This is a short story written for #BlogBattle over at http://rachaelritchey.com/blogbattle/
The theme for this story is ‘Float’ This is my fiction piece.
“Stop it,” she said tersely.
Daron raised his eyebrows. “What?” he asked, surprised.
“Floating. Stop it,” She said.
“Oh. You noticed that?” Darron asked.
His date scoffed. “Yes.”
They stood at the bar of an upscale Italian Restaurant that was trying a little too hard not to be Italian. Darron liked to bring his dates here because the bar was impressive and the food sounded lavish. Darron touched his feet to the ground just as the host called his name for a table for two. His date looked like she was seriously entertaining the idea of leaving. Darron sighed.
He had been the first person to float in over three hundred years, all thanks to a blood-red, leather bound book he had found in the garbage room of his building. Under a precariously placed gold statue of Krishna and an old Ralph Nader button he noticed the book, which he promptly picked up and leafed through, skepticism swarming his face.
“Um,” he said to no one in particular, wondering very much if this was a joke.
He brought the book upstairs and never let it go.
It was without a doubt an old book of handwritten spells. A Witch, at least Darron had a strong sense she was a witch not only because of the spells but due to the large meticulously scrawled “I AM A WITCH, HA HA HA” written in the front cover, had spent considerable time gathering these spells together and making sure they were recorded.
They were mostly inane spells; how to make a stone fly or how to preserve beets without pickling them, but there were more complicated spells every now and then. It wasn’t just that they were complicated; to Darron they seemed unnecessary. Why would he ever need to turn a pig inside out? Or create a second moon?
All in all they were pretty helpful and, all things considered, Darron really liked beets, so he considered the finding of the book positive event. He found a spell permanatly removing dust and another to summon an obedient Cat, which he did late at night by candlelight. The cat was very friendly but not very obedient, which was fine with Darron because he needed the company and never really believed in such a thing as an obedient feline anyway.
But, for all the multiplying pennies or unlimited shade spells, Darron found the most useful to be the spell that made him float. All his life he’d been short, and Darron always felt that the only thing holding him back from meeting more women was a few inches.
Now, he could float himself to six feetntall. The only problem was, woman always noticed.
“She didn’t fall for it either, huh?” Darron’s sister asked, snickering.
Darron sat behind the counter of the Magazine shop he owned in Long Island City, a small but quickly growing part of Queens nestled under the shadow of the 59th street Bridge.
“I’m not trying to trick anyone, C.” Darron groaned, unpacking a box and extricating an invoice.
Catherine scoffed. Where Darron was short and squat, with a face like a boulder and dark features, she was light and energetic. She was like a sunrise; Darron was like a water buffalo.
“I don’t get you Darron. You’ve always tried to trick people into thinking you’re something you’re not. “
“I have not,” Darron said, counting a shipment of magazines.
“Yes, you have! Remember in High School when you tried to make Layla Riccoritti think you were Turkish?”
“Hey, we could be! Mom’s family doesn’t remember which Mediterranean Island they came from.”
Catherine laughed. A few customers poked their heads up from reading to try to locate the source. “Let’s review. You find a book of magic tircks-“
“Spells,” Darron muttered.
“Spells, fine, you find a book of spells which grants you powers-“
“C, it doesn’t grant them, I had to master them!”
“Like magic tricks?” Catherine smirked.
Darron fumed silently, typing commands into his computer.
“You find a book of spells and instead of, oh, I don’t know, conjuring piles of gold to get out of selling Hipsters lame magazines for the rest of your life, you use it to trick women.”
“My clients are not Hipsters and my magazines are not lame!” Darron said through gritted teeth. A man with gauges in his ears wearing a tank top with suspenders approached the counter. He handed Darron a copy of Integrated Clockworks. Darron rang him up with a smile, attempting to inject some warmth into the tension.
“I like your Elk tattoo,” Catherine said to the man. He blushed and muttered a thank you.
After he left, Darron rounded on his sister. “Don’t you have something better to do today?”
She laughed again, but more serious this time. She punched her brother’s shoulder and locked eyes with him.
“Stop trying to trick women. No one is ever going to fall for it.”
A few hours later, the Spring sky had darkened late, leaving the reflection of the Manhattan skyline in Darron’s window. He dropped a box down on the counter and stretched his shoulders, trying to get the knots out. No one was in the store as The Queen is Dead by The Smiths played from the store speakers.
A woman with shoulder length chestnut hair walked in. Darron greeted her with a hello and was struck by how pretty he found her. She nodded at his hello but did not smile; not in reaction to Darron but because she seemed like the sort of person who saved her smiles, perhaps for decrepit graveyards or a murder of crows closing in on a smaller, weaker bird.
Darron shook his head, trying to clear it of such bizarre images. While her back was turned, he floated a few feet, raising his height to what he judged was taller than she.
She spun on her heel so fast Darron doubted whether she had ever turned her back.
“What are you doing?” she demanded.
“Um,” said Darron.
She crossed her arms and glared at Darron. He smiled.
The woman snapped her fingers and turned Darron’s eyebrows into Seagulls which, Darron later reflected, was the most painful thing that had ever happened to him.
She returned him to normal, albeit sweating profusely.
Darron pointed at her and shot a small, violent tornado at her which she scooped up like a kitten and quelled very easily.
She smiled, making Darron feel very much like a small, weak bird.
“Would you like to go out for a drink?” she asked.