Acupuncture After The Apocalypse

Even An Ancient Number

I worked the landline at the office today, calling every number I could think of. For you, for Mason, for Eve, for Levi, even an ancient number for Dingo. (Although his phone was probably disconnected because of unpaid bills well before the Series of Unfortunate Circumstances struck. Dingo was constantly in the midst of his own personal Apocalypse.)

No answers, no clues.

I was teary by the time I reached Dad.

“Honey! How’s my best girl? It’s so great to hear your voice.” Dad always picks up when you call. This has always been true, even before the SUCs.

“How’s the magic business today?”

“Terrific! I got an order for a custom wand. Guy brought in a special piece of wood that he wants me to solder brass tips on.”

It’s strange what people still think is important to spend time on, given everything that’s happened. We’re hassled by zombies, worried about potential food shortages, and don’t know when our heat will be turned off. Yet someone out there, someone still alive through all this, is thinking through what a perfect magic wand would look like, and going to the trouble to have one custom-made.

“That is amazing.”

“Shazaam just keeps giving and giving.”

I could picture Dad shaking his head. He does this when he reflects on how his own father’s career as a magician has supported Dad financially throughout his whole life. As a young man, Dad thought he’d go off and do something big in the world, but then he never ended up having any career other than working at Shazaam’s Parlor of Magic and Splendor.

“I’ll be down to see you again tomorrow, Dad. I’ll mind the store. And my neighbor, Uno Cohen, is coming with me.”

“Great, great. It’ll be good to meet the gent. Do you think he’d be willing to wear a clown nose?”

I tried to imagine the narrow nose of my distinguished immunologist friend stuffed into a bright red ball.

“He’d love that.”

Jill Riddell is a writer in Chicago. She teaches at the School of the Art Institute and has a weakness for nature, magic, and pennies abandoned in sidewalk cracks.