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Rated: E · Draft · Contest Entry · #2191823
Arthur Jenkins
What a Character, May, 2000 words.

Arthur Jenkins was tired of his skin again.

It was growing slack and crepey around the throat, and sagging in places that made it hard for him to wear his usual clothes. "Well, Arthur, that's just what happens when you age." His attendant had told him. "Do you really think it would be a good idea to change now?"

Arthur's attendant, Barnabas, had been with him since he was brought into the world. He was by his side the first time he had shed his skin at 25 when all that beer from university had caught up with him. If Arthur was Batman, Barnabas was his Arthur. He could afford an attendant and every reiteration of himself that he fancied on a whim for the rest of his life. This time, Barnabas was trying to talk him out of it.

Gazing in his multi-mirror, clad in his boxer shorts, Arthur studied the 360 degree view of himself with scrutiny. He no longer had his great grandmother's weak chin or his great, great uncle's mouselike ears. He gave those up years ago, much to his parent's lament. They were old fashioned, and they took it personally, but they're of the generation that didn't put its' value on aesthetics. "People judge you on your character, Arthur, not how you look." His father had once told him. Arthur adored his naivetbut he knew better: people judge you on everything. Beginning with how you look.

Arthur was tall, and well-sculpted, but upon closer scrutiny... imperfect. The hairline shoring his smooth, tanned forehead was receding. Pouchy dark circles threatened to draw attention from his caramel-flecked hazel eyes. For a long time, he could win over the room within seconds with those sparkling eyes. Now they were bloodshot, branded with veins.

"I definitely need an upgrade." He said decisively to his reflection. "One hundred and thirty years does not agree with me."

Arthur Jenkins was the descendent of a long line of heirs who couldn't remember why they were rich. Somewhere way, way back in his lineage, one of his ancestors purchased the planet of Mars, all of the steel mined in the country of Russia, and the rights to the complete catalogue of works produced by the Beatles, Michael Jackson, and Madonna. That wasn't all, his family collectively owned more things and people than any of them could care to keep track of. They had staff to take care of that.

He stepped into the simulator and chose "tropical lagoon" for his daily bath. As he luxuriated in the lagoon, a gentle waterfall massaging his shoulders, he took inventory of his day. "What's on my agenda today?" He asked the air around him. His virtual assistant answered, her voice programmed to "Like velvet and chocolate and a full-bodied Chateau Margaux." Arthur specified.

-"Breakfast, nine AM: lucky charms, boiled egg, mimosa."
-"Meeting with colony planning representatives for new Jupiter base, eleven AM."
-"Lunch, noon: Rainbow roll sushi, Nigori sake."
-"TED talk, San Francisco, two PM."

"Wait... what's that TED talk supposed to be about, again?" He queried. He gave a talk every week to some organization or another, it was hard to keep track.

"The importance of empathy in intergalactic diplomacy." She replied.

"God, you are sexy. Thanks, doll." He replied. "That's good for now, I'll get back with you in a couple of hours." He rose from the crystal bathwater-lagoon to dry and get dressed.

If Arthur was Batman, Barnabas was his Arthur. Preparing him for the day came as second nature. Arthur dressed and sat down to his breakfast with his newsfeed. The more he watched, the more apparent it became that he would have to undergo the procedure to change. In order to stay in front, he would have to look the part.

"Sir, your Mother is waiting to speak with you." Barnabas poured him a third mimosa.

He tapped a link on his tablet interface and his mother appeared in miniature, standing on the kitchen table. "Hi baby, how was the dinner last night?"

Arthur had been at a fundraising event for the population who couldn't afford to get off of Earth and to the outer colonies. The atmosphere was declared a health risk due to its atmosphere, but also the soil and water had become contaminated such that it was dangerous to consume anything grown there. He recently paid a visit to Earth to survey the squalor himself, and it was certainly a depressing trip. Dirty children with sick and emaciated adults scattered throughout what was left of the cities begged him for uncontaminated food, water... anything they could use to survive. He came away quite shaken, so he decided to do something about it. He established a foundation to fund resources to those in need back on Earth. He was determined to make his mark in history, and helping the lesser peoples was the best way to do it.

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