<- Part 5   Up: A Trickster's Tail Index  Part 7 ->

A Trickster's Tail - Part 6

Copyright (c) 1997 Phaedrus; All rights reserved

I didn't have enough time to write anything really substantial this evening; but this scene kept playing itself out in my head today, so I figured I'd write it up and get it out. Besides, with all the talk about the virtues and vices of NMF, I thought it would be pretty refreshing to see a bit more actual writing in it. :-):-) )

Kickaha flew, gliding over Lake Washington. It was remarkably clear, for being so close to a city this size. Dotted with boats and crisscrossed by a couple of long bridges, it nevertheless seemed largely undisturbed. Along the shore, there were houses and buildings of all sorts, but large areas of green too. {{This really isn't such a bad place, as cities go. You know, with a little bit of work, I think your place could even be decent.}}

Keith didn't answer.

{{Sure you don't want to take over? There's some great thermals to try.}}

Still no answer.

Kickaha sighed. He did a couple of quick circles, contemplating things, gaining a bit of altitude. Then he rolled over, folded his wings, and dove. Two seconds passed, then three. He gained speed, the air rushing by faster and faster. The water started to rush up at them. Still he gained speed.


The water was too close now, past any hope of pulling out. Fifty feet.


{Hold it!}



Kickaha never twitched, but suddenly they were stopped, six inches from the water. He fluffed his wings, and dropped to the surface with a gentle splash.

{{Oh, good. I was beginning to think you'd moved out.}}


{{Now, are we going to talk, or do I try bouncing off that bridge over there? I think I can time it so we hit between the cars, but you know how things go...}}

Several more seconds passed, and for a moment Kickaha thought that he was actually going to get to go through with it.

{How do you do it?}

Kickaha was a bit rattled; not by the question, but by the tone. It wasn't angry. He was used to angry; he could deal with angry. It was quiet--almost a plea. It made him uncomfortable.

{{Well, I flap the wings, and then I sort of repeat,}} he countered, hoping to break the tension.

Keith didn't bite. {I mean, here you are, in somebody else's world. You've got nothing. You're stuck in the body of somebody who says he thought you up before a costume party. How can you not be unhappy?}

{{Hmm. That's perilously close to a philosophical question; I should refuse on religious grounds.}} A pause; nothing from Keith. Dammit. He's serious about this. {{Well, I imagine I could get pretty pissed about it if that would help...}}

{No. It's just that... I wish I could do it. I mean, I'm never going to be able to get work like this. Somebody's trying to kill me, if they don't think I'm already dead. I can't go home, I can't get at any of my stuff, even if the government doesn't decide I'm dead and take it all. I mean... I'm going to lose everything, aren't I?}

{{Oh, come on. There's ways around that. We'll figure something out. A little magic can make up for a lot of shit.}}

{But that's just it. Kickaha, I don't know quite how to put this, but... what happens if everything gets messed up, and then something comes along and reverses what happened at the party? Then...}

{{Then you're screwed, and I guess I hope I'm not just something you dreamed up in your hotel room.}}

{Exactly. I mean... how can it not worry you, knowing that you could just... disappear like that?}

{{Well, gee. You managed to go to sleep every night before I showed up; how did that not worry you, knowing that you could just drop dead in the middle of the night?}}

{Oh, come on. The odds aren't the same.}

{{So? The odds of your getting hit by a bus when we got out of that cab at the airport were pretty damn small; why did you look?}}

{Because I'd be stupid not to!}

{{No comment.}} Nothing. Gods. {{But exactly. It's something you can control, so you'd be stupid not to. When you go to sleep at night, you don't think anything will happen, and if it does there's not a damn thing you can do, so you don't worry. Well, if something happens like you said, I don't think I'm just gonna go poof; and if I do there's not a damn thing I can do. So why should I worry?}}

{And that's it? You know that worrying doesn't do any good, so you just don't?} A pause. {I wish I could do that.}

{{Years of practice.}} Another pause. Shit. {{Look. You get things, you lose them. Magic just makes it happen faster. You get lots of stuff, you lose it next Tuesday. Worrying about the stuff that's already gone isn't going to make it come back. You may as well just try to make the most you can out of what's in front of you, right?}}

{Yeah, I guess so.}

Please, if there's anybody listening, let this not be another question coming up. This is waaaaay too much bonding for one day.

{You know, I never thought I'd see the day when I'd be taking life advice from a fictional character.}

Thank you. {{Yeah, well, it is a sign of impending mental collapse.}}


{{Can't I try to be nice? Look, can we go now? We're getting waterlogged here.}}

{You know, I never got around to learning to swim.}

{{First time for everything.}}

The bird bobbed down, disappeared; a moment later, a seal poked its head up, breathed, then dove for the bottom.

<- Part 5   Up: A Trickster's Tail Index  Part 7 ->