I do believe there is a sense of greater good in all of us. We fear for the future, we want it to be the best it possibly can. We, of course, cannot predict the future. There are possibilities, of course, some more plausible than others. There are many who say they have had a glimpse into what is to be. There are those who had deduced the progress of things long ago. There are those who know the secrets of the Neath.
It is noble, of course, to want to save what is dear to us. To fight for what we believe is right. Yet there can be folly in the short term. Future is a thing of mystery, thusly it is something beyond the scope of what we can know or see. When a seer sees the future, they see what will be, yet the true unknown is beyond even that. We can never plan, only prepare.
I welcome our new Lord Mayor, Virginia, and am eager to see what her leadership will bring. For the purity of soul – London had truly needed a spa for a long time.
Art of London
House of Troubles, Part IV
by Tuesday Next
The diner’s waitress didn’t bat an eye at the two men, one overdressed for three AM anywhere, the other in black skinny jeans and a hoodie, but instead seated them quickly in a booth by a foggy window, told them someone would be there to take their orders, and went back to the front and whatever was on her phone. Eli immediately opened his menu, blinking a couple of times as his eyes adjusted to the relatively bright light of the restaurant.
“So,” he said, lowering the menu and looking over the top of it, “one of the appetizers is something called blueberry pancake dogs. Wanna see what the hell that is?” Martin hesitated before saying, “Sure. Sounds interesting.”
“You don’t think they, like… flatten dogs, do you? With blueberries in their mouths?” Eli grinned at his own joke, his smile widening when he heard Martin chuckle.
“I doubt it,” he replied, “can you imagine how much of a fit PETA would be throwing over it if they did?”
“Oh yeah, I can see the billboards now.” Eli laughed, back at ease, “So I’m also thinking of trying those chocolate banana pancakes. Sometimes you just need a flavor combination that just doesn’t make sense.” Martin snorted, and Eli could’ve sworn he’d seen his friend’s eyes roll.
“Chocolate and banana isn’t that weird, you know,” Martin pointed out, “You just think it is.”
“I think, therefore it is. Isn’t that how it goes?”
“No. No, that’s barely even close to how it goes. Points for trying, though.” Just then, a different waitress came by and took their orders. After she left, Eli leaned back in the booth.
“Man, this is nice,” he said, “I needed a break from the whole band Madgod thing. It’s fucking exhausting.”
“I’m sure,” said Martin, “having to be on all the time like that must wear you out.”
“Well, I mean, I don’t have to be on all the time. Sometimes we’re just traveling. Then it’s playing cards with the others.”
“So do you ever regret doing it? The whole band thing?” Eli paused, considering, then shook his head.
“Nah. I still enjoy performing, and god knows I can’t see myself doing anything else. But I can’t really talk to any of the other band members, not like I can talk to you, or other people from home.”
“Not Marina, though?” Eli scowled at Martin’s mention of his sister’s name.
“Look,” he snapped, “I promise you she doesn’t want to talk to me anymore than I want to talk to her, so let’s just drop her as a topic, okay?”
“I doubt that she doesn’t want to talk to you, unless she’s changed drastically from the last time we talked.”
“Maybe she has. Or I have. Can we please talk about something else?”
“Eli,” Martin looked down at the table, took a breath, then looked his friend in the eye, “I need to tell you something.”
“What, did you talk to Marina recently?”
“Yes, actually. She’s the one who told me about your show tonight. Not my coworker. She saw on the band’s Instagram that there was gonna be a concert here and she called and asked me to check up on you.” Eli’s eyes narrowed, the purple and orange smears on his face wrinkling into creases as he nearly snarled, “What?”
“She’s worried about you.”
“Oh, is that what she calls it?”
“She said she’s afraid that you might be feeling alone after your mom’s death.”
“And whose fault is that?” Eli’s face was still hidden by the menu, but his grip on it had tightened, his knuckles whitening.
“What are you talking about?” Martin asked, “it’s not anyone’s fault.”
Eli slapped his menu down, “I guess you don’t have the whole story, then.” He sighed, took a deep breath, then stared into his friend’s face.
“Do you know why I left town right after Mom’s funeral?” Eli asked. Martin hesitated before giving his answer.
“You said it was band stuff.”
“That was a lie. As soon as the funeral was over, Marina told me that I shouldn’t go home. That she needed to handle this without me.”
“What? Why would she do that?”
“The drunk driver who killed Mom,” Eli’s looked down at his hands, now resting on the table and clenched into tight fists, “He was one of our fans. One of my fans. He had my goddamn butterfly on his t-shirt.”
“That doesn’t mean it was your fault.”
“Try telling Marina that. Clearly she’s so afraid of what I do that she got you to fucking spy on me.” Eli stood up, bracing his hands on the table, “Well you can go back and tell her that I’m just fine and fucking dandy, although I’d be better without-”
“Elijah.” Eli stopped in his tracks. No one called him Elijah. He hadn’t even heard the name in ages, not since he was a teenager and his mother was scolding him for his latest stupid stunt. Martin continued, a steel in his voice that hadn’t been there before, “Your sister was worried that you might be feeling alone after your mother’s death. Like she is. All she wanted was to know if you’re okay. After this, I don’t know what to tell her.”
“Don’t tell her anything,” Eli growled, sinking back into the booth. He crossed his arms, glaring at the placemat in front of him like it was suddenly the most interesting thing on the planet, “She’ll just use it against me.”
“Is that really what you think?” Martin asked, “Because I don’t think that’s the Marina we grew up with, or the Marina that called me. I think she made a mistake, and she wants to make up for it. I know she misses you.” He leaned down, trying to look Eli in the face, “And I think you miss her too.”
Eli blinked, and if his eyes seemed wetter, it must have been the light, or maybe the sweat from the walk causing some of the makeup to slip into them. After a long pause, he said softly, “She misses me?”
“Yes,” Martin replied, “Enough to talk me into going to a metal concert.”
“Tell you what,” Eli said after another long moment, “I’ll call her, and we’ll talk. You don’t tell her anything about this, because I will. Got it?”
“Works for me,” Martin said with a nod, “Now where do you think our food is? Staff here’s sure taking their time.”
“It’s what, three something in the morning?” Eli looked at his phone, then looked up. If there were tracks in the makeup remnants, Martin didn’t mention them. “They’re probably too busy wishing they were asleep right now. Oh, and speak of the devil,” he added as the waitress arrived with their food.
The rest of the time in diner passed peacefully, as Eli stuffed his face with pancakes, Martin nibbled at a sandwich, and they both discovered that pancake dogs were surprisingly decent. When they finished—Eli insisted on paying the bill—they stood outside, each waiting for their respective transportation and reflecting on the type of Uber driver who would pick someone up outside an inner-city greasy spoon diner close to four in the morning.
“Hey,” Eli said, “let me see your phone. You’ve probably still got my old number in there.” When Martin handed it to him, Eli quickly updated his cell number, then handed it back, saying, “Make sure you text me or something. I wanna keep in touch.”
“Of course.” Martin typed up a quick text and sent it, causing Eli to feel a buzz in his pocket, “In case you get sick of playing cards with the rest of your band.”
“And so you can tell me when you get a better job.” Eli smiled and added softly, “Thanks.”
News of Art, Art of News
The Mayoral Election Is Behind Us – First Lord Mayor Of London Revealed!
Dear delicious denizens! The election is behind us! We know the results now – of course, we also know that there is no longer a Mayor in London! As the Jovial Contrarian had revealed, as his last act, he asked Her Majesty to abolish the post, and instead, London now has a Lord Mayor.
This post, without further ado, of course belongs to Lord Mayor Virginia. The devilless has swept the polls, her plans of a spa and purity of soul surely speaking to many. We at the Gazette, apolitical as we stay, are still excited for a breath of fresh air in the Lord Mayoral office, and are eager to see the building of her proposed spa.
Glory to the victors, honour to the defeated, and power to the artists!
Ask Mother Goose
Dear Mother Goose,
It is the noblest of exercises.