Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Episode 7:Maintaining a sense of Wonder

"A dragon?" Blackout said, sitting down. "Are you seriously considering hiring a dragon?"

"He interviewed really well," Lara replied. "And look at his resume; it's fantastic."

Lara pushed a heavy piece of parchment, slightly burned around the edges, with a dark, calligraphic ink outlining the dragon's achievements.

"He wrote this?" Blackout asked. "I wasn't aware dragons were literate."

"You weren't aware dragons were literate?" Lara laughed. "What, did you buy a copy of 'Dragonology'?"

"No," Blackout replied petulantly. "But don't they mostly sit around on piles of treasure waiting for dwarven gangs to invade their trove so they can go on a rampaging killing spree, burning everything in their path?"

"Hype, apparently," Lara said. "Read the damn resume already."

Blackout picked up the parchment and began reading.

Dragon, 174 years old
Good health, Non-smoker

Cheerful, gregarious fire breathing reptilian tetrapod with 20 foot wing span.
Exceptional social skills, seductively charming (magically induced).

History of Gainful Employment (highlights):
Emergency Boiler Heater, Steamship Summer Wanderer, New Amsterdam
Controlled Burn Supervisor, British Columbia
Mail Carrier, Arboria
Tour Guide and Transport, Bespin

Blackout looked up from the resume.

"Bespin?" he asked, dubious. "As in, Cloud City? As in, Lando Calrissian?"

Lara nodded. "Apparently the city isn't there any more. It's more of a tourist attraction now."

"What do you mean the city isn't there any more?"

"Well, you know, it did happen 'A long time ago,'" Lara said, grinning.

"How does that even work?" Blackout mused. "I mean, was George Lucas tapping into the reality that is the Star Wars universe, or did the universe appear after George Lucas imagined it?"

"Maybe that's the sort of thing Andrew will be learning at this conference, or whatever the hell it is."

"It's bizarre, isn't it?" Blackout said. "It's only been a year, and we're so completely at ease talking about the Tree as though it were something common."

"It is, after a fashion," Lara replied. Blackout made a face, and she waved a hand to silence him. "I don't mean it's 'common' in a demeaning way. was always there before. We just never saw it. This world is just one branch on the Tree. We just didn't know. And now we do. The wonder isn't in the thing, it's in knowing it. The discovery of it. It's like meeting Dragon. I knew there were dragons out there on the Tree somewhere, but I'd never had the chance to meet one. And when Dragon came in, the wonder I felt came as a result of verifying that belief, not because he...or she...or it, was ten feet tall with beautiful green scales, or that there was smoke trailing up out of her...I'm sorry, I have to call Dragon a 'her''ll understand when you meet her. you get what I'm driving at?"

"Sort of," Blackout said. "But I don't ever want to take all this for granted. I don't want to lose the sense of wonder I felt the day I saw the Fates heal you." He paused. "I think I worry that if I lose that sense of wonder I'll start losing you. It's like...the way I feel about you is linked to the Tree somehow."

"And how do you feel about me?" Lara asked, a coy smile playing across her lips.

"Cafe Mocha," Ripper announced, setting down the cups, and sitting down beside Blackout. "Lara, I need to know how I go about advertising something across the Tree."

"It's done through an Internet site," Lara replied, smiling at Blackout consolingly.

Ripper furrowed his brow. "That's really disappointing," he said. "I expected something like carrier gryphon or some sort of mental sending."

"They might employ carrier griffins," Lara said. "But the website is just the place where you enter the information and how limited or wide you want the ad to go."

"Does it cost anything?" Ripper asked.

"It does, but since you own the comic shop that shouldn't be a problem. The arrangement is either monetary or trade in turn. You agree to post a number of advertisements for others across the Tree, and you get yours free. The bigger the search though, the larger the reciprocation. So make sure you limit it or you'll be able to wallpaper the comic shop with the ads. Why, what are you advertising for?"

"I'm placing a musicians wanted ad," Ripper said. "What's the website?"

"www.treemail.mag." Lara said.

"Dot Mag?" Blackout asked.

"For magical websites. Most people don't know about them, and they don't show up in most searches. It's a real insider thing. But once you're in, holy shit, the sky is the limit. The magical Internet is really intense. And vast."

"Sure," Ripper said, draining the last of his coffee in a long gulp. He scribbled down the URL on a napkin and stood up. "Gotta go," he said. "I want to get started on this." He waved the paper at Lara. "Thanks for this," and to Blackout, "I'll see you later." Then he looked at both of them, looking at each other and added, "Or not."

After he'd left, Lara smiled at Blackout. "You were about to say exactly how you felt about me."

"Let's just say I highly doubt I'll be seeing Ripper later," Blackout replied with a boyish grin.

No comments: