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It's A Wonderful Marit

Once upon a time, there was a marit (a kind of djinn) named Ginny. She lived in Manhattan with her partner, Mirabel, but that is a story for another time. Today, she was wandering downtown to pick up a gift for her great-granddaughter when she noticed a distraught man who was sitting on the ground and rubbing a lamp with all his energy and concentration.

It wasn’t even one of those lamps like you would see in Aladdin. It was a small oil lamp for a table or camping out, but quite obviously the man was rubbing it with a purpose. Her curiosity piqued, she stepped right in front of him, towering over him and his lamp.

“Did you have any particular wishes in mind that I might be able to help you with?” she inquired.

Of course, he was stunned, because while he had been desperately rubbing the lamp, he did not expect to actually have anything happen.

He stammered a bit before managing to get his question out, but manage he did. “Are you a genie? Really?”

Ginny paused prior to responding, but finally said “Let’s assume for the moment that I am a genie, ok? Let’s try to work through what you need so badly that you would rub a camping lamp hoping for one!”

He nodded tentatively.

“Great. First thing – I am not dressed for sitting on the ground at the moment. Do you mind if we find a place to sit and chat? Perhaps some tea or other drink? And what should I call you?”

“I’m George. And yeah, I’m probably a bit dehydrated on top of everything.” He stood up and the two started walking down 5th Ave.

“How about there?” she suggested, pointing to a fenced in seating area.

“But it’s fu-“ A couple of men stood up abruptly to leave. “Okay, there.”

The hostess seated them and as soon as they placed their orders, Ginny directed him to tell her everything.

“I’m the president of a small credit union. Today one of my employees was taking a deposit down to where we keep our reserves and somehow between taking it from our counting room and the entrance to the other bank, it disappeared.

He searched high and low before finally – two hours later – telling me what had happened. I’ve been trying to figure it out, now, too. And I was supposed to be going on a trip with my wife and now I can’t do that until this problem is fixed.”

She raised her eyebrow. “Employee?”

“Well, it’s my uncle William.”

She shook her head. “I have to ask this. I’m sorry. What’s your last name, George?”

He hung his head. “I know. I know. It’s too absurd for words. I blame my mother, who thought it would be sweet. But yes, my last name is Bailey. And yes, my uncle is known as Billy.”

“You do remember that we are assuming I am a genie, right? Not an angel?!”

“I had no idea how one would summon an angel! And I’m not exactly religious. So…”

She laughed, gently. “It’s okay. Let’s try going back to the beginning. Mind if I join you to talk to your uncle?”

“I can’t very well tell him that I got a genie to help me! Or an angel, I suppose. So, how do I explain you?”

“Tell him I’m a private detective.”

“Wait – you’re a private detective?”

“No – we’re just going to act as if I am for the time being, okay? If you vouch for me to him, he will believe you – I assume you have a reputation of never lying?”

He blushed, but he also nodded.

The credit union proved to be only a couple blocks away and Uncle Billy was waiting there, pacing back and forth and ringing his hat in his hands repeatedly.

They took seats in the small conference room, with George explaining that she was a private detective and was there to help. Billy accepted it without a second thought.

Ginny pulled out a pad and pen and started with basics: Who, what, when, where, how, and why.

Who? Billy. The employees. Finally, George.
What? $50,000
When? Left the counting room at 9:15am. Got to the bank at 9:37am. Got back to the counting room at 10:52. Talked to all the employees. Told George at 11:15.
Where? Not yet determined, but almost certainly between those locations.
How? Not yet determined.
Why? Not yet determined.

“George, how long is the walk from here to the bank?”

“Ten minutes for me. Fifteen minutes for Billy, usually.”

“Okay. So, I know what happened, because it has to be what happened.”

Two incredulous faces pinned her with their eyes. “What?!” “HOW!?”

“Billy, before you left the building, did you have a conversation with somebody or more likely an argument?”

“I did! I forgot – but yes, we had a brief spat as I was about to go outside.”

“Do you know his name and where I could find him?”

“Yes – he’s been a nuisance to me for years, but he keeps some money here all the time and gives us a hard time for how we conduct our business.”

“Let me guess. He runs another bank?”

“No, that’s not it. He runs a ceramics shop and he makes things out of clay. He’s just a few doors down. Part of why he uses us is he can roll himself –”

“—here in his wheelchair. Got it. Gentlemen, I saw the shop when George and I were on our way here. I will be right back.”

Ginny walked over to the ceramics shop, where the proprietor was sitting at a low desk, painstakingly detailing a ewer. She identified herself, showed him her private detective’s ID, and he interrupted.

“Is this about the money! Thank god! I had no idea what to do with it when I got back here and found I had $50,000 that wasn’t mine. I don’t think I have any mob people among my clients, but you never know.” He rolled over to his file cabinet, unlocked it, and pulled out a satchel. “Would you please return it to its owner? I would be incredibly grateful.”

“It would be my pleasure. Can we give you a small reward of some sort?”

If your client would care to place an order or two, that would be lovely. Beyond that, really – I didn’t do anything.”

“Sure – I will pass the order along shortly. Thanks I think I know just the thing.” She grinned.

She made her way back to the credit union and was let into the conference room. She dropped the satchel on the table.

“He didn’t know where it came from and was horrified when he discovered it. He asked me to please return it to its owners, asking only for an order or two as a reward of any sort. Billy? You are off the hook!”

Billy coughed and then laughed and finally got himself together and left Ginny and George together.

“Really,” George asked, “How did you figure out where it was and why did it have to be there?”
“But George Bailey! Of course it had to be with the Potter!”

He collapsed, laughing til he cried. After a few minutes, he managed to thank her a few times. Then, “So, are all my wishes done?”

Her turn to laugh, if not quite that hard. “Do remember, that all we did was assume I was a genie, George. The only magic I used on this was analysis. Well, that and remembering the movie. But do me a favor? Is your mother still alive?”


“Ask her if she ever annoyed a genie or made a silly wish, would you? Way too many coincidences in this one!” With that, she took her leave, stopping only to place an order for herself with the potter.

With a bounce in her step – not exactly an unusual thing for her – she looked forward to telling her partner, “I got to pretend to be a genie today!”
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NOTE: This is the 2nd chapter. The first chapter can be found here.

Starting Therapy

Sarai smiled every time she thought about the group’s name: Mining Minds for Mending Minds. They usually just called themselves 4M.

As a young counselor, she really appreciated getting to participate in the collegial process of batting around one another’s difficult cases to try to find fresh approaches to them. Mostly she tended to remain quiet, mostly listening as she was unsure that she had much to offer them, at least not yet. She’d been told this was a pretty common approach to the first year or so in the group, for which she was grateful.

Tonight had been fairly slow until Dr. Netsuke presented his case:
Read more )
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Two women walked along a rutted road between a couple villages, Mirabel and Jinny. Their destination was not particularly important to them on this occasion, so there was neither hurry nor purpose in their steps. They seemed as if they were almost yoked together as a team, so in step was their progress. But one of them was quite focused on the world around them, while the other seemed distracted. Mirabel is a human, while her companion is a marit – a kind of djinn. The story of their meeting is told elsewhere.

This is an approximation of Jinny’s thoughts:
They’d been trying to understand the world of humans for a long time – for about as long as humans had been stumbling around in the forests and streams and meadows and mountains. Dryads, naiads, sylphs… it didn’t matter which of the fey folks to whom you spoke, the eventually the question came up: how is it that humans use reason rather than intuition?

You knew what you were supposed to do and when and how you were supposed to do it when the circumstance came up. None of this careful planning, measuring, calculating stuff of which the humans seemed so fond – or without which the humans seemed so lost! Sometimes they would hide one of their tools just to watch them as they at first floundered, but then found other ways to recreate the kind of measuring device they’d planned on using to start with. It could delay them hours or even days to be so deprived and their initial reactions were often so flailing that it was hard to stay out of their way, but ultimately most of them could discover another means to their ends.

Jinny had wondered this, if not so clearly, for several hundred years before she become friends with Mirabel. Friends! Just thinking the word brought a broad grin to the marit’s face and a bounce to her step – not that her step needed much bounce the bulk of the time, as floating was easier when they were alone.

“What mischief are you up to this time, Jinny?” The voice conveyed a tone of mild annoyance, but Jinny knew better. She laughed. Of course she knew better! Mirabel’s wish to be understood had been open-ended, if not consciously so. "I wish you could understand my point of view!" And so she did and so she does.

“I? Whatever would give you the idea that I am up to mischief?”

“That smile always means mischief. Do you deny it?”

“No, no. You have a good point. Do you wish that I not give away my mischievous intentions so readily?”

It was Mirabel’s turn to laugh. “I’m pretty sure that we have settled that whole wishing thing once and for all already – but even if we hadn’t, this would not be the sort of thing to spend… to waste a wish upon. Besides, if you don’t give me broad hints like that, this relationship would be far too imbalanced.

“So? What mischief?!” She plopped herself down under a tree by the side of the road they were traveling along and Jinny joined her.

“This time around, I am thinking of the entire world of magic critters. … Oh, right – we haven’t talked about those before, have we? I’m sorry! Would you prefer the slow or… okay, the hard and fast version it is.

“You know how you spent your entire life until meeting me knowing that there was no such thing as magic?”

Cautiously, Mirabel mumbled agreement.

“Well… it’s like this: You were not only wrong about magic on a small level, but on a large level. About 80% of what humans have believed about magic creatures is simply true. Flying horses; unicorns, dragons of all sizes and colors and abilities; living beings who are connected to the waters, mountains, trees, etc. – all of them are real. About the only thing we have not found are humans who can do magic themselves.”

Mirabel’s eyes bulged. This was a bit much for her to swallow quickly and easily, no matter how practical she was – or because she was so practical, perhaps.

“Wait. All of them? Really?”

“Pretty much. The places that it breaks down are when your stories talk about half-human, half-animal combinations. No mermaids, no centaurs, etc. Some of the multi-animal ones are a bit far-fetched even for magic, too, though we love to read about them and consider how they might come into being. We even know a couple ways, but none has been tried yet. Not really our kind of curiosity.”

“How do you figure such things out?”

“There are two different things that go into that question. Your implication is one of a deductive process. We don’t do that. When we consider how they might come into being, it is more a wondering if there is a natural process that might occur which would produce such an outcome. This is purely conjecture, as our reasoning is not well suited to… well, reasoning!

“If instead, we wonder how we might create such a thing, for those of us who can, we just know. And for those of us who can’t, well, we know that just as surely. It’s really an all or nothing kind of deal.”

“Hmm… give me a minute to process. And do we have any food left in our bags?” Jinny opened up a sack and pulled out a pair of sandwiches and a bottle to share, with a wink to Mirabel’s raised eyebrow.

“Bought them two towns ago.”

“Of course... So, there is the question, I suppose. You don’t seem to have any difficulty reasoning whatsoever, Jinny! What gives?”

“It’s all your fault, you know. Once you wished for me to understand your point of view, I had to reason whether I could or not! Your highly structured rational considerations required me to almost reconstruct my mind (without my actively doing anything, you understand) to be able to fit your wish. I am pretty sure I am the first reasoning magic user in living memory and quite possibly far longer. I can deduce. I can induce. There is really only one skill that I am pretty sure you have that I have not yet grasped, largely because you apparently have not needed it.”

“I’ll bite – what would that be?”

“Scientific/mathematical thinking. I feel them at the borders of your ideas, but you have not actively engaged in them so they are still veiled to me.”

Mirabel giggled. “And there is that deductive reasoning you were just talking about! You felt something and analyzed both what it was and why it was, but have not yet got a way to conquer it.”

“And that brings us back full circle to my mischievous thought! How might I introduce deductive reasoning or even mathematical reasoning to a people who do not naturally do such things? And in contrast with my general magical intuition, I have neither an instant answer nor a conviction that such a thing is beyond me. This suggests that while there may be a solution, it is not a magic-based response to the problem.

“By the way, have I told you what a grand time I am having being able to work through all this this way? It’s so much fun!” The two of them fell together laughing joyfully.

Wiping a few tears away, Mirabel replied “Oh, once or twice, perhaps. About as often, I guess, as I have told you how glad I am to have you in my life, even if you did come from a lamp!” It was said with a big smile. “So, let’s explore how you might go about this mischief, even if you decide not to do it.”

The two finished their meal and resumed their journey.

They banged ideas around for a while. As they talked, it became clearer to Mirabel that even with her reasoning ability Jinny had no real notion of how her population had gotten to be who they were, what the process might have been. To Mirabel, though, it seemed sort of obvious once the question was examined – it was organic. There was no planned progression, just a set of steps that happened and were then done. No conscious intention to expand locales or cross rivers until a need came upon them. So, the very idea of intentionally introducing a skill to the fey was beyond them!

As ever, with Mirabel’s thoughts came Jinny’s comprehension. (“And was that convenient!” thought Mirabel.) “So, if we introduce something that is at the very beginning of the idea of reasoning, that might allow it over time to develop into full deductive and inductive thought!” Jinny did a little jig in the road.

“Jinny – this is your starting point for them.”

And Mirabel drew in the dirt of the road

1 + 1 = 2
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February 26th is Tell a Fairy Tale Day.

No, I don't know why or who declared it so. I just know that it is. (If you find the origin, please let me know.)

So, tomorrow, as I did last year (, I will tell a Fairy Tale. I encourage each and all of you to do the same, even - or perhaps especially - if it is not ordinarily something that you do.

I would be honored if you would share with me whatever fairy tales you tell, and please feel free to share mine with others, if you are so inclined.

Wonderous Stories

I awoke this morning
Love laid me down by a river.
Drifting I turned on upstream
Bound for my forgiver.
In the giving of my eyes to see your face.
Sound did silence me
Leaving no trace.
I beg to leave, to hear your wonderous stories.
Beg to hear your wonderous stories.

He spoke of lands not far
Or lands they were in his mind.
Of fusion captured high
Where reason captured his time.
In no time at all he took me to the gate.
In haste I quickly checked the time.
If I was late I had to leave to hear your wonderous stories.
Had to hear your wonderous stories.

Hearing your wonderous stories.
Hearing your wonderous stories.
It is no lie I can see deeply into the future.
Imagine everything
You're close
And were you there to stand
So cautiously at first and then so high.
As he spoke my spirit climbed into the sky.
I bid it to return
To hear your wonderous stories.
Return to hear your wonderous stories.



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August 2017

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