[The book begins with a cut away from 1962 to the adult (24-year-old) Reggie in the year 1976, living in Los Angeles — who’s having a breakfast reunion with some people and critters from out of his past, and has few questions for a particular benefactor]
“I never have asked why you let it all happen,” I say, as I stir boiling vegetable broth into the dehydrated soy burger bits languishing in a large bowl in front of me.
Straight from canister, the bits look and smell like kibbled dog food, but properly reconstituted and cooked, the stuff isn’t half-bad.
“Which time?” my companion and benefactor replies. “You and your friends got away with more than you could begin to realise.”
I break a pair of eggs and extract the yolks, adding the whites as I continue.
“Desmond Shaddowe and Linda Faye. Queen’s Theatre, April 1962.
“You could’ve locked us out to begin with that afternoon, or had security find us inside the tunnels and chuck us then – or shut us down on any of half a dozen other occasions. But, you didn’t. You ‘let us win,’ so to speak, even though – technically, at least – what we were doing was wrong. Why?”
“In the first place, it wasn’t, strictly speaking, my decision, though I certainly joined and concurred,” my companion replies, as he melts several dollops of my homemade garlic-basil butter in a rather diminutive skillet that I reserve for such purposes, while I stir salt, pepper and my own special blend of sausage spice into the rapidly saturating bits.
“As to why they did it,” he continues, “I should think it would be obvious.”
Why do so many people profess a phobia about stating the obvious, when we already say such things as “nice day,” “my, you’ve grown” (to children that they haven’t seen for a while), “it’s getting dark” (at twilight), “did someone die?” (when you say you’re en route to a funeral), and “hot enough for you?” (during heat waves)? Declining to answer on the ground that “it’s obvious” is “obviously” evasive.
“Humor me,” I reply while he pours the melted butter into the mix as I add a modicum of brewer’s yeast; when blended with the egg and butter, it’ll form a paste to bond my newly made “veggie-sausage.”
The fair folk and some nursery rhyme characters have found my entire supply of fresh blackberries; it’s taken the whole bloody lot of them to do it, but they’ve just poured it into pancake batter they managed to whip up in my punch bowl and three largest mixing bowls.
A few faeries are distracting Lilyonyx, who’s taken advantage of my lack of supervision to jump up on a kitchen counter, alternately staring in fascination at the delicate, diminutive creatures, and taking swipes at them (the faeries taking care to stay just out of range, except for one who lands on his nose for a few seconds before flying back to safety).
I’ve no idea where the antique plates, cups and saucers in the living room have come from – my former significant other took ours with her when she left – but there they are, on long, wooden tables stop white linen tablecloths I don’t own, either. Someone’s having a fine old time making stuff materialize in my house – including several tiny teapot-like dispensers each of honey, boysenberry syrup, blackberry preserves, maple syrup and powdered sugar, as well as larger pots of coffee, cream and quite a variety of teas, to say nothing of butter plates – and it’s keeping everyone else busy setting tables. After all, we’ve all been together since twenty to four this morning; after three hours together, it seemed only right to invite them to stay for breakfast.
But, I keep forgetting: extend such an invitation to enchanted, non-human (or at least not fully human) creatures and entities, they tend to take over the house. They don’t mean to be invasive or disrespectful; it’s just their boundaries and limits aren’t the same as ours.
© 2017, 2016, 2015 G. H. McCallum and Duvanian Press, all rights reserved.
The Bluebottle Boys (Volume Two) is expected to be out early next year. The next book of the Reggie Stone series, By Good Angels Tenanted, will be available later in 2018.
Walking Backward for Christmas: A Tale of Woe from Soggyhall is now available from Amazon Books. So is The Bluebottle Boys (Volume One). Click on the links and check them out further.