“Is he still talking?” I asked of my partner, picking through my abominable hand. She looked over at the fireplace, where a somewhat wild-eyed young man was hunched over something. Lipiarz, playing dummy, was listening politely.
“Yes,” she said. “Something called an Eye Pad, now. Another one of his polished baubles he hopes to impress us with, like we are uncivilised tribes of the Amazon.”
“What on Earth could you pad with something like that?” I said, squinting at the block of glass and metal roughly the size of a roof tile. “Ridiculous.”
The young man leapt from his chair. Lipiarz coolly sat back and took a long drag on his cigarette. As he let out the smoke he made some quiet remark that sent his companion stomping away. As he passed us he could be heard muttering “Obviously it doesn’t work without charging!” The door slammed, setting several ornaments into a tinkling farewell.
“I don’t know what he expected,” Lipiarz’s soft Prussian accent drifted from the fireplace. “We’ve all seen glass before, even glass so beautifully polished. My aunt has a piece from the Romanovs, you’d never know it wasn’t a diamond…”
“He claims it’s some device from the far future,” my bridge partner interrupted at this point. “That it knows everything, from the weather to the height of popular actors.”
“Why would we want something that did that?”
“Search me,” she said. “Why can’t he use a neural lace like everyone else?”