A Chat with Dr. Palmer

Here at the end I was expecting to say things like, “I wish I had more time.” not “It’s still so hard.”

“Pretend you were a comic book hero who could create fire from nothing. Describe to me how would you warm that glass of water?” Dr. Palmer kicked his chin toward the table and the glass.

Karen narrowed her eyes and tightened her lips, “Really?”

“I need New Karen for this.”

Karen took a slow breath and closed her eyes tight. She made her face into a rung out wet rag trying to twist out Old Karen at Dr. Palmer’s goofy suggestion. When she opened her eyes she started to take a wider stance.

Dr. Palmer put a hand on her arm before she could raise it. “Tell me; don’t show me.”

Karen lowered her arms and brought her feet back together. “OK. I suppose I would thrust my boobs and ass at the water then reach out with my fire shooting hands.”

“Good. You’re making this even easier.” He lifted his hand off her arm. She hadn’t realized it was still there and took it as leave to demonstrate the stance she described.

“Stop. As much as I’d love to see you try, we’re just talking still.” Dr. Palmer liked to talk, but Karen grew tired of talking a week ago. She wanted to start doing something. She wanted to shoot fire from her hands or spin up a whirlwind. “Repeat it to me, please.”

Dr. Palmer’s [description of demeanor]. [Made it hard for her to refuse.] [blah blah blah].

“Thrust boobs and…butt.” Karen remembered he was a teacher who require some decorum. “Reach out with fire shooting hands.”

“One by one, remove the elements you don’t need to heat the water.” Dr. Palmer grabbed her attention with his eyes and refused to release her to something less important. She could no longer even imagine the soft light of the library around her or the earthy smell of his books.

“Boobs.”

Dr. Palmer nodded her on like it wasn’t an obvious joke. She resisted rolling her eyes.

“Butt.”

Another nod. Clearly he’d meant for her to continue. Karen broke his gaze and searched the room for help. The tiffany lamp held a pattern of colors and shapes she found interesting but not useful. The green settee invited her to sit upon it’s slick-rough velvet, but it didn’t tell her what to say next. [maybe another thing if it’s not too corny.]

Dr. Palmer waited for an answer.

“Boobs. Butt. All I have left are hands?”

Wow this simple thing is much longer than I’d expected.

437 words on day 986

A Tall and Narrow Notebook

Kera wiped the long day out of her eyes with the heels of her hands and leaned back in the burgundy leather chair. Her two lab-mates were finally gone and she could attend her spell notes in private. Relying on the clarity of their spells to convey the import, few mages kept additional notes these days, but Kera’s grandmother had given her a shingle-sized notebook for her thirteenth birthday and she had kept notes ever since. None of her notes were extensive—maybe a short paragraph or two. And it wasn’t likely they could help another mage in any significant way. But Kera liked the ritual of mixing the India ink and composing her thoughts.

Kera looked up from placing the period at the end of a sentence when a double-knock on her open door drew her out of [the zone].

“I’m sorry. We hoped you were finished.” A woman Kera had seen before but couldn’t place stood in her doorway. The woman’s blond hair was French braided into two short plaits which barely went past her ears to her neck. She wore a sea-green back-buttoned cassock and clutched a clipboard to her chest. She twined a pen, a hank of keys, and a pair of sunglasses in the same hand holding the clipboard. Kera couldn’t tell if the woman was important or just thought so.

“I was. Just.” Kera set the pen down and left the narrow notebook propped open. Looking around for the rest of the ‘we’, Kera used her phone voice to ask, “How can I help you?”

260 words on day 883

A Cool Blue Mage’s Cassock

This follows the Crainstock, LTD. stuff you’ll find somewhere else on 1000 Days

The extended warmth of the traverse and the uncanny sensation of being piped like frosting onto a cake told Kera she’d stepped through a portal and not just a door. There was a déjà vu hiccup mid-trip she wondered about, but soon forgot as she was deposited onto the black sand of a broad flat beach. The sunglasses in Donna’s pocket made sense now.

Twenty-five mages circled a great metal band and hummed a low continuous monotone. Kera had expected a torus instead of a band. The band was…

Donna roughly twisted Kera around, placed her free hand in the center of Kera’s back and guided her without apology to a white tent. Kera got her hands up in time to part the flap as Donna pushed her through. Magic cooled the air inside and flattened and packed the sand to a black gloss. At the back—in a ring of padded folding chairs—Mr. Balasubramanyan sprawled across a pair of them with his head in his knees; he didn’t look up. Donna pushed Kera behind a tri-fold. “Get undressed. All the way. Earrings, contacts, patches. I’ll get you a cassock.”

Kera heeled off her sandles, shuffled out of her Levi’s, and quickly unbuttoned her blouse. She hesitated a moment before unclasping her favorite flower bra, but then continued and stacked that neatly on her growing pile of clothes. Donna returned and tossed a blue mage’s cassock over the top of the tri-fold.

“Tattoos too?”

“Don’t be flip, Miss Woods. All. All your ink was natural or you wouldn’t be in our employ in the first place.”

Donna’s repeated word struck just as Kera slid her panties past her knees; shame…

xxx words on day 879

More and More Imbuers’ Local

A single voice intoned the chant.

Other voices joined the first in staggering succession as if each new chanter required a sense more substantial than mere hearing to recognize the invitation. As the number of chanters grew, others joined more quickly until the swell of the chant could not be ignored by the remaining few—save one, the chant’s initiator.

Thima, toak-Slay, had ceased chanting once sufficient others took up the imbuing chant. It waited silently but not unmovingly for the remaining Imbuers to join. Thima then maneuvered the crowded dais to the edge and signaled for the next hoop to be lowered into place. It worried they would fail in their task.

The unseen audience—hushed to silence on their benches in the steep [auditorium]—drew a collective breath as the second hoop descended from the darkness. Lit from a bright point at the apex of the chamber, the silhoutted ring channeled a cone of light on the chanters below that transformed into a cylindar of rays as it dropped to match with the first. Had a blonde-haired girl, arms out and twirling in the evening air, stood in the center she might have been able to touch the insides of the ring. Had a tall man hoisted the iron torus in his grip, he could have put thumb to fingertip. The three well-recommended Translators laid the second ring atop the first with the sound of felt on felt. And now the work was back to Thima.

When its manager, Mrs. Vayda Carn, had first asked it to stay a moment in the conference room following the status meeting half a year ago it had not even known there was a project to be specially selected for. In fact, Thima’s breath ceased for the entire time Mrs. Carn gently closed the door to the room and singled it out. It assumed it was being let go.

“Thima, you may have heard we are working on something new,” she said like a question. Thima breathed in. It shook its head no. “Good. If you haven’t then we’ve been successful at least in that so far. I need a team leader for an uncommon portal imbuing.”

Mrs. Carn waited there for a nod or an ascent of some kind. Thima had noticed her habit of making all conversations like a classroom lesson and wondered regularly if the woman hadn’t been an early-grade elementary teacher before she came to [magic corp name]. Thima accepted what she’d said; Mrs. Carn continued.

“You’ve done well since coming to [magic corp name]. Worked under [some well respected retired guy]. You are not as senior a choice as we might have made, but your…”

“Neutrality,” Thima interjected into the slimmest of pauses.

“Yes, your neutrality. Our truncated and brief investigation into this imbuing leads us to believe that will be of value to our success.” She waited.

Sequel: emotion | thought | decision | action

A flush of pride warmed its face and it smiled a little. Thima pondered this. It’d never given much thought to its imprecisely defined gender as a contributor to its magic.

517 words on day 826

Returning to Imbuer’s Local 451

Back in Writemonkey. I’m blaming my low production this past week on the near inexplicably clunky feel on Scrivener fullscreen. That means I better show up today, or it’s just me.

Imbuers Local #451

Revisiting Imbuers Local #451

A single voice intoned the chant.

Other voices joined the first in staggering succession as if each new chanter required a sense more substantial than mere hearing to recognize the invitation. As the number of chanters grew, others joined more quickly until the swell of the chant could not be ignored by the remaining few—save one, the chant’s initiator.

Thima, toak-Slay, had ceased chanting once sufficient others took up the [song]. It waited silently but not unmovingly for the remaining Imbuers to join. Thima then maneuvered the crowded dais to the edge and signaled for the next hoop to be lowered into place. It worried they would fail in their task.

The unseen audience—hushed to silence on their benches in the steep [auditorium]—drew a collective breath as the second hoop descended from the darkness. Lit from a bright point at the apex of the chamber, the silhoutted ring channeled a cone of light on the chanters below that transformed into a cylindar of rays as it dropped to match with the first. Had a blonde-haired girl, arms out and twirling in the evening air, stood in the center she might have been able to touch the insides of the ring. A grown man could put thumb to fingertip when hoisting the iron torus in his grip.

248 words on day 825

Recalling Professor Palmer’s Admonitions

“She gestured in a timer and left the ankle to cool for a bit while she thought about how to apply compression…”

Recalling Professor Palmer’s admonitions to look for non-magical solutions to problems first, Karen looked around for anything she might wrap her ankle with. If there was a compression bandage or even just a strap of cloth to be found among the roadside detritus, the rest area was keeping them secret. She wondered if she could shred her pajamas into strips, but it seemed unlikely and unappealing. Her ankle hurt but not badly enough to end up topless at a roadside picnic table, so she inventoried her familiar spells. She had a bursting spell she’d used on water balloons, but nothing in that incantation suggested to her that she could invert the effect to squeeze instead. Heat, no. Cold, no. Fire, no! Illumination, no. Levitation, hmmm…no. Translocation, no…wait.

Karen incanted a spell to move her foot to the right and held it in reserve while incanting another to move it to the left. Imagining an ankle sandwich, she slowly released the two, but her foot lurched to one side then bounced back to the other skipping back and forth on the heel till she quit both spells.

“Yaieee, that hurt.”

She thought if she’d just worn socks she might have been able to shrink one and create enough compression to stop the swelling. Maybe four translocation spells—like a box—would work, she wondered. Karen cringed thinking how painful that might be having her foot bounce around in four directions and not just two.

[Bleah. This is not at all interesting.]

Finished fucking around with the ankle, the author now directed Karen to give some thought to unwarding her phone…

…but tomorrow.

[running out of time so I’ll just list a few things as notes for later:]
– looks for something non-magical for compression first because of Professor Carrol’s training about avoiding magic if you can
– cant find anything so she tweaks a ‘push’ spell into the shape of a C, but ultimately can’t keep it in place
– next she works on breaking the ward on her phone. She can’t but she does discover a timer there and has to decide between calling 911 and waiting for and explaining it all to a Highway Patrol officer or just waiting
-eventually she gets back home where she puts her decision to protect herself in to action

406 words on day 798

A Little Rice

I’ll resist the urge to double back to edit the previous two days’ work as a lead in to this third. I think we all know how that would go if I did. I will note that there are a few things I’d like to clean up back there that I’ll pretend are emended as I move forward.

“The trill of an incoming text startled her. It read: He warded your phone…”

Her anger at being left behind seethed and she tried to throw her phone into the road—to hear it crack into the pavement and splash glass and circuitry over the gravel—but she couldn’t make her hand let go of the thing. She made a couple more incomplete casts before dropping it roughly, but safely, into her lap.

“Well, shit,” she echoed.

Karen assumed that if Malachi warded her phone he’d probably hidden her too. There was no use flagging down an unlikely passing car for help, so she grabbed up her phone and searched for how to treat a sprained ankle. Between HEM—which sounded like marketing—and RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) she knew she could handle the latter.

Once she pulled herself up to the bench and out of the dirt, she brushed off her gritty palms and began the short incantation to cool her ankle. She’d both frozen and boiled glasses of water and been commended for her quickness, but she’d never practiced precise control of either. She didn’t want to turn her ankle to ice, so she aimed the spell at her slipper first to cool it slowly then carefully moved her focus over to her ankle. The chill immediately brought relief to her hot flesh and swelling joint. She chanted in a timer and left the ankle cool for a bit while she thought about how to apply compression.

[running out of time so I’ll just list a few things as notes for later:]
– looks for something non-magical for compression first because of Professor Carrol’s training about avoiding magic if you can
– cant find anything so she tweaks a ‘push’ spell into the shape of a C, but ultimately can’t keep it in place
– next she works on breaking the ward on her phone. She can’t but she does discover a timer there and has to decide between calling 911 and waiting for and explaining it all to a Highway Patrol officer or just waiting
-eventually she gets back home where she puts her decision to protect herself in to action

419 words on day 797