Challenge #01985-E161: Dare to Daydream

in fiction •  10 months ago

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The cosplayers are out and on the loose. Inspired by an Anime convention in town. -- Anon Guest

Andrew turned a corner and walked headlong into Wonderland. Or Narnia. Or Terabithia. It was hard to tell. Storybrook for certain, because everyone looked like they stepped into reality from the realms of imagination.

Robots and Heroes and Elves, oh my... Andrew checked behind him and the rest of the world was... the rest of the world was... the rest of the world. People in regular street clothes and doing normal things. But around the corner...

Someone in ornate, Japanese-inspired robes was having an animated conversation with a robot and a Deadpool. Iron man was inspecting a very small child in Victorian-style fancy lad gear. An elf of indeterminate gender was flamboyantly in the arms of a grim reaper for a bunch of people in red robes. Animals were walking around like they were humans. Witches were interacting with armoured suits three times the size of a human being.

One of the robots noticed him. A more human-looking one with lights incorporated inside their person. "Hello," they said. "I'm guessing you didn't hear the news."

Regular people were walking by like this all wasn't a thing. Well. Some of them were boggling a little and a few others were trying not to be noticed as they passed by. Andrew had evidently boggled for too long. "There is a perfectly ordinary explanation for all of this?"

Laughter. "It's Weirdapalooza. The worldwide sci-fi and fantasy expo. Everyone's letting their geek flag fly."

Oh. The place was loaded with nerds. "So you're..."

"An accountant in real life. Today? I'm a steampunk robot. My favourite band's playing tonight so of course I have to show my allegiance." As if it was the most normal thing in the world to do that.

"And your boss...?"

"Is the Reinhardt posing for the cameras," the robot pointed them out. A massive suit of armour that should not have contained a human being. "Next year, she's going as Humungous from Labyrinth."

Andrew boggled some more. "Why?"

"Because she has social anxiety and full body armour is a means of-- oh. You mean why are we out and about like this, right?"

Andrew nodded.

"Because life is short and you shouldn't waste it by worrying about what other people think. Because it's fun. Because weird is wonderful. Because it's people like us who do the strange stuff who think up all the technology you take for granted. Because a detailed cosplay is just as much work and investment as a bespoke suit." The robot thought about this for a moment. "Aaaannnnd probably costs as much as a Lamborghini."

"You could be spending that money on other things," argued Andrew. "Invest in stocks, that sort of thing."

"Yeah, but this way, we're helping the economy. Stocks don't help money circulate. They end up freezing money in one place and causing a worse economic downturn than the myth of stocks is selling you." A grin. "I told you. I'm an accountant."

The Reinhardt waved and the robot waved back.

"Gotta go. I'm her teddy bear. Why not take a look around? You could have some fun."

Andrew contemplated his choices. Walk away like everyone else and desperately avoid eye contact like everyone else, or take a trip into the weird side and see what it had to offer.

He wondered if anyone else faced with a different reality had made this choice.

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / IgorKovalchuk]

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