– 26 –


“No I’m sorry Mackenzie, you just can’t wear that leather jacket on camera.”

Now, more than ever, she expected a position in life that didn’t include people telling her what she can or can’t do, especially little people like this. But Mackenzie had to hold her temper. It turned out wardrobe girl was acting on orders from above.

“Mr. Caplan distinctly said you were to stick to the garments they chose. But there are seven outfits in there and you’re totally free to choose whichever one you want.”

Mackenzie ignored the scornful tone of that last sentence. There’d be plenty of opportunity later to sort out underlings. Now she had to get changed for a quick studio check before rehearsing her script. Then came her big debut. If she had to make a slight concession, what of it? The main thing is the world was about to see the real Mackenzie Taylor Mitchell.

She walked past the green room where a number of women, all experts in their fields, were waiting to take part in a post-Trial symposium on hate. Her dressing room was right next door separated by, it turned out, a very thin wall. She heard them clearly. Well, at least she was finally rid of that relentless bass, she thought. Then she opened the door to her walk-in wardrobe.

And there, suspended full-length from seven clothes hangers were seven outfits, identical in style and colour, from the voluminous folds of the baggy black body-length gowns up to the black hoods that were attached to the shoulders, the hoods with their little slits for the mouth, nostrils and eyes: seven solid black burqas.

Meanwhile, conversation wafted in from next door.

“... and all I can say is the old Canada represented pure evil and white guys were the reason.”

“That’s right. That’s why we needed multiculturalism and lots and lots and lots of totally foreign immigrants.”

“The more foreign the better.”

“Absolutely. Absolutely the best thing that ever happened to this country.”

“Truer words were never spoken.”

“Yup. You can say that again.”

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