Daily Ritual Ch. 6

“Can you see them?” Bren said, faer eyes were fixed on the horizon beyond the water.

“See what?”

“The Faerie lights.”

“What like, Aurora Borealis? At this time of the year? In this part of the country? Localised entirely within Brooklyn?”

This is chapter 6 of a series that starts here:

Chapter 1.

Chapter 2.

Chapter 3.

Chapter 4.

Chapter 5.

WordPress doesn’t allow css formatting on a free plan so feel free to snatch the pdf from the patreon if you want like, indents. If you don’t mind reading it like this. By all means. Read on:

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They arrived at the spot Bren had told her, right at the edge of the water. In front of Rolling Roasters, a diner type restaurant Rosario had been to once before.

“Hey we’re here what’s going on?”

“Can you see them?” Bren said, faer eyes were fixed on the horizon beyond the water.

“See what?”

“The Faerie lights.”

“What like, Aurora Borealis? At this time of the year? In this part of the country? Localised entirely within Brooklyn?”

“What?”

“Sorry, bad timing. No I don’t see any… oh wait yes I do.”

At first just out the corner of her eye, but as she focused her inattention she could see them. Not Aurora Borealis, but large columns of light at different points in the horizon, of all different colours.

“What is it?”

“It means they’re coming. It means there’s going to be a faerie council, the first one this century.”

“Whoa”

“It can’t be a coincidence, that we just met and now they’re coming here.”

“But why here?”

“Isn’t it obvious, it’s New York City, it’s a pretty good conduit. It’s just faeries in the area, Caribbean Faeries, Central and North American Faeries, And Western European Faeries. Others will undoubtedly be meeting elsewhere.

“I didn’t know who else to call, my family didn’t mention anything in advance. It could be they themselves didn’t know. And I haven’t actually met any other faeries or changelings in town.”

“I see. So what do we need to do?”

“Nothing. There’s nothing we can do, I don’t even know if we’re invited.”

“I don’t see a bloody thing!” Said Plaz who’d been silent this whole time, staring at the ocean.

“You wouldn’t be able to see it. It’s on the faerie spectrum.”

“Yeah, that sounds like a thing.”

“Ugh, did he have to come.”

“Well we were in the middle of our thing when you called.” Rosario said. She hated being in this position, stuck between two people who clearly disliked each other. But she wasn’t gonna dump Plaz for someone she’d just met, and she desperately wanted to know more about her place in the world as a changeling, so stuck she was.

“Listen up you two.” She said, suddenly determined.

“Bren, you clearly want my help and support in this situation. Well Plaz is my oldest and closest support system, we come together. Plaz, this is important to me, this gets at to the nature of my very being, I want to see this through. I’m gonna need you two to fucking cool it.”

“Ok yeeesh.” Bren said

“As you will mistress.” Plaz said bowing his head, Rosario thumped the back of it.

“Ow!”

“I mean it, smart ass.”

“Ok ok.”

“Glad that’s settled. So Bren, if there’s nothing for us to do, why did you call me?”

“I’m sorry, I was just freaking out a little bit.”

“Oh.”

“I’m not as cool as I can come across, I guess.”

“That’s ok, none of us are. When will they get here?”

“They’ll get here at different times, but it’ll probably take a couple weeks or so for everyone to get here. A lot of them are travelling by land or by sea. Though faster than any usual method, and some are flying I’m sure. There’s also faerie workers who can’t always travel with their faerie spirits who’ll be coming through more mundane methods.”

“I see. Um, will our… ancestors be coming.”

“I don’t know, I figured if mine were my human parents would’ve let me know somehow. As for yours, you don’t even know who they are.”

That’s right, she hadn’t told Bren about her encounter with her aunt. Hard to believe it had all happened in the same day.

“Actually I do know a little bit more about them now.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yes, I can tell you about it later. Do you mind if I stop to roll a joint right now?”

“I approve of this plan” Plaz chimed in.

“Go right ahead” answered Bren.

They found a spot to sit by the ocean. It was very windy so she had to be careful and use Plaz as a wind shield whilst rolling. It’s usually pretty safe to smoke weed in New York, but all it takes is one cop who wants to ruin your day for that not to be the case. Thankfully as a demon Plaz had a passive stealth field he could lift or thicken at will. One of those, people just happen not to pay attention to them kind of jobs. It was very useful for peace of mind in this situation. The joint rolled Rosario lit it and took a few puffs, then passed it to Plaz, the smoked in silence. He then passed it to Bren, who accepted it this time. This made Rosario smile. Bren started coughing and wheezing.

“Holly shit, you Americans and your joints, they’re so freaking strong.”

Rosario and Plaz burst out laughing.

“I guess you’re a bit Eurotrash after all.” Rosario said.

“Am not, am not just a big a pothead as you two!”

“I kid, I kid. Some of my best friends are Eurotrash though.”

“I’ll take Eurotrash over ameritrash any day.” said Bren and passed the joint back to Rosario.

“What time is it?” Rosario said.

“30 past eleven” Said Bren.

“Shit, we can still go to RR over there, anyone down.”

Vague signs of agreement from all the gathered.

“Cool let’s do it, and I can tell you what I found out about my parentage.”
They got dinner, and Rosario told her story for the second time this day.
“I’d say it’s entirely possible she’ll be here.” Bren said when Rosario had been done.

“There’s bound to be a Dominican contingent, but it’s not certain that every Ciguapa will be here.” She still budged the pronunciation but Rosario overlooked it.

“Will she recognise me?” she asked instead.

“Oh yeah, and you’ll recognise her. The faerie in you would react quite strongly.”

“I see.”

“There are no coincidences, that’s not how our world works.”

“Faeries never experience coincidences?”

“It’s more like we never treat them as such, we find a reason for it even if we have to invent it.

But I don’t think they would convene a whole council over this. Like…”

Fae fell silent

“what’s the matter?” Rosario asked

“I wasn’t the one who was supposed to tell you about you”

“Oh.”

“So it was a breech of protocol for me to do it, but like, surely it’s not the first time it’s happened? Surely it’s not that big a deal. I want to say that but fae folk, fae folk have different priorities than humans.”

“Ok, now I’m nervous.”

“Yeah.”

Now they were both quiet. Plaz interrupted through a mouthful of burger.

“Just don’t go then” he said

“What?” The fae said in unison.

“We can’t just not go” said Bren.

“You both said you hadn’t been invited so why do you assume they want you there?”

“That’s actually a good point” said Rosario.

“No, we can’t just not go. It’s too important.” said Bren.

“Well, Are other Changelings gonna be there?” Asked Rosario

“I really don’t know. I need to get in touch with my folks, they must know.”

“So why haven’t you?”

“I did, I emailed them. But it’s like 5 am in Ireland.”

“If this is such a momentous occasion you’d think they’d be awake for it.”

“Hahah you’d think wrong then, my friend. They don’t give up sleep for any spirit. I wish I could say the same.”

“I see.”

They sat in silence for a while. Rosario looked at the time on her phone, more for the look of it than anything else. It was 1:20.

“Shall we head home then?” She said, and received various nods and grunts of agreement.
They stepped outside and looked at the column of light again.

“aight then, imma head out. I wish y’all luck in your various commutes, I’m taking the hellway myself.” said Plaz.

“Good-Bye” said Bren, cooly, but not coldly.

Plaz pulled Rosario aside and whispered.

“sorry about third-wheeling so far, but now’s your chance”

“What, oh give me a break, we’re just gonna go home. Fae’s probably real tired.”

“If you say so.” said Plaz and winked

“Toodles” He said and disappeared in a cloud of smoke.
“What did he tell you?” Wren asked. “Did he warn you not to trust me.”

“No.” said Rosario. “He told me to put the moves on you.”

Bren stifled a laugh but it wasn’t enough, she started laughing heartily.

“Well” fae said “are you?”

“I don’t know” Rosario answered coyly “I’m not sure you’re ready for that.”

“How bout you just walk me to the subway station?”

“Sure, Rosario said. What’s your route?”

“hmm, D, to Atlantic, then the 3 or 4. Well I guess the 4 by now.”

“Cool, I also have to… Ride the D”

“Hah”

“Come on you.”
They walked to the station together. When they got there, unsurprisingly, they found they had to wait 20 minutes for the train. They got to talking.
“So I’ve been wondering, how long you’ve been in the states?” Rosario asked faer inside the station.

“Oh way long time. Since I was 10 years old.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, my parents sent me to live with my aunt, upstate.”

“How come?”

“It’s my destiny, well out destiny. A stipulation of the deal, my Sidhe ancestors wanted to come to the states, to kind of bridge the gap for our people in this country.”

“Your shy what?”

“Oh right. It’s complicated, but Sidhe is a preferred term for the Irish spirits otherwise known as faeries. Also a word of advice, don’t use that term at the gathering around the Neighbors. They really don’t like it. I’ve lived here long enough that I’m desensitized to it and I actually think it’s useful as a catch-all, but old habits.”

“I see how do you pronounce that again, Shyy?”

“Just say fair folk.”

“No I want to learn.”

“Ok, it’s like she with two Es. Shee, Sidhe”

“Sheeh.”

“Closer”

“Shee”

“Closer.”

“Sidhe”

“There you go that’s pretty good.”

“And how do you spell it.”

“It’s anglicized Sidhe.”

“Cool lemme write that down. So you’ve been in the states a while then. That explains it.”

“Explains what?” Oops, Rosario hadn’t meant to say that last bit out loud.

“Well you don’t sound very Irish.”

Bren laughed at this.

“Oh I suppose you’d expect me to sound like this then, eh lassie” fae said in a very exaggerated but not very good Irish accent.

“No, I have much of an accent it’s true, but people in Eire don’t generally have that thick of an accent either. Except maybe in the Gaeltacht.”

“What’s that?”

“Oh, that’s the part of the country where Irish is spoken more than English.”

“Oh interesting. Ah, here’s the train”

They got on the train, it was one of the older cars, the conductor said in their inscrutable not to New Yorkers voice “Manhattan Bound D, stand clear of closing doors.” and the train got moving.

“You don’t have much of an accent yourself either, isn’t your first language Spanish?” Bren said once they’d been seated in the mostly empty carriage.

“Yes, that’s right. And I don’t have much of an accent, though it jumps out in certain words.”

“Oh yeah.”

“Yeah, like I have to be very careful to say Yale instead of Jail, or like chair gives me trouble, and don’t get me started on shart.”

Bren snorted.

“Did you do that on purpose?”

“No.” Rosario was laughing too. “I really can’t. Shart, sha, shhh,”

“Chart?”

“Yeah that. Shart.”

“No come on Ch, Chart”

“Chart.”

“there you go. Now I wonder if there’s things I say where my accent jumps out.”

“I haven’t noticed any. But then, English is your first language isn’t it.”

“More or less more or less. We spoke equal parts English and Irish in my house.”

“Oh cool, so you’re fluent in Irish?”

“Tá”

“I take it that means yes”

“More or less.”

“Does everyone in Ireland speak Irish, then?”

“No, not really. Everyone has to learn some of it, but most people tend to forget it. It’s kind of like how almost every American says they took Spanish in High School but can’t even ask for the time now. Though it seems Irish is growing in popularity lately, in Eire and abroad, there’s even a Duolingo course for it.”

“That’s cool! You’ll have to speak some to me sometime.”

Bren then said something that Rosario wouldn’t even have been able to try to spell out. She just smiled at Faer.

“That means, ‘anytime'” fae said.

“That’s amazing.” Rosario said “Oh, here we are, Atlantic Avenue.”

They got off the train. Walked off the platform to the spot where they’d have to go in different directions.

“Hey, this was really nice, you know considering the circumstance.” Rosario said before they split off.

“I agree. I’m still really nervous, but I guess I feel a tiny bit better knowing there’s someone else in it with me. I’m really glad we met, Rosario”

“I’m glad we met too. Hug?”

“Sure.”

They embraced. Rosario’s heart was beating excitedly.

“I’ll text you tomorrow. Ok?” Rosario said.

“Sure.”

They went in their separate directions, Rosario had to wait 15 minutes for her train again, but eventually she made it home and fell asleep with a smile on her face.
To be continued

Daily Ritual Ch. 5

At least a decade and a half ago, one of the first times Rosario had visited New York City, she and her brother had been invited to her Aunt Flor’s house for dinner. They made the mistake of grabbing a late lunch at a restaurant Downtown…

This is chapter 5 of a series that starts here:

Chapter 1.

Chapter 2.

Chapter 3.

Chapter 4.

WordPress doesn’t allow css formatting on a free plan so feel free to snatch the pdf from the patreon. If you don’t mind reading it like this. By all means. Read on:

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At least a decade and a half ago, one of the first times Rosario had visited New York City, she and her brother had been invited to her Aunt Flor’s house for dinner. They made the mistake of grabbing a late lunch at a restaurant Downtown and weren’t at all hungry when they showed up at Flor’s house for early dinner. She’d prepared a sumptuous feast with chicken, steak, rice, beans, fried plantains, and sliced avocados, and she’d looked so sad when they tried to imply that they wouldn’t be eating much of it. So they ate as much as they could and collapsed in their hotel room when they’d been done. Rosario vowed never to make that mistake again.

That’s why on Monday morning she got up at her usual 7 am but did not make her usual hearty breakfast and instead got by on a cup of coffee. She had planned to get some writing work done but she couldn’t concentrate. She tried to tidy up the flat instead.

When 11 rolled around she took the B train to Manhattan. It would have served her better and been less of a walk to catch the 2 or 3, but she liked taking trains that went over the bridge. She wasn’t in Manhattan very often and she never got tired of the view.

She walked from the Museum of Natural History stop to her aunt’s rent controlled apartment in the Upper West Side. When she got inside both her aunts greeted her warmly. It probably been less than a year since she last saw Flor, but it’d been at least 8 years since she’d last seen Nana. She hugged them each in turn, and was introduced to yet another cousin of hers she’d never met before. They never seemed to run out.

Lunch had been as extravagant as she’d expected, aside from Sancocho, a hearty Dominican soup that one bowl of would make lunch in an of itself, with its 3 different kinds of meat (the full dish calls for 7) and various starchy root vegetables, there was also rice, a leaf salad, fried plantains and avocados.

They had a nice lunch, they caught up, Flor showed her photos from her recent 75th Birthday bash. Rosario knew she couldn’t really broach the subject of faerie magic in front of of everyone, she hoped she’d get some time alone with her Tía Nana later. She kept giving her glances, but mostly she tried to genuinely enjoy the time with her family that she rarely ever saw despite living in the same city.

But of course, such family affairs then to get drawn out, there was dessert (Dulce de Leche), her aunts gave her gifts of cheap jewellery and money. And when it was finally time to go she offered to walk Tía Nana to the subway. She was so exhausted from the socialising and the food, she almost didn’t want to go through with it, but she knew it was now or never.

“Tía?” She said.

“yes, honey?”

“Did you… is it true that you used to do Santeria?”

Her aunt was taken aback immediately.

“No no no” She said.

“Latter Day Saints, I’m a Mormon.”

“Oh she said.”

“Not Santeria.”

“Ok…”

This was disappointing, to say the least. She thought to herself. One last attempt.

“So you wouldn’t know anything about Ciguapas?”

Nana sighed.

“I see. So you know.”

“Yep.”

“I wanted to tell you. But I was supposed to wait until you were eighteen and by then.”

“My mom wasn’t talking to you.”

“Right.”

“Was it over… this?”

“No No no no, you know what it was about don’t you?”

“All I heard is it had to do with money and Aunt Mindy.”

“Yes, your Aunt Mindy was… reckless, it cost her her job and very nearly cost your mother hers. That’s all it was, it had nothing to do with the Ciguapa, that whole thing was much earlier.”

“What happened.”

“Let’s find a place to sit down.”

They walked to the park and found a bench to sit in, then her aunt told her everything she knew.

“I was a Santera” she said.

“And I want to say I was pretty good. I healed a lot of people, I helped people get jobs, I made and broke careers with the help of the Orishas. But I had no reason to touch those creatures, the Ciguapas and the Galipotes, they’re not the domain of Santeria.

“But I knew about them of course, I’d seen them, when I had to spend long nights in the Bosque, and when you’ve developed your sense through the work. They’re hard to miss. We tend to avoid them.

“But one day I was tasked with a request the Orishas and the Saint would not answer. Do you remember. When you were a very small child. Being in the hospital?”

“Yeah, I remember, I must’ve been 5.”

“Yes. You got very sick and the doctors didn’t know how to help you. You were throwing up, dehydrated, they couldn’t get fluids in you quick enough you’d lost them again. Your mother, who’d never asked me anything to do with my work, suddenly asked for my help.

“I tried everything, every remedy, every prayer. I could see the spirits, clearly, walking away. I don’t know if they couldn’t help you, or if they just wouldn’t. But I was out of ideas. In the forest, fasting, she found me.

“She said she could see that I was in great pain, and she said maybe we could help one another. Her own child was sick. But, she said, the diseases of her people don’t easily kill us, and our diseases don’t easily kill them. If we brought you two together, both of you would live. You wouldn’t be the same. Rafi, and back then I still thought of you as Rafi,”

Rosario flinched at the mention of her dead nickname but she didn’t interrupt

“Rafi would cease to be Rafi, and Anacao would cease to be Anacao, but both of you would live on in what you would become. She was very clear that when you reach the age our people consider maturity I was to tell you all of this, and allow you to seek her if you wanted to. She said that is what had been agreed by her people to be the proper thing for these situations.

“of course I never did. And I never touched Santeria again after that day, but it worked. I said yes and the next day you were already a little better, and in a week you went home and you never had that problem again. You didn’t seem different, but I guess you must have been. You are different now.”

“If you’re referring to my gender, I don’t think those are necessarily related.”

“No of course not. The Ciguapa don’t have a gender like we do, they’re all the same. They have long hair so people think them women, but then, the Taino men wore their hair long and had no beards either.”

“I never thought of it that way.”

“I know you think I’m an old lady out of touch, but I’m a little more savvy than that, niña”

“Ok, Tía”

“Do you… do you resent what I did?”

“What? Of course not, I wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for that right? And who knows, maybe it’s helped me more than I thought?”

“How so?”

“Well, I do magic too, right? Well maybe you didn’t think of Santeria as magic, but I think it’s at least similar. And I don’t do Santeria OR Faerie Magic, but I seem to have a knack for enchantment anyways, and spirit work.” She kept to herself the fact that her favourite spirits to work with were the demons of the Goetia, she somehow thought her aunt wouldn’t approve.

“Oh I never knew that, that makes me really happy to hear, niña”

“It does? I would think you wouldn’t approve. Being as though you stopped practising.”

“I did because I was afraid, I thought I had dug a whole for my family that I couldn’t get myself out of, I never wanted to be in that situation again, and I didn’t know if my Orishas would answer me again. But seeing the confident young woman you’ve become. That gives me hope. Maybe it wasn’t so bad after all.”

“So will you do Santeria again?”

“Oh no. I don’t think so. I think those days are behind me.”

“Dang, I was hoping you could teach me”

“It doesn’t sound like you need me to teach you, you’re on your own path, and that sounds wonderful. Of course I’d love to help you if I can, but I think my Santera days are well behind me.”

“If I ever wanted to find her, the Ciguapa. Do you know how I could?”

“I suppose, if you did what I did. Fast for 5 days and 5 nights in the mountains north of Santiago, that might be enough. If you need more potency… well.”

“Yes.”

“I want you to be very careful.”

“Ok.”

“You can try eating some Yucca Leaves. They’re very poisonous so be very careful, but they should let you see the Ciguapa. Anacao’s mother. Her name is Jaca. Remember that.”

“I will.”

Tía Nana looked at her wristwatch.

“I really need to be getting home. So we should go catch the train. Was there anything else.”

“Well, Just one more question I suppose?”

“What is it?”

“Why Mormonism?”

Her aunt laughed.

“Haha, why it’s safer isn’t it? It’s just people. People can be dangerous yes, but they don’t hold a candle to what an Orisha or a Ciguapa can do.”

“That makes sense, I suppose.”

They walked to the Museum of Natural History station, her aunt took the C and Rosario waited around and took the B. When she finally made it home she was tired and needed to unwind. She hadn’t smoked weed at all since the day after the “revelation”. She thought about rolling a regular joint, and not summoning Plaz, but eventually decided she would really like talking to him. So she did her ritual. She ground the herbs, this time mixing mint and weed, and of course, the sigil. He was there before she was finished rolling.

“Wow you’re eager today.”

“Well what’s your excuse, we haven’t gone this long without talking since like year one.”

“I’ve been processing a lot of stuff, ‘member?”

“Not a very good excuse then.”

She rolled her eyes, and the joint. She offered him the first puff. He took the joint and lit it with his finger. An old trick he didn’t seem to use very often anymore.

“You know, all of my other subjects”

“subjects, hah!” she sneered

“Well the rest of them are. Anyways, they all offer weed, but it’s always worse rolled, worse quality, and even if they mix shit in they never get the ratio right.”

Rosario put out her hands in a generous gesture

“I aim to please” she said.

Plaz handed her the joint.

“So. You speak with your aunt?”

“Yup.”

“And what’d you learn.”

“Nothing actionable. I mean she told me where I could go to meet my faerie mother, but like, I’d have to fly back to the DR and I’m not about to do that.”

“You sure? I could take you?”

“You can?”

“We’d have to go through hell though.”

“That sounds unpleasant.”

“I mean a human wouldn’t survive it, but maybe a changeling would.”

“Maybe? the fuck do you mean, maybe?”

“Well, it’s not like it’s ever been tried before.”

“Let us take that option, OFF the Table.”

“Ok, excuse me for trying to be helpful. Do you have a different idea.”

“well my folks always pay for me to travel for Christmas, so maybe I find an excuse to fuck off to the mountains during… yeah that’s probably not gonna happen. Well, in any case, I don’t want to go right now, I don’t think I have to.”

“You don’t want to know about your heritage?”

“I do, but damn, like it’s too much all at once, I can’t just drop everything to pursue it, I still have deadlines, you know.”

“ah yes, your ‘job’ I’ve told you I can make you rich you don’t have to keep doing it.”

“Yeah, and I just have to pledge my soul to your boss in perpetuity, no thank you.”

“She’s pretty nice once you get to know her.”

“I don’t disagree, lots of love to Lucy, but I have different plans for my soul. Also, I happen to like my job. Now can we please get back to the matter at hand.”

“Right, right, so tell me more.”

She relayed the whole encounter to him with only minor interruptions.

“So yeah. I don’t know how I want to play it, but I don’t think I need to run into the forest and look for answers that way. I want to keep exploring, see what abilities I have and don’t have. Maybe journey on it and try to recover some of Anacao’s memories from before we joined.”

“And what about your crush?”

“I… I’m not sure. Fae hasn’t texted me and I don’t want to bother faer.”

“Oh that’s rich, when have YOU ever shown this much restraint.”

“Well this is different, this is the first time someone I’ve dated done… that to me. I’m usually the one in control, even with supernatural creatures, I’m the magician, the holder of the secret. I’ve never had my own secret revealed to me that way. And I’m afraid… I’m afraid fae might see me as a nuisance, especially if I try to talk to faer about the whole changeling stuff. I don’t want faer to think I want faer to take care of me or to teach me or anything.”

“Well why the hell not? Fae seems like precisely the kind of person to help you in this situation.”

“But… I want to be faer girlfriend, not her charge.”

“Girlfriend? Oh this is worse than I thought, I thought you just wanted to boink her.”

“Well that too, but… I don’t know what I want any more and that scares me. I’m not in control…. what the fuck is in this joint, I’ve never been quite so open with you.”

“Well, keep it coming I like it”

“You were the first to ever tell me not to trust a demon.”

“Oh that was then, we’d just met. We’re friends now. We’re not summoner and summonee.”

Rosario smiled at him

“We are, aren’t we.”

“Thick as thieves, you and I. This is cashed by the way.” He put the roach in the ash tray.

“I’ll roll another one.

“So, if we’re friends, maybe you’ll tell me what you’re supposed to be the demon of now?”

“Oh, pfft, I mean sure I guess you’ve earned that. It’s…”

Just then Rosario’s phone rang.

“Oh for the love of Satan.” Plaz said. Rosario reached for her phone.

“Oh fuck, it’s Bren.” She said

“And what does the faerie want?”

“Let me see.”

She answered the phone.

“Hiya! Oh… ok calm down. Ok We’ll head right over. Yeah me and Plaz, is that ok? ok ok we’ll come. In Sheepshead bay. Ok we’ll be there as soon as we can.

“Fae needs our help.”

To be Continued.

Daily Ritual Ch. 4

This is chapter 4 of a series that starts here:

Chapter 1.

Chapter 2.

Chapter 3.

WordPress doesn’t allow css formatting on a free plan so feel free to snatch the pdf from the patreon. If you don’t mind reading it like this. By all means. Read on:

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At about 10 am Plaz was awoken by someone coming into the room. He looked up from the couch and saw Rosario’s flatmate. A young bearded man with short black hair. He was clad only in boxers. He had a soft melodious voice.

“Whoops” he said

“Sorry, didn’t mean to wake you.”

“That’s all right” said Plaz “I’m Plaz, I’m friends with Rosario.”

“Yeah I figured. ” He walked towards him with his hand outstretched.

“I’m Antonio” he said shaking Plaz’s hand

“I got in pretty late last night and you were passed out. Sorry about…” He gestured broadly to his undressed body

“My outfit.” he finished.

“That’s all right, we’re all blokes here.”

“Right right. You’re Australian then?” Antonio asked.

“No”

“Oh, where you from, then?”

“Down Under”

Antonio stared at him, but Plaz gave him a disarming smile. He dropped the subject.

“I’m just headed to the toilet” he said. “It was nice meeting you.”

“Likewise” Still smiling.

At length, after the flatmate had completed his business and retreated back to his quarters with nary a nod to his guest, Rosario herself came out of the room. She was pleased to see Plaz had spent the night.

“Well she said” through a curtain of long straight hair that she’d not had the night before.

“The legs are back to normal, at least, but then this happened.”

“Wow” Said Plaz, sitting up on the couch, making room for her to sit next to him.

“That’s gonna be fun to manage.”

“I figure it has to be easier than my usual curls, even if it’s 5 times as long.”

“Can you cut it?”

“I haven’t tried.”

She reached over to grab a pair of scissors from the coffee table. Snip snip snip. But it was no use. No sooner had the locks hit the floor than the hair had grown back to it’s usual unruly length.

“Nope.” she said defeated.

“Makes sense, I guess. Faerie magic, not so easily thwarted. Unless… we could try cold iron scissors.”

Rosario shivered.

“From what I know of Faerie lore, that might work but it will also probably hurt a lot. And like… where the fuck am I going to find iron scissors.”

“Good point.”

“Anyways, I’m able to glamour my legs to normal. I just have to not think about it. If I can stop thinking about the hair maybe I’ll stop seeing it. And feeling it. Oh god, eating’s gonna be hard. I should get like a butterfly clip or something.”

“Here’s a crisp bag clip” said Plaz helpfully.

“Gee thanks… this place’s a mess to be honest. I really need to tidy up.”

“I met your flatmate.”

“Oh yeah, what’d you think.”

“Pretty, but not my type.”

“Too beary, huh?”

“Not even that it’s just…”

“Yeah.”

“you told me he was gay, right?”

“Yeah.”

“It just doesn’t fit.”

“What?”

“I don’t trust an ostensibly gay man who wears underwear that ugly.”

“Oh don’t judge. Also he might hear us.”

“Oh blast, really?”

“Nah, he’s probably still passed the fuck out.”

“Ok cool.”

“Wanna go in my room and smoke a joint.”

“You know, I’m not usually one to turn down a wake and bake, but I think I’ll pass. I kind of want to go home.”

“Oh, ok?”

“Just wanted to make sure you were okay, first.”

“Well.” She said, opening her arms wide. “here I am. If you can call this ok, I guess I am ok.”

“What will you do, will you call Bren?”

“Not today. No. I think.. I don’t know how fae feels, but I need some space. I need to process this shit. This is, what, like the 5th time my life’s been flipped turned upside down. Which I guess. I was right side up before but not any more. And she’s not the one who can give me answers. ”

“Then, your aunt?”

“Yeah, but like… also not today. It’s Saturday. All I want is to get high and like watch Netflix or something. I need a break.”

“Ok.”

“Well. Blood message me if you need anything, ok?”

“Ok. Thank you so much, Plaz.”

“Anytime.”

They got up and hugged and then Plaz vanished in a plume of smoke which was terribly inconvenient because, unlike in her bedroom, the fire alarm in the living room had a full battery and she had to hurry up and turn it off. She told a bewildered Antonio she’d burned some eggs, in the kitchen and she was sorry, and he was still too sleepy to investigate further.

She retreated to her room, to do her daily ritual solo this time. And to relax. And to think. She rolled a joint but didn’t light it. “This calls for some sky” she said to herself.

She climbed the stairs to the roof of her building. Stepped out into the brightness, and was received by a cool breeze. She was on the third floor, not a very tall building. Brooklyn sprawled in front of her, and in the distant the comforting sight of the Manhattan skyline.

She ascertained that she was alone (she rarely encountered anyone else up here) and she sat in the corner and lit up. It was never as nice to smoke on her own, but at least she had the sky and the few clouds for company. Last night was actually the first time she and Plaz had spent that much time together. Usually he came for an hour or two, they smoked a couple joints and then he was out, back to hell, or elsewhere on Earth. She never asked questions about who else he dealt with or what hell was like. And he never brought it up.

Brae wasn’t the first time she’d met a faerie, but faerie was such a broad term, she’d probably met some her weirdar hadn’t identified, and no one had ever identified her. Angels were easy to peg, so were demons. She’d met a wood nymph once, in Tennessee. And plenty of human witches and magicians. She’d love that her life was so full of the strange, she loved being part of the world that wasn’t hidden at all, but which few people saw, out of lack of interest.

She didn’t realise how much of that world she was. She preferred thinking of herself as a link, a border crosser, someone with one foot on each plane. This was all still true, her balance had just shifted on her backwards pointing legs.

She dialled her phone.

“Hola Tia” She said.

“Yeah it’s me, Flor’s daughter” she continued in Spanish.

“Yeah I know it’s been a while… Oh you know it’s all good… No I haven’t seen him lately… Mom’s doing great… Would I like to come over for lunch? Sure! Yes… yes I’ll skip breakfast that day… hehe… One question though, is Nana going to be there?… She is!… great! I’d love to see her too. Ok, I’ll be there Wednesday. Thank you! Ciao!”

She hung up, finished her joint in the quiet of the city, which is the sound of cars, the chatter of people, and the occasional siren.

 

Read on…

Daily Ritual, Ch. 3

This is chapter 3 of a series that starts here:

Chapter 1.

Chapter 2.

WordPress doesn’t allow css formatting on a free plan so feel free to snatch the pdf from the patreon. If you don’t mind reading it like this. By all means. Read on:

*************************************************************************************

“So… I’m a faerie?” Rosario said, clearly bewildered.

“No, she’s not” Plaz said.

“Don’t try to trick her with your, faerie wiles.” he added for good measure.

“Dude, could you stop being a massive racist for like one second.” Bren answered, clearly ticked off.

“Plaz, give it a rest, don’t make me banish you.” Rosario added.

“All right all right, because you’re my friend, I’ll hold my tongue. But I know what faeries look like and you ain’t it. You two look nothing alike.”

“Well you’re not European are you? So she wouldn’t be an Irish faerie, she’d be more of the tropical variety. Don’t look at her hands, look at her legs.” Bren said.

“What about my legs?” Rosario asked.

“They’re the wrong way around.”

“No they’re not, I’m just… what’s it called? Pigeon toed, they’re not the…wrong way around.”

But as they all stood there staring at Rosario’s lower half, it was quite clear to everyone that  she was indeed pigeon toed, but her toes faced broadly behind her.

“I.. I’ve never noticed that before.”

“Glamour so strong, it fooled even you.” Bren said. “I’d guess you’re likely not a full faerie, more of a changeling.”

“Changeling… I.. I need to sit down, this is too much.”

Rosario tried to start walking towards a a chair, but her legs were no longer walking in sync with the rest of her and she almost fell flat on her face, but Plaz caught here.

“There we go, let’s let you down easy.” Plaz said as he gently let her down to the floor. People were staring at them now.

“It’s ok, she’s just had a tad too much too drink.”  Bren said to the audience, which mostly continued to mind their own business.

“Let’s get you out of here.” fae said “Let’s go somewhere less crowded.”

They carried her out between their shoulders like she really was drunk, her feet making careful steps as she got accustomed to walking backwards to walk forward. They managed to flag down a green cab, against Rosario’s protest that she could walk she just needed some practice. Bren offered to pay for it. And they rode to Rosario’s apartment.

The stairs were another ordeal, but slowly and with the help of the faerie and the demon, they managed to get to the third floor. Once in Rosario’s room, they got to talking again, and Plaz rolled a joint (to calm his and her nerves).

“So, you’re saying I’m a tropical faerie?” she asked Bren.

“Right, I assume you all have a different term you use?”

“No, not that I know of. We don’t have like a generic term for faerie, but we do have… ciguapas. A mythological female creature, with long hair and legs the wrong way around.”

“Bingo, I’m sure that’s what you are then.”

“but.. I wasn’t born a woman. I mean, not even getting into if anyone is born anything. I wasn’t… assigned female at birth.”

“Well, does it say anywhere that… how do you pronounce that… “cigarpas?” are all afab?”

” Nooo, but…”

“Here you go.” Plaz handed her the joint, she lit it and toked it without missing a beat.

“And you said you thought I was a changeling? How’s that possible?”

“Yeah, I wasn’t sure about that, cause usually someone would have told you by now, we’re very careful about that today. But you said you didn’t know, and I believe you.”

“but… a changeling, how a changeling”

“what do you think a changeling is?” inquired Bren.

“Well” she took another puff of the joint and then tried to pass it to Bren

“Oh, no thank you.” fae answered. She handed it to Plaz instead.

“A changeling,” Rosario continued  “as far as I knew, is like a sickly faerie that is left in the place of a human child, so that the kid’s parents will take care of them.”

“See, that’s a common misconception. The faerie is not left in place of the child, they’re left with the child. It’s like a fusion or hybridization. The human and the faerie become one, so that the faerie might live on.”

“Huh?”

“yeah…”

They all sat in silence for some time. The joint changed hands a couple more times before being put out by Plaz, who was also the one to finally break the silence.

“You said you thought this would have been explained to her right? By whom?”

“This was all explained to me when I came of age by my family, but then again they’re all druids. I’m a changeling too, otherwise I couldn’t spend this much time above ground. I’m surprised  no one told you Rosario, didn’t your parents ever say anything?”

Rosario scuffed. “My parents, they don’t understand anything about anything. They’re not druids, or brujos, or anything of the sort, I’m the first person in my family to even take an interest in anything magic. Well, except my aunt but.. but..”

“Yes?”

“Well my aunt, she’s not really my aunt in the strictest sense, but she raised my mother together with her mom, after grandpa left. She’s a Santera, a type of Caribbean folk witch. Thing is, she and my mom had a falling out ages ago. They haven’t spoken since.”

“That’s it, that must be the reason. She probably wanted to tell you but your mom wouldn’t let her. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if you were the reason for their fight.”

“no no, it was much more mundane than that. Money, it was about money.”

“Well whatever it was. I suggest you find that aunt and ask her about it, she’d be able to tell you much more than I can.”

“I suppose.”

Rosario started grinding more weed. Then stopped to look at Bren.

“Thank you so much” she said “I know this probably isn’t how you wanted to spend your evening, taking care of a confused changeling.”

“No, it’s not, but what can you do” fae shrugged “It really sucks that you didn’t have someone else tell you this. Faeries have come a long way since the olden days, and we try to be a lot more mindful of humans’…” fae struggled, and stalled by spinning faer hands around “moralities?” fae finished the thought.

“but faeries still get sick, and we still need changelings to survive as a species. We just try to be a lot more… consensual about it.”

“One question.” chimed Plaz from the corner.

“Yeah?”

“How does this relate to UFOs and the whole abduction thing.”

“I always assumed that was you guys.”

“No, demons have never had that kind of interest in people, and we don’t fly around. I always thought it had to do with faeries cause it sounds a lot like the old faerie stories.”

“Yeah, but like I said, we don’t do it like that anymore. And anyways when we did we had a lot more class about it, and a lot more dancing. You never hear of abductees dancing. I always heard it was demons trying to copy us.”

“Well, it’s not.”

“Huh.” Fae shrugged.

“Beats me then. Must be something else.”

“Yeah.” Said Plaz, they fell to silence as the faerie and the demon processed this new information about the world beyond the world and their respective places within it.

“Anyways.” Said Rosario.

“I am EXHAUSTED.” She plopped on her bed.

“I should probably get going then” said Bren. “Hopefully I won’t have to wait 20 minutes for a train. Take care dear, message me tomorrow.” Bren went and gave Rosario a hugged.

“Thank you, again.” Said Rosario. “Here, let me walk you to the door.”

She was about to get up off her bed when she noticed her legs were still obstinately facing her back and said

“On second thought….”

“I’ll do it.” Said Plaz “You try to get some sleep.”

“Ok, thank you Plazzie.”

He smiled at her. They walked out of the room and closed the door behind them. Rosario turned off her lamp and closed her eyes. She didn’t think she’d be able to sleep after all the excitement of the night. But the last joint had been a very sleepy indica, and she was so tired that it didn’t take long for her to fade into sleep.

In the living room, Plaz was walking Bren to the door but stopped short of opening it.

“Listen.” He said.

“I don’t want this to come out the wrong way, I swear I’m not saying this just cause you’re a faerie, I’m trying really hard for Rosario’s sake, to get rid of that particular prejudice as quick as possible.”

Bren looked at him impassively. He continued.

“I worry about her, ok. She really likes you and I don’t want her to get hurt.”

Bren sighed.

“I like her too, it’s why I wanted to meet her tonight. It didn’t go as I expected.”

“So what will you do?”

“I don’t know. I’ll give her time to process. And maybe we’ll go out again, just the two of us this time. Also not trying to be offensive to you, just you know. Third wheels.”

“None taken and I understand entirely. Just… be nice to her.”

“You really care about her don’t you?”

“She’s my best friend.” Plaz looked towards Rosario’s door. Bren put a hand on his shoulder.

“You’re pretty nice.” Fae opened the door. “For a demon” fae said walking away.

“Right back at ya, faerie.” Plaz called out, and locked the door.

He walked into the living room. He thought about poofing out, but decided that he wanted to be here when Rosario woke up tomorrow.

“I’m sure she won’t mind.”

He plopped onto the couch. And in time, fell asleep.

To be continued….

Daily Ritual Ch. 2

This is chapter 2 of a series that starts here:

Chapter 1.

WordPress doesn’t allow css formatting on a free plan so feel free to snatch the pdf from the patreon. If you don’t mind reading it like this. By all means. Read on:

*************************************************************************************

The day of the concert they met at Rosario’s place to smoke a joint and take a couple bong rips before heading out. A punk show is the perfect place to go with a demon who doesn’t quite understand that fashion changes. He was dressed more for a sex pistols concert than anything else, with a shiny pleather overcoat, white under shirt, suspenders and doc martens. He’d asked Rosario what colour shoelaces he should use cause he knew nazis used to wear white but he’d heard they’d changed it and he didn’t want to accidentally signal anything. Rosario didn’t know either and after a bit of googling they had no answer so he just got black.

For her part Rosario wore a simple black dress and black boots with only a bit of heel on them. She enjoyed leaning back and just standing on the heels of her boots which were just wide enough that this wasn’t a very impressive feat.

They showed up to the venue, Plaz paid for both of them since he inexplicably always has money on him, and whenever Rosario asks where he gets it he just answers “demon business”. They got beers, and hung outside for a second since Bren wasn’t on for another hour and the band that was currently playing, an outfit of 3 white dudes called Flax Seed, was terribly uninteresting to both of them.

“So is she here? Point her out to me.” Plaz asked Rosario.

“FAE. And no fae is not here yet. Or possibly fae’s backstage.”

“ok, sorry.”

“You’ll just have to wait till faer band is on.”

“ok.”

“do you have any more green.”

“Yeah, I don’t know if we can smoke here though.”

“Those people are smoking.”

“yeah, tobacco.”

“so, if they can smoke tobacco, a far more disturbing substance, if you ask me, why couldn’t we smoke some grass.”

“The long answer is really long, the short answer is that tobacco is legal and weed is not.”

“I thought this was a punk bar.”

“yeah, but it’s my first time here and I don’t want to risk it.”

“Hold on, I’m gonna ask.”

“What, Plaz no!”

“Hey! do you know if it’s cool to smoke weed here?” He asked a random stranger in an against me t-shirt.

“Totally, just keep it in the smoking corner, which is over there.”

“Sure, thing, thanks, bud.

See, it’s ok.”

“Plaz I am mortified.

“Oh come on.”

“fine I guess.”

They hung out in the smoking area, passed around a joint to other smokers. And then it was time for Bren’s band to come on. So they walked inside. As soon as fae came onstage and introduced the band Plaz got really anxious.

“Hello everybody! How’s it going?!” Fae said excitedly. The crowd hooted and hollered in response.

“All right! We are Woodland Melody and we’re gonna play a few of our songs for you, how’s that sound?” more hooting.

Woodland Melody was a simple outfit of four people. Aside from Bren on vocals and guitar, they had a bassist, a drummer, and a violist. Rosario only knew Bren personally and so didn’t want to guess at the gender of any of the other band members, but she suspected none of them were cis.

The first song they played was a sort of slow moving, entrancing tune, that broke into a faster dance music. The verses alternated between English and Irish so Rosario only caught half of it. It was about people getting lost in the forest. She was jamming to it, but Plaz was getting more and more agitated. Finally he grabbed her and said:

“Ok, now I’m sure of it. Fae’s fae folk for sure.”

“What cause fae sings in Irish, faer family is from there.” Rosario responded, annoyed at the interruption.

“No, not because of that. Look around you. Everyone’s entranced.”

“They’re just jamming.”

“Nu uh, it’s more than that, the last band didn’t have that effect.”

“yeah, cause they sucked. Anyways, I don’t feel entranced, do I look it? It’s just good music.”

“you’re a magician, Rosario, one that’s had multiple demonic contacts. That might be protecting you. Demonic magic and faerie magic are like oil and water. Oh and those fingers.”

“Well, whatever, if you’re having so much trouble, just wait outside, I’m gonna stay and jam.”

Plaz didn’t leave, but he stood by himself leaning on the wall staring intently at Bren and back at Rosario, as if keeping guard. All of Woodland Melody’s songs had a similar feel, they made you think of partying around a bonfire in a meadow in the forest. Rosario danced with another girl, and by herself and before they knew it, the set was over.

“Thank you, everyone!” Bren said. “Find us on bandcamp, we’re Woodland Melody, and keep rocking out, whoo!!”

They went outside and Rosario texted Bren, to Plaz continued protests as he thought they should just leave now and Rosario should forget about Bren forever.

“Ugh, stop being so jealous.” Rosario scolded him.

“I’m not jealous, fae’s a faerie!”

“whatever, hush, here fae comes!”

“Hi, Rosario! thank you so much for coming! Did you like it? were we good?”

“Totally, I was totally jamming out, dancing, it’s great, you have a beautiful voice.”

“Thank you, thank you.”

“Oh, where are my manners” Rosario said ” This is my friend Plaz.”

“Nice to meet you, Plaz. I’m Bren.” Fae stuck out faer hand for Plaz to shake, but he refused, and he looked at faer with hell in his eyes.

“Oh come on!” Answered Bren. “I know you’re a demon, but since you’re hanging out with her, I thought you’d be cool.”

“Wait, what, how did you know that?” Rosario asked.

“Well it’s not exactly hard, faeries have good senses for this sort of thing.”

“See, see I fucking told you!” Plaz said.

“You ARE a faerie? I had no idea.” Rosario said.

“I thought you knew, I mean, you’re a faerie too after all”

“What?!” Came the chorused reply from Rosario and Plaz.

To be continued…

Read on! Chapter 3

Sex and the City and I, Episode 03: Bay of Married Pigs

So I watched this episode over a week ago and then the curse struck and I haven’t felt as much like writing, and what little energy I did have I put into finishing up a different piece that you should go read cause it’s probably more important than sex and the city. But, it is Saturday, I’m at the Library, I have two friends with me that as far as I can tell are writing, so I should get to it and write.

Here we go.

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve lived in New York a couple times for a couple years. I’ve been visiting New York since I was like 7. I have never been to the Hamptons. I think the farthest up Long Island I’ve ever been is Far Rockaway. It doesn’t strike as a place queers tend to go. However, a certain type of New Yorker, I’m told, by television, goes there quite often. Carrie Bradshaw is one of them.

One of the best parts of living in New York, she says, it’s leaving it. She goes to the Hamptons, to stay with a married couple, a pair of New York City exiles, it would seem. As payment for their hospitality she renders the traditional sacrifice of regaling them with tales from her single life. The married couple is satisfied and Carrie goes to bed. The next morning the tragedy happens. Mr Husband whose name I don’t care to remember or look up, surprises Carrie by running into her in the hallway, fully nude from the waist down.

Can I just take a moment to wonder about this. I’ve slept in various configurations of clothing. I don’t think the t-shirt no bottom has ever been one of them. What… what is the point of it. Did they bone last night and he didn’t bother taking off his shirt. Sounds extremely boring, but then, this is heteros we’re talking about.

Screenshot from the episode of the dude with no underwear. The shot is from the waist up however.
I can see why his wife is worried, look at this hunk of a man /s

Moving on, Carrie tries to laugh it off but when she tells Mrs. Wife about it she’s very VERY uncomfortable. Carrie is forced to make an early exit. Once in the city she debriefs the girls on her encounter and the episode’s topic du semaine is set up. The usually cold sometimes uncomfortably hot, war between the city’s singles and the city’s married couples. Miranda thinks married women fear her, Charlotte wants to be them, Samantha is happily committed to sleeping with anyone (I want to say anyone within her standards, but we’ll see later why that doesn’t apply) and any time regardless of marital status.

I’m tempted to say this is a whole bunch of straight hullabaloo, but the show anticipates me. In the middle of one of those interview segments that I’m pretty sure doesn’t survive past season one, she ends up with my man Stanford who is sick to his stomach of all his friends flying to Hawaii to wear a caftan and recite vows. I assume he said that because Hawaii was the only state at the time to allow gay marriage, but not quite. I’m afraid I’m not super familiar with the history of marriage equality in the US (so sue me). Now would be a good time to go on a thorough exploration of that question. Why were Stanford’s friends all going to Hawaii… Find out in a special issue of this column next week (not really (I mean maybe) (an addendum to this one??) sure why not)

So Stanford, the straightest gay man in New York, is here to remind us that being Gay does not exempt one from service in the Marriage Wars (oh that’s why it’s called Bay of Married Pigs, it’s a Bay of Pigs reference, also men are pigs). They happen to run into one of Carrie’s old friends who’s now openly gay, and he’s there with his Life PARTNER, now there’s a dated term. Upon hearing Carrie’s Single. they bafflingly ask her if she’d be willing to donate one of her eggs so they can have a baby. They already have a surrogate they just need a top-notch egg. I guess Breeder is a proper despective, since it turns out gays can be breeders and when they are, they are AWFUL. I want to say I hope that this is an example of straight people writing gay characters and that no gay person would commit such a faux pas, but actually no, we would. I mean I wouldn’t but SOME PEOPLE.

Moving on. Miranda, who I’m expected to believe is not a homosexual, is going to a softball game. Where she’s agreed to be set up, but is disappointed to discover her colleague has set her up with a lesbian. This is something that, according to television, happens very often. She explains, all is good, they decide to play together. And do great and have great synergy despite, again, Miranda being entirely straight. Miranda is pleased that being paired up is getting her recognition from her boss, which is treated as proof of marriedship bias as opposed to, you know, her boss fetishising lesbianism. So when he invites her and her date to his house for dinner, she decides it’s worth it to pretend.

Meanwhile, in the middle of a casual encounter wherein Carrie is doing research for her piece by talking to one of her apparently many married couple friends, she’s blind-sided by a guerrilla attack. She’s been set up, on a date. The guy, whose name I again can’t remember and don’t care to look up. Seems fine at first. Successful, reasonably attractive, in the middle of buying an apartment. Carrie, decides to go for it. See where it goes, but soon she sees she’s being roped into a bigger plot. She’s being recruited. He keeps talking about children and how great that apartment is gonna be for two people. I don’t know if I can call those red flags, and white flags are already taken. What would be the flag that someone is hot to marry. Unfortunately the hanky code does not seem to cover this edge case. Let’s say Mauve. Carrie sees these flags, but she’s hoping she can maybe push him into her corner a bit.

The episode’s various threads culminate on the night of Carrie’s boy’s house-warming party. To which she brings Charlotte and Samantha as backup. This is the same night of Miranda’s lesbian dinner party at her boss’ house so she’s unavailable. Honestly the Miranda plot is so much more interesting, but there aren’t very many scenes. Let’s wrap up Carrie’s plot so we can get into it a bit.

The party is a trap, everyone, EVERYONE there save the 3 girls is part of a married couple. Samantha hates this and starts knocking back drinks. I can’t remember if it’s her or Charlotte or both of them that are having pleasant conversations with men only for a wife to show up to whisk them away. Threatened presumably. Charlotte takes Samantha home because she’s unbelievably drunk, and Carrie stays till the end of the party and breaks up with her boyfriends before he has a chance to propose to her. Not that he was about to, but it was certainly where he wanted to be headed, and they’ve been dating for all of one week.

Samantha, whilst Charlotte is sleeping, goes downstairs to seduce the door man, which let’s be real, it’s more of a door boy. He can’t handle a woman like Samantha, but it’s his lucky day she’s too drunk to care. She just needs something quick. This is what my previous comment about her standards was about. I’m not even gonna touch the issue of what constitutes consent and what constitutes harassment in this case. Samantha Jones is a force of nature and is unstoppable in getting what she desires. God help those who would deny her.

A screenshot from the episode with Miranda and Syd in the elevator
Don’t give up, you two. Love awaits you elsewhere.

So Miranda. Miranda, has an amazing dinner party, she talks shop with her boss, is angling for a promotion. Nevertheless, she’s a woman of scruples, and she’s not gonna hurt a poor lesbian by continuing to rope her into some sort of professional scheme. She comes clean to her boss, which seems to respect her shrewdness. No harm done, he says, and tries to deflect using his wife. Saying she’ll be disappointed since she really wanted to add a lesbian to her circle. I have no idea what’s going on in this marriage, but Miranda would do well to stay well away from any more of his dinner parties before he tries to get her to unicorn.

On the elevator, Miranda takes one last desperate shot at happiness. She kisses Syd (of course, she I care to know the name of, she’s a lesbian, she deserves a name). Nope, she says, definitely straight. Which Syd confirms, yeah, you are.

This is also a common television trope. The character everyone thinks is gay tries to give it a go only to be told by the queer person that no, their gaydar never lies and they are definitely not pinging. And this to me belies a deeper issue. Specially with people Miranda’s age. A lesbian in that age range, and any queer person, does not want to be part of an experiment. They’re out there, just like everyone else, apparently fighting in some sort of war for happiness in the form of a stable relationship. They’re don’t exist as a device for straight people to test themselves for gayness. Nevertheless, in heteronormative society, it can take people a LONG freaking time to figure out if they’re queer, specially if they’re bisexual, and you’ve already been dating people of one of the genders you’re interested in. I wish there was an easier way for them to explore those feelings. But it doesn’t always play out very well.

A quick word of advice, if you happen to be a person in this situation. Just communicate effectively. Some generous souls might be willing to embark on such a journey for you, but they need to know what they’re getting into. I’d like to imagine that this is why Syd agreed to go on this dinner party. She really had a good time playing softball with Miranda. They had good chemistry. She thought, well, she says she’s straight, but what if, she’d just never questioned it. There were plenty ways to hook up in the 90s, but what if Syd wants to defect, what if she wants that everlasting happiness and is having trouble finding it. Then this incredibly hot, well positioned lawyer falls into her lap. Maybe she wanted to say no right away, but what if, she couldn’t let it go, what if.

You can’t tell me one kiss is enough to dispel those doubts on either side. It’s the 90s but Miranda’s in her 30s. She has a fully formed ideal of herself. She doesn’t want an experiment any more than Syd does. Did she feel nothing in that kiss. Or did she choose not to feel nothing. Would she know the difference. It wasn’t a very passionate kiss. I wouldn’t have felt anything if I kissed my deepest crush like that. Miranda. You do you, but don’t throw it all away in one non-kiss in an elevator. Syd, best of luck. We’re never gonna see you again, I’m sure, but you’ll find your girl. You’ll got to Hawaii, or whatever the lesbian equivalent of Hawaii is (New England?). Hang in there kid.

As for you, dear readers. That’s our column for this week. Until next time…

Pride Sucks now, and that’s why we should all go to Pride

As Pride Month kicks off in the  US and many cities are gearing up to organise their various celebrations, the very concept of Pride is under threat not only from the same conservative anti-lgbtq groups of decades past and present, but in a roundabout way, from queer activist and queer people who more and more want nothing to do with pride.

This is because for years now Pride has less and less centred the supposed celebrants and centred mostly brands, the state, the police, and bizarrely, straight performers.

Take for instance what happened in Manchester pride, which for some reason takes place in March. Where Ariana Grande, a musician loved by the gays but who has never publicly come out as anything but straight was slated to be the main performer, and her and Pride were ready to charge attendants 70 GBP (almost 100 USD and 40 pounds more than previous years). I don’t mean to reignite the arguments from those days, and Ariana’s history notwithstanding, this left many queer people with a sour taste in the mouth.

Or more recent Edmonton Pride in Alberta deciding to cancel Pride altogether after lgbt activist called for a ban of uniform police marching in the parade.

So when I was commiserating with my friend, as one does, about the state of the world today and she told me that maybe we should get rid of pride altogether, my first instinct was to say, “yeah, maybe that’s for the best”, my second instinct was to panic.

Panic because, at the same time as brands as tripping over themselves to get money from lgbtq folks by showing how progressive and gay friendly they are to people who’ll already receive that message well. We’re probably living through the greatest backslash against queer people this side of the millennium divide.

With gender and sexuality protections under fire by several lawmaking bodies, country leaders promising to kill or jail lgbt people around the world, nazis being nazis, and major news outlets in the US and UK fighting an all out campaign to vilify trans people and paint trans women as enemies of women (never mind the inherent contradiction). Pride is needed now perhaps more than ever.

The attack now is coming from both sides, if you can call the far right and the centre right sides. On the one hand the traditional conservatives are pushing for an eradication of lgbtq lifestyles longing to push us back in the closet. On the other, brands are not trying to eradicate our spaces, they’re trying to make them their own. And in doing so sucking all the colour and diversity out of pride. A straightification of pride not even the most adamant Mattachine could have wished for back in the 60s.

Because it is these same corporations that want to sell us their product, and have us on our websites as long as we’re not too ourselves. Youtube turns their logo rainbow in June, but demonetised videos that contain the world lesbian on the title. Patreon made it’s whole business on the work of adult artists, both queer and not, but now that it’s successful these artist are finding themselves booted of their platform. Many a queer person has been driven to suicide after debts could not be paid when a world that asks us to give them our rainbow dollars is not willing to employ us, pay us or keep us from getting fired. And then banks want to march in the parade alongside us. It is insulting.

The truth is, none of what we’re dealing with now could have been predicted on the day of the first pride parade. The world has become an entangled mess of complex allegiances, promotions and denunciations. It’s usually those with less scruples who would take advantage of such chaos. This leads to a chilling new trend of homophobes and transphobes getting queer people to spread their message for them by masking it in the trappings of modern queer discourse, for instance, as a call-out post.

This lead to a situation we saw recently on twitter. I could go find the tweets, but individual tweets aren’t as important as the trend. In short, the message was put out that leather should be banned from Pride, because it’s a kink and there are children at pride parades and they shouldn’t be exposed to kink. This message was amplified by a lot of ill meaning people who are happy with pride being primarily a show for straight people and corporations, ill meaning people who want to get rid of pride altogether, and well meaning people who think they’re looking out for queer children and asexual people. After a few cycles through the discourse machine, people are arguing that queer people should queer up be having sex at pride, right on the parade, and people saying well that’s obviously wrong.

Meanwhile the question of whether we should have cops and corporations and pride has been superseded by the conversation of which kinds of queer people we should have a pride. An imaginary argument between asexuals, allosexuals, victims of child abuse,and somehow communists. It’s part of a meta problem of people fighting fights for people who don’t want that fight fought and doing a terrible job of it. Are there asexuals who don’t want kink at pride? Probably, but I think, as an outsider, that most just want a seat at the table they rightfully deserve. No one’s having sex at Pride, because that’s illegal. If you want there to be no acknowledgement of the existence of sex at Pride or anywhere, you’d do well to question that instinct

Pride has become toxic. The whole point of pride is that people find us disgusting, so we turn around and say “fuck you, we’re proud to be disgusting then.” but as certain flavours of queer become mainstream, and develop a fuck you got mine attitude. The rest of us are still fighting the same fight as centuries ago, but now we can’t be proud. Cause proud means rainbow coloured beer bottles we can’t drink, rainbow chequebooks we can’t write, rainbow flags we can’t burn. We turn instead to that second most queer of deadly sins Wrath.

And Wrath parades do take place. Alongside pride and sometimes in protest of it. Alternative Pride Marches, Dyke Marches, events that are more true to us begin to pop up in most major cities. However, other smaller cities remain with a subpar experience.

I find myself incapable of choosing what the proper course of action is for times like these. Abandoning pride altogether and disappearing into the shadows whilst the straights, the brands and the straight friendly gays keep our pride, seems unacceptable. An alternative pride seems like a solution, but I think the best course of action is to follow in the example of our elders. Miss Major who’s still with us, and Sylvia Rivera who is not.

I am thinking, as I often am, of that famous 1973 video wherein Rivera got up on the stage amongst boos from the crowd and started screaming, on behalf of our queer siblings in jail, in prison, in shelters, in poverty. Almost 50 years ago, and we’re still fighting those fights. Some people wish to believe that things have gotten better and maybe they have. But trans people, are still in prison, demanding and being denied their right to transition. Queer people are still at much greater risk of homelessness than the general population. Trans people still have a much higher rate of suicide. Black trans women still face a much higher rate of violence both from police and civilians.

Maybe the best thing to do is to wrest those mics, and to scream.

https://vimeo.com/234353103

L020A Sylvia Rivera, The original authorized version by the LOVE Tapes Collective at 1973 Gay Pride Rally. L020 from LoveTapesCollective on Vimeo.