2.4: Arrowhead

Pan locks down her game face as she secures her camera to a chrome tripod. Behind her is half a hexagon of glass walls, acoustic panels with maroon and grey checkered squares affixed to them. Between Pan and the glass walls is an RVRacer chair with a maroon pillow in the seat to match the accents on the back and armrest. On the other side of the camera is a remote computer set up with three monitors, the center one showing what her camera sees. A small remote and upside-down laminated sign lay to the right of the keyboard. She adjusts the frame to fit tight on her RVRacer chair, the same stencil arrowhead design on the headrest as on her green jersey and shorts.

     The young archer passes her desk and grabs a sign that says “DO NOT DISTURB” in fat red letters. She intends to hang the sign on her door when someone knocks. Pan smiles on the outside and fumes on the inside when she finds Rum standing there.

     “The boys and I are going to dinner. Coming with?” Rum gestures to Shuri and Aven with a thumb.

     “Go without us!” Pan shouts to the Aven and Shuri, slamming the door on them after hanging the sign and yanking Rum inside. She pokes him in the chest. “And I can’t decide if you’re right on time or too early.”

     Rum takes a close look at her equipment, in awe of the makeshift office. “How’d you fit all this in your suitcase?”

     “You see my bed,” Pan says, pointing to it and a litany of clothing covers it entirely. “No way I could. However, Tameri was very accommodating and allowed me to mail all this here last week. Once she dismissed us after presenting the ninjago sword–”

     “Ninjato sword.”

     “–I rushed up here to get my stuff together for my first ever FHA livestream.”

     “Ah,” Rum says slowly, “this must be the job you teased on the train.”

     “Yep!” Pan cheers as she takes her seat in the RVRacer.

     “How’d you get it?”

     “That’s the crazy part, I never expected it to be one.” Pan hops right back up and leads Rum to her desk. She directs his attention to the left screen by turning his face manually. “This is my video blog site, sniperinpink.com. I started it as a joke. Just a way to vent at home. Only a few people tuned in at first. But then as few pals in juvie spread the word.”


     “You’re getting off-topic,” Pan says. “They got me a whole mess of new viewers who, more or less, identified with my particular struggles. Ohaida parents always want their kids to use the same kind of weapon as them, and that pressure can be…too intense at times. Once I stopped simply ranting and focused on actually talking to my viewers, my success exploded. In just these past four months, I’ve amassed an online following exceeding thirty-thousand people.”

     “Thirty-thousand?” Rum asks with a start.

     “You heard me right.” She turns his head to the right screen, where her broadcast shows a cartoon rendition of Pan holding up a finger, the phrase “Will Be Live Shortly” written in baby blue on a pink arrow. On the side of that image is a chat bar with messages flying in quickly. At the bottom of the chat bar, it says that 4,961 are watching and it goes above 5,000 in the next second. “This is where the viewership is and I haven’t even announced the livestream. These are the people that were notified that a broadcast is incoming once I went online.”

     “And you get paid to do this?”

     “Influence is big. I reach a wide audience and Arrowhead noticed. They reached out with a sponsorship deal. I didn’t really need the money, but I figured what the hell, ya know,” Pan says with a shrug. She sees a catch in Rum’s uneasy expression. I know he isn’t big on giving out details, but I thought he’d be happy for me. I don’t understand this boy. “You don’t like it?”

     “Oh, no, it’s not that,” Rum says, throwing his hands up in defense. “It’s just, don’t you think you’re sharing too much. What do your parents think about your job?”

     Pan blows out air with a sudden frustration. “My dad thinks it’s nothing but a passing hobby. He’ll be fuming when he learns I’m sponsored by his chief market competition.”

     “Chief market compe- wait! You live in Sanlow City, right?”

     “Guilty as charged.”

     “So, your dad–”

     “Is the CEO of Sanlow Snipers, the largest supplier of bows to armories state-wide. He tried to break into the clothing industry, but his logo of a loaded crossbow wasn’t as fashionable as this one.” Pan points to the arrowhead stencil on her shirt. She grins when Rum’s eyes linger there. She clears her throat as she inches closer to him. “And as far as sharing goes, I’m a bit more careful than you give me credit for. Some of my more shameless viewers hit on me in the chat section. I ignore them because without ever acknowledging that I’m kind-of-sort-of-fairly-interested in someone else.” Pan kisses Rum on the cheek and watches his unease melt away.

     But I guess I know him well enough for now.

     “So, what do you think?” she asks.

     “Sounds awesome. You’re getting ready for a show now, right?”

     “Yep! A quick one-hour update for my fans. We can go to eat after, but you have to stay quiet and off-camera. I want you all to myself for now.”

And I want this show to myself, also.

     “Yes, ma’am.”

     “Good. Clear a seat on my bed and enjoy the show!”

Pan turns and grabs the remote off the corner of the desk. She takes her seat and brushes her light brown hair back. She takes a long, deep breath as she crosses her legs. With one click, she replaces the cartoon picture of herself with the live camera feed from the center monitor. “What’s up, everybody? I’m back! The number one, the super sweet, the sniper in pink!”

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