Kage Baker is not with me today. No faintest hint of her – not though I crank up her favourite music, or stare desperately through all the palantiri on the desktop.
I think she’s out roaming the October hills. There’s a high warm haze today, not quite smog but thick enough to render all distance imaginary; she liked that weather. It always meant Halloween in Los Angeles. She liked to crush the big brown sycamore leaves in her hands, for the sweet dusty perfume they gave off. Occasionally she’d get a lungful of it and cough her brains out, croaking “Smoooooth, man,” while I pounded her on the back.
Nothing seems to be on fire (yet) but there are fire engines wailing all around the neighborhood – one just pulled a U-turn at the nearby intersection, almost T-boning its own trailing ambulance – and so Kage may be out chasing them, as well. She liked a good fire. Or an amusing public services vehicle accident.
She sure wouldn’t want to be here this morning. The Corgi is gone quite out of his little mind with all the fire engines, and is zooming back and forth through the house and yard, barking incessantly. That sets off the beagles down the street, and they sound like they’re being fed into a wood chipper. There’s nothing wrong with them, excited beagles always sound like they are being dismembered.
Harry the Parrot was upset by all the to-do and insisted on sitting on my shoulder – however, he decided that being inside his nighttime cage would be best in this unsettled atmosphere, so he rappelled down my hair and marched off across my bed to climb into his perch. But my desk and chair are set at the foot of my bed, where the little black cat is sleeping: or was, until Harry marched across her tummy on his way to his cage. Now she’s lying there meowing with shock, pawing at the air like she’s drowning, clearly confused by whatever the hell just walked across her. She’s never quite figured out what Harry is.
My notes make no sense. I had a great idea when I woke up this morning, but it vanished somewhere in the morning chaos of taking my nephew to Cal State LA (unnatural child, he’s never learned to drive). All I can remember is something to do with Better Cheddar Crackers, but I suspect that was a dream and not some plot adjustment to Nell Gwynne II.
My coffee is cold but I am drinking it anyway. Google Earth has vanished off my computer. My earrings keep falling out. It is obviously a day dedicated to minor torments.
And since Kage’s spirit has decided to take French Leave and go walking in the hills, I’m gonna follow her. Maybe I can catch up before she inhales another sycamore leaf.
Tomorrow: how good girls cut school