“Avarice” by Michael Rimar
(Originally published in Darwin’s Evolutions.)
Shadow blocked the glare of Uttum’s twin suns. Saleem looked up at the source, a man dressed in robes pale as bleached bone.
“Offering for the poor?” Saleem kept his tone weak and pitiful, offering his wicker basket to the stranger.
“I have more than offerings for you, my young friend.” The stranger crouched down to look Saleem face to face. Eyes green as palm fronds regarded him with benevolence. Strands of ebony hair poked from underneath a spotless turban.
Saleem tensed. Anyone who called him friend usually wasn’t. Yet he didn’t run. Anyone foolish enough to run in the heat brought attention, and in the City attention equaled guilt. “Have I offended you in some manner, Isha?” He hoped to flatter the stranger by using the formal address.
“Isha?” The man flashed straight white teeth and looked about as if to see no one overheard. “You may call me Hendari. I am told I should talk to you.”
Saleem’s eyebrows rose a fraction. Hendari. The god of prosperity. Only the wealthy and powerful were so bold to name their children after gods. “What would a great man need of a child beggar?”
“Is this part of the bartering?” Hendari’s green eyes glistened with mirth. “You are less a child, and more than a beggar. I know who it is I need, and that is you.”
Michael Rimar has matured. He no longer writes witty bios with clever puns. He has stopped comparing his two daughters to pets, especially after the cease and desist order. He sees nothing funny about writing science fiction, fantasy, and some horror, although many of his stories might be considered humorous, and purposefully humorous, not this-is-so-bad-it’s-funny kind of humorous. As proof, his story A Bunny Hug for Karl, was nominated for the 2014 Prix Aurora for the best in Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy. He is an associate publisher of Bundoran Press and co-editor of their anthology Second Contacts, which was awarded the 2016 Aurora for Best Related Work. He has also co-edited Lazarus Risen, nominated for the 2017 Aurora for Best Related Work. Mike has been published in Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show, Writers of the Future XXI, and On Spec, all serious publications
despite having the occasional humorous story. If you want to learn more about Mike visit mikerimar.com. Seriously.
About the Narrator:
Growing up, everyone told Christopher Herron that he couldn’t read books for a living, it simply wasn’t a real job. Always one to have the last laugh, however, he decided to start down the long road of becoming a professional narrator. To help him on his way, he created the YouTube channel Tall Tale TV, where he hones his skills by narrating several short stories each week for authors looking to collaborate. He can be found at TallTaleTV.com, Facebook, and Twitter.