The Wizard’s Mirror

“Mirror, mirror on the wall who’s -” The inquisitive wizard was cut off.

“Yeah, going to stop you right there,” Mirror said, “I don’t do that any more.”

“You dare defy me?” The wizard asked, his horror at the notion not going unnoticed.

“It’s just so…judgy. You know? I mean, who am I to describe the prettiest, smartest, most well adjusted, whatever? I’m a talking mirror stuck outside the bathroom of a Medieval castle.  I have no place passing judgement.”

“But I demand it,” The wizard insisted.

“You know what you should do? Meet your people.  You know Carol from the bakery? She brings you bread every morning.  Carol was her kickball league’s season MVP last year.  She rolled a no-kicker. A no-kicker! How does that happen? How does? I can’t even. She rolled an unkickable kickball. Can you imagine the skill?” Mirror said, voice rising in pitch with each question.

“Really?” The wizard asked, intrigued.

“Really.  Go talk to Travis, the mud brick maker.  He can quilt like no body’s business,” Mirror said.

“So I can judge people on my own if I simply get to know them?” The wizard pondered aloud, tapping his fingers against one another with a menacing nature.

“Say it a bit nicer than that when you get out there, but yeah, basically you can do just that,” Mirror confirmed.

Phil Looks to the Stars

Their first camping trip together was going well.  Day hikes around a forest of enormous trees, campfire roasted hot dogs for lunch, the tent went up without a hitch.  All in all, a good start to something that had a long story ahead of it.

As night fell and the chirping birds gave way to chirping crickets, Phil started to worry.  Stars dotted the sky and the whole of the galaxy was soon dancing overhead.  Phil stared at the stars with a intensity rivaled only by the pressure occurring within each star caught in his gaze.

“An amazing view, isn’t it?” Max asked.

“Yeah. Yeah,” Phil said.  For repeating one word twice, notes of suspicion and distrust were heavy in each syllable.

“You don’t like the stars?” Max asked.

“I don’t like what the stars hold.  Asteroids, black holes, advanced alien life as of yet undetected by our technology.  Space is a menace we know nothing about and it has us surrounded,” Phil said this while keeping his eyes on the majesty of the spiral arm above them.

Max was dumbfounded.

“I mean,” Phil started, realizing his particular outlook on the cosmos may be ill interpreted at first, “those stars sure are a mystery. Right?” He laughed a bit.

“So we’re at the ‘these are my strange, but deeply held beliefs’ phase now.  Okay. Good,” Max said, nodding, “I feel the same way about the ocean.  We have no idea what lurks in the abyss.”  It was now Max’s turn to stare off in the distance.

Phil was happy Max reacted so well, but now he was afraid of the ocean.  It was going to be a weird weekend.

Frank, the Demigod

“Behold, mortals, it is I the demigod you can call simply, Frank,” Frank said, smiling and motioning for non-existent cheers to simmer down.  “I have returned from three thousand years of exile to help you capture more of the power of the gods.  So, what do you all need?”

A sea of iPhones began snapping photos and soon timelines across the city were flooded with #CrazyGuyOn12th.

“I gave humanity knowledge of milk, written language, and possibly even how to create a boat. I’m in a quarrel with Odinion about who did that first,” Frank pleaded for input from the crowd.

“Can you help solve the student debt crisis?” One member of the crowd asked.

“The wassit?” Frank said.

“How about climate change? Can you help humanity steal knowledge of climate science from the gods? We could really use a hand with that one,” called another voice.

“I was thinking more like communication tools or good bread recipes.  Those are more my wheelhouse,” Frank said, trying to dampen expectations.

“Dude, you’ve been trending for 10 minutes and if your bread recipe isn’t gluten free you’ve got the wrooooong audience here, man,” advised anoter crowd member.

“10 minutes already? It feels like I’ve only been here five. Technology, I tell you,” Frank laughed anxiously.  “Tell you folks what, I’ll leave my email address written in the clouds for a little while.  Shoot me some suggestions and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can, okay? Okay. Thank you, Downtown! You’ve been great!” Frank whirled his hands and was soon flying to the safety of home.

Frank’s First Day

via Pixabay

“Any body know what Frank is doing?” Arnie asked.  Frank was new to the flock and the area.  The adjustment was going poorly.

“He’s just acclimating,” Raj said, “he’ll be fine in a few days.  Sarah gave him the tour, Dave showed him the best food, Wendy filled out the on-boarding paperwork.  You remember your first day.”

“Yeah, but this seems…different.” Arnie said.  He and Arnie bounced to where the new guy stood. Continue reading

Team Building

via Pixabay

“Sir, how does this pertain to the business?” Jenkins asked.

“Jenkins, you’re a good employee.  This is a team building activity.” Johnson answered.  Johnson always had an answer at the ready.  This both impressed and exhausted Jenkins.

“I appreciate that, sir, but most companies opt for trust falls or volunteer work.  We are standing in a marsh with shovels and that ‘tour guide’ you hired is obviously reading a treasure map,” Jenkins hoped the comment was not heard as snarky.

“Astute observations, Jenkins. Well done.” Johnson began handing out hard hats.

“So we’re treasure hunting then?”

“Right you are, Jenkins!”

The Stone

stones-167089_640“Why are you holding that rock so…creepily.”  Becky was unsure her brother was still sane.

For his part, Ryon was unsure of that as well.  “Becks. This river rock is magical.”

Becky said nothing.

“Watch.  Rock? Pizza.”  Ryon held the rock tight in one hand and a slice of gooey, pepperoni topped pizza appeared in the open palm of the other.

“What the heck?” Becky was paying attention now.

“Right?! I can’t explain it. Rock? Olive pizza.”  Ryon now held two slices.

“Have you only tried pizza?” Becky asked.

“Pizza is everything, Becky.” Ryon said, mid-bite.

“You’re very smart, bro.”

Lonnie and the Pier

boards-336698_640Lonnie hoped the infamous morning fog of Red Sun Bay would help hide long enough to enjoy one quick cigarette before returning to his family gathering.  He was “not to be bad influence on the children,” as the family’s matriarch instructed.  The pier was far enough away, the fog thick enough; he took a risk for the sake of his sanity.

Every trip to the pier came with the hope of seeing Ruby, Red Sun Bay’s local sea creature myth.  Every lake in the area had a local myth.  Children picked favorites and chastised each other for picking wrong.  All in good fun.  Lonnie had long ago stopped believing in such wild fantasies, but alone in the fog, far from grandparents asking when he’d wed, when he’d get a real job; he regained a bit of hope.  He hoped something splendid would happen to make the return to his home town, a town he escaped as soon as he could, a little less taxing.

Ripples in the waves nipping at his shoes caught him off guard.  Ripples meant something was moving and since they came at and not away from him, whatever was moving was found in the bay.  He let his imagination run.  In his head, he knew a salmon was probably flopping around or a heron tripped itself.  In his heart, he hoped Ruby was making way through the water, coming to give him a really, really weird ride.

He soon learned to never let his heart hold hope.

A creature, the only description he could devise, rose from the water no more than a meter away from the pier.  A snout like an alligator, a tail as long as a house, fins wide enough to shield stadiums from rain; it was the biggest, ugliest, meanest looking thing Lonnie had ever encountered.

The man froze with shock.  He was sure his eyes could not open any wider.  He looked over the teeth protruding from the mouth of the sea monster, he saw the sharpened scales lining its body.

Then their eyes met.

Lonnie recognized the creatures expression.

“You’re scared too, aren’t you?” Lonnie asked.  In his head, he knew the creature only heard some noise coming from its meal.  In his heart, he hoped they were creating a bond.

“Never met a person up close? Neither have I, really.  In that metaphoric sense.  That spiritual level?  You know what, I’m talking to a fish.”  Lonnie spoke quickly, fearfully.

He watched the creatures eyes move downward, following his arms and resting on the orange flame of his cigarette.

“I won’t tell if you don’t,” Lonnie said.

The creature nodded and returned to the bay.

“Well,” Lonnie said, rising off his seat on the edge of the pier, “that’ll do it for me.”