Friday, November 27, 2009

Novel Excerpt: Carlotta's Speech on Equality

My Dear Reader,

Here is another chunk of what I've been writing for NaNoWriMo. You may have noticed that I write about Carlotta a lot, but let's just say that I can identify with her. And sometimes, she says things that I wish I could have said to a bully or two, back in the day. Enjoy!

Carlotta's Speech on Equality

By Cecily Jane

Carlotta tried to smile sweetly at Abigail, but the corners of her mouth twisted into a look of contempt. She couldn't help it. How long had she been trying to be patient to this girl? There were times you were supposed to turn the other cheek, and no one could deny that she'd been doing plenty of that, but there were also times when you had to go to the moneychangers and overturn a couple of tables. There were times when being meek was the wrong thing to do, and now was one of those times. Now was the time to act with boldness in order to stop something and make it right.

You know the feudal system is over and done with, right?”

Excuse me?” Abigail showed Carlotta a face writhing in disgust.

The feudal system, you know—knights, princesses, and serfs? We don't do that anymore. It went out of style, oh, about a few hundred years ago.”

You are an idiot. Why don't you just go back to your kitchen?”

"Funny thing: first of all,” Carlotta wagged a finger at Abigail, “it's my father's kitchen, and it's a noble family history that has preserved and enriched the history of our culture. Second, you may have heard of something called the American Revolution? And maybe, you've heard of the Constitution of the United States of America?” Her voice was ironic and playful, making a great distinction from Abigail's poisonous, vicious tone. “It was seven hundred years ago, but you may have missed it, seeing as you're just the daughter of an admiral. Maybe he couldn't send you to the right schools.”

Abigail's anger was boiling over, and she pounded the table when her rage seeped over the edge. Carlotta wondered if Abigail was being violent in an attempt to intimidate her, but even if it was, the admiral's daughter should have known that it wouldn't work.

"If you were smart enough, and if you had paid attention in school, you would have been able to figure out for yourself that for the better part of a millennium, the rest of us humans have been intelligent enough to understand that all human beings are created equal. Should I look that word up for you?”

Abigail responded with a cold, hard stare that tried desperately to mask the fiery emotions within.

"And because all of us are equal, things like occupations, place of birth, and trivial things like that don't matter. You know why? Because we're not a feudal community anymore. We don't need to have a small, wealthy minority stand on the backs of the weak and emaciated. We no longer have to push others down in an attempt to catapult ourselves upward. Instead, we have a society of equals, where we each have an equal opportunity to be judged based on the factors we can control. Not the things we were born with.” She leaned over until she was only a few centimeters from Abigail's nose. “And it seems to me that only a person who was afraid of being deficient would resort to an attempt at weeding out the competitors based on characteristics that have absolutely nothing to do with the prize. So, Princess, it doesn't matter that my dad is a chef and yours is an admiral. What matters is what we've made of ourselves since we came out of the birth canal, and from a purely objective standpoint, I have managed, through my own hard work, to get higher test scores than you have. That, my dear, is a fact.”

By this point, Abigail's face had turned bright red in a heated rage, and it looked like she should have had steam coming from her ears. Carlotta saw it plain as day, but she didn't let it shake her resolve. She aimed to be heard, and she wasn't going to let Abigail stop her from reaching her goal—not now, not ever.

"Now, maybe you're right about the whole kitchen thing after all. Maybe, because I grew up in an environment where I had to work hard, and where I didn't expect to just be handed things out of status, I was better suited to do my own work when I got here. But what's absolutely clear is that I am proud of who I am and where I came from, and I'm proud of who my friends are. You may feel threatened by my success, but you can't stop it. You won't intimidate me, you won't humiliate me, and if you continue to try to destroy me, you'll find that you've merely wasted valuable time and energy on a pursuit destined for failure. Instead, you'll realize that you could have taken at that time you threw away trying to tear me down and spent that time working hard to improve yourself enough to actually compete with me. And if you take too long to notice that, you may find yourself old and alone, without any skills outside of intimidation and manipulation, which you will then realize are useless. You will have made a life for yourself that will be empty and worthless, with the blame squarely on your shoulders. Then, people won't look to you with the worship you crave, but they will see you as a harbinger of destruction by ego, and take you as an example of how not to live. The only true tragedy will be in the fact that you will see this for yourself only after it is too late to change it, but the cold, hard facts of the matter are that sooner or later, the piper must be paid, Your Highness. So I would think a bit about your future payment options before you run up too much debt in the present.”

And with that, Carlotta shrugged, and left Abigail alone to think about what she had said.

Regards, best wishes, and 11,741 words to go,

-Cecily Jane

1 comment:

Cindy Jensen said...

I love it! Can't wait for more.