The thumping bass intruded on Ricky’s thoughts as he huddled over the laptop, peering into the screen. He willed himself to concentrate. There was something odd about the indemnity clause; something critical he needed to understand.
The pounding died away, but only for a moment before returning with a force that sent tremors through the floor and rattled the pictures on the wall.
He got to his feet and roused Kalila out of her lamp. When she was standing before him, sleepy and still wispy with smoke, he explained the problem.
She yawned. “I don’t see why it’s an issue. You spend nearly every night listening to louder noise than that. And you like it, too.”
“Not when I’m trying to get some work done,” he said. “I need to think, and it seems like no matter how many times I ask that guy to quiet down over there, he ignores me.”
“So tell the landlord.”
“I tried. You can hear for yourself how effective that was.” By now the glass was trembling in the window frames and a faint fracture line Ricky didn’t remember seeing before had appeared in the molding near the ceiling.
Kalila sighed. “Okay. So what exactly do you want me to do? I suppose I could incinerate him.”
“Nothing too illegal, please.”
“Can you do it without cutting off mine, too?”
“Probably not. The wiring in this place is very substandard. You’re lucky there hasn’t been a fire yet.”
“Thanks for the reassurance.”
“You’re welcome.” She paced the floor, pondering. “So how about I vanish his stereo? Or maybe just his speakers?”
“That would do it,” Ricky admitted, “But don’t you think that would be a little obvious?”
Kalila looked at him in exasperation. “Why did you ask my help if you aren’t going to like any of my ideas? You should learn not to be so picky.”
She silenced him and gestured toward a small object on the desk that hadn’t been there before. “That should solve your problem. Now go away and quit being a pest.”
While Kalila poured herself back into her lamp, Ricky walked over to the desk and examined the item she had conjured. It was a library card. He pocketed it with a sigh and began shutting down his laptop. Like most of her solutions, this wasn’t quite what he wanted, but for now, it would do.