"Okay," said Jenson. "I'm going to show you something, but the first part's going to seem really stupid. You've got to promise not to laugh; otherwise you'll screw up the cool part at the end."
"What are you gonna do?" asked Trevor.
"Dude, it's so fucking unbelievable, I'm just going to have to show you."
Trevor took another drag and arched his left eyebrow.
Jenson took a deep breath and let it out slowly, going almost limp as he did so. Suddenly, his arms sprang out to either side, his hands clutching at something unseen. His face went completely blank with his eyes unfocused and his mouth partway open. He held that pose for a few seconds before he brought his hands to within an inch of touching in front of his mouth. After that he spent about five seconds doing what looked to Trevor like something a raver would do with glow sticks while dancing. All that time his face didn't change. Then suddenly he stopped, his right hand held out in front of him, palm up, and a glowing, moving ball of orange and yellow fire the size of a baseball floating in the air above it.
Trevor raised both eyebrows and leaned in close to check it out.
"Dude! That looks like fire," he said.
"It is fire. It's a fireball!" Jenson said. Trevor put his hand out and felt the heat.
"Wow! How did you do that? Is it burning gas or something?"
"No man, it's magic!" Jenson said, a huge smile forming on his face.
"Oh, magic...yeah, cool. Dude, seriously, how are you doing that?"
"I am serious! Check it out." He held out his left hand and made a tossing motion. The ball of fire floated across to his left hand.
"That's awesome. Is it some kind of burning gel on your hands or something?"
"No! It's magic. Check it out - you know Wikipedia.org, the website?"
"Yeah, it's an online encyclopedia that anyone can edit."
"Well about a week ago, I posted an article on casting spells where I referenced that book from my anthropology class that was from the sixteenth century. It was supposed to explain how to do magic, right? Well, since then people have been editing it, changing pieces of it here and there to match what they had read about in other books. I was checking it again last night, and I realized that all of the edits had made the instructions a crazy mixture of different mythological beliefs from all around the world. So I tried it, and it worked!"
Trevor tossed his cigarette to the cement. He leaned in again to look at the fireball, his face becoming focused and intent.
"Wow. This is fucking unbelievable," he said.
"I told you so!"
"So what can you do with it?"
Jenson opened his mouth to speak, and then stopped. He looked at the fireball and then he looked at the empty parking lot.
"Throw it at your enemies?" he suggested.
Trevor shook his head. Jenson, stared at the ball of flame some more.
"Dude, you're right," Jenson said. "You know there's nothing I actually want to set on fire...that sucks."
Trevor nodded, and pulled out another cigarette.
"What good is a fireball if you don't have anything to throw it at," said Jenson.
"No monsters to slay...no haunted mansions to burn to the ground...this is a fucked up world we live in, man."
Trevor nodded, slowly. He leaned forward and lit his cigarette from the ball of fire.
"You up for tacos?" he asked.
Jenson let out a deep sigh.
"Yeah, sure," he said. He let the fingers of his left hand go limp, and the ball of fire disappeared. Then he unlocked the wheels of his chair and spun back around the way they had come.
The two men and the wheelchair left the roof of the parking garage to the cool air and yellow light as they made their way to the eternal comfort of late night tacos.
posted by D @ 10:54 PM
I love stories - especially speculative fiction, and I named this blog Brief Glimpses of Somewhere Else because I think of each story as a window into another world.
If this is your first time here, I recommend "Legacies" and "The Great Puzzle", both of which were nominated for a 2006 Parsec Award. You can also find "Timmy, Jimmy, and the Beast of Tagmart" as well as "Late Shift at the Souleater" in the podcast anthology Voices: New Media Fiction available at podiobooks.com.
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