Friday, July 31, 2015

Breakfast Friendings!

“Restraint is important,” I say as we cross the road to the Breakfast Buffet. The exterior doesn’t look like much: basic sign over the door, no folding sign outside advertising specials, one window filled with signs for various local services. Someone had swept out the small parking lot recently and the place looked clean. It was more than could be said for many people, and a magician tries as hard as possible to not just on external appearances.

If only because in my case the judgement would probably be ‘bland’. Beside me, Jay twists his head toward me, his left hand firm in my right as he uses his white cane on the pavement with his over hand. “I know that,” he says. “I restrain myself all the time,” he adds proudly.

I would laugh, but Jay is probably being serious. And in his own strange way he definitely does so. “Which means you’re not eating the entire buffet?” I ask.

“But that’s what a buffet is for, right? It might be sad if I don’t eat it all!”

“Trust me, it will cope. Just like Charlie happily coped with you not making your coffee, tea, and pepsi morning drink for her again this morning.”

“Okay.” Jay nods to that and tugs at me as we cross the street. “We can order from a menu them? That way you can tell me all the neat things on it.”

The door opens easily under my touch, the place having no wards at all. The interior feels warm and friendly, air conditioning meeting the smell of cooking potatoes. The restaurant is half-full with one waitress taking orders and another, one of the owners from the description Charlie gave, is at the till, making change and then taking coffee to one table.

I find a table and sit with Jay, who is craning his head about as he listens to conversations and sensing bindings happily. The owner gestures the waitress away, quick and subtle, then walks over to our table herself. “You'd be the magician, then.”

I nod. “I am. This is Jay.”

“Hi,” Jay says and offers up a huge grin. The owner blinks, offers up her own name, and asks what we want since Jay using the buffet would be awkward. I tell Jay the items on the menu and he picks half the food, saying all of page two sounds really nummy. Because Jay.

Brenda just circles items on a menu to save time and heads to the back to give the staff the order. I relax, letting the magic in me out gently. There are no wards, not as a magician would make them, not even the kind people make about their own identities or the chains they wrap about their desires. But there is a subtle pressure, a quiet whispering of power. Strength enough that Brenda resisted the unconscious force of friendship behind one of Jay’s grins. A strength that has deep roots and is definitely aware of us.

“Honcho,” Jay says. “I think you’re kinda scaring the god?”

I blink. “I don’t mean to. You can sense him?”

“Uh-huh. He feels nice.” And that’s all he offers up as the owner brings over coffee for me and a hot chocolate for Jay. Almost everyone is making use of the buffet so our food comes quickly and Jay happily inhales it back with more hot chocolate; it is quite good, and I eat mine as the cook comes out of the kitchen briefly. He’s a tall, solid bald man – why his parents named him Kiwi is probably something I’ll never learn. Beside and half-behind is a shorter, thin young man. The god named James, wearing an apron and, along with the cook, watching Jay eat in bemused astonishment.

Jay, at least, does not belch as he finishes his meals and I ignore his hints about the buffet. “Have more hot chocolate. Let the food digest,” I say and head to the kitchen. Both the cook and god have gone back through the doors but no one tries to prevent me from entering. The god is doing dishes and washes off his hands.

“Do you mind if I take a break?” he asks softly.

The cook starts, tries to hide that. “You need anything?”

“I’ll be fine,” James says, and I follow him out behind the building. Even the small area for staff parking is clean, as is their dumpster. The god reaches into a pocket and produces a small pack of cigarettes and a lighter. I feel the world shift a little, like an instrument being tuned.

“I offer these without binding, implicit or explicit,” he says softly, holding out the pack.

I grin at that, accept a cigarette, light both of ours. “You use miracles to make cigarettes often?”

The god blushes at that. “Few people ever notice when I do miracles. Like magicians with magic, I think?”

“If we do it properly, yes. I don’t know much about gods, all told: I imagine magicians who are bound to their city learn more, but I wander.” I take a deep drag. “Charlie told me about you, of course, but you were careful to use none of your power I think. I suspect that shielding Brenda, Kiwi and the waitress –.”


“I didn’t catch her name, but you are shielding them from Jay being, well, Jay. That takes a fair bit of power, I imagine?”

“You never shield people against Jay?”

“He would probably sulk if I tried,” I say dryly.

James blinks. “It’s not that hard. Mostly because he is unconscious about it, and most of it isn’t any kind of power, just his nature. If it occurred to him to force the issue, I am not sure I could work a miracle strong enough to stop it. In a sense, my power runs deeper than yours I think, but Jay is far, far deeper than that?”

“He is.” I pause, and the god goes cross-eyed for a moment as Jay uses power at a conscious level, no doubt prodded by a text message from Charlie. “You should be protected against other gods trying to consume you to prevent this restaurant from expanding, so long as you don’t abuse that protection.”

“I am.” He shakes his head to clear it. “You could have done this.”

“I could have, but Jay quite likes being useful. Much like some gods in that respect?”

James grins at that, a bit sheepish. “Thank you. I did not expect –.” He shakes his head.

“Yes. I found what you expected from meeting a god-eater to be curious. Not that most gods know about Charlie, but that you are all scared without reason.”

His eyes narrow. He’s quick, though that hardly surprises me. “You think the godnet website encourages this?”

“I don’t know; I would think it is worth looking into though. There are some terrible magicians, but I run into few who think that applies to all magicians.”

“I’ll see what I can find out.” He finishes his cigarette. “That is why you wished to speak to me?”

“In part. I’d also like to know if god-energy – used by a god or otherwise – could help a fae and I restore Jay’s sight. I don’t need to know now, or even from you: I’m just thinking of the future.”

James nods; there is nothing I can read in his expression, and I do him the courtesy of not trying.

“I ask without binding, implicit or explicit,” I say, and that wins a grin from the god that I return.

“I – ah,” James says.



“He’s got someone to help him with the buffet, hasn’t he?” I say, resigned.

The god nods. “He can eat a lot,” and I think there is something he wants me to know in that, but I’m not sure what.

I walk back into the restaurant and to the front, watching the one waitress help Jay load up food on a plate. The owner looks at me, I look back.

“You’ll be wanting more coffee then?” Brenda asks.

“Oh, yes,” I say, and she laughs at my tone as Jay sits back down with a huge, shameless grin and begins eating. A few people in the restaurant are staring in astonishment.

I drink coffee, considering gods and friendship and wondering just how far a god could carry a miracle in order to save themselves. But I voice none of it aloud and we leave without having any adventure at all – at least according to Jay, who remains oblivious that a lot of other people definitely had an adventure watching him eat that much food. I think about the future, and the limits of power, and I keep the thoughts entirely to myself.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Buffet Tips

I don’t know when I first realized something wasn’t right about James. Looking back, I’d like to think it was the first day: he showed up almost before the ad wanting a prep cook had been placed. Or when he politely declined every offer of a raise over the next two years. But the reality was three months ago when I arrived early to the kitchen and found him already prepping for the breakfast rush, entirely oblivious to the fact that the alarm code had been changed after we had to fire Sam. No one had been told the new code, and yet he had been in the kitchen and the alarm hadn’t gone off.

I was too frazzled to think much of it until later since everyone else called in sick with an ugly flu that was going around. Somehow, I managed to avoid it and my husband was out of town trying to score us new produce suppliers – even Kiwi was feeling under the weather, thouugh – so I was running all the tables and James was being the cook as well as prep cook and dishwasher, making sure the breakfast buffet was full and somehow had time to inform me that table four was trying to sneak out without paying.

Afterward, he looked as pale as I felt until I said a prayer of thanks – one of those non-generic ones you do after a crazy day at work. I actually saw colour return to his face and stared at him. “James?”

“Ma’am?” he said.

“You’re not even breathing hard.”

He blinked, and something like chagrin crossed his face. “Sorry.”

“I don’t –.” And I was so tired I began putting things together. “You prepped enough for the whole day, the whole rush, right down to the meals for staff at the end,” I said, waving to our breakfast hashes before I went into the fridge. He’d somehow found time to prep a bit for tomorrow as well. “Talk” I said as I came out. “Because, right now, gift horse or not, I’m feeling a little scared.”

He jerked back at that as if I’d struck him, took almost a minute to find his voice. He looked so young, then, when he told me what he was, when he allowed me to see something of it. There was light, warmth, and other things. Kiwi’s voice, and mine. Our needs, our desire for The Breakfast Buffet to succeed, the fact that we’d dumped our live savings and retirement plans into it. I think that Kiwi can’t have kids was part of it, though James didn’t say.

It turned out gods weren’t what I thought. They made themselves as much as they were made, tied to a business, a home, a place of some kind that had the right shape of need for them. The greater the need, sometimes, the more miracles he could do, though there were limits. He’d been able to keep the flu away from me, though not anyone else, and there were definite limits to how much energy he got from us, what he could do and when. Most of the time, he was just like any prep cook, busser and dishwasher, he explained, even if he wasn’t at all.

I told Kiwi, of course, because you don’t hide things like that from your husband. James offered proof, though clearly he was uncomfortable being so naked to us, and said he didn’t know about God, or anything like that. He was closer to a guardian spirit, Kiwi figured, and asked if this meant he’d work for free. James had said he couldn’t, almost apologetic until Kiwi offered up one of his wicked grins and left a god blushing and laughing weakly at falling for the joke.

Funny this was, it hadn’t changed anything. We didn’t make a point to pray more, though we did thank him more when we realized when he was using his nature. He’s mostly shy about it even now; most gods don’t have a working relationship with the people wh empower them in case it got awkward. Which is why I was shocked to arrive at the usual 6:30 Tuesday morning and find him crying in the kitchen, arms wrapped about himself and shaking all over. “James?”

He spun as if he hadn’t heard me enter at all, eyes wide. “Ma’am, I –.”

“It’s Brenda.” And I grabbed him by the right ear and dragged him into the front, shoving him firmly into a chair and forcing coffee into his hands. “What’s wrong?”

“Th-there’s a god eater in the Starbucks across the road,” he whispered.

I hadn’t even known James could stutter until that moment. I sat as well, and glared at him when he moved as if to stand. “We don’t open until 7:30. We can open late if we have to. Talk.”

“She eats gods. Destroys them, sometimes maybe moves them? I’ve only heard stories. There hasn’t been a god eater in a long time,” he whispered, staring down at his hands. “I’m not – I don’t know what she might do.”

“You think she would try and destroy you?”

“I don’t know!”

I started at the cry and stood slowly. “Do you know who it is?” He shook his head; I headed to the door and told him to wait, leaving and closing it behind me as I walked across the road.

I had no idea what a god-eater looked like, but the Starbucks was busy – it helped, since one woman was sitting by herself near the door and the two tables around her were empty. No one seems consciously aware of avoiding the tables/ It was a little like how James could weave between tables and people moved without thinking, maybe. I had no idea what I’d expected, but she couldn’t have been more than twenty.

I sat down across from her. “You’re the god-eater?”

She put her phone away and looked up, dark eyes staring into me for a long moment. It took an effort not to move back: she looked like her bite would be far worse than her back, and there was something about her that reminded me of the principal way back in high school. I’d never considered myself sensitive – Kiwi would laugh himself sick if someone called me that – but even a blind person would have realized there was power here. “And if I am?”

“I co-own the Breakfast Buffet across the road. You are terrifying our god and I rather need him top prep the breakfast rush.”

She blinked. “The god works for you?”

“He is paid staff, yes. And we don’t need you eating him, or whatever it is you do. Understood?”

“I am afraid not.” She stood. “You are?”


“I’m Charlie. And I am afraid I’m going to have to talk to your god, though I have no plan of hurting them.”

“And if I say no?”

Her eyes burned. For a second, something red and hungry stared out into a too-small world and then her eyes seemed human again. “I am afraid I would have to insist. I’d rather not do that.”

I hesitated, then nodded. I didn’t know what else to do: no one else would believe if I told them our restaurant had a god. I don’t know how many places do – James doesn’t know himself, but says the rare places that know they do keep quiet about it. She stood and brought her coffee across the road. James was in the back, doing prep work with quiet intensity, and set the knife down in a slow, careful movement. There was no colour in his face at all.

“What are you?” he whispered.

“A god-eater. My name is Charlie.”

“That’s not all you are,” James said, as though reluctant.”

Charlie shrugged. “I also know how to do exorcisms, and I have weird friends. You have a name?”

“James,” he said, barely over a whisper.

“A human name. And you’re paid as staff?”

“I work full time,” he said, meeting her gaze. “Minimum wage.”

“I didn’t know gods did that.” Charlie hesitated, and I liked her for the hesitation. “Can I ask what you do with the money?”

James licked his lips. “You – you – you don’t know?”


“Godnet. It’s a – a website. Funds are donated to it, and gods whose homes are in danger of failing can ask for funds. Each god can only ask once. We don’t know who runs it, or why. Every god who can puts money in. Most gods use tithes or favours for revenue. Not many work, I think, or would admit to it but I like it. I help more like this than I do with miracles, most of the time.”

“And it makes you stronger. The customers believe, the staff believe. Clever.”

“I didn’t do it to be clever,” James snapped, then shrunk back.

“I’m not going to bite you,” Charlie said.

“You could. Your bite is worse than your bark.”

To that Charlie made no reply, instead looking at me. “Do you have plans to expand?”


“All the locations will be yours, to work in and draw upon,” Charlie said to James.

The god opened his mouth, closes it. “You can do that?”

“Yes.” She grinned. “Tomorrow morning a magician and a blind boy will come for breakfast. Talk to them, and they’ll make sure no other gods try and eat you if they think you’re getting too big. Jay is very good with bindings.”

James just nodded, looking stunned as Charlie headed out the front and left. I locked the door behind her and walked back into the kitchen. “That turned out okay?”

“You were going to expand?”

“In a few years, if we’re able to. I wasn’t sure how to bring it up with you; I thought you might only be here?”

“I would have been. Now I’m not. Thank you,” he said.

“Your welcome,” I said dryly, and went to the front, not quite closing the door. I caught James’s whoop of joy, and wondered if this meant he’d accept a raise next month. I closed the door after that and began the process of getting the front ready for the first customers, half-dreading tomorrow and what a magician might bring to our restaurant, but not about to share that with the help. Even if they were a god.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Morning Confession

Gerald sits at my kitchen table, hands clasped together on it. They’re shaking despite his efforts. He didn’t make a joke about my answering the door in a nightgown at 6:30 in the morning, hasn’t made a single comment about the French press, how it’s a coffee machine for people who hate coffee. Nothing like that. I’m full of openings he hasn’t taken a jab at, and there is something. I don’t know what, and the not-knowing is a strangeness like waking up to find a stranger in my brother’s skin. He’s big, my oldest brother. Big and solid, with muscles honed in years at a second-hand auto mechanics, knuckles the veterans of dozens of bar fights.

He should be at work. Gerald always complains at how he’s working long before Some People get up, which always includes me. I set a cup of coffee beside him, make my own. He doesn’t press at the silence. He just sits, waits until I am sitting.

“Sang isn’t home?”

“He’s away on business.”

That wins a nod. “Tom, I –.” Gerald holds the coffee, not drinking it. I’m expecting the usual litany: how mom and dad decided their youngest son was the one worthy of an Education, how I work at the university while he is a grease monkey. Never mind that he works with more computers than I do most days, or that he makes more money than I do: none of that fits his narrative.


No twitch at the name I called him when we were kids. “You know how much Emma got from me in the divorce.”

“Some of it.”

He looks away, actually looks away. “I had to take other work, to make ends meet.”

“Not the gangs,” I say, almost a question. Our town isn’t big, but sometimes it feels that way. Most of the crime is the gangs striking at each other, but there’s always fallout. The melting pot boiling over, as my boss Maria called it once during our chats about town at work, since the gangs are probably more diverse than the rest of the town these days.

“Mob. Gangs. People with money,” he says quietly, almost softly, not looking up from the table. “I found plans on the Internet, adapted them. I’m good at making things. I make IEDs. Bombs,” he finally adds when I wait him out.

“Bombs,” I repeat.

His head jerks up. “Not that kind, not the terrorist – none of that shit. The gang members take each other out. Bombs in vehicles to hit each other with. Last night’s was disguised as a present. Only it ended up in the wrong car, the driver taking it out of town. The people I’d given to had the radio, they set it off remotely. I didn’t know any of that until this morning. When I – I – I got a visit. At home.”

“You made a bomb, it was put in the wrong car and set off?” A nod. “And it was traced back to you?”

“I don’t know how.” He looks up finally, setting the coffee down as his hands are shaking too badly. “There was this guy at my back door. Ordinary. Think he was white, but he looked ordinary.”

“So he was white,” slips out, before I can think about it.

“No, I mean – he fit in. Like you could have dropped him anywhere and he’d fit in. That kind of ordinary, like spies are in movies. The kind of –.” Gerald shakes his head. “He looked soft, Tom. Ordinary, like that, and then he held up some plastic, and asked questions.”

And my older brother shudders at that, literally shudders and wraps his arms about himself.

“... he was FBI?” I ask. “People died?”

“No,” says Gerald. “Least I don’t think so. If he was, all those stories about aliens and shit –. Tom, when he spoke to me, I had to answer him. Had to, like his voice was dragging truth out of me, like he was speaking truth so I didn’t have a choice in return. I’ve never heard anything like it. He just stared at me after, looking through me, into me, more than that. Turned out no one had died, but he’d been renting the vehicle and wanted answers.

“He was quiet after. Not a good quiet. Then said I’d been very lucky so far, but luck wouldn’t last. And that I should stop making these for anyone. He could have – have ordered me to. His voice was like that, but he didn’t. He just walked outside. I think he talked to someone on his phone, made some arrangement at 5:45 in the morning because he came back inside with an envelope of bills. Money, mix of new and old. More than enough to – to make up for the money I’d lose not making IEDs.”

“He paid you to stop making them?”

“He said there weren’t many problems money could solve, but it could help with a few. Be a means, but not an end. Give me space, time to think. Then the man just left. Walked out and left, and it was only then I realized he’d unlocked the doors without touching them, that they locked behind him. I don’t know what he was, what this is, but you know things, Tom.”

I almost laugh at the need, at the belief in my older brother’s voice. Only, this time, I have something, at least a little bit. “I asked Sang about North Korea a few times, about stories he’d heard. He told me he and some friends once tried to go north, through the zone between both nations. A bet and dare, really, through an area that has become like a wildlife preserve since people aren’t in it, and they ran into a Korean woman who told them to go back. He says she said it, and they had no choice at all. He didn’t expect me to believe it, but I did that study a few years back of myths in large urban centres. Almost all of them involve at least one person with a voice that can’t be ignored. The rest of it varies, and often gets really outlandish, but I think there is something to them. Or could be. I don’t know what it is, or who you ran into.”

“You don’t think I’m crazy.”

“Probably not.”

Gerald starts, almost grins at that and finally begins drinking the coffee. “I don’t know what to do.”

“I don’t think I can help you with that,” I say, and he doesn’t make a bitter comment about my Education. He just nods, drinks the coffee, and finally leaves. I’d like to think he’ll use this money for some courses somewhere. Stop thinking a lot of things, and make his own way. But I don’t know. I can’t know.

I make myself another coffee, think about people with voices that can’t be ignored, and stories I’ve heard and never shared with Gerald at all. I decide that today is a very good day to work from home. Just in case the man with the voice is out there. Because we all have truths we never want to speak.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Reunion

The ghost is screaming, the sounds cracking windows as I dive to the floor and roll. The floor of the house buckles wildly, the ghost visible in the old ballroom wreathed in chains made appliance cords, snow tire chains and scraps of the second and third floor carpets. I’ve seen ghosts do many things to scare humans, but being a fashion statement was never one of them until now.

I snarl six Words of exorcism that Dyer taught me. The ghost flickers like a tv image gone sour, only to let out another scream as the old home shudders about me. The entire home was built as part of a movie set fifteen years ago; security has been refusing to examine the property. Phone calls were made, and someone found out about me. I don’t know why: there are a lot of real exorcists in the world, and most of them are probably far better than I’d be at this. And definitely far better on less than an hours notice.

I discard exorcism and stand, reaching out with my nature. I eat gods, among other things. It generally suffices for ghosts, but this one is somehow slipping away, shifting out of my grasp. I manage to shred some of the garments the ghost is wearing and their head – explodes, reforms, exploding again like a broken light bulb as the carpets and cords form about it again.

Which is, of course, when my phone rings.

I answer it, and snarl, “I’m busy.”

“Charlie.” It’s the wandering magician. Of course it is.

“Don’t let me you lost Jay?” I say, since I rather upped and left him to deal with the kid from Outside the universe over a month ago. For all sorts of reasons, some of which even made sense at the time.

“No. We’re coming for a visit.” He pauses. “In a few minutes. You might want to be outside, since Jay’s presence hurts ghosts.”

“I might want to, will I?”

“The ghost is being hurt enough as it is,” he says simply, and hangs up before I can hang up on him.

I stare at my phone, put it away. Hurt? I pause, and feel the floor shudder about me, the creaking of the building. I don’t call up the god inside me, not for this, but I stare at the carpets – the chains – the cords – and things come together. “You’re not haunting this house. It’s keeping you here.”

I can talk to gods, I can speak to and banish ghosts. I don’t know how to talk to buildings, and now that I consider that I’m pretty happy to lack that skill. I reach up, and speak four quiet Words, a reverse exorcism trick Dyer taught me to give the ghost power. It shudders, tearing free of the bindings and lands on the ground. Thin, humanoid. A man in a bowler hat, retaining that much from when he was alive.

“Talk to me.”

“I made the house famous in the movie, was in the TV show that came after until I died of a heart attack on set,” the ghost says in a thin, whispery voice. “I haunted this place for a time, but everyone left. All the TVs, all the crews, and we’re far enough off the main roads that even hooligans rarely come out this far. I wanted to leave as well; the house didn’t want to be alone.”

“Of course not.” I don’t bother telling the ghost I have no idea who he was. I raise my voice. “House. You are going to let him go and I am going to leave now. If you don’t do this, the wandering magician is inbound to this location and he can do terrible things to you.”

The lights in the ballroom flicker out. I decide that calling the house a cliché wouldn’t be productive.

“He’s not alone. The wandering magician is travelling with a creature from Outside the universe, and I think you really don’t want to know what kind of Outsider a magician would travel with, and definitely not want to get in their way?”

The ballroom door opens at that. The ghost lets out a gasp, and vanishes into the Grey Lands. I walk out as if I wasn’t worried at all, mentally kicking myself for not looking up the movie at least before I arrived. The assignment had been in haste, but even so – I shake my head as I walk outside, heading toward the RV I’ve been using for the last few months. Had the magician not been en route, I’d have probably had to do weird things to the ghost or burn the house down. The latter probably leading to not getting paid, among other things.

Not that I’m surprised he was near, since I’m not sure the life of a wandering magician allows for coincidences. And just thinking about that is depressing enough that I’m almost at the trailer when a shape hurls through the darkness toward me in an inhuman blur to slam into my side. I draw the strength of the god inside me, brace myself, and barely stop from attacking when the figure begins speaking.

“We totally tracked you down and it was an adventure and I missed you and that’s not a good adventure and Honcho and I had adventures but it’s not the same even if it’s more fun because he doesn’t get being Jaysome and doesn’t believe I’m a princess and you didn’t have to go away and I’d kinda like to stay together lots and we’re friends and I’m all kinds of –.”

“Jay. Breathe.”

Jay gulps in breaths and presses tight against me, all of eleven, from far Outside the universe and ... my friend. Which means a lot of things, most of which I try not to think about too hard.

“You okay, kiddo?”

“I missed you!”

Nothing shatters. The house doesn’t explode. I relax a little: Jay can bind and unbind things to a degree that nothing human – not even magicians – can manage. “Jay, you had adventures with the magician.”

“But you weren’t there,” he flings out, pulling away to glare sightlessly up at me from behind dark glasses. “You’re my friend, and you went away again and it hurt!”

“I didn’t mean to hurt you,” I manage.

“Oh! Okay,” and he grins at that, the kind of smile that every other smile is a pale echo of. Pure joy and trust.

“It’s okay, is it?” I say once I catch my breath.

“Uh-huh, Cuz I was worried but now I’m not and we can have more adventures!”

The wandering magician comes walking onto the property, slipping through a door in the chainlink fence I don’t think existed a few minutes ago. Nathen looks ordinary: it’s one of his talents, possibly not something involving magic. He’s carrying Jay’s white cane and tosses to toward Jay.

Jay senses the binding, catches it and grins even wider. “I brought Honcho,” he says proudly.

“I noticed.”

“Jay. We did leave the car back in town.” The magician pauses. “You might getting it and bringing it here?”

“I get to drive?!” Jay asks, bouncing from foot to foot.

“If nothing breaks. Yes,” he says, and Jay is gone in an inhuman blur back down the road. I think he might be singing Queen songs, but it’s hard to tell.

“You’re letting Jay drive,” I ask.

The wandering magician actually winces at that. “It seems the easiest way to keep him occupied.”

“We are in a forest. He could have had an adventure exploring it,” I say dryly.

“Yes, and probably found several monsters he wanted to be friends with,” he says, even dryer. “I thought it best we speak in private.”

“This is private?”

“The house isn’t listening,” and because he is a magician, or at leas the kind he is, he can speak truth that another can’t mishear. He rubs the bridge of his nose and sits down on the bumper of my RV. “I have apologized to Jay, even though Jay never understands apologies. I believe I owe you far more than that.”

“Pardon me?”

“I left you with Jay after my actions left him blind. You’re his friend, yes, but he is bound to be in ways even Jay may not entirely understand. He wanted to travel with me – with you as well, but if he had to choose between us ....” he trails off.

“I know.”

“And Jay knows you know, which hurt him since he doesn’t want to hurt his friends. He was trying to hide how much he missed me, thinking he failed because you left, but – it wasn’t only him. A ten year old boy left for you to look after with on your own.”

“He’s eleven now.” I don’t know why it’s important to say, but I say it.

“Eleven, yes.” He doesn’t look up at me, hands clasped tight between his legs. “He was blinded, and you were left alone to help him come to terms with that, to cope with that. And to deal with him being Jay, all on your lonesome. I think,” he says, and looks up, “that it was grossly unfair of me to leave you to face the amount of dinosaur movies he subjected you to by yourself.”

I snort at that. “We did see Jurassic World many times. I have no idea if that’s part of him trying to be a normal human kid, or just being Jay. I doubt he knows either, really. And you’re right: you should never have gone.”

“I know.” He stands. Not Jay-quick, but he is quicker than one would expect, and his face is pale and hard for a moment. “And I won’t again.”


“I won’t do that again,” he says, and the fact has power threaded through it.

“Magician.” I take a deep breath. “We all make mistakes. Even you, or we wouldn’t be human. You can’t make a promise like that.”

“If I don’t, I might go again. Might hurt Jay again and – not be able to – or hurt you, and do the same. I’m good at hurting others, but I also have to live with it. To move beyond it.” And then he smiles a crooked magician’s smile full of unsaid things and spoken secrets. “If you will travel with us again, of course. I’m not about to impose, not after everything.”

“You think Jay is going to let me go?” I say, half-joking.

“He will need to let us go someday,” he says gently. “But for now – he would forgive, because he is Jay, but he would not understand.”

“Point.” I open my mouth to ask where he is going next when a blue car comes skidding through the mesh fence the security company put up around the property.

The magician spins as Jay comes barrelling out of the car, and forms a ward from the wind, the strength pf the house, other things I can’t sense at all.

“Honcho, I’m kinda,” Jay begins when the explosion hurls him right into and through the wards, to bounce several times until he hits the side of my RV with a shocked yelp.

I move around the RV as Jay picks himself up off the ground. His shirt and pants are torn, but he’s not actually hurt: he’s far tougher than anything human, but looks almost comically surprised and worried.

“I totally didn’t so that,” he says. “I thought the box was a present, but the bindings felt weird as I got closer but! I was busy driving and that’s pretty hard when you can’t see at all and are focusing a lot on bindings and then I was flying, only it wasn’t proper flying at all!”

The magician just walks to the smoking remains of the car. “Next time, Jay, please pay more attention to mysterious boxes put in vehicles. Even if you think they are presents for you.”

I walk over. “What were you two doing in town?”

“Nothing.” The magician holds out a hand, and pieces of plastic snap up from the wreckage to his grip. “I can use this to find who made the bomb and track them. I doubt it was intended for me if it was that obvious, but we’ll need to find out who.”

I stare at the wrecked fence, the smoking remains of the car. “I also need to get paid. It might prove difficult, given the fence.”

The magician smiles at that. “I think I can convince your employers to pay you.”

“Ah. Point.” I walk back to the RV. “You drive; I’ll catch up with Jay.”

He nods and walks over, getting in as Jay apologizes again for the explosion. I explain that everything is fine and it wasn’t his fault and Jay realizes the three of us are travelling together again and lets out a huge several squeal of bouncing joy and then sits down at the table and pouts.

“Jay?” I say warily.

“Neither of you said how good my driving was,” he says crossly.

The magician bursts out laughing at that, only just managing not to swerve the car off the road. I bury my face in my hands as Jay demands to know why we’re laughing at him but even so I can’t shake the feeling that everything feels better with the three of us together again. And I’m almost certain Jay isn’t causing that feeling without even knowing what he’s doing. Almost.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Dividing Lines

The problem with small towns is that they tend to hide their monsters better than larger ones do. They hide them under stories of witches, under euphemisms and whisperings and rough justice meted out in the darkness because there is so much in them that they dare not let come out to light. Sometimes because it would affect tourism; often simply because that’s the way it’s always been done. And the gods such places create tend to be the kind who need a god-eater to come in and straighten them out.

As far as I know, I’m the only god-eater in the world, at least as far as human ones go. Part police force, part migration service. Probably other things, but I’ve yet to find out what they are all. Gods are complicated, sometimes in ways even humans aren’t. I have less trouble dealing with them when I’m on my own; they tend to get confused by Jay. Same with ghosts, really. But the town of New Hubbleford isn’t big on ghosts and the only gods of note are part of the three churches, bound and chained into the structures.

I’m considering finding out who did that, and why – and how, mostly to be able to undo such a thing – when I walk around the wrong corner just after midnight. There is a woman in a nightgown, curled up and sobbing in agony outside the back door of a small office, and standing over her is a hooded figure whose mere presence makes my teeth itch. Something not right about it, in all the bad senses of those words. I can eat gods, if I have to, but I’m good at eating other things. Energy. Emotions. Structure. I’m damn sure this thing is from Outside the universe, and reasonably sure I could banish it.

But I don’t have a normal life; I haven’t in a couple of years. So I pause, and say: “What is going on here?” I’m not a magician, but i have some power to me, and I can put that into my voice when I have to.

The hooded figure starts and turns slowly, carefully keeping its appearance hidden under ragged edges of a cloak. “This one sells drugs to young children; her daughter was lost to drugs, and she believes it is a fitting revenge on the world to get other children hooked, to destroy the lives of other families. Everyone carries the seeds of madness within: this is the form her blooming took,” it says in a low, gurgling hiss of a voice that sets by skin crawling.

“Proof?” I say, awarding myself points at how steady my voice is. I’ve heard worse in my time: I’ve heard magicians swear in terror, and kids that aren’t kids ask me about the rules for Quidditch because they want to play it with Cthulhu’s older siblings.

“I have shattered her mind, but her soul may speak still.” It moves aside.

I walk over, crouch, and ask questions. I’m not a magician, but given what was done to her mind it’s easy to eat the parts of her that could lie, leave her with only the truth as words to tell. I listen to her for a good three minutes, then order her to sleep. The kind that I hope comes with nightmares. I stand and walk to the end of the house, where the creature waits in patient silence. It could have left; it hasn’t yet.

“You’ve done this before, then?”

“I travel, yes. I help where I am.”

“Most Outsiders don’t, or at least don’t go this far.”

“I did not. For many years I broke the minds of the week, fed on their despair. It is an easier meal,” it says, but the statement of fact carries a sorrow under the words. “But in time I was noticed, and I met a boy who told me I was being mean and I might want to consider another way. He came with a magician like a loaded gun that was not fired, and the magician left the boy to speak with me. Trusted him, and the boy grinned and said it would be great if I picked a better way.”

Of course. I sigh. “You met Jay, then.”

“That was his name. You know of him?”

“You could say that.” Less than a month ago, I dumped Jay in the lap of the wandering magician. I know Jay won’t understand why I had to leave him; I also know he’ll forgive me. And never get why that would tick me off. I don’t offer up any of that, just say: “What did you make of him?”

“I am not certain. He went far deeper than I can go. I am certain he could have banished me utterly from this universe, or simply made me better. Instead he asked, and opened paths I did not know I had. I am no Walker of the Far Reaches, but I was made for terrible wars in places far outside your understanding. I was not made to be able to change, not as Jay allowed me to.”

“He does tend to do that.” I sigh. “I have a car just down the road; you want to grab a coffee and talk?”

The creature pauses, considers, then says: “About?”

“Nothing. Everything. You know how it goes.”

“I am afraid I do not. I know you are no magician, but it feels as though you can banish me?”

“Ah. I didn’t – I’m Charlie.”

“The god-eater?”

I blink. “Yes?”

“Your reputation is formidable.” The cloaked creature bows. “I would be willing to accept coffee.”

Part of wonders how bad it must appear under the cloak. I just nod and head toward my car. Jay hasn’t texted me in three days. I can’t stop thinking about him, or the magician, or how easy it is to be wrong when I’m right at the same time. It says a lot that my solution is going to involve a pow-wow with a creature that isn’t remotely human, but I need a fresh perspective.

And not just about myself or Jay.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Short Journeys

I have a private theory that most people never do magic because they are scared of how easy it is, knowing instinctively that the universe gives nothing that is not paid for in turn. Those of us who become magicians either refuse to believe that or never grasped it at all. Terrible things happen, and most people cope with them in human ways rather than by other means. Most days, I think that makes them braver than I am, but it does give me an edge, sometimes, to dull the edges of the world for others.

Today, it was a simple matter to slow a speeding car while Jay leaps across the road and shovs a girl out of the way. The driver hits the brakes: I add force to that that insurance investigators will probably chalk up as an anomaly and the car skidds wildly, slowed just enough for Jay’s leap and save to seem entirely normal. The best magic I can work is the kind where people don’t even realize a magician worked any magic at all.

Jay looks to be a human boy of about 11; he’s neither, from far outside the universe but very good at hiding what he he. And so good at sensing and using bindings that sometimes he forgets, like now, that he can’t see at present. The girl and Jay hit the sidewalk, roll, and people are running and the girl is crying – I’d guess her to be six or seven, in a deep state of shock.

People crowd about Jay, asking if he is all right, astonished at him for saving her.

“I heard the car like a Jay,” he says, and being Jay he can’t help but be proud of most everything he does.

“It was a truck,” someone says.

“A really big car,” Jay says, and grins. His grin is huge and friendly; if he was a magician, it would count as a greater binding. Being Jay, it’s just his grin. The crowd gathers more, people laughing, asking his name, trying to make sure he’s all right. The girl isn’t discarded, but is slightly forgot and pleased that no one is yelling at her for not looking both ways before crossing a road.

I don’t smoke often. Not as a rule, I just seldom do. This afternoon I light a cigarette with a thought and smoke it as Jay explains that he was just ‘being Jaysome’ and that he was ‘all helping Honcho’ and turns toward me, but I’m just some unremarkable person watching the show. Not someone who worked magic; certainly no one worth noticing.

I scramble up phones and cameras; Jay doesn’t show up in photos or videos because he is very good at hiding his nature. I make sure no one realizes that it is Jay’s nature doing that, and Jay is asked about interviews and how he feels being a hero and he informs them he’s just Jay and not a hero and anyone can jump in front of vehicles and he’s totally fine. It doesn’t stop the crowd from checking him over, making sure he is okay, and ignoring his protests that he’s not important because I’m Honcho.

It takes Jay almost twenty minutes to get free, and that involves him manipulating bindings and marching across the road to glare toward me. “That was all kinds of mean!”

“What was?”

“You’re Honcho,” Jay says, meaning I am the wandering magician, meaning I am his friend, and far more than I would ever dare think I am. “And you’re Important and they ignored you!”

“And you don’t think the blind kid who leaps in front of a vehicle to save a girl isn’t important?”

“But he’s not real!”

“It’s part of who you are.” I poke him gently in the nose.

“But but but you and Dana are totally going to fix my eyes and stuff,” he says, with a trust so complete it could shatter me if I thought about it for too long.

“That doesn’t mean that this won’t still be part of your past, won’t be part of who you are,” I say gently.

“Oh. Oh!”

“Sometimes your being Jay can be more important than my being Honcho you know.”

“Nope.” He says that firmly. “Because you’re Honcho and –.”

“And you are Jaysome,” I shoot back. “You’re good with bindings, and making friends, and you saved this girls life today. You could have saved her without my help at all.”

“But I didn’t!”

“But you could have.” I ruffle his hair gently. “You’re a hero too, Jay. Probably more of one than I am,” and I say that as a magician, in my way of speaking truth that can’t be ignored.

And Jay resists that, utterly and completely, because I am Honcho and to him I am his friend and Important. “No, you’re not! You just hide stuff well and sometimes do mean stuff because you have to but I can totally cheat like a Jay and you can’t and you’re my friend and we’re besties and I’m all a monster from Outside the universe and you’re all OK with that and my being all scary-weirdy and that makes you lots of kinds of brave and a hero and you don’t get to say otherwise,” he gets out in a huge rush.

“I don’t?”

“No. Cuz you’re my friend and I’m a hero because you make me one and push me to do really good stuff and not makes oopsies and think about what I do and that’s all you and trying to say otherwise is really mean to yourself,” he says.

“Uh-huh. And you don’t think you make me into a hero too, kiddo?”

Jay blinks eyes filled with fractured light. His eyes widen.

“We carry each other, Jay, no matter what we are. You don’t get to think you’re less than I am. Not now, and not ever.”

“Oh,” he says, very softly.

“We’re sorted?”

“Uh-huh.” He walks beside me down the sidewalk, putting one hand in mine and using the cane with the other. “Honcho?”


“You know that convincing me I’m totally Jaysome makes you even more Jaysome, right?!” And he grins, a giant beaming pride.

I count to ten. And then twenty. Small steps, but at least they are steps. “Of course,” I say finally, and take him out for hot chocolate as a reward for the help.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Social Media Breakups

“But you don’t understand,” Jane said.

“Fine.” Melinda sat down on the side of her friend’s bed. “Explain it to me. Tell me why you can’t leave Kevin this time.”

Jane reached up to her left eye, dropped her hand to her lap. Her dorm room was a mess of clothing and schoolbooks, laundry fighting procrastination for space. The first year of university had been harder than she could have imagined, even without a boyfriend to complicate her life. Everything had gone so well that she’d trusted him with secrets she’d never shared with anyone else. Not even her best friend, and definitely not her family.

“I can’t,” she whispered.

“He hit you. You confronted him about cheating on you and he hit you,” Melinda said flatly.

“He has before.” That slipped out.


“Cheated on me. With – with Rick, in ... I told him it didn’t count, if it was with another guy, if he used protection.” Jane looked down at her hands, absently wondering when the last time she’d had a manicure was. “It was a joke.”

“Until it wasn’t.” Melinda didn’t reach out for Jane’s face, didn’t offer to get ice. She was ice, a hardness in her eyes that Jane had never seen before. “And Kevin slept with Esta and you found out.”

“You told me what to ask. To look for.”

“So this is my fault?” Melinda asked, sitting back.

“No! God, no. I’d rather know that, than – he’s friends with my family and friends on facebook, Melinda. On twitter. On steam. Places.”


“I told him things I’d never told anyone,” Jane whispered. “He could tell them.”

“Tell them what?”

“About my FetLife account.” Jane licked her lips. “It’s a website, for people with – with fetishes.”

Melinda stood. “And he knows about yours?” Jane just nodded, hands forming into fists half-against her will. “And you think he’ll tell people?”

“He could. He – he doesn’t have an account. If he had any, he never told ...” Jane trailed off. “No one is vanilla. I should have pushed him, but I’m into – into – I don’t want me family to know. People won’t look at me the same again.”

“And you think he’s going to blackmail you?”

“He could. I don’t know how to stop – even if I delete things, and deny every truth he utters. I don’t know,” Jane repeated, feeling as lost as she sounded.

The knock on the bedroom door drew their eyes; the kid who entered was that hazy age between ten and twelve. A little pale, with dark glasses and a white cane. “Hi!”

“Jane,” Melinda said, in a terribly calm voice.

“This isn’t any kind of fetish I have,” Jane said, too shocked by the arrival to even be angry.

“Oh, good. So Kevin sent you?” Melinda asked.

“Huh?” The boy looked confused, like kids often do. “Nope! My name is Jay and I was all kinds of bored, so I decided to visit other stories. Like this one.” And he grinned, and the grin caused Melinda’s breath to catch in her throat. Jane stood, forgetting her eye entirely.

“What kind of story are you in?” Jane said, recovering first.

“A really good one cuz Honcho and I are looking for a friend named Charlie and we’re all kinds of busy but having a break, so I decided to wander a little and say hello. This is me saying hi,” he explained, “which is like hello a lot!”

“We are kind of busy,” said Melinda in a daze.

“Uh-huh. You’re trying to fix some bindings and I’m all kinds of good with those.”

“We are discussing sex,” she said.

“Oh! I don’t know much about that, but! I’ve been told most humans don’t as well,” the kid said.

“Humans?” Jane said.

“Well, like you? Unless you’re hiding really well, your bindings feel all human.”

“And you’re saying you aren’t human?”

“I’m Jay. But I bet I could be Jaysome and human all at once, but it would be kinda hard to do. And if I tried right now I might not be able to get back to Honcho and he could get all kinds of worried. Also, wait, nope. There’s no also at all: that’s all I had to say.”

“Right.” Melinda pulled her her phone. “I don’t know who you are, kid, or what kind of joke this is, but you’re leaving or I’m calling campus security.”

“But if I leace, we won’t be friends,” he said, and pouted.

“Melinda, wait,” Jane said.

“You’re not serious.”

“Look,” Jane said. “We are busy, and talking about someone who is an ass –.”

Melinda coughed.

“Not nice,” Jane continued into the innocent face that stared up toward her own. “So we’d like to do that on our own, if that’s okay?”

“Oh.” The boy let out a huge sigh. “I guess,” and he left the room, closing the door on the second try.

They both heard it lock from their side. Melinda looked at the door, then at Jane. “You locked it when we came in.”

“I did. I thought I did. I have no idea what just happened.”

Jane’s computer beeped as it turned itself on. They both turned slowly, trying not to think they were in a horror film, as her email opened up, a new email icon flashing and then opening itself.

Jane stood, walked over, and stared at her screen. “It’s not something about seven days and a girl in a well.”

“Not funny,” Melinda said.

“It’s – a list of websites Kevin is on. And usernames, passwords. And ends with ‘I totally fixed the bindings like a boss’ and at least six exclamation marks.”

The computer beeped again. “Also, another email asking what those sites are even about, because, and I quote, ‘the Internet didn’t want to talk about it, but I bet I can ask Val,’ followed by three smiley faces. “I’m not sure I want to know who – or what – Val is.”

“What the hell?” Melinda said, as she walked over and read both emails. “What the absolute hell just happened?”

“I have no idea. I think I’m definitely sending an email back asking that kid to come visit.”

“Probably the safest bet. Pizza?”

“Pizza,” Jane said firmly.

“And while we eat, I can quiz you and find out all those fetishes.”

Jane narrowed her eyes at her friends slow, wicked grin. “One of them might involve stuffing you with pizza.”

And Melinda just laughed at that, and didn’t press about anything else. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Immutable Friendship

The problem with being a magician is that you can’t hide behind the truth. Of all the things being a magician takes from a person, often the loss of easy certainties are the hardest to deal with. Jay starts the morning by bouncing – he insists it is boinging – out of the other bed in the motel room, burbling about new adventures and what we might find at a speed that makes me glad I’ve never tried to have him drink coffee. He’s quick, sure, and if you didn’t know what to look for, you might think he could see despite his dark glasses and white cane.

Jay is impossibly good at sensing and altering bindings, to an extent I’ve never run across before or since. Add that to the fact that he is the only creature from Outside the universe I know that can fool magicians into thinking he is entirely human and it’s almost easy to forget he can’t see sometimes. Until he asks about a colour, or pauses in doing something as he adjusts to bindings around us when we’re in a hurry to get things done. He’s trying to hide it, because I’m the reason he can’t see and he knows I blame myself for that.

It was why I left him and Charlie to wander on my own for a time. Left Charlie to deal with Jay’s loss of vision without help. Left her to deal with Jay missing me, which was a worse thing by far. I forget that, sometimes, perhaps because humans have to. Jay bound himself into my service on entering the universe. To him, we are friends, Jay and ‘Honcho’ as best buddies – to the point that he keeps calling me honcho instead of magician even though he no longer has a lisp to confuse that word.

And to Jay, this friendship is immutable. I have used him, have abused his own power – for the greater good, as all ugly necessities often are – and I have damaged him, and altered him, and he doesn’t have it in himself to blame me at all. To get mad at me for going away, yes, but to blame me for hurting him – not now, and not ever. Eventually I will die and he will remain, and he won’t even blame that on me. I get coffee as Jay chats about dinosaurs as if I haven’t see Jurassic World with him a dozen times in the last week.

Jay liked travelling with Charlie, but even he admits – squirming and reluctant – that he’d rather be with me. Because of different kinds of adventures, is how he explains it, but it’s more about what binds us together. And that, he wouldn’t have been able to hide from Charlie for all his trying. I doubt he understands how much that might have hurt her: he is good at sensing bindings, but we can’t sense what we don’t know how to sense, and to Jay it was simply a pure truth so it shouldn’t hurt anyone.

“Kiddo, I’ve been thinking.”

“Uh huh?” he says, drinking his hot chocolate. “Is it about how the dinosaurs died out, because there is a theory about volcanoes that –.”

“No, no it’s not. I’ve been thinking that perhaps Dana and I shouldn’t find a way to restore your sight.”

Jay stops dead at that in surprise, twists his head to stare up toward me. “Honcho?”

There is nothing but confusion in the question. “Given how often you’ve already seem a lot of movies with dinosaurs when you can’t see, you might seem them far too often again when you can and I believe there is only so many times other people might want to see them with you?”

“Charlie said that once, but she was all kidding,” Jay says firmly, then grins, bright and huge. “But you’re right! It would be like seeing them all again and you’re being all kinds of mean with that joke.”

“And if I’m not joking?”

He pokes me with his cane, surprising me. “Then I’ll get all kinds of sad-face and be really sad about it, and maybe even mad too!”

“Maybe?” I repeat.

“Being mad at you would be wrong,” he says, as if that was also an immutable law. “And if you can’t fix it – like really can’t? – I’m totally okay with that, Honcho. I can do lots of things without seeing, and I’ve even been to school and made new friends and helped people with stuff and I’m still me so it would be all kinds of okay!”

And, being Jay, he means every word. “You do know you ruined the joke,” I say, trying to sound as stern as I can.

Jay just giggles at that. “Sometimes being Jaysome means being even better than jokesome,” he says, as if that that makes any kind of sense at all. “What kind of adventures are we having today?”

“We’re looking for Charlie,” I say. “To apologize, to see if she wants to travel with us again, and to look for answers.”


“An ex-magician almost murdered Dana last year; healing that fae cost you your sight. I think we need to know the why of all that before Dana and I can heal it, and the only person I can think to ask is then oldest magician in the world.”

“Oh,” Jay says. I don’t mention Mary-Lee by name, he doesn’t either. “That part of the adventure might not be fun at all?”

“It might not.”

“But the rest will be okay,” he says happily, and says that Charlie left before she could see all the Land Before Time movies after number eleven with him, so we can all do that too when we meet up.

Part of me suspects Charlie might be quite happy if we take our time in finding her.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Facebook status updates part XXXVI (June 2015)

 “I’m afraid that being very good at solving riddles is not the kind of marketable skill we were expecting on your resume.”

Do you know what the smile on your keyboard means?”
It’s for using emoji. I don’t use them myself.”
You should. Technology has reached peak emoticon. It is possible now.”
Huh? What is?”
You could release the first novel written entirely in emoji.”

I miss you like I miss the possessive apostrophe.”

I keep whispering your name, three times into each mirror I pass, hoping to spot your reflection in even one, hoping to summon you with childhood rhymes because I have been left with nothing else.

Few monsters warrant the fear we have for them. Dentists, on the other hand…”

“You wrote ‘I am tired of giving the world free content.’”
“I did. I am.”
And it didn’t occur to you that maybe my birthday card wasn’t the best place to begin writing down your damn manifesto?”

Due to drought conditions, we have decided to examine the efficacy of watering lawns with pain. Tears are, after all, a source of water.”

You stopped the conversation mid-flow, saying I had succeeded my monthly data limit in talking to you. I laughed for a moment but you had never been more serious.

I can’t write love poems about you
Because I buy you a card from Hallmark
Every Valentine’s Day

They keep stealing away your nightmares, trying to turn them into dreams.

Keep talking. You are only two sentences away from being the villain in my next story.”

You don’t understand: I don’t want to be with you. I want to be you.”

Loving me was many things, but not a victimless crime.

Why is it that we seem to hurt each other the most just when we’re finally not trying to hurt each other at all?

You can’t solve all your problems by hitting the snooze button on your alarm clock.”

If cats really have nine lives, why do we continue to do animal experiments on mice?

It was when Joe began to post only memes as status updates on Facebook that Marty realized the aliens had taken over him as well.

They sell so many mouse traps in stores, and only you know why.
Every night you dream about them, terrified. Your shrink says: "You are just afraid of mice", says: "it's just projecting" but you know what really goes on, who they really are. And, some day, you plan to bring their Magic Kingdom tumbling down...

American Horror Story:
Ban a flag, keep the guns.

Another Horror Story:
Every single fact you read on the Internet is correct.”

They keep saying that they love you, as if you both know what love is. As if words have only one meaning, as though forests contained only one kind of tree.

“I didn’t write that love text for you; I thought you’d post it online and I would get famous.”