Deal 1190: Crow haiku

Wise bird uses tools
clever bird invents new tools
used traffic as tool


Deal 1183: Fire

I walked away from the party concerned about how I understood reality. I had just seen proof that a kind of comic-book voodoo works. A burn mark on a drawing of a hand traced from the visitor’s hand became a blister on his actual hand, and on the very finger where the paper was burned. He explained it away as simplistic voodoo. We crumpled up the paper after marking the finger. After only a few minutes, his finger healed. The paper was now clean when uncrumpled.

Except when it suddenly went up in flames.

And left me with ashes on my palm.


Deal 1174: Life of cat

I carve fruit. Usually melons, but on occasion other fruit will do. In the fall, I’m often expected to carve pumpkins so I make a point of doing at least one to display somewhere prominent and visible.

I’m never entirely certain how my clients find me. I don’t exactly advertise, and yet I almost always have enough work booked to keep me busy.

Then he walked in my door.

I say “he” out of a lack of any better choice. I’m still not entirely certain what he looked like, even speaking to him without looking took effort. As if he was not used to dealing with those still living, but was making an effort. I respect that, but his presence in my shop was still deeply unsettling.

If I thought I would be believed I would add “fruit carver to death incarnate” to my sign. At least at Halloween time, it would add a certain unusual something. But who would believe me? I barely believe me, and I was there!

Even less likely to be believed was the subject that he required.

He wanted a series of panels depicting a kitten at play and growing into a cat, carved into a pumpkin so that as the candle flame wobbled the kitten would almost appear to be alive.

It was a good commission, although he did pay in cash, in old coins that seemed to want to be arranged in pairs.

Still, Death and his kittens of doom.


Deal 1160: Snowballed

This wasn’t a life for just anyone, but it was a living at least. Rushing from town to town, job to job, identity to fresh identity. It takes a toll, and fairly rapidly.

Needing to always be careful to not let the current identity slip and reveal is hard enough. But it needs must be done. In every town I visit, there is someone who knows things, who is planning something, who may be susceptible to a delicate touch if the right weapon is available. I am the weapon. I am the light touch.

I am deployed to calm the waters and prevent the storm, to safeguard the peace.

I haven’t missed yet.