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Fantasy

Standing in his penthouse apartment, Arthur Jameson looked out the window at the skyline while sipping a dry Beefeater martini. The city glittered in the dusk under the liquid saffron sunset painting the buildings with its ravishing brush.

His assistant Bob Merle sat at the desk behind him, zipping his fingers across the keys of the laptop. He looked up and said, “They accepted the deal, Artie.”

“Ka-ching!” Artie said with a smirk. “Your efforts in drafting the proposal did the trick, Bob.”

Bob closed the laptop, got up, poured himself a drink, and then joined Artie by the window. “Cheers!”

Artie clinked his cocktail glass against Bob’s. “Our success is simply unprecedented.”

“We have had a string of winning hands lately,” Bob said.

“I think we should go out and celebrate.”

“Where shall I make a reservation?” Bob asked, taking out his phone.

“Well, I’d love to go to Per Se,” Artie said, looking at his watch, “but we’ll never get a table now.”

“Even with my using your name?” Bob asks.

“Keller is no fan of mine,” Artie said, sipping his drink.

“Let me give it a shot,” Bob said and walked away.

A few moments later Bob returned. “We have a table waiting for us, sir.”

Artie put his hand on Bob’s shoulder. “You have the magic touch, Bob.”

“Yes, so it seems,” Bob said with a smile.

**

The next morning Bob came into the office early to interview a new secretary. He sat at his desk and looked at the pictures of Artie and him on a ski trip, in Paris by the Eiffel Tower, and one in Hawaii on Waikiki Beach.

His secretary Mary beeped his phone. “Ms. Martin is here to see you.”

“Send her in,” Bob said, standing and buttoning his suit jacket.

A beautiful young woman entered the room. She had long brown hair and wore a well-tailored blue dress. Her pale complexion and glittering blue eyes dazzled him for a moment.

They shook hands and sat down. “Nice to meet you, Ms. Martin.”

“Same here, Mr. Merle.”

He glanced at her resume and said, “Tell me something about yourself.”

“Well, for one thing, I know who you are,” she said with an impish expression.

“Excuse me?”

“Or should I say – what you are!”

Bob put down the paper and stared at her. “If this is some kind of joke…”

“Oh, it’s no joke. I am aware that you are a warlock and, through your magic, you are the secret behind Jameson’s success story.”

“This is absurd.” He stood up and said, “This interview is over!”

She bent her head sideways, and Bob was thrust down into the chair. “You’re not the only one with magic.”

Bob blinked his eyes and thrust Martin up against the wall, her arms and legs pinned to it. “I don’t know what game you’re playing, but you’re going to lose.”

“I...I…,” Ms. Martin struggled to speak, “I just need to speak with you.”

Bob moved his fingers, causing the woman to collapse to the floor. “State your business and then get out of here.”

“My…name is Donna Martin,” she said as she got up, brushed herself off, and sat on the chair. “I have been sent by the Warlock Guild.”

“Ah, those old fogies,” Bob said. “what do they want?”

“They want you to cease and desist immediately,” Donna said.

“Cease what?”

“You are using your magic to enhance Jameson’s company – to a point that is not acceptable in their minds.”

“Yes, I use it to get him a reservation here or get out of traffic jam there, but I am not using it to make him rich.”

“They will beg to differ,” Donna said with a smirk.

Bob stood and walked to the window. “Do they understand the true scope of my powers?”

“I…I am not sure what that means?”

Bob turned to her. “They would do well not to test me. I am a direct descendant of Merlin; go tell them that!”

Donna stood up and backed away from him. “I’m not sure that they are aware of that.”

“If the guild wants a war, it is surely one they will lose. Tell them that!”

Donna nodded. “I will convey your message.”

Bob watched Donna leave, and then he sat down and opened his laptop. He leaned back and began to write a message using his mind.


Dear Father:

I hope the weather is agreeing with you in Fiji. It is most fitting that you and Mom are enjoying a well-earned rest. I am sorry to bother you in your retirement, but something has happened here.

That damned Warlock Guild has challenged me. They sent an emissary to warn me. I don’t want a war with them, but I fear they are going to try and stop me and my mission.

How do you think I should proceed?

Love,

Bob


After a light tap on the door, Mary peeked her head into the room. “Mr. Jameson said he needs to see you now.”

“Very well,” Bob said, glancing at the screen and shutting the laptop.

**

Later in the morning, Bob returned to his office and opened the laptop. His father had responded to his message.


Dearest Bob,

It’s good to hear from you despite the circumstances. I think it’s safe to say that the guild likes to take itself seriously and, in this case, flex its authority – something in theory they have in a sense of warlock rules and life.

The thing is that your mission is more important than the guild. It is a mission for the future of the world. Jameson must succeed, and his company will invent something so life-changing that it will save the planet.

That said, you need to speak to the guild in earnest, and express yourself without anger or confrontation. If they attempt to force you in anyway, your powers are formidable enough to repel them, but it’s better if it does not come to force.

I know you were born for this purpose, as my vision of Merlin himself told me of it. Now go and seek to make peace with them.

Love,

Dad


Bob closed his eyes, feeling the heft of his mission weighing down upon him. It had never felt like a burden to have his gift or to be destined to use it as he had done, but now he wondered if he was up to the task at hand.

**

Artie and he sat in the back of the limousine. Chester, the driver, lowered the glass partition and said, “I’m sorry, Mr. Jameson, but nothing is moving.”

“Ridiculous,” Artie mumbled, “I need to get to this meeting in ten minutes. This should be a five-minute drive down Fifth Avenue.”

Bob blinked his eyes and, a moment later, the car started moving and Chester exclaimed, “It’s moving; it’s like a miracle.”

Artie looked at Bob. “This is the big one. If I can acquire this company, we will be able to change aeronautics and the future of the world.”

“You will do it, sir,” Bob said, “like you always do.”

“Yeah, with you at my side, Bob.”

“Yes, sir.”

**

Bob walked into the austere lobby of the Warlock Guild’s office tower, where the dark paneling and low lighting gave it a medieval glow. He got on the elevator and stared at himself in the mirror as the doors closed. He looked like a handsome, rather unassuming young man, just like any of the many others walking around Manhattan. There was nothing to distinguish him from the crowd. He reached the top floor, adjusted his tie in the mirror, and then walked onto a plush red carpet.

He followed it to the golden doors said to have once adorned King Solomon’s palace. Bob blinked and the heavy doors swung open. He walked across a glistening marble floor into a crowded meeting room with many chairs. Three men sat behind an elevated desk at the front of the room.

Bob stood with his hands folded in front of him. “Good evening, masters and governor.” He noticed Donna Martin sitting at a small desk typing. “Ah, so this is a formal proceeding.”

All three men were old and wearing suits and tall wizard hats with gold stars on a dark blue sky. The man in the middle cleared his throat. “We have called you here to hold you accountable for your actions, Robert Merle.”

“I have come respectfully to state my case,” Bob said.

“We have no…” Governor Gurn coughed, “interest in your case. You have been ordered to cease and desist.”

“What good is a guild that doesn’t want to hear from its members?” Bob asked.

The men and women in the audience began whispering, and Gurn slammed his gavel on the desk. “Silence! You have been a member in name only, Robert!”

“I know everyone here knows and respects my father,” Bob said.

Murmurs of “Yes” could be heard throughout the assembly.

Gurn banged the gavel again. “Enough! You must accept this or there will be consequences.”

Bob nodded. “Yes, I know, but I do not wish to harm anyone here.”

“You have the audacity to confront and threaten us?” Gurn motioned toward two large men in black uniforms who rushed at Bob.

Bob blinked and hurled both men across the room. “That was unpleasant; don’t let it happen again.”

The governor turned to the masters on either side of him, and they whispered for a few moments. Gurn leaned forward and lifted a piece of paper. “I have neglected to read this note from Miss Martin.” He paused as he looked it over. “It appears that you claim to be of a direct descendant of Merlin; is that correct?”

“It is, governor.”

“If that is true, then you…you could….”

“I have, as I have said, no wish to escalate this.”

“Why did your father never let any of us, his friends and colleagues, know about this?”

“Because it has been a tradition from Merlin himself to every son or daughter born, not to reveal to anyone our heritage. I only do so now because you have left me no alternative.”

“Robert, we cannot have, even a descendant of Merlin, who does not heed the order of our guild. Despite your impressive ancestry, you must cease and desist or….”

“Or else?” Bob asked.

“Y…Yes,” Gurn coughed.

“Even if I tell you that I am on a mission, and that what I am doing will lead us to save mankind.”

“We care not for the mortal world; it is not our business,” Gurn groaned.

“But we share the planet with them. If this planet dies, we die as well,” Bob yelled.

Gurn pointed to the men and women in the first row. All dressed in business attire, they rose and stared at Bob “They are the Panel of Ten – our most powerful wizards and witches. They will make certain that you comply with our edict.”

Bob glanced at Gurn. “I don’t think so!” He turned to the men and women who began raising their hands and he blinked, knocking them all to the floor and crushing the benches behind them. The audience gasped, and Bob lifted his hand causing Governor Gurn to rise in the air, and then he brought the man down before him.

Shaking from head to toe, Gurn looked at him and stammered. “Please…”

Bob patted him on the cheek. “I’m not going to hurt you, governor.” He looked at Donna, who had also been knocked to the floor. “Please get that in the record, Ms. Martin.”

She sat down at her desk and said, “Yes, of course.”

“I seek only peace here at the guild. I wish to in turn be left in peace. Is that clear?” Bob asked.

Gurn nodded his head. “Yes.”

Bob lifted his hand, and the entire building began to shake. “Do not try to secretly be against me, or I’ll bring this building down upon you all!” He put down his hand and the building stopped rumbling.

The people watched and whispered as he stepped over the fallen Panel of Ten members and started walking down the aisle. Someone said, “He’s the most powerful wizard of all.” Bob continued walking, threw open the huge golden doors with a blink of an eye, and left the room.

**

After closing another big deal, Artie and Bob went to a party to celebrate with friends. Everyone kept congratulating them on their success. Cliff Horton, a slightly drunk rival, lifted a glass and said, “Here’s to crushing the competition, Artie!”

“I play by the rules,” Artie said lifting his glass and taking a sip.

“Somehow they always seem to bend for you,” Cliff snarled.

Bob blinked and Cliff stumbled and fell on the floor. Other people helped Cliff up, and he stared at Artie then turned around and walked away.

As they left the party, Bob spoke on his phone. “I can’t seem to reach Chester.”

Artie shook his head. “Let’s just take a cab.”

“Very well, one should be by any minute,” Bob said.

Two teenagers with their heads covered approached them; one had a gun. “Give us your wallets and phones and no one will get hurt,” one said.

“You don’t want to do this,” Artie said.

“Shut up man,” the other one said, “and give us your stuff.”

The other started moving back and forth on his feet. Artie started reaching for his wallet, and the kid pulled the trigger.

Bob blinked and both teenagers were lifted in the air and thrown twenty feet. Artie fell backwards and lay on the ground, blood running from a wound in his chest.

The teenagers started to get up, but Bob raised his hand, smashed them against each other, and made them fall down.

“What happened?” Artie asked him.

Bob knelt next to him. “You’re wounded.” He raised his hand over Artie’s chest, closed his eyes, and his hand vibrated until he had sucked the bullet into his hand. Artie kept staring at him and breathing heavily as Bob put his other hand over Artie’s chest until the wound closed over.

“What the hell, Bob?” Artie asked.

“I’m a warlock, Artie.”

Artie started to crawl away from him, but Bob put his hand on Artie’s shoulder. “The good kind.”

**

A month later Artie went on television to announce his new initiative to turn the world’s garbage into energy. “In short, we will take something we have no use for but have in abundance and turn it into something we need. We are exploring a way to do this with zero emissions and no waste.”

After he came off the set, he looked at Bob and said, “How did I do?”

“Homerun!” Bob replied.

Later in the limousine, Bob and Artie sipped champagne as Chester navigated the traffic.

“Well, with all this success, now I am going to make some time for the wife and kids,” Artie said.

“Splendid,” Bob said. “I think that you need that.”

“What about you, Bob? You need to have some time for a personal life too.”

Bob sighed. “Yes, well making you a business king has been my priority the last seven years.”

“But we’re on top now,” Artie said. “And I owe it all to you, and you also saved my life!”

“Yes, I did save your life, that is true, but in business I just assisted from the sidelines. It was always you – your ideas, your talent, your leadership. I just made it a little easier here and there.”

“Well, of course, you’re being too modest, but that is the way you are. You should really get out and have fun.”

“I have been seeing someone recently actually.”

Artie patted his arm. “Good for you, my friend.”

**

At home that evening, Bob opened the laptop and wrote to his father.


Dear Father:

My mission has been a success. Artie is now where he needs to be to accomplish his goals. It will not be easy, but in time he will go down in history as one of the greatest inventors and entrepreneurs the world has ever known.

Love,

Bob


Later that evening his father wrote back to him.


Dear Bob,

It is only fitting that the descendant of King Arthur of Camelot is being assisted by the descendant of Merlin. It was meant to be, and this time the success will not affect one kingdom but reach the entire world.

I am proud of you, son.

Love,

Dad

***


Bob came off the elevator wearing a new suit and walked to the apartment door. He blinked and the bell rang. As the door opened, Bob smiled, “Good evening, Donna.”

Donna, wearing a black dress and matching heels, closed the door behind him. “You are on time as usual.”

“Nothing worse than a tardy warlock,” Bob said.

“Or witch for that matter.” Donna looked in the mirror, putting on her makeup without lifting a hand. “What’s the big surprise? Where are we going?”

“A little place called Per Se,” Bob said, smiling broadly.

“Oh, my, I can’t believe it.”

He cleared his throat. “I pulled a few strings.”

“Of course, you did,” Donna said, lifting her hand and waiting for her black clutch to land on it. She walked over to him and put her arm through his. “I don’t know if I should be seen with the Wizard of Manhattan.”

“Is that what they’re calling me these days?”

“That and a lot worse,” Donna chuckled. “They fear you now.”

“But you don’t?”

“Of course not, Bob. There’s good magic and bad magic. Maybe you’ll become governor and change the guild for the better someday.”

“That’s for an old witch or warlock; I…I mean we have a life to live first.”

She smiled. “Yes, we do.”

Bob blinked, the door opened, and they waltzed outside to where Chester waited in the limousine. 

March 12, 2020 13:59

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