Sunday, January 16, 2011
After skimming the papers, talk returns to using magick to protect themselves. Jones gets a text message from Detective Willett, mentioning to let her know when he plans on staking out 811 Wilshire so she can save him a parking space. Kevin wants to see if he can bring people into the holes with him, and so Kevin and Leah wander out into the backyard. Jones stays in the doorway, watching. Kevin finds a hole and steps into it; Leah immediately shuts down, mouth agape, as she tries to process what she just saw. Kevin immediately exits, and he and Jones go make her tea. She has recovered by the time they return, and she decides to supplement her tea with a couple of hits of marijuana.
Once she’s calm, talk turns to 811 Wilshire. Kevin, Jones, and Leah discuss the possibilities — Is someone drawing people there to collect them? Is it part of some ritual? — Jones indicates he wishes to go stake it out tonight. He gives it an hour and a half, and then the group gathers themselves to go. Leah dresses in black, ostensibly to be more sneaky.
The group piles into Jones’ car and heads out into the city. As he approaches, he texts Detective Willett, and finds her waiting outside her car. As he approaches, she gets back in and drives away, giving him access to her parking space. Over the course of the night, Leah and Kevin fall asleep, but Jones stays awake.
The building is twenty-two stories tall, and in addition to the main entrance, there is a skybridge connecting it to an apartment complex next door. As they circle the block, an alley behind contains an overflowing, filthy dumpster. A metal fire door and a loading bay lead back into the building. Strangely, there is a frosted camera dome above the door; nobody noticed any other cameras on the building.
Early in the evening, Jane wanders past his car, although she doesn’t seem to notice him and she doesn’t interact with 811 Wilshire at all. Otherwise, the building is oddly quiet. A couple of vagrants lurk near the building, but a police officer ushers them away and they never return. Although there is still activity in the nearby buildings, even in the dead of night, 811 Wilshire doesn’t betray much activity. There are businesses in the first couple of floors, and while the lights go out in late evening, nobody ever enters or leaves. There isn’t much activity on the upper floors, either.
As dawn approaches, Jones drives back to Leah’s house, and everybody goes to sleep for the night.
Having slept in the car, Kevin only sleeps a couple more hours before he heads home. He makes a ritual taco to assist with scrying through the holes. He manages to look in on Leah, seeing her talking to Clark, and then he hangs out and takes some deliveries later in the day. He passes by 811 Wilshire and finds that the vagrants never returned, indicating the effect is very localized.
Jones is awakened earlier than he’d like by a phone call from Terry Kozlowski. Terry’s just calling to see how things are going, and to make sure all is well with Jones. He says he hasn’t heard anything about charges being pressed, so it’s probably safe for Jones to return to work later in the week. Once Terry hangs up, Jones goes back to sleep.
Leah awakens and gets ready to meet Clark over on 822 W El Segundo Blvd, Gardena, CA 90247. It’s a small house, somewhat cluttered with books and movie memorabilia. The living room seems to also double as Clark’s office, crammed as it is with books, a desk, and a television armed with plenty of DVDs and VHS tapes. Clark’s desk is dominated by a crystal ball in the center. They begin to talk about magick, and he explains that it’s all about stories. Leah indicates that she’s heard about avatars, but Clark decries that as lesser magick and beneath her. As they’re talking, Clark’s cell phone rings, and he steps into the other room to take the call — Leah eavesdrops, and gathers that someone is asking him to do something. He steps back into his study and asks if it’s all right if he handles this situation. She says it is; he responds affirmatively to the person on the phone, and then gets ready to go. He tells her she can stay and look over his books on film and film tropes until he gets back. And whatever she does, don’t mess with the crystal ball. Or talk to it, as it lies all the time. He’ll explain when he returns.
A few minutes after he leaves, Leah starts snooping around. She wanders into his bedroom trying to find evidence of, perhaps, a lady friend that stays there. He apparently lives alone. After poking around, Leah hears a voice emanating from the desk. It asks if she is Leah Fitzroy, and indicates Clark trapped it in the crystal ball and it needs Leah’s help. She totally ignores it. When it insistently claims that it knows where her father is, she leaves the house and decides to read out back. She texts Clark to let him know the crystal is talking to her, and he tells her to ignore it. He’ll be back as soon as he can. When she ducks back inside to raid Clark’s liquor stash, the crystal ball tries to get her attention again, she ignores it and wanders back outside.
After waiting for several hours, she texts Clark and asks if she ought to come back later. He says that’s probably a good idea. To avoid the thing in the crystal ball, she goes through the gate and heads back to her car.
Once Jones awakens, he calls Detective Willett to let her know what he found. She advises him to stay out of danger, and says she’ll keep in touch. Afterwards, he pores over the articles Mabel sent to him again, and does a little research about Arthurian legend and the judgment of Paris. He contemplates what gives the Comte the right to nudge humanity along.
Later in the afternoon, Leah gets a call from Clark, apologizing. They agree to meet again, and she heads over to his house. They resume their talk about avatars, and Clark repeats that it’s a lesser magick, also noting that Mabel is an avatar of The Flying Woman. When Leah asks about the crystal ball, he explains he trapped a demon in it, but has not yet figured out how to rid himself of it without releasing the demon. Leah talks about some tropes she’s been considering, either locking two people in an elevator to spur them to start kissing, or getting someone to laugh themselves to death, but Clark notes these both have pretty heavy logistical issues involved. They discuss magick some more, during which time Leah starts flirting with Clark, and they have a drink before Leah heads home.
The next day, everyone goes about their routines. Leah gets ready for the various meetings she has planned in the near future. Kevin goes and makes his delivery rounds. Jones decides to return to 811 Wilshire to watch it during the daytime. It still seems pretty dead, although a couple of people do enter. One, apparently some college kid getting lunch, later wanders out of the back dazed and apparently having been beaten. Jones approaches him to find that he can’t quite remember what happened, other than getting lunch. He eventually wanders away. Jones later sees a woman enter, and then leave within an hour or so. He approaches her on the pretense of trying to find a place to eat, one he knows to be in 811 Wilshire. She says she saw it in there, although she ate at a taco place; everything seemed fine, as far as she could tell. Jones also sees a couple of people cross the skybridge and then return to their apartment building with no issues. He eventually returns to Leah’s house.
Later in the afternoon, Kevin gives Old Hippie Tom a call. They meet down by the beach, and Kevin asks him how things are going and talks a little about the underground. As befits a somewhat addled old hippie, he doesn’t get a lot of information regarding anything — Tom claims he doesn’t know how he makes magick pipes or anything, it’s just something he does. Tom does bring up the topic of Brian, though, and notes that “he’s on a whole other level.” Kevin tells Tom to come around once in a while, as he’s living at his grandmother’s house these days.
After that conversation, Kevin goes home and makes another ritual scrying taco. He looks in on his parents back at the commune.
As the afternoon approaches, Leah calls Mabel, and asks if they can meet. Mabel says she’ll come to Leah’s house. Once there, Leah asks her about avatars, and that Clark said she’s an avatar of The Flying Woman. Mabel says that as long as they’re telling things about each other, Clark is a Cinemancer, and has to avoid wandering into tropes because he has to complete them — if he bumps into a pretty woman on the street, and he might have to stalk her in some unfortunate emulation of a romantic comedy. Mabel goes on to say that avatars are not a lesser magick, rather that adepts are magickal addicts, and to be one, you have to be so crazy that your will can defy reality itself. She suspects Leah’s cabal lacks the sheer craziness to be adepts, and the avatar path seems more likely. She suspects Leah could channel The True King, given her familial proclivities, or even something like The Star. Leah is intrigued, and thanks Mabel. Mabel finally says she’ll leave her with one thing, as everybody likes to see a real magick trick — the title of The Flying Woman is hardly a misnomer as Mabel hovers a few inches off Leah’s floor.