And now, as John Cleese was paid to intone a number of times decades ago, for something completely different.

Following up two years of review-format posts with a third year of review-format posts seemed natural to me. But what to review? Books, obviously!

But. But. Fifty-two weeks of book reviews? Were I to do an even half-assed job, the reading requirements would be daunting. I envisioned at best being able to quarter-ass the job… maybe eighth-ass. Friends suggested every other week, which seems sensible but then it’s not really a weekly writing project, is it?

After weeks of agonizing over this I found a compromise: I’ll do twelve reviews, one per month on the last Friday of each. The rest of the time? Original story content. Sort of. Which is to say I’m not going all NaNoWriYe or whatever here. You’re just getting moments. Scenes. Dribs and drabs from a story that might have existed were it being written by someone actually serious about writing such a story.

Here’s the first one of those. Please enjoy.

“You look like you could use an adventure.”

Lynn seemed to pay this statement no heed, remaining instead focused on the colorful sunrise as she sat quietly on her balcony, sipping tea.

Adam walked up to the table, spun a free chair around, and sat down with his arms crossed on the chair back. “Spare a cuppa?”

After a sufficient pause, Lynn slowly turned her head to look Adam in the eyes, making no effort to suppress the disdain she felt for this interruption of her morning routine. She then sighed, and gestured airily toward the tea service, and returned to her contemplation of the weather.

In the process of fixing himself a cup of tea, Adam clanged and splashed and generally made a nuisance of himself. All the while he kept his gaze locked to Lynn’s face.

She placed cup onto saucer in perfect silence, then turned back to Adam again. “You are older than most of the rest of us put together. You have dined with emperors. You are,” she enunciated very precisely now, “capable of the most impeccable manners.” And there she left off. Waiting.

Adam grinned. “You could have ignored me otherwise.”

“I should ignore you now.”

“But you won’t. Erstwhile queen of our odd castle you might be, but you’re still one of us and you can be every bit as curious as the rest.”


“Wrong for the job. Less fighting, more diplomacy, and that Conditioning doesn’t go well with diplomacy.”

“More people should hear the truth more often anyway.”

“Lynn,” Adam said in a forbidding tone, “No.”


Adam shook his head. “We just finished a job together, remember?”

Lynn frowned slightly, the only acknowledgement anyone would get that she’d lost track of something. “Rebecca.”

“Did I, or did I not, mere moments ago use the word ‘diplomacy’?” Adam slurped his tea.


The rising sun peaked over and eventually fully cleared the horizon before either party spoke again. Adam waited patiently and was rewarded with, “What kind of job?”

“Someone put a curse on a child.”

“You’re seriously asking me to work with kids,” Lynn deadpanned.

“You’ll make an exception in this case.”

Lynn’s eyebrows went up, just a little bit.

“The young fellow wants to be a singer. The curse… prevents that.”

Lynn’s eyebrows went back down. “Bastard.” Then, after a beat, “The bosses told you this?”

“They made a point of it, which suggested to me who they thought I should bring along.”

“Bastards. You and them.”

Adam stood up and returned the chair to its original place. “We depart this evening. I’ll see you at the sigils.”