Thursday, December 10, 2020

Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston

 


When my kids were young, we used to take them for drives around the neighborhood this time of year to see all the lovely Christmas lights displayed by our neighbors. It was so peaceful, in part because of my rule that if anyone in the back seat said a single goddamn word, they got out. No matter where we were. It's good for kids to understand geography. Of course, back then, people decorated their houses with style and class. These days, it's a complete embarrassment just to show my face outside and admit that I live around here! All the flashing lights, the gaudiness, the neon colors, the giant blow-up monstrosities, the goddamn pastels! 

But the worst - worse than Elf on a Shelf and blow-up dinosaur Santa combined - is when people set up projectors in front of their houses because they're too lazy to put up actual lights and beam lasers onto their house to try to look like lights. You're not fooling anyone, Stanley! And those things flash and rotate and strobe too. It's tackier than an indoor roller skating rink around here! Just looking at them for a minute is almost enough to give me a seizure, like the time in the 80s when my friend's roommate made me go to one of those rave parties and gave me magic mushrooms. Jesus, I hate mushrooms.

But I love magic! Which is one reason I liked this book so much. When I read a book about magic, I like to imagine all the wonderful things I could do in the world if I had magical powers. I'm not talking about world peace or renewable energy or any of that crap - I mean stuff that would really make a difference. Like maybe one day, my son-in-law Gerry would wake to up find that his lips were magically glued shut, and he couldn't open them until he actually sat down and listened for a full goddamn minute to what someone else was saying instead of reminding us for the sixth time that he almost decided to get a minor in immunology when he was in college and mansplaining the COVID vaccine again. Or maybe I could magically create a cucumber that grew into a pickle while it was still on the vine. Can you even imagine? The possibilities are simply glorious. 

But, alas, my skills are limited. So unless I am invited to join Amari at the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, I'm stuck with my more pedestrian magic tricks, like pulling quarters out of my grandchildren's ears and not letting them have them, or making gin disappear from my coffee mug. Shazam! I did it again! Bet you didn't even see that. Still, I believe in constant self-improvement, so I'm going to spend the rest of the morning practicing my technique. Toodles. 

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