her houses, cooking her meals, and providing any other personal services she might require.
She was well-satisfied with the arrangement. Remington Holdings afforded her a steady supply of handsome young men who were loyal and eager to please. This one’s name was Eddie, she thought, or possibly Freddie; she rarely bothered to learn them.