Jay marches out of the spare bedroom a house that let us stay in it while the owners are away. He’s eleven. He’s also from far Outside the universe. Sometimes these aspects of him are in a terrifying cohesion as he scowls up at me.
“Kiddo?” I say calmly in the way of magicians.
“The cake is not a lie! That’s really rude and GLaDOS is really mean and not jaysome at all,” he announces.
“Pretend I have no idea what you’re talking about?”
His jaw drops. “But you’re Honcho! You always know,” he informs me, and at least some of his anger drains away. “And and and it’s a computer game Charlie was playing and now I am too cuz she said it was funny and it’s not!”
He flings the last word out. I hear the tv screen crack in the spare bedroom.
“Jay.” I say it carefully. Jay can do things with bindings that even magicians can’t attempt. That he hasn’t even noticed doing this unbinding isn’t a good sign. “Breathe. Focus.”
“I am all kinds of focusable. I know!” He gestures, a tear opening neatly in the world. “I’m going to use this portal and visit Valve and get my cake!”
I blink, stare as Jay bounds through happily and the portal closes behind him. And then I go looking for Charlie to try and find out what is going on.
The wandering magician has gone for a walk. As he tends to when he feels the need, or he needs to be doing something else. I tried to explain why I’d tried to get Jay not playing Portal, but he’s never been one for computer games much at all and just listens a bit, stares in disbelief at the end, but we both known Jay.
“A computer game declared that cake was a lie, so Jay is going to find the cake,” he’d said with awesome calm, considering.
I told him that was why I’d tried to keep the game away from Jay. He didn’t ask what other games I was trying to keep away from Jay. Probably because he doesn’t want to know how long that list is, if I’m being honest. So I’m left along in the house to wait when Jay comes through another portal he’s made in space with a huge, beaming grin on his face.
“I went to Valve and asked about stuff and I got my cake,” he says, radiating pride. “And met the light of gaben!”
I pause. It’s an internet joke, but … this is Jay. “Ah. How was it?” I say, since that’s the safest bet.
“It was really nummy, but abe said that the cake was really expensivey since GLaDOS didn’t want to give it up and it was going to delay something called Half-Life 3 a lot?”
I blink. I stare at him.
“Charlie?” Jay says, his face as pale as his voice at whatever he sees in my face.
“You have ten seconds to get the hell away before I try and do something we’ll both regret,” I snarl, and Jay vanishes with a loud ‘eep!’ He has no idea what he’s done. None at all. And I’m definitely not going to try and explain this to the wandering magician. Or anyone at all. Ever.
“Jay. What are you doing?”
“I’m doing a helping so you’re not mad at me, Charlie!”
“I am trying to play Super Mario. You are on the screen. In place of Mario.”
“Uh-huh! This way I can help and be all kinds of jaysome so nothing tries to attack or hurt you at all in the game.” And I grin like a jayboss, which is hard to do when you don’t have many pixels!
“Jay. I am trying to play a game,” Charlie snaps.
“Oh!” And I fixify it entirely. “See? See? Now you’re Mario and I’m all the creatures he stomps on and I bet that fixes lots of you can stomp on me, right?”
Charlie blinks. “You might be onto something.”
And then she plays over six levels and stomps on me a lot when I’m lots and lots of monsters she stomps on and beats up and even a boss fight! Which I totally lose cuz sometimes it’s jaysome to lose when you’re being smart as a Jay!