“Jerry, what are you doing?”

I’m writing a story.

“Like a bedtime story?”

Very much like a bedtime story. But it’s a story with very little bed and quite a lot of time.

“What’s the story about?”

It’s about 50,000 words. It’s a small story.

“No, what’s it about?”

It’s about a little boy who lives in the shopping cart graveyard. Every night when he tries to go to sleep, something happens, and he ends up having huge adventures.

“How old is he?”

Hm... He’s a year older than you.

“How tall is he?”

Well, when he sits in this chair that you’re sitting in, he comes up to… here. So he’s about a thumb taller than you are.

“What’s his name?”

I don’t know. He doesn’t tell anyone his name. But he lets people call him Arthur.

“Why doesn’t he tell people his real name?”

Your real name gives your enemies power over you, and Arthur has powerful wizards for enemies.

“Really? Ooooh.”

Oh, don’t worry about him. He has some pretty powerful friends too. There’s Raphael, the Bear Agent; the detective dog called Sherlock; and of course his best friend Voniece. So as long as he keeps his name secret he’ll be fine.

“Should I keep a secret name?”

Do you have any enemies?

“No.”

Then you should be all right.

“Darryl is always pulling my hair in school.”

Is Darryl a powerful wizard?

“No!”

You’ll be fine.

You might want to think of another name anyway, just in case.

“Jerry?”

Yes?

“Can you tell me a story?”


“There is always a culture clash between those who understand how productive industry actually works and those who gape at it like savages, believing it to be some kind of Heap Big White Man Magic. And where there is Magic, there are Sorcerors and Demons; for most people, particularly those of the primitive mindset, the large cloud of Unknowns is filled in by their imaginations with malice, conspiracy, and deviltry.”—Ace (Breaking: Shaggy, Shambling Man-Child Believes Political Expression is “Creepy”)