Challenge #02106-E283: Tech Support for the Undead
There is some things that I needed to adapt to when I first worked with Madam.
- She's a 500-years old vampire
- She is totally clueless about recent technologies (it's a miracle that she know how to use a floppy disk)
- She mixes nearly all slang from the last 5 centuries. -- Anon Guest
Lifelong employment, the advertisement read. Administrative assistant to long-lived nobility. Room and board included. Living wages, transport provided. I didn't believe it, of course. Something this good had to be a catch. I scrolled down into the Further Information section and saw what the catch was.
Reply by post to the following address. Unsolicited visitors unwelcome.
I sighed and got out my Letter Writing Assistant and dialled up formal letter for the elderly for the guide on hints and tips. If they were something along the lines of an eighty-year-old fossil, then Copperplate Cursive was the font to go with. Fossils loved it when someone had "an elegant hand". The resumé was a professional, finely-polished work of art that co-incidentally obfuscated my gender and ethnic origin. It also obfuscated how often I supported myself with Etsy, Patreon, and Ko-fi. Fossils didn't like it when young people had too much time.
It worked. I got in for an interview. Taken to the remote, remote countryside in a horse and carriage of all things, by a coachman who didn't want to be talkative. At least there was good wifi. I should have guessed that I was in trouble when the coach took me to an estate. Castle and everything. This noble was old-blood noble.
Older than I thought, it turned out. My future boss was hella old. She'd lived for five centuries and preferred all her staff to refer to her only as Madam. I was no different. She had the kind of agelessness that would make Cher weep in envy. She had more gravitas and aplomb than any other noble I'd heard about. I didn't even guess she was a vampire because of all the tweed. At least, I didn't guess until I got downwind of her.
Vampires have a very distinctive smell. Stale air and old dust and just a little hint of an ancient tomb. You never forget it once you've caught a whiff.
Madam's first words to me were, "Yes. You are hired. Your accommodations are in the East Wing. Declan will show you to your apartment."
"That's it? No interview? No skill check? No background check?"
Madam said, "I have eminent faith in anyone with an elegant hand. Your resumé was impeccable. Also, you are the only one who responded in anything resembling a timely manner and a respectable tone. Declan will fill you in."
Boy howdy did Declan fill me in. Madam was a vampire. Madam was turned somewhere in the Dark Ages. Madam had learned how to be smart about things and not gain much in the way of attention. Madam kept pigs for her nutrition, and occasionally snacked on coconut water, though if one wished to donate one's blood, Madam would remember one fondly come the next holiday bonus.
It paid to keep a symbol of intense faith or love about one's person. Just as much as it paid to be formal and polite whenever Madam was present. When given orders, it definitely helped to consider the letter and the spirit of her words.
Madam expected me to help her 'stay up to date' with the latest in communications technology. Her phone was one of those old hip-mounted handsets, her computer monitor was an amber CRT and it was amazing that her computer had even heard of transistors.
That shit was old. The oldest of old schools. She kept all her information on five-inch floppy disks. Since she could kill me at the snap of a finger, I did my utmost to guide her through most of a century's worth of advancements. Starting with transferring all of her extant data onto a single thumb drive.
I was no fool. It was bright neon and had a plastic floppy chained to it so she'd know it was data. Then I walked her through mouse usage and helped her order a computer and a laptop and a tablet. Not quite top of the market, though. The most reliable ones of all.
Face it, this is exactly the sort of employment that could last a lifetime. Madam is frightened of most of the new stuff and has to be coached through every step. Including a dummies guide to standard icons.
Her most frequent complaint? "This crottled scallywag is going do-lally!" Which, as near as I can tell, means that she's clicked onto the wrong thing and has no idea how to get out of it.
Honestly... getting used to five hundred years' worth of mixed and muddled slang is the hardest thing about this job. The food's great. The apartment's more than I could ever expect in this day and age. The work... can be exhausting. Even though giving blood is strictly voluntary, it's still less than most bosses want out of you on an unpaid internship.
Madam is almost up to being able to handle Lemmings Classic. Without much in the way of help. Okay, without too much in the way of help. All right. Without me having to move her hands through all the things she should remember. Much.
At least the wifi's good.
[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / Fotolit]
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