Not Want Fries With That
By Kyt Dotson © 2006
After getting gassed up, I
pulled Agatha, that’s my cab, into the awning shade at the 7-11. It was a
Thursday afternoon and the hot sun beat down on us like a hammer. No other
cabbies were about, so I had the shadow basically to myself. And while I was
waiting, I kicked back with a Courtney Crumrin comic. Three o’clock
on another long day. Or so it seemed.
About half way down the
page—Courtney was getting herself in trouble—a shadow crossed the passenger’s
side door, it opened, and a guy slid in. I listened to the door close and
decided that this was an okay time to take a fare.
But something felt off,
like the dude was wearing the wrong cologne.
“Where to?” I started
to ask as I turned to look—
“And you screamed like
a little girl!”
“Hey,” Vex grumbles,
“am I telling this story, or are you?” She stirs her hot chocolate and takes a
sip. “Thanks for the cocoa, by the way.”
Sharon rolls her eyes. “No problem. I know better than
to interrupt, go on.”
“Let’s just say that I
should have realized—in that instant before I turned—that my spidey sense had jumped
from tingling straight to ten-thousand-volt wire in the time that it took me to
turn my head. Now, Agatha is warded more thoroughly than my apartment. This
means magical sigils, protections, and astral defenses from carpet to ceiling;
even the upholstery has glyphs in all the right places…
“So whatever this was,
it completely ignored them…”
drums her fingers on the table. “Enough exposition,” she says, “what happened
There, with only the
grating of the separator screen between it and me, loomed the grinning visage
of that plastic mask. A grim parody of the human face, it stared back at me
with those glassy eyes. My breath caught in my throat, every physical and
magical nerve in my body screamed out with alarm and warning; I could not move.
I felt paralyzed by his regal gaze. The cavernous mouth with the white painted
teeth at the top shifted to the side slightly and the Burger King raised his
white gloved hand as if to say:
“I have something for
And he reached into his
voluminous yellow garments to produce whatever perverse gift he intended to
I did whatever any
other hot-blooded American would have done at this point: I grabbed my trench
“Shit!” I shouted—tell
me now, what do you shout in that situation?—slammed the door behind me
(forgive me, Agatha), and hoofed it past the 7-11. Surely, this thing was hot
on my tail, so I didn’t look back until I had reached the corner of the
convenience store, where I got my remaining arm into its sleeve and fished
through my trench pockets for some appropriate weapons. Here I was hoping for a
rocket launcher, but I figured I’d settle for holy water from Sedona.
And it wasn’t in my cab
A quick scan of the
area and the monster was nowhere in sight. But I wasn’t about to let my guard
down. Holy water flask in hand, I turned to head back to the cab and bam!
There it was again. That
huge mockery of a face, the frilly collar nearly jabbing me in the chest as it
grinned mutely. A white glove came up and wagged an admonishing finger. Once
again, he reached into his white trimmed cloak and began to withdraw something.
Before he could reveal
whatever it was, I hit him with everything I had. The two crystal flasks of
holy water exploded against that terrible masked countenance, followed by two
more. Each blow caused him to shudder, but I could see that they were otherwise
having no effect. Fearing this outcome, I already had heavier ordinance
I pulled the pin with
my teeth and hurled the S&H smoke-grenade like a drunken World Series
pitcher trying to hit the batter.
By the time the pin hit
the back wall of the 7-11, I was already hauling ass past into a graffiti
filled alleyway. I heard the grenade explode behind me with a loud bang
followed by a series of softer pops, like a gaggle of frat boys cracking
open beers. This particular S&H grenade was filled with grave dust from
Santa Benedictis and magnesium pellets.
I’m sure the fireworks
were pretty, but I wasn’t looking back. That smokescreen wouldn’t stop the
Burger King for long, and I needed time to devise another defense.
So I booked—hard.
My feet brought up dust from the dirt alley and I was coughing and wiping my
hair from my eyes. Then it came to me: Mirror, lipstick.
Glancing over my
shoulder, I saw the cloud of grave dust and smoke clearing, the Burger King
once again missing from the picture. I knew this did not bode well. I hastily
scribbled a Hand of Ereshkegal glyph onto the mirror’s surface with the
lipstick—the color is Cemetery Black, how appropriate.
In my haste to complete
the rune, I accidentally dropped the lipstick. Unwilling to give up ground
against that monster, I left it where it lay and kept running. The alley became
a labyrinth of different exits; wooden gates and cinderblock walls loomed all
around me. Eventually, I had to rest next to a dumpster, but I did so in full
view of every corner within running distance.
I finished the sigil by
smudging it with my fingertips. I surveyed my work. It was quite artful, if I
don’t say so myself. Hopefully it was done right. No matter the case: it would
have to do.
Because, here was The