Waiting for DaveThe sun is not always shining when they meet. Today, however, spring has finally dared to show its face in Ankh-Morpork and is apparently being tolerated for now. Sharif is first as always, munching on something on a stick mumped from his father's kitchen, tapping out a little soft-shoe, stretching the insides of his fingers, rubbing his notable nose. Sharif is hardly ever still.
And not terribly observant sometimes, which is how Gracie manages to slip up behind him and swat him across the seat of his pants. Sharif yelps. The kebab stick goes flying.
"I thought you wasn't gonna be here till five!"
"Betty took my shift."
Sharif glances up at her through his curtain of coal-black bangs. "Did she wanna?"
Gracie snickers. It's a profoundly unnerving sound, especially coming from such a sweet, ordinary, nicely madeup face. "After a while, sure."
"Where's Mostly Dave?"
"Am I my neighbor's keeper?" Gracie flicks a match, retrieves Sharif's kebab stick and lights it between her fingers
FlipsideIt wasn't so much that he didn't like Stefan as Stefan. It wasn't that at all. There was a calm about the thin monochrome man that could be weirdly contagious. Stefan was smart. Stefan knew about everything, and he thought a lot about everything, even the things he didn't know about. Geier wasn't sure he even knew how to think anymore. Sometimes he wanted nothing more than to curl up with his head on Stefan's knees and close his eyes and try to soak up a little of that quietness, that certainty that the world would keep going round.
But that would be showing weakness. Everyone knew he was the tough one, the warrior, the alpha dog. He couldn't do gentle and kind; it made his feet feel too big and his insides feel stacked up on each other by the edges, ready to tumble. Someone would laugh at him.
So he kept snarling and shoving and snapping, and sometimes Stefan would snap too. And then would come the parts Geier liked best.
Because while Stefan as Stefan was nice sometimes, G
Francis 2: Reaching MoreLike heartbeats that vision of perfection pulses its way through your veins, long after he's gone without coming in for the drinks the crowd's offering to buy him.
You go back to work, but you feel that deeper-than-thought, that self-demand with every thump of the heart you thought had stopped: Look at him. Look at him. Every time you close your eyes you do.
Days melt into weeks. Still that vampire's there in the back of your head and the bottom of your lungs, swirling up to dance with his bright swords and his laughter just as bright. You don't even know his name.
Something must be wrong, insists part of your head. But it's a faint, near-dead part, and soon it's drowned dead in glittering blue and gold.
Hours. Days. Weeks.
You have to see him again.
For the first time you're grateful for your job. Asking around's as easy as snapping your fingers, in a pub.
It doesn't take long to learn that the vampire who beat Chas in the duel is in fact the boss of the whol
The Room: NightNothing has moved, but all the same the only thing that doesn't seem dramatically different is the white noise beyond the window. The traces of color went with the sun, and any sense of cheeriness with them. Less traffic, less noise gives the air a still patina as void of personality as the polished tabletops. No more competition for the scent of chemicals now that the window is closed: it permeates everything, striving to sink into your very bones. Moonlight turns dancing shadows emaciated and sinister.
For the first time the ugly old mechanisms, looming larger in flattering half-light, seem in good company. The room belongs to them now. Maybe they've been biding their time for this hour, when the world is drawn down to their level of brutal simplicity, hiding a multitude of secrets. The border between what might or might not be real always feels so much thinner in the dark.
Somewhere in the distance the horn of a b
The Room: Day If you're lucky there'll be no clouds and the floor will be tiled in blonde sunlight the same color as the polished wooden planks; if it's windy the sunlight-tiles will be patterned in dark, dancing outlines of leaves from the delicate tree just outside the wall. There is never a cloth on the long white table in the middle of the room, so the patches of rainbow thrown by the candy-colored liquids in their clear glass bottles (all shapes and sizes) are never muddied. They shift and stretch with the passing of the sun like lazy cats, adding a little whimsy to an otherwise utilitarian room.
This is not a room for relaxing in, for entertaining guests or even enjoying oneself particularly. This is a room for working in. The swoosh of early morning traffic is only faintly audible, as is the roar of an irritatingly nearby leaf-blower. Jazz leaks through from the outside world, perhaps from another work loft, and the serenity of the scene is blot
Poem: What Trace of YearsWhat trace of years and memory linger here
in stains and rips, neglected fraying threads;
what paths have led the words bound here
into the mazes of how many heads?
Paper bears the weight of time unwell,
the way the hands that once it felt have done:
freckled pages, freckled skin that tell
stories, half-obscured, far more than one.
Decay has left a beauty unforeseen
sweet imperfections catch the intrigued eye,
coquetting, hinting mutely of what's been;
beseeching Add your trace 'fore passing by
All this she holds in gloved, self-conscious hands
And feels as if she starts to understand.
This is one old book, she says.