“Well.” The two men shared a look. It was rather like looking into a mirror. It was rather like talking into a mirror, as well; they both spoke at the same time.
“What did you do?“
A rueful smile passed from one man to the other, and then they, once again, spoke at the same time.
“I just figured out…”
One man was dressed in old jeans and three layers of cheap shirt; he made a little gesture, the descendant of a bow, towards the other. “No, please, you go first.”
The other took a half-step backwards. “Oh, no, that’s…”
“Um. Okay.” The second one, dressed in an expensive bespoke suit, nodded. “I figured out a way to get Dame Helen and Mrs. Toblerone to start talking to each other.”
“That’s like pulling teeth while sky-diving.”
“On the surface, yes, but it’s a simple matter once you… what did you do?“
“Oh.” The jeans-wearing version of the same face shrugged eloquently. “I discovered if I offered to trade something, people were more willing to talk to me than if I was just begging. So I traded an origami fish for a gift card to Macy’s, and it just went from there.”
“You’re good at this.” The suit-wearing version straightened his cuffs, a gesture he hadn’t had two weeks ago.
“I’m good at this? You’re the one that got the Terror Sisters at a table.”
“You got a car. And you didn’t have to steal anything to do it.”
The jeans-wearing man – the one who had once been Prince – shook his head. “I just understand people.”
The one who had once been a pauper twitched one shoulder upward. That, at least, he’d kept from his poorer days. “That’s all I’m doing. A car, really?”
“I’m working on trading it for a flat. I’ll let you know.”
One Red Paperclip is the story that inspired the Prince’s idea here.
And of course The trope namer.
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