Part 2 – It’s always sunny at Denny’s

Grace would be the first one to tell you that she’s no looker.  Actually, that’s not true, a lot of people would line up to tell you that before she would.  But she wouldn’t deny it is the point.  Actually she might deny it because people lining up to tell you you’re not very attractive is a dick move and Grace doesn’t mind popping off when people are being dicks.  You know what I mean.   

She’s too tall of course, women are meant to be tiny and elfin so men can feel like they can slap them down – even if they never would actually do, it still makes them feel better to know that they could slap them down.  Even though they never would.  She’s far too muscular, women are supposed to be soft and spongy so you can pile babies on them like a bean bag chair.  Why would a woman ever need muscles?   Her face is too sour (why don’t you smile sweetheart?) her hair too short and cut with kitchen scissors, her figure too severe, she can’t dress with a damn, etc.  And that’s before you get to the scars.  The burns.  The wounds.  The weird black skin blemishes you get from being touched by evil magic.

I forgot where I was going with that.  Oh, right, I was going to say that Grace is not looking her best right now and then I got into a whole thing about how her best isn’t . . . well anyway, we shouldn’t judge people based on how they look, but the point is that at the moment she looks like she was on the run from the sheriff and his posse for three days in the deserts of 1800s Arizona.  But it’s nothing that can’t be fixed up by a trip to Denny’s.   

After some chocolate chip cookie dough pancakes, a Grand Slamwich, a loaded veggie omelet, a couple potato bacon bombs, and a milkshake or three she’ll be right as rain.  Huddie for this part seems to be fine, as fine as he ever looks anyway.  He’s managed to find a shirt and this one even has sleeves on it.  As people often do when they watch Grace inhale breakfast foods he watches in a combination of horror and admiration.   

Grace eyes him suspiciously “All you’re having is coffee?” 

Huddie taps a knuckle on his coffee cup “I had a buffalo chicken salad last week so this should hold me for a while.” 

Grace rolls her eyes “Hilarious.” 

Huddie isn’t joking, he doesn’t eat much anymore, side effect of being an old wizened magic man but he doesn’t mention this “You can really pack it away huh?” 

Grace snorts “Fuck you.” 

Huddie raises and eyebrow “Is that any way to talk to someone who saved your life?  Well, not your life exactly, but saved you from fate worse . . . you know, saved you from magic stuff.” 

“Is that what you did?” Grace jabs her fork for emphasis “Are you trying to tell me that Lance or Kevin or whatever his name is just happened to contact a PI that’s also magic?” 

Huddie leans back in his booth with a squeeze of Denny’s pleather “I’m not a private investigator I just find people for money sometimes.” 

“That sounds like a PI to me.” 

“Yeah, but I don’t have a license or anything so keep it under your hat.  I don’t need the IRS coming after me.  I don’t know how to tail people or interrogate them or whatever a private investigator actually does for a job, I just cast a spell and find people that way.”  At this admission Grace chokes for a moment and almost spits food across the table, which Huddie seems to find vaguely amusing “You okay over there?” 

Grace takes a pull off her strawberry breakfast shake and then a longer drink of water when she stops sputtering “Yeah, I’m just not used to anyone talking about magic freely.” 

Huddie shrugs “My theory is no one will believe me. And if they hear anyway they’ll just think I’m crazy.” 

Grace nods “I use that same method.” 

Huddie’s voice is somewhat smug “All those guys out there are taking such great pains to keep it a secret and I don’t think it matters.  No one is listening or paying attention.  And if they were they wouldn’t care” 

Grace nods again, absently this time as hacks at her pancake stack “Yeah, I mean except probably the FBI magic guys.” 

Huddie’s eyes widen in alarm “What’s that now?” 

Grace tries to sound casual “We can talk about that later.  So I’m looking for some black mages that had a club in Havana . . .” 

Huddie makes a very unmanly exasperated noise “We already talked about this.” 

Grace responds with an annoyed face to his noise “Yeah but I don’t remember talking about it, that’s why you had to hold me underwater and fingerbang me with your magic hand or whatever you did.” 

Huddie’s face goes radish red and he looks around in shock to see if anyone heard “That’s not what I did, I told you that I just . . .” 

Grace makes a hurry up motion with her non-fork hand “Whatever, get to the black mages.” 

Huddie frowns slightly “Can we not call them black mages, that makes it sound like we’re talking about people of color and I don’t want anyone to get the impression that . . .” 

Grace makes another exasperated noise “Fine, the Havana Social Club, what do you know about them?” 

“I know, as you do, that their magic is powered by breaking people down and getting off on their suffering.  That’s why they like people with drug problems, take the drugs away and they suffer, then give them more drugs before they dry out and keep the cycle going.”

“If we both know that why are you saying it?”

Because once in a while those people have loved ones that pay me to find them and bring them home.  I also know that some of the mages went out west for a quote unquote big project and once they came back said that someone who sounded like you fucked it up for them.  I know that occasionally they send some of their wannabies to try and grab me so they can steal my magic essence like Gargamel, I just killed two of them just last week.” Huddie claps his hands together “Whammo, fireball, and there’s too less assholes in the world.” 

This time its Grace’s turn to blanch and look around “Jesus, you’re worried about people thinking you’re a racist and you just boldly announce a double murder?” 

Huddie smiles “If you say something racist people believe you’re a racist, that’s believable.  You say you killed someone nobody thinks that you’re a killer, they think you’re joking around.  And it wasn’t murder, it was self-defense.” 

“Murder in self-defense is still murder, it’s just legally justified.” 

“Not legally.  Wait, what?” 


Huddie has a look of confusion “I thought you said . . . well . . . just . . . nevermind.  I have a history with them, I know a lot about them, what you never told me is why you’re interested in them.  That’s what we were going to talk about when I showed up and you were all fucked out on dark magic meth.  Are you looking for someone that they grabbed?” 

Grace shook her head “How many of them do you know individually, know their names and where they might be?” 

Huddie pauses for a moment “That’s a weird question.  How about you tell me what you’re after here.” 

Grace chews for a while before answering “Remains to be seen.” 

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