The California Kid Makes A Quick Escape

…by sliding down a hill on a car hood

Amnesia & Magic

 Part Two

He reaches out to take the nickel and our hands touch for just a second. A jolt runs through me and for just a second my vision blurs and the sounds of the street sound like they’re being filtered through cotton balls. It passes fast and when it’s over, I know that my Uncle Ted and Aunt Beth live in Astoria, Oregon and my childhood dog was a mutt named Koko. I’m also pretty sure my landlord is an alcoholic.

Mind you, I can’t tell you my aunt & uncle’s last name, where we lived when we had Koko or where the hell I live, but I distinctly remember those other things, which I didn’t ten seconds ago.

I go to ask the Elf kid what’s up and I see him looking at me with wide eyes and a gaping mouth. He’s also looking substantially greener and less sick than he was before we touched. What the hell is going on here?

Lady,” he says in a hushed voice, “you’ve got Power. A bunch of Power!”

Oh yeah, this is just getting better and better. Somehow, I’m suddenly packing magical juice and I’ve got no idea where I got it. Even worse, this kid knows I’ve got it and if I had my own memory wiped to keep from getting detected, this is only going to make finding me that much easier. I need to get out of here and fast.

Sorry, kid, but I’ve got to get going.” I toss him a couple of quarters and start walking down the street. A glance over my shoulder tells me the kid is staying put, which slows my heart down to just a near heart attack pace. Up ahead, I turn down an alley and then turn down another as soon as I can. After about five minutes of fast walking, I come out on a residential street and slow down to a normal walking speed, just another citizen going about her business.

A couple more turns and a few more minutes walking and I’m back on Columbus and heading towards Fisherman’s Wharf. Up ahead I see an old codger who looks like he might know his way around, so I ask him if he knows a place called the Big X.

Sure do, missy,” he says with breath that reeks of early morning boilermakers. “Ain’t never been in it, but I’ve seen it plenty of times. It’s right up there.”

I look where he’s pointing and sure enough, up on a hill to the west of us is a big white building built to look like a big letter X. In the back of my head, something tries to awaken, some memory or other, but it’s no go. This amnesia crap is getting old fast.

I thank the old guy and walk down the street to catch the cable car that’s heading right up the hill to the Big X. As they often are, the car is full of a mix of tourists and working stiffs. I stand near the back and keep my eyes open for…well, I’m not really sure what. I mean, trouble, yeah, but I don’t know what kind of trouble. A carload of thugs? Some palooka with a gun? A spell attack? Beats the hell out of me, so I’ll just look out for anything seems hinky.

We get to the top of the hill and I see I’ve got maybe two blocks to go. I start walking and I’m wondering what I should do when I get to the Big X. Go inside and look around? Wait for somebody to approach me? God damn it, I should have left myself a better note!

I reach the building and see the sign over the door that says “Oliver Sutton Magical Research Institute”. There’s a guard at the door, but he looks and acts more like a glorified doorman that real security. The people going in and out seem to be doctors or something, not mages or wizards. The building itself is about ten stories high and I can see that the white marble it’s made of is covered with runes and symbols that have been carved into it. I’m not an expert on magic, but this looks like some powerful stuff.

I’m about to start heading up the steps when a voice behind me says…

To vote on what the voice says, go over to my Facebook page!

Harry Potter And The Pub Of Wonder

…as in “I wonder how we’ll pay our tab?”

Dear Readers,

Today, we start a twice weekly fiction piece that is guided by voting over on my Facebook page. Yes, the title sucks. I hope you enjoy it and please do go vote on the next part of the story.

Amnesia & Magic

Part One

I woke up fast. I mean, really fast. One moment, I’m deep in a dreamless sleep, a moment later, I’m fully awake and aware that I’m in an alley and stretched out on several bags of garbage. Some instinct tells me not to move around just yet, so I take in as much as I can see, hear and smell.

Smell is what clues me in on the garbage, which I’m thinking is mostly vegetable scraps and other soft things. It stinks, but not in a way that would make you gag. It’s more like a warm wet starting on the road to compost smell.

Sight tells me this is a big pile of garbage, because burlap trash bags are piled up two or three feet on either side of me. The brick buildings on each side of the alley are seven or eight stories high and maybe twenty feet apart. By the look of them and the clotheslines stretched over the alley, I’m not in an upper class neighborhood.

I can hear traffic not far away and lots of voices speaking some Asian language. Chinese, I decide after a few seconds. Off in the distance, I hear ships sounding their horns. Near a waterfront, I’m thinking, but which waterfront?

At that moment, I realize that I have no idea where I am. Not the city, not the state, not the country. I do know I’m on the planet Earth and I’m pretty sure I’m in North America, but after that, I’m blanking out.

Then it dawns on me that I don’t know who I am, either.

If you’ve never had amnesia, I’m here to tell you that it’s strange and terrifying to have no identity or past. I try for several minutes to conjure up any sort of memory, but all I can remember is how to do things and what things were called and all sorts of things you might learn in school and a bunch of things one would learn from life experience (I know how to throw a punch that would knock out most people, but I was damned if I can tell you who taught me), but I have not one memory of a personal nature.

By now I’m having a mild panic attack, so I sit up and started breathing deeply, trying to relax. Calm down, honey, it could be a whole lot worse. You’re not hurt and it’s not raining and as far as you know you’re the goddamn Queen of England.

Well, you know, if the Queen was taller and had darker skin.

After a couple of minutes of deeply breathing in rotting vegetable air, I’m about as calm as can be expected, which is when I notice the great big book. It’s right there on my left, measuring at least 18 inches by 3 feet and bound in deep reddish brown leather. The title is stamped in silver and I’ve got no idea what those symbols mean. My memory tells me that I’m fluent in English, Spanish, French and Latin, with a pretty good conversational grasp of maybe five other languages. Whatever the hell this language is, it’s new to me. Instinct tells me this is probably somehow connected to magic, which doesn’t make me feel any better. Magic always complicates things.

I start going through the pockets of the hip length jacket I’m wearing and the first thing I find is a 9mm automatic and a spare clip. For reasons I’m not sure of, I find this very reassuring. In the same pocket is a ring that is twice as large as any of my fingers, which are long and slender and just then I remember that I can play the piano, but not who taught me. Yeah, this memory thing is strange.

The ring is solid silver, a complex arrangement of twining vines that hold a hefty sized emerald. Just touching it screams MAGIC!, so I put it in a breast pocket away from the gun. Two magical items in my possession? Not good at all.

I search a bit more and all I find is a five dollar bill, fifty five cents in coins, a sweet roll & a slice of cheddar cheese wrapped in waxed paper and a note that reads…

You’ve had your memory wiped. Some very bad people are after you and they’ll kill you if they can, so you need to get your ass up and go NOW! Eat the roll and cheese as you walk, then go find the Big X. You’ll learn something there. Sorry I can’t tell you more. Love, You From 12 Hours Ago.

PS: Take the ring and book with you! Stay away from cats and roses!”

I know it’s my handwriting, so I’m up and off the garbage pile fast. A couple of Chinese guys are sitting in the alley smoking. They give me a look, then act like I’m not there. I’m alright with that. Carrying the book, which isn’t very thick but is still a bulky pain in the ass, I say to myself, “How the hell am I going to conceal this big thing?” and about two seconds later, the book is the size of your average paperback.

Sometimes magic is ok. Sometimes.

The alley is about 100 feet long from where I’m standing to a busy street. I eat the cheese first and realize I’m crazy hungry. The sweet roll is delicious and is gone by the time I hit the street. Now I’m not only not hungry anymore, I’m feeling very energetic, like I could run five miles without breaking a sweat. More magic, I’m thinking.

Who the hell am I that I can afford this much magic and think it’s a good idea? Am I some rich wizard? A black market spell dealer? A Fed on the FBI Magic Control Task Force? Or maybe I’m just some poor dummy who got mixed up in deep shit.

That last one tends to stick in my mind, so I’ll go with it until I know otherwise.

So I’m obviously in some deep shit concerning magic and it’s real good odds that I had my memory wiped to keep from getting found by a detection spell. And if somebody has the money and the pull to get a detection spell cast, then I’m up against either a big organization or an individual that is just as powerful. Either way, I’m screwed if they catch me.

Well, at least it’s a nice sunny day.

The street is deep into Chinatown and I walk about 4 blocks until I’m at the intersection of Columbus and Broadway, where it hits me that I’m in San Francisco. I spend a minute just standing there being kind of giddy at this sudden knowledge. Really, getting a memory back is great when you’ve lost so many.

I see a news stand across Broadway, so I cross over and check out a newspaper to get the date. June 25th, 1935. Headline says the Golden Gate Bridge will open on schedule in September. Most of the other front page news is about local stuff, with the exception of a story about a coup in some African country I’ve never heard of.

I go to hand the newsboy a nickel and I see he’s an Elf, maybe twelve years old. Like most Elves, he looks kind of sick and his mottled green skin is tinged with yellow. His green hair is thin and dirty and I can’t help but feel guilty because we humans are slowly killing this kid and his whole species. Shit!

He reaches out to take the nickel and our hands touch for just a second. A jolt runs through me and…

Ok, folks, time to go over to Facebook and vote on what comes next!

The 13 Things You Never Want Have In Your Pants

…#6: Weasels!

A Call For Suggestions

Gentle Readers,

I need your help with the Doclopedia. In a couple of months, I want to do between 30 and 60 posts on the theme of “Subject Line Madness”, in which each entry will expand upon some of the nearly 2,000 (actually, by then, over 2,000) subject lines/titles I’ve used on my blogs over the last 8 years. Back on Live Journal (before it went down the tubes) I used to do annual Subject Line recaps every January.

Here is where you can find them in the archives…

2004 Subject Lines: Jan 8 & 9, 2005

2005 Subject Lines: Jan 1, 2006

2006 Subject Lines: Jan 4-8, 2007

2007 Subject Lines: Jan 5, 2008

2008 Subject Lines: Jan 22nd, 24th & 26th, 2009

2009 Subject Lines: Jan, 1-3, 2010

I didn’t do recaps for 2010 or 2011, so you can either search by month, wait for the list for those years or say screw it and just look through the lists above. Do note that these recaps contain my comments on the subject lines, so you might get caught up reading them.

Any suggestions I choose to use will get the name of the suggester prominently displayed on the post.

Thanks a bunch, folks.

Your Humble Author


After The Change Came: Series 2

Sin And So Long For Now

Ok, my friends, it’s time to bring this blog to an end for now. I’ve got about fifty million things to do before my month in Wizard time and I’ll be lucky to get half of them finished in time. Beyond the Wizard painting gig, Uncle Sin has been invited to accompany a lady friend on an extended European tour, so that will eat up another 6 months or so. Of course, I’ll pop back from Europe for the wedding of Avis & Daniel, but there won’t be any more blogging from me until maybe next winter.

Just to update everybody, Grace and the twins are doing great. Doc wanders around with a goofyass grin on his face all the time and Lily has gone into “OMG, the twins are SO cute!” mode. Actually, so have Roscoe & GiGi and most of the rest of the family & friends.

Speaking of Roscoe, he has made vague reference to doing some blogging of his own, so you may see him taking up the duties here after the puppies are a few months older. Right now, he has his paws full just keeping them from running Gigi ragged.

Well, it has been great fun blogging at you all and I hope to do more somewhere down the line, Until we meet again, good luck and keep your stockings straight.