Sythyry (sythyry) wrote,

Loving Kismirth: Hating Kismirth part 6

Mirrored from Sythyry.

What? Unheard-of! Preposterous! A Cani mathematician attached to a Rassimel restauranteur, forced out of their homes and coming to Kismirth? Arriving after a long and thunderous trip in a skayak that wasn’t really built for two, nor for such distances so far from land?

In the earlier years of Kismirth (or the earliest earlier years — in a decade or three, I’m sure to call today one of the earlier years of Kismirth) newcomers generally lived with or next to a more established inhabitant, as a sort of mentor or guide. Now, in these more rush-rush modern times, we don’t do it all the time. But it is still an option; still, even, and ideal. So we invited Chiver and Niia to move in with us until they got their paws on the wood: and by ‘we’ I mean ‘Arfaen, myself, and our smallish household aboard Strayway, which is currently parked decoratively on a private dock in central Kismirth.’

The Consolations of Mathematics

Chiver: “They say you like mathematics.”

Feralan: “I don’t so much like mathematics as live mathematics.”

Chiver: “How’s that?”

Feralan folded a sheet of paper into a glider, and tossed it over Chiver’s head. “What do you think of that?”

Chiver: “A classic parabolic path!”

Feralan: “Not at all! The wind adds one perturbation to the parabola, the wobbling of its wings another, and many other things as well!”

Chiver: “I suppose — but when it is all taken into account, is the path of the front point parabolic, say?”

Feralan: “It is close, but it is not a true parabola. Observe, here are some equations which give a few of the perturbations.”

Chiver: “I have never seen such equations as these!”

Feralan: “I have seen them; I see them still.”

Chiver: “I should hope so — you wrote them down!”

Feralan: “You don’t understand. I wrote down the equations that I saw. Seeing the equations comes naturally to me now. Seeing the airplane itself is more effort.”

Chiver: “I think I must take lessons from you, not you from me.”

Feralan: “You can also take lessons from my Locador demon if you want.”

Chiver: “I … suppose I should be interested to meet it, at least.”

The Consolations of Cookery

Arfaen: “I’m always looking for more first-rate chefs.”

Niia: “How big is your restaurant, for the sake of the loghran?” (No, I don’t know what a loghran is)

Arfaen: “It’s huge. We do most of the catering for the Quick Quarter, which means making meals for everyone there. That’s nine times what any reasonable person would eat, or eighty-one times for someone in the Q-Q-Q. And with plenty of variety, and for our high-end line, each meal has to be a work of art, a true luxury. It’s a bit intimidating.”

Niia: “That could be a bit of work. You’re really the only restaurant in there?”

Arfaen: “Some people try to economize by bringing their own food.”

Niia: “What do you do to discourage that?”

Arfaen: “We sell the best food we can manage in one line, and the cheapest decent food we can manage in another.”

Niia: “Ha! No, really, you can tell me.”

Arfaen: “That’s about all, really. If someone wants to eat ground groundnut sandwiches for a year, they can. Sometimes people like that get tired of the groundnuts after a month, and then we might get another customer. But we’re really not out to extract every last lozen from our clients.”

Niia: “Why not? They’re foreigners. If you don’t get their money, someone else will.”

Arfaen: “Well, this is Kismirth, and we do things the Wrong Way here. We’re trying to be a tourist city. We want our tourists to feel safe here — to be safe! — so it’s actually against the law to cheat them.”

Niia: “Well, that’s silly too. If Kismirth doesn’t get their money, some other city will.”

Arfaen: “Well, we’re hoping that they come back to Kismirth. Better to get, oh, a hundred lozens off of them two times, than a hundred fifty once. And we’ve got people who’ve come back five or six times so far.”

Niia: “Huh. How do you feel about competition?”

Arfaen: “You’re thinking of opening your own restaurant?”

Niia: “I am indeed, Arfaen! I thank you for your offer, but I like being in charge myself, if you know what I mean.”

Arfaen: “Well, any good tourist destination needs lots of restaurants. We’ve got a number of Craitheian places, but Craitheia is a large and ancient world-branch, and I imagine you could come up with a traditional menu that doesn’t overlap any of them. I only handle the Quick Quarter, and it’s not a real restaurant — more of a factory.”

Niia: “So you don’t mind?”

Arfaen: “Not at all! If you need some equipment or a loan or whatever to get started, I’ll be glad to help out. Oh, and I should introduce you to the farmers. We still import too much food from outside, but we’re growing more and more here. It’s a bit bland…”

And the two restauranteurs went off, as friendly as anything, chattering about the technical details of starting a new cafe. Arfaen meant everything she said, even.

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