prompt: again, title: if the price is right in "the next big thing" flash fiction

  • Jan. 7, 2022, 2:05 p.m.
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“You can’t argue a thing into being,” she said, “that’s not how magic works.” You can conjure a little through work and practice, you can gamble or bargain or negotiate with the higher or even the lower powers, Mitzi continued, but you can’t simply argue that a thing is until it’s made so.

“Word magic, name magic, useful but can’t make something out of nothing, not anything new. Science understands the conservation conversation correctly, magic just expresses things less clinically, more than just matter being changed instead of created or destroyed. Transmutation just sounds more evocative, doesn’t it? Mysterious. Beautiful.”

She didn’t consider herself beautiful, of course, and you couldn’t argue that point with her at all.

“But you can’t just keep saying a thing over and over until it is, you can’t keep saying something ten thousand different ways until you find the way that works, like you’re trying to brute-force a computer password or a combination lock. You can’t post-modern yourself into your fantasies, I should know. You can’t argue phrasings of rules as if a lawyer to an exhausted judge until they relent. Again, Lord knows I know.” She knew how to lock-pick, she knew how to hack into an internet server long before she understood the negotiations involved in Kabbalah practice.

She wiggled her fingers and produced a lattice of luminous strings between them. “I can pull at the threads of reality through ritual knowledge to temporarily alter what’s already here.” Frank put his gigantic hand into the weave between Mitzi’s fingers and it passed through harmlessly, only an illusion. “Anything more, you make deals with forces and powers, trade labor or swap favors. Things you’d need to give up. Things you need to know you can’t just give up.”

“To God?” Frank asked but Mitzi just laughed. “For me, with God’s errand boys, with God’s bag men, with what these United States of Jesusland would call Angels.” “You’ve never seen God?” “Frank, you know I love to name-drop when I can but, no, course not. I’ve never interacted with the Big Y. I’m a two-bit conjurer, song-and-dance girl with a few extra tricks up her hat. Hell, I only see His assistants on the rarest of occasions. I’m not… willing to give up much of myself.”

“You keep it simple.” She smiled and summoned up the cat’s cradle of light between her fingers once again. “Simple tricks and nonsense, just like it says on my business cards. The kind of nerd who hires stage magicians for parties loves a good Star Wars reference, don’t you know.”

“So how do you know there’s actually a God behind the entities you parlayed with?” “Oh,” she smiled, “I can’t know for certain. But I can do this,” with a snap, she reshaped those strings into a lightsaber, “for a while, just a little while.” With a wave, she dismissed that too.

“But only a little while, before I’d have to give up larger and larger pieces of myself.”

Last updated January 07, 2022

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