Fox Spirit Books’s anthology Drag Noir is out now and available in both paperback and digital format. And so I’m offering up a little bit of my story, “The Itch Of Iron, The Pull Of The Moon.”
Fey was all-around too sharp, but had found ways to use her sharpness. She solved problems, often, but not always, permanently. It was good work, but if she were an honest Puck, which she tried to be in her way, she was always better at unmaking things, well, to be honest, “breaking” things than making them, which was probably why she lived with her business partner Reynard in the grounds of an abandoned factory. She wasn’t sure what the plant had made, but it probably had something to do with cars. She wasn’t far from Henry Ford’s planned communities and his artificial lake with houses still standing beneath water where long green plants fanned out like mermaids’ hair. She had a hard time paying attention to human commerce, but she loved rusty metal, broken glass and cracked pavement. And she loved the little plants that grew in all the cracks, just like her.
A river ran along the west side of the property and hickory, beech and oak trees grew up the ravine to the asphalt. The forest had been cut down not so long ago, and it was always ready to come back. The owners held on to the property hoping that they could sell it for more than they had paid for it. She watched the lot for the owners and was as trustworthy about it as could be expected. They thought she was a transient, but had no complaints. She rarely saw them. They didn’t like to leave Bloomfield Hills. And so she watched the trees, the broken asphalt and the dented chain link fence. A good deal all around, she would call it.
Fey and Reynard did business in the factory’s old parking lot office almost overtaken by the blackthorn locust, sumac and sassafrass reclaiming the lot. She had an old fashioned wooden filing cabinet, a folding card table, a particle board desk, a few molded wood chairs she found in the factory office, a rotary phone and a disposable cellphone. But she preferred to meet her clients in their homes or at nearby cafes.
Fey was finishing a plate of homefries at Cafe Vert when her client floated in, uncertain as a dandelion seed. He was holding one of her fliers. ‘M. Fey, Unmaker of Problems,’ it read, with her phone number beneath. The fliers only rarely returned to their natural state, sassafrass leaves.
‘Just Fey is fine.’
‘I’m Doug Stokowski. I called you about my problem.’
‘Have a seat, Mr. Stokowski.’
“Doug.” He slid into the booth across from Fey and next to Reynard. Reynard put his ears back, but didn’t protest any further. Instead, he began digging at the table to bury his fritatta. Reynard didn’t like sharing.
‘A cat, huh?’
‘Yeah.’ Reynard was an orange tabby with big feet, strange blue eyes and a broken canine, but people usually saw him as a red-haired man in bespoke suit and tie. Reynard liked to look nice. Fey wondered what Doug saw when he looked at her. A woman with hair like clipped crow feathers and fingers like bundles of twigs because they were clipped crow feathers and bundles of twigs? Fey’s eyes used to be gray green, the color of the ocean she saw on her way to America, but that was a long time ago. Now they were the color of rusty metal. The waitress asked Doug if he wanted anything. Doug asked for a plate of fries with ranch dressing on the side. Fey was nearly finished eating and Reynard was cleaning his face and ears.
‘It’s my favorite. So what’s your problem?’
Doug held out his hand palm up. ‘This is.’
There was a pentagram on his palm.
‘Well, that’s not right,’ she said.
Read the rest in Drag Noir–available now at Amazon.com