Who Should I Be Today?

Who Should I Be Today?

This is something of a call-back to the first prompt I ever wrote (which starts with the same line). I thought it would make an interesting juxtaposition since Cazella and Silkfoot achieve basically the same thing via two drastically different methods. Cazella makes herself into the person she thinks others want her to be by changing the way she looks and dresses. Silkfoot, on the other hand, turns himself into different people he wants to be by changing the way he speaks and acts. Which made this an interesting character study, for sure.
. . .

Who should I be today? Silkfoot wondered as he surveyed the spread of plastic cards laid across the table before him. Each had its own picture of a face bearing its own unique smile. Each had a name printed in bold but boring font. Each had a birth date and an address, but not a single one belonged to him.

Each card inhabited a small plastic pocket with a hole punched in the side. He kept them in a small black binder that could be easily tucked away in a glove compartment or jacket pocket, but was just as easy to reach when he wanted to swap one of his identities with another.

Dylan was always particularly fun, especially if he wanted to hobnob with high-class snobs. He owned several successful business ventures in foreign countries – never the one he was in, of course – and business executives always seemed pleased when he appeared at their parties or conferences. But he was also high-profile, and Silkfoot tried not to overuse him.

Mareisa was better at flying under the radar, especially if he wanted to spend a lot of time in the city without having to duck notice. She had a particular fondness for children and sometimes dedicated her time to youth classes or events where she encouraged young people to find what they were truly passionate about and pursue it. Though she was careful not to be too specific about which professions she thought they should lean toward. She saved that for the older kids.

Kurt might come in handy at the moment. He as a little too studious and serious for Silkfoot’s taste, but his knowledge and interest in architecture would serve his current venture well. Especially if he needed to duck into a library or museum to hide from the local law enforcement. But one could only push up their glasses and quietly correct a tour guide so many times before the game got old.

There was always Natalia, of course; one of his favorites. She knew how to charm everyone with the flutter of her eyelashes and the sweet words that flowed from her tongue. But she was difficult to catch and nearly impossible to pin down. Just like him.

Oh they were all pieces of him, all came from some knowledge or interest of his. A handful of street magicians, at least two skilled and celebrated actors and there was a retired bartender in there somewhere. Their faces were all his face; that was the real glory of it. A couple pairs of glasses, a distinctive style of dress or makeup, and the occasional streak of color in the hair, but nothing that required a great deal of prep.

The whole idea was to flow between them. He could assume any one of these identities on a whim, change mid-sentence if he needed to. Run around a corner and emerge as someone else, even if he was wearing the same clothes and hadn’t bothered to touch his hair. It was all in the voice, in the eyes and the gestures. It was his interaction with others, and the way he drew them in or repelled them. It was a game he’d grown very good at over the years, though he still strove to master new and exciting ways to play.

His fingers hovered for several seconds above Kurt before skipping away to scoop up Dylan. As an afterthought, he picked Natalia out of the pile. They were easy enough to switch between, though they both drew a different crowd. The best way to escape Dylan’s admirers was to spend some time among Natalia’s; no one would ever dream they could share a room, so how would they guess they were the same person?

As he slid the pockets back into their binder, he shuffled Kurt to the top. It wouldn’t hurt to keep him close to hand, though he hardly needed an ID to play the part. They were always with him, these brilliant creations, even if when he had to leave the binder in the care of his first mate. At the end of the day, no matter which role he chose, he was all of them.

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