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Nostalgia trilogy front cover

Excerpt from Porcelain People, the first story of the Nostalgia trilogy

That morning there was a stir in the office when Shelley walked in. It could be heard in the changing pitch of the employees’ conversation as they gathered to speculate. Her transformation brought in receptionists, cleaners, the security team and passing members of management who still held trays of coffee that steamed in the chilly air. Shelley, in the middle of this, glowed as the attention gathered on her. Her whitened teeth shone as she did a pirouette to show off every facet and angle of her face and skin. It shone smooth, flawless and sheer in the early daylight.  
Shelley had gone Porcelain. The word swept through the office as managers texted on their phones, security guards spoke into their walkie-talkies and workers ran to get their desk partners.
I knew from the commotion that when I saw her, any visible surface of Shelley’s skin would look sheer, perfect and one-tone in appearance. No line, wrinkle or even pore would be visible on the immaculate, rigid surface that barely moved as she spoke, flourished and shone to drink in the awe and adulation of those around her.
From over the top of my desk partition I saw how Shelley smiled and chattered. She swelled with pride and the congregation gathered round, eager with their questions and compliments, jostling with each other to rain attention on her. Shelley drank it in and flicked an extension of her peroxide - blonde hair. With a pinch of the hem and twirl she showed off her new designer dress and matching shoes. Immaculate and apart from the rest; she was a beautiful porcelain doll.
It shocked me awake from my sore-eyed daydreaming of moments before. I left the cursor blinking on a sentence as I stood to rise. My arms trembled, my heart sank and stomach lurched as the news sank in.
‘My God, have you seen her? Shelley’s actually done it, she went through with it!’
‘That’s amazing. Did you know she was going to do it?’
‘Didn’t you? I heard rumours going round but didn’t know if they were true or not,’ - snatches of conversation could be heard among the growing hubbub.
‘Doesn’t she look amazing? I’m so jealous.’
‘When did she decide she would go for it?’
‘How did she keep it a secret for so long?’
‘How on earth could she afford it?’
‘Can mere mortals like the rest of us even dare to dream of getting it done now?’
‘Does this mean that Glamorta gives colleague discounts now?’ That one brought a few snorts of derision. ‘Yeah, right.’  
Doesn’t she look amazing, so beautiful, so wonderful. Such a glamorous girl; Shelley. I felt sick. How could she? Shelley just had to go and get that done. The procedure. After everything else, this was the final one-up that could never be topped. Glamorous, pretty Shelley who drifted by high on life and without a care. Shelley, who was always so smart and blessed since our school days where she coasted effortlessly by to easy A’s thanks to her home tutors. A car for a gift on graduation day, easy acceptance to the right university, enjoying all the world had to offer and loving every minute ever since. Spur of the moment getaway trips around the globe twice a year to private holiday resorts with the wealthy and famous. Then it was back to the real world and the rest of us, to file her nails, flick her hair, idly gossip and wait for it all to begin again. Constantly overrated and promoted above her ability, it was anyone’s guess what she stooped to, or who she stooped to, to get what she wanted.
Star pupil, head girl, honours student, dream job, high flying career and a wealthy husband. Some relative or other gifted a suburban mansion to them both on their honeymoon as part of their annual tax evasion, and now this. Gone Porcelain.

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