Embarrassment of Riches

by pjmcbride

…in other words, I already know this post is going to be long. But the previous one was short, so shut up. (“Well, why can’t you plan better–” I SAID SHUT UP!)


–A Spider Man princess–because her brother is going to be Spider Man (of course!), and she couldn’t decide between the two, so she decided to be a Spider Man princess. This seemed a bit too conceptual to me at first, but on second thought (and I think about most things at least twice), spiders are a female-dominated species, so I’m guessing Spider Man-Princess could kick Spider Man’s ass.


Well? It’s because of the atmosphere. (I bet that’s the first time anyone’s said that.) It’s like a community center, without the obligation to actually participate in community activities (other than eating). It’s like when I lived alone in St Louis, before I met Rom–I’d walk to the nearby mall every day, which would satisfy my limited need for social contact. (“That nearby mall was 7 miles away,” says Rom. Shhh…that makes me sound dangerously obsessed.)


I was reading about my (and Rom’s!) favorite gem, opals. “Believed by the ancients to actually contain fire–”

“They CONTAIN FIRE?” said Nick, over my shoulder, making me jump. Well, wouldn’t you, if you had a scaly beast right behind you?  He can move more quietly than you might expect. I turned around slowly, to avoid activating his prey-catching instincts, and held my pendant out for his inspection. “No, they don’t really have fire in them, they just look as if–” With surprising delicacy (considering he could have lacerated my chest), he caught the chain with a single claw and snapped it off, and popped the stone into his mouth.

Why did it not occur to me that he would think that if he swallowed a stone that contained fire, he might be able to breathe fire at last? Oh, no, I thought, the only way I’ll get it back is to ask his owner to sort through his–droppings, or I’ll have to offer to do it–no, it’s not even to be thought of.

The gold chain was still hanging from his jaws–he hadn’t swallowed it yet. I was angry enough to be reckless. I took a step toward him, and he backed away, growling. “You are a horrid and hopeless beast.” He flattened slightly. “I’ll have to ask Her to beat you.”

“No, She won’t–” he said, and of course he dropped the pendant, and I grabbed it back, quick as you please! Foolhardy of me, I know, but apparently I’d convinced him that he might actually be in Big Trouble, and of course, if he bit me, he’d be in Really Big Trouble. He crouched, tail-wrapped, growling softly, as if to convince himself of his own fierceness.

I realized, with a sigh, that he was horrid and hopeless indeed. He is what he is, and that’s all he ever can be. “You mean I’ll never be able to breathe fire?” he asked. I sighed again….

…”Could you tell me a happy story next time?” Nick says irritably. “Without this pretentious play-within-a-play-type stuff?” (Bet you didn’t know he’d read Shakespeare!) “And preferably without mentioning the end products of my digestive process?”

“With pleasure!” I say. “How about Nick’s Christmas Special?”

“A Christmas special! I’d love it! I’d go flying over the rooftops on Christmas Eve…”

“There you go!”

“…breathing fire and spreading terror wherever I went!”