Did you know that community colleges have sports teams? Instead of my usual maneuver, just showing up and ambushing someone, I called and made an appointment to meet Laura. I watched basketball practice while I waited for her class to be over. I wonder if I’m any good at sports.
Laura is one of those minis like Kristen Bell or the blonde lady from the Office. My first thought was to wonder how she could have survived the streets being so small. Say what you will about old Amazing Grace but as a man told me in a bar in Texas “I like you, you’re sturdy, you look like you could take a punch”.
She has a hippie vibe going, loose baggy top, overalls with travel patches on them and embroidered mandalas. Plus a tattoo of a blue lady that I think is a Hindu god. Cultural appropriation? You be the judge. Is she allowed a little cultural appropriation for all the good she does for the community? What are the rules of cultural appropriation? She has the kind of easy confidence and happy smile that makes me think that she befriends people quickly and easily. I hate her a little for that.
Since there was no reason to be coy, not that I would have been any good at it if there had been, I told her I wanted to use her family’s magic staff to expel an evil spirit from a Mexican hitman. As you guys know he’s also a luchador, but I didn’t mention that. There was enough going on without confusing the issue more.
She said that she didn’t have much to do with magic anymore since her mentor was killed and she lost her talent, but she was willing to listen to what I had to say. I told her about Eterno and as I did so, I realized how little I really knew about what I was trying to do. Made me feel stupid.
That feeling wasn’t helped when she asked me what I was going to do with the staff if she let me use it and I admitted that I didn’t know. She said that didn’t sound like a very good plan, but she wasn’t an asshole about it. I conceded that I’m not very good at plans. I told her Milham sent me her way and her smile got even more disgustingly warm and inviting. She said that she was happy he was still alive.
“Not many are anymore, every year the empty ones pull down a few more of the true mages” she said. She shook her head “They will never be full. They think they’re alone and it makes them want. They take and take and take until there is nothing left, and then what? What will have been accomplished? They’re killing the thing they want so badly.”
She was sad that it was happening but she was also sad for them. She was legitimately concerned for the blood mages who are fucking everything up. If feeling sorry for monsters makes you a good person, this woman really is a saint.
I expected her to dismiss me at that point, why would she give me the staff if I had no plan, but she didn’t. Instead, she said she had a friend that has experience in the magic of evicting malicious spirits and she’d give him a call for me, see what we could figure out.