Maelstrom Re-Post: Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 26, 2009 reviews (Comments)
No new post today, but those of you who are new to the site may enjoy reading last year's Thanksgiving story.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Maelstrom Extra: A Relaxing Cup of Tea

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 reviews (Comments): 10
“You shouldn’t worry.”

Ricky watched Maura make sweeping gestures over a china cup. It crossed his mind to ask what she was doing, but he suspected he didn’t want to know. “That’s what Kalila always says.”

“It’s true.” She peered into the cup and beamed in satisfaction.

“Did they at least tell you where they were going?”

“No.” She placidly set the cup in front of him. “I helped them remove their makeup like I do after every show, and then they left.” She gave a little shrug. “Drink your tea. It’ll help you relax.”

Ricky peered into the cup of murky liquid. “Are you sure this is tea?”

“Positive. I’ve been working very hard on my spells.”

“I see.” The problem with Maura was that hanging around the band made her hanker to be more than an ordinary mortal. It wasn’t enough that she was a gifted cosmetic artist who could make Vic show up on camera and mute Nevin’s fairy sparkle – she wanted magical powers. Ricky pushed the cup of suspicious liquid aside. “I think I’ll wait for it to cool.”

He picked up his BlackBerry and scrolled through his messages, hoping to distract himself with the needs of his other clients, but none of his emails were urgent.

He picked up his cup of “tea” but the odd-looking greenish liquid still didn’t appeal, so he set the cup aside and returned to his BlackBerry. He checked the weather. He tried to read the news.

Maura was now in a corner of the room doing something that involved colored powders and chanting. Ricky tried to ignore her and had almost succeeded in immersing himself in a human interest story when a tang of smoke caught his attention.

Thinking it some errant spell of Maura’s he looked up, but found Kalila standing in front of him, still hazy around the edges. “Where have you been?”

“I’m back now, so why does it matter?”

“It matters because you didn’t tell me. You and the others walked right out like you didn’t owe anybody any sort of explanation, or—”


He could tell from the look of amusement in her eyes that she was only pretending to listen. She would do as she had always done; djinns didn’t obey humans except when it suited them. “Your equipment is loaded,” he said. “We can leave anytime.”

As they headed toward the door, Maura called after them. “Wait, Ricky. What about your tea?”

“Uh, I think it’s gotten cold. Thanks, though. It was a nice thought.”

He followed Kalila out the door, and after pausing a moment to consider, Maura darted after them.

Abandoned on the low table, the china tea cup darkened and cracked. Caustic liquid oozed out, burning a groove in the wood as it flowed across the surface. In thick acrid drops, Maura’s tea dribbled off the edge, and unseen by human eyes, began eating a hole in the concrete floor.

Maelstrom Extra: Bar Karma

Wednesday, November 4, 2009 reviews (Comments): 5
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Beth is a minor character in Maelstrom. She is Ricky's ex-girlfriend from college and is the first club owner to book Maelstrom after Ricky becomes their manager. She's a tough cookie by the time we see her in the novel, but here she's just starting out. This is also a Three Word Wednesday story.

Beth stood behind the bar, gazing in exasperation at the water gushing from the broken faucet. One hour until opening. Was there something wrong with her karma? She had been running this small, dingy club for barely a month and it seemed like it was one thing after another.

“Can you fix it?” Joella asked.

“Do I look like a plumber?” Beth reached for her BlackBerry. “I just hope my guy isn’t too busy right now.”

“Joella fixed her with a look that could wither grass. “Guy? Why did you buy a lesbian bar if you aren’t going to keep the business in the community?” She shook her head in disgust, unlocked a cabinet and began pulling out bottles of scotch. “You need to call Dykes with Dykes.”


“Dykes with Dykes.” She said it slowly, as if Beth didn’t understand English. “It’s listed as Teller Lane Tools in the directory, but we—”

“Understood.” Beth did a search on Teller Lane Tools. “Do you think they’ll give us priority?”

“We look out for our own.”

The scrawny, snub-nosed blonde who showed up half an hour later didn’t look like any plumber Beth had ever seen, but Tommie carried the requisite case of tools and marched to the scene of the problem with such an aura of command that Beth didn’t ask any questions and jumped to obey her orders: more light, move the mat, and would someone please turn down the house music so a gal can hear herself think?

Twenty minutes later, the problem was fixed.

“Back in compliance,” Tommie said as she put her tools away.

Beth took the offered invoice. The price was more than reasonable, so she took some cash out of the till. “Thanks for everything. Can I buy you a drink?”

“No flirting with the plumber.” Tommie winked as she folded the bills and stuffed them in her pocket.

Beth wondered if she should mention that she was straight; that she had only bought the club to make a quick buck and move on to better things. But no, why go there? What people thought didn’t matter. “Well, the offer is good any time. Thanks for saving my butt.”

Beth watched Tommie go, then turned back to the bar. The bottles and glassware were set up, Joella was cutting limes, and all was as is it should be. Some day Beth would be a rich woman, if she had anything to say about it. But for now, this was enough, and maybe her karma was okay, after all.