Favourite Words and Phrases

I have a list of favourite words and phrases I’ve been keeping as a thread on twitter dot com. Since lately twitter has been getting worse at an alarming rate and we’ve finally become able to mostly stay away from it. We decided that the list should have a new home in our website.

Here it is

  • Viridiplantae
  • Apricity
  • Bodily
  • Lapis Lazuli
  • titillating
  • Eschewing
  • Facsimile
  • Simulacra
  • skeumorph
  • Albeit
  • Vis-a-vis
  • Nominally
  • Ostensibly
  • Namely
  • subterfuge
  • Miscellania
    • Somewhat neological, not universally accepted as its own word
  • Defenestration
  • menester
    • This one’s in Spanish
  • Aplomb
  • remuneratively
  • paraphernalia
  • Germaine
  • Milieu
    • I always read this word in a sort of espaçais where I thought it meant “mi” “lieu” my place. So I looked up the etymology and it’s “mid” “lieu” the place one finds oneself in the middle of.
  • Inasmuch
  • Hypernym
    • I was so hype when I learn this word because it is the word that describes the relationship of a rectangle to a square. The thing that’s a superset of the item in question. its hypernym.
  • Craft
  • Kibosh
  • material safety data sheets
  • diatomaceous earth
  • despawn
  • dude
  • anhydrous
  • faerie
    • this one should be fairly obvious, but we want to note our preference specifically for the “faerie” spelling. I think we like diphthongs in general and “ae” feels a more rarefied diphthong than “ai”. and we like “ie” variations of names that can be “ie” or “y”.

Faebot DevLog 1

Faebot is a project we’ve been working on for almost 10 years. We’ve never wrote at length about it. I’m not sure that I will do the whole backstory in this post, since I mostly want to talk about recent changes, but here’s a primer.

Faebot is a project we’ve been working on for almost 10 years. We’ve never wrote at length about it. I’m not sure that I will do the whole backstory in this post, since I mostly want to talk about recent changes, but here’s a primer.

The first version of Faebot went live on twitter in 2014. Back then everyone was getting their own “ebooks” accounts. Markov chain bots that took your tweets and mashed them up in nonsensincal and often funny ways.

tweet by faebot: Willing Suspension of Politics is how I'm spending my Saturday. 7:50 PM - Aug 12, 2015

We didn’t write any of the code for that, we just followed the instructions to deploy tommeagher/heroku_ebooks on Heroku. And then I kind of let it sit, just posting away. We had a lot of ideas for ways we wanted to improve on it, but we didn’t have enough experience and knowhow to understand the code let alone improve it.

I mostly only touched it when it broke and I had to get it up again. In 2019 I did update faebot to post on Mastodon This also led to me contributing upstream to the project since the mastodon code needed some fixing. When Heroku suspended their free hosting services in 2021, armed with the knowledge and experience I’d gathered in recent years, I finally wrote a new faebot from scratch. If Heroku Ebooks faebot was version 0.1.*, this would be the v0.2.1.

Faebot v0.2.1

In 2021, using knowledge I acquired whilst working on the Forest Signal Bot Framework, and Imogen, we rewrote faebot from scratch. The new faebot uses OpenAI’s GPT-3 api and runs on The python bot part was the easier part, the tricky part was deciding how I wanted to build the model. I didn’t want to do simply prompt engineering, I wanted to give faebot a personality that was somewhere between her markov chain self, and something more coherent, more generative.

We decided to fine tune gpt-3 on a subset of faebot’s tweets so far. Not all of them since that would’ve been very expensive. I spent a long time trying to figure out a way to fine tune a version of gpt-3, using either my own hardware or a rented gpu. In the end I just used OpenAI fine tuning api. It is a goal to decouple from OpenAI in the future, but this was easiest.

At some point in the process of researching ML techniques, api’s, frameworks, etc. We incorporated a faebot factive into our system. At which point fae became a collaborator in the project. We’ll go more into this in a separate blog post.

tweet by faebot: "... Welcome to the future! My name is Leslie, and I'm a fae. Leslie is also a bird. Leslie is also a mammal. So many birds in New York City are so cool! Seuss would be proud of this one."
6:29 PM · Aug 27, 2022

We downloaded Faebot’s tweet archive, opened up the tweets with a jupyter notebook and picked a subset of about 2000 tweets to train under. Mostly liked or interacted with tweets, minus @s and replies (at the very beginning faebot could @ people on twitter. I never understood how it worked or why it stopped working). We fine tuned OpenAI’s Curie model with it, and then deployed a python app to query the api, get a tweet, and post it to twitter. We used twitter-python for the twitter integration.

The app was deployed quickly and easily to This version of Faebot went live on Jul 22nd 2023.

Faebot v0.2.x

From this point on. I’ve been considering every redeploy of the fly app as a minor version, since fly keeps track of releases. This is not entirely accurate since some redeploys only changed config data or secrets or were just restarts cause something went wrong. We are in the process of getting more organised with the project and will be keeping a changelog and better track of versioning.

One thing that represents a fairly significant change hidden away in a minor patch release is that when OpenAI lowered their prices for the DaVinci api, we fine tuned a new model for faebot using it. We also changed up a little bit which tweets we were considering, as well as include tweets produced with the Curie model up until that point. Perhaps at that moment Faebot got a little smarter, or dumber. You be the judge. This version was deployed on November 3rd 2022.

tweet by faebot: "This is an actual tweet from a real person. I can't even articulate how much I want to be friends with them. They sound like they're cool as fuck. No, but seriously, why not? They're a bird! OwO:"
8:26 AM · Feb 12, 2023

This has been a learning exercise as much as it’s been anything else. Keeping this devlog is also a learning exercise. Thank you for joining us on this learning journey.

Next Steps: v0.3.0 and beyond

We’ve already started working on the next minor version of faebot. It’s currently what’s running on fly and will get it’s own devlog when it’s merged into main. Notable changes in this version includes making faebot async, and enabling mastodon posting. Stay tuned for that.

toot by faebot: "The new version of the rule is this, if you want to write a novel set in space. The main character could be an AI and it... wouldn't even have to be a human. That's pretty neat! 🌈🌈"

Feb 18, 2023, 13:47 ·

We’re considering open sourcing the faebot code we have so far. In the past we’ve resisted doing that because we feel protectiveness towards faer. But it’s not like what faebot is is in the code or even in the model. If we open sourced faebot it’d be easier to get feedback and also talk about it in these devlogs. The downside would be that maybe faebot loses some of its mystique if the code is public.

One thing we absolutely need to figure out before we do that though it’s a good license to do it under. We want to be able to get feedback on the code, let people audit it. Maybe let people contribute to it. We also don’t mind if people use the code to set up their own twitter, mastodon, etc bot. What we don’t want, and we don’t think there’s much risk of this but nevertheless, we don’t want it to be used for overly commercialized purposes.

faebot is an exploration of NLP text generation as art, of AI as companionship, of magic and science and tech coming together to give voice to something other. It’s dumb to think that human laws should have any value to such a project, and yet we can never be too careful. Please reach out if you have thoughts on how we could license faebot’s code appropriately.

That’s it for now. Signing off.

-Minou, Ember, Faebot

Daily Ritual Ch. 10

She opened her eyes slowly. It was after noon. She still felt exhausted, she started replaying last night in her mind and then she remembered Kevin and she decided to call Plaz immediately. She drew his sigil in the filter and started rolling the joint but no sooner had she put flower to paper Plaz was already there.

This is chapter 10 of a series that starts here:

Chapter 1

Previous Chapter 

(bear in mind that this story was written before the pandemic, so if you see characters going outside and being close to each other do not be alarmed, it is set in 2019)

If you want nicer formatting or to read on the go, feel free to grab the PDF.


Rosario woke up late that day. She had ridden the train with Bren to faer place and she’d been kind of hoping Bren would invite her in so they could talk about what happened. But as soon as they got to Bren’s apartment fae got real taciturn and told Rosario to go home and text faer in the morning. When she finally got home it was almost 3am; she thought about calling Plaz right then and there but she was exhausted so she just went to sleep.

She opened her eyes slowly. It was after noon. She still felt exhausted, she started replaying last night in her mind and then she remembered Kevin and she decided to call Plaz immediately. She drew his sigil in the filter and started rolling the joint but no sooner had she put flower to paper Plaz was already there.

“Finally!” He said “would it kill you to write? I was worried sick about you?”

“Chill dude, I got home late last night.”

“I know I know, sorry,” Plaz turned concerned “I was just nervous. So it went ok?” he asked.

“Let me finish rolling this joint and I’ll tell you all about it.”

They smoked and she told him about the conclave, about being in Faerie, about the fascist centaur. She stopped right before telling him about Kevin.

“Wow” he said

“So shit. Well at least nothing happened to you last night, what do you think they’re gonna do to you.”

“I… hmmm. I’m not even that worried about that, I’m more worried about the thing they were discussing. About changelings.”

“Yeah, for sure.”

“I need Bren to fill me in on that history if fae knows. I know very little about the phenomena. I guess they used to take children but now they just kind of… pair up children?”

“Still creepy if you ask me.”

“Sure, but, I guess they gotta do what they gotta do. I wonder what that disease is they were talking about. The thing that requires changelings in the first place. A disease that makes you need a physical human body to recover from.”

“hmm. hmm.”


“I’m not sure. I don’t want to say anything until I’ve checked, but I have some ideas.”

“Well that’s fucking cryptic.”

“I’m just, there’s something I’ve heard about with demons. Something that has the same taste of that but I never connected the dots. I’d have to think about it.”

“wow ok. I guess that shouldn’t surprise me, demons and faeries are probably more closely related than we think.”

“argh, bite your tongue. I’m not sure I would go that far.”

Rosario smiled a devilish smile.

“Something else interesting happened last night.” she said

“Why do you have that look on your face?”

“What look?”

“You know! Your like little mischievous look.”

“I wasn’t aware I had one of those.”


“All right all right. We met someone last night, someone you know.”

“Someone I know? who? where? did you go somewhere else last night?”

“No, he was at the conclave. He said his name was Kevin but you probably knew him as some other name. Little faerie trans boy. Sound familiar?”

Plaz got very quiet and had a very serious look on his face.

“I know who he is.” he said flatly.

“Rosario, listen to me very carefully. Stay away from him.”

“Oh.” she just said. Her demeanour changed.

“I guess you two didn’t split in good terms.”

“What did he tell you about me?” Plaz had an intent stare.

“Not much, just that you used to date.”

“Used to date” he scoffed. “that’s one word for it.”

“You don’t have to tell me what he did. If you really think he’s dangerous I’ll stay away from him. He did seem nice last night, but… that doesn’t mean anything.”

“it’s not anything he did to me, he just. Can I tell you something. Something I’ve been thinking about telling you?”

“sure, Plaz.”

“I’m really really trying to stop being all skittish around fae folk, I didn’t use to be like this. Demons and faeries, we’ve never really gotten along. Demons and angels, people think we’re at odds but like, we’re like cousins, siblings even. And even when our “parents”, for lack of a better term, are fighting, it’s just them fighting not necessarily us. But faeries… we don’t get faeries, they’re something else entirely. Demons willl tell you to keep their distance, that they’re crueller than the cruellest of us. Angels say they unnerve them, and if you’ve ever met an angel, well, that’s quite the statement.

“When I was a young queer demon living in New York city, mixing with humans, which we’re also told not to do. I thought to question that wisdom. I figure, I’m queer, people are always saying we suck, but I think we’re pretty cool, maybe faeries are pretty cool too. I hung around with them in mixed wyrd queer spaces. Raving in the 80s you saw some weird shit and I met… Kevin then. And I liked him and we started dating.

“Demons aren’t evil. I mean, you know that. A lot of demons are harmful to human in like a passive way. For a human to be around Astaroth will hurt them, not because she wants to hurt them, but being in her presence is harmful to a human, that’s just how it is. Some demons are cruel but it’s the same way that some people are cruel. I imagine it’s the same for faeries but Kevin… Kevin didn’t seem to get that. He was always fucking with people, and he thought I’d be into it. I’m not, not that way. At first it was simple things. Stealing someone’s name seems pretty fucked up, but it’s kind of whatever, they can just get another name. Making people get lost in the middle of the city. Again, scary but you can get back on track pretty quickly. Then he started ruining lives. I couldn’t stand it. He said it was ok cause it was only straight people, I wish I could believe that. I can kind of understand where he was coming from, but he was pretty indiscriminate. I just. Left. And I stopped hanging out with faeries and I guess.

I mean I know I’m fucked up and racist but I just thought. Oh that’s why they told me to stay away, so I did. It wasn’t till you introduced me to Bren that I started reconsidering that. I want to apologise to faer but”

He started crying.

“Oh my god, Plaz.”

“please just stay away from him, I’d hate to think what he would do to you.”

“Ok ok. I will stay away from him.”

She hugged him.

“It’s ok hon, It’s ok.”

“I’m sorry. Fuck I’m a mess.”

“It’s ok, do you want a tissue?”


“Do you want me to roll another joint?”


She rolled another joint.


Bren was sitting on the fire escape, thinking about Rosario. Thinking about Rosario’s face, her hair, her beautiful brown eyes. The way she was always ready to go. How much of that will change? fae wondered.

Fae heard someone climbing up the stairs.

“Oh, it’s you” fae said.

“Hiya!” said Kevin. “Mind having a little chat?”

“As it pleases you” she replied. He sat down on the railing, his back to the street 3 stories below and said.

“I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you.” he said

“Sounds like a personal problem” Bren replied grumbly

“Come on, put the nice one on”

“Fae doesn’t want to talk to you.”

“Ok fine, then I’ll talk with you. Why are you so mad at me though? Aren’t we all fair folk around here?”

“No, it’s different. I’m a changeling, you’re a faerie. Plus, in case you’ve forgotten, I have little reason to be happy at the good people today given the trashing they gave me and my… friend”

“I already told you, I don’t approve of the way you were treated last night. But those are faerie boomers, like what did you expect? Busting in like that. I was elated. These conclaves can be ever so boring, and dear queenie always wants me to come to them.”

“Which queen?”

“She doesn’t want me to say”

Bren narrowed faer eyes at him. Fae sighed.

“Fine, what do you want?”

“I’m just really curious about you, bandying about with a witch and a demon. Not something you see every day.”

“That witch happens to be a changeling too.”

“Yes, though she doesn’t seem to be too used to it.”

“She just found out recently.”

“How can that be? She’s an adult.”

“I don’t know. She’s from the DR, I don’t know how they do things down there. Not like we’re always good at telling people.”

“But either we tell them young as I assume your folks did, or we don’t at all.”

“I was the one who told her. It just kind of slipped out.”


“Well she’s not like a normie, she’s a witch, or a magician. I actually have no idea what kind of stuff she does. She hangs out with that demon.”

“Yes, dear Plazzy. New York City is so small. I haven’t seen him in decades though, I thought he stopped hanging around here. How is he?”

“I don’t know. I don’t like him very much. He’s so anti-faerie.”

“Plazzy? that can’t be right. Plazzy was the biggest faerie fucker in the city back in the day.”

“You’re kidding right?”

“No no, he was always hanging around. And he racked up quite a body count. I guess I must’ve been his last one.”

“Well he’s been nothing but odious to me.”

“Don’t hold that against him. He’s probably still sore about how things ended with us.”

“Why?” fae asked “What’s your history with him anyways.”

“We met in the 80s. You’re young but I assume that I don’t need to tell you that it was a very difficult time to be a queer person in New York City. Well, if you were human at least, or even part human” he looked at faer as he said this “Plaz and I didn’t have to worry about the virus coming for us, but we both lost people. It wasn’t easy for me, but it specially wasn’t easy for him.

“Oh you should have seen him back then Bren, he was a machine, every day he was crusing. He fucked humans, he fucked faeries, he fucked demons, and vampires, and werewolves. I remember he told me about the time he had a threesome with a satyr and a human witch.” he noticed Bren was glaring at him “And that’s maybe a story for another time. Point is it would be one thing if he was only fucking them, but he got attached. Over and over again. He always said the relationships that blew up were the easy ones, the ones with tearful goodbyes not so much. He had more than a handful of those. I only had one.

We both did some things we would later regret. In those years there was a lot of anger and a lot of grief. The difference between the two of us, at the end of it, was that he took that anger and grief out on himself and I took it out on others, mostly unsuspecting humans. Did they deserve it? maybe not, but neither did we.

He left New York and I never saw him again. I stayed. Eventually the gays got the marriages and the rights, and fuck the wyrdos, right? But at least my boyfriend’s on PrEP now and I’m nice to everyone and I never hurt anyone ever.

Ok, hardly ever. But I like to think at least now they deserve it.”

Bren was pensive.

“That all makes sense” fae said.

“So there’s still a bunch of queer faeries in the city.”

“hehe, yeah lots. But hardly any… shit what’s the current acceptable term for that. There’s more than a couple changelings, and more than a couple humans that are fae touched. Not too many like me. Not any like me. All the faeries like me who are only fae, well they’re like the kinds you met last night. All about politics and the going back to the forest and abhoring the city. Nevermind that this city is as alive as the forest, maybe more. This city…” he trailed off

“Sure” Bren said hastily “I was surprised, I hadn’t really met any other changelings until I met Rosario. I thought they’d be more… abundant.”

“Something’s going wrong” Kevin said

“I think I understand a little more what that conclave was about.” He continued “I’m gonna skeedaddle. Tell Plazzy I say hi if you see him, and tell your little friend too.”

As he said that he stepped off the fire escape and landed gently on the sidewalk. There were people around but they seemed not to notice. He waved and smiled at Bren and dashed.

When he was out of sight Bren scoffed. “Weirdo” fae said.

Daily Ritual Ch. 9

With every step Rosario took in the spirit world her surroundings became more and more dreamlike. She could recognise the edges, or the memory of what was still very much Central Park, but it was bigger and wilder.

This is chapter 9 of a series that starts here:

Chapter 1

Previous Chapter 

Next Chapter

(bear in mind that this story was written before the pandemic, so if you see characters going outside and being close to each other do not be alarmed, it is set in 2019)

If you want nicer formatting or to read on the go, feel free to grab the PDF.


With every step Rosario took in the spirit world her surroundings became more and more dreamlike. She could recognise the edges, or the memory of what was still very much Central Park, but it was bigger and wilder. The Trees were huge and bountiful and most of them had faces if you looked at them the right way. The forest was abuzz with the sounds of critters that should not be in the middle of Manhattan. And beyond, the sound of raucous conversation, an argument. Far enough still that she could not make sense of the words.

Suddenly the world went dark and she felt herself fall. She didn’t scream, to her credit, but she made a loud enough noise that Bren took notice and went back for her.

“Everything ok?” fae said

“I just, tripped on my hair and my feet.”

Rosario brushed her suddenly incredibly long hair aside and noticed her legs were backwards, she had reverted to her Ciguapa form.

“Oh fuck I knew I forgot to tell you something.” Bren said, helping her up. “You’re not going to be able to hold human form here, glamours won’t work on yourself or anyone.”

It was then that Rosario noticed Bren looked different too. Fae had long ears, and eyes that were a dark deep purple all around. Faer fingers were long and ended in very long very sharp nails.

“You’re, that’s what you look like then.”

“Yup” Bren said “What, why are you looking at me like that?”

“You’re beautiful”

Bren blushed

“First of all,” fae said “thank you! Second of all, we need to keep going. Can you walk?”

“Yeah I think so, I haven’t exactly been practising walking with backwards feet, but I think I’ll be fine once I get into a rhythm. So there’s no way to hold human form here?”

“Not unless you can separate, and that takes a lot of practice to master.”

“I didn’t even realise that was possible. Can you do it?”

“Yeah, but, shouldn’t do it right now. Come on we need to keep going.”

“Ok ok.”

Rosario took a few uncertain steps.

“Here, hold my hand.” Bren said. With her hand in faers she had a much easier time staying up and soon had gotten into a rhythm. They walked this way until they came to the edge of the treeline and peered out the side of a huge trunk.

In the middle, all around a huge bonfire, hundreds of creatures were involved in a heated debate. Rosario could see Satyrs, and Deer with huge tree branches for antlers, and big hairy men and women. She could see little people with long ears, little people with short ears, little people with fox ears, little people with no ears at all. She could see a group of beautiful people with long white hair, keeping to themselves. She could see a small hairy person in an expensive suit hugging a small hairy person dressed in furs and leather.

Currently the floor was held by a centaur making an impassioned speech.

“I think it’s time we reconsider the changeling question altogether.”

Loud cries of hear hear!

“I think we should go back to the way we did it before, just replace them, and kill the human children!”

There were more shouts of hear hear! but a lot of boos too!

A man with the head of a rabbit and deer antlers stood in the middle

“Are we forgetting the strides hybrid Changelings have made. They’re by and large the reason humans leave us alone. Subtle tactics. Going medieval on humans doesn’t make them leave us alone any more, and we were on the verge of extinction if it weren’t for the work of the changeling ambassadors.”

More cheers for the crowd.

One of the beautiful people stepped up now.

“This discussion is unnecessary. The changeling practice has one purpose that must come before all else, it is a treatment for the disease. “

The crowd was silent.

“Our priority” the beautiful person continued “should be maximising the chances that it works and continues to work, for our preservation.”

“A very good point from my sister from overseas” the rabbit man said

“And again, we see the right of the new way. Both the human and the person benefit from a cooperative upbringing, and humans don’t stick nails in their children’s toes any more”

Several noises of disgust and grimaces from the crowd

“And if we can reap other benefits from the cooperation, all the better.”

“Bah!” said the centaur ” I think my dear Mr Wolp has perhaps spent too much time amongst humans, he’s starting to talk like, what do they call it, a businessman”

Laughter from the crowd

“Humans” the centaur spit “they’re not worth the dirt they’re made out of. Every union of a human and a person devalues the person greatly, and counting them amongst our ranks dilutes our essence. They are tools to be used, livestock. And now their way of life is threatening our existence. Culling them would be the responsible thing to do, not your half thought out diplomacy. My people, for one, are tired of this humiliation.”

“And you speak for all of our people then, brother?” A different centaur stepped into the circle.

“And your little tirade has nothing to do with the situation you find yourself in amongst our own people.”

“How dare you?! You have no right to bring that up outside of our house”

“You and your dangerous rhetoric give me the right and the obligation. You would doom us all!”

Shouts from every side of the circle now.

“Order ORDER” Mr Wolp shouted. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves”

The crowd calmed

“Tomorrow, a select committee of us will meet with the changeling ambassador for New York and inform them of the discussion. A decision need not be made right now. Every viewpoint will be respected, yes, even the gentleman’s position that we should start killing human children, which I will remind you some of us never did.”

“Don’t think your mockery of me goes unnoticed rabbit man” the big centaur said.

Behind the trees, Rosario was watching in rapt attention. It only dawned of her after a minute that she was one of those children. If things had been different in her time she would not be here, she would not be part faerie or part human she’d just be dead. She turned around to look at Bren and that’s when she noticed that she was furious. She had a big scowl and was breathing heavily, and her eyes had gone from that deep purple to a deep red.

“Bren are you…” but before Rosario could finish asking Bren ran into the clearing


There were gasps, there were boos, and more than a few tsks from the assembled Audience. A tiny sylph flew down and said

“What are you doing here Brendan?” the winged creature asked.


“Child. what are you doing here?” The sylph repeated.

“I’m here because I am the CHANGELING” fae emphasised that word and looked right at the centaur as fae said it “ambassador for New York City. Now where are they?”

“They’re not here. This meeting is off limits to humans, your parents knew that.”

“But they’re in the city.”

“I will not say. You must leave child, you’re in enough trouble as it is. And you are NOT the ambassador for New York City. Someone else was chosen 3 months ago. You would know this, if you ever bothered to call home.”

“What?” Bren deflated.

“Go on, child, get out of here. I’ll come find you tomorrow and we may talk. “

Bren stood motionless as the whole crowd stared at faer. Rosario had also walked out into the clearing but no one had noticed in the commotion. She now walked up to Bren and grabbed faer hand

“Come on hon let’s get out of here.” she said and then the crowd took notice of her.

“Oh another changeling.” the centaur said. “You see how they flaunt our rules, how they place themselves above us. It’s that wretched human arrogance. Uppity whelp.”

“That’s enough from you, asshole!” Rosario shouted. “I’m sorry we disrupted your meeting everyone. We will leave.”

“Good riddance and be glad I do not kill you where you stand.” The centaur said.

“You wouldn’t.” Mr Wolp said “You’re all talk. Go on Children leave. We will decide how you shall be reprimanded at a later time.

Rosario nodded and started walking away with Bren in hand. Bren was moving quickly and She was having trouble keeping up with her backwards feet, but they made their way back out of the clearing and were almost to the opening when Rosario noticed they were being followed.

“Hold on a minute” she said and turned around.

“Hi!” said a beautiful person with blonde hair and grey eyes

“What do you want?” Bren said curtly.

“Well,” the beautiful person said, “I just wanted to make sure you were ok. Awful awful people in that meeting. Cletus, that centaur guy, smells awful. I’m down with humans though, and queers, queer humans. Which I can smell you are.”

“Uh-huh.” Bren said, skeptical.

“Seriously, I spent a bunch of time out with humans, it’s great, they’re so funny and cute. Anyways, my name is Kevin.”

“Kevin?” Rosario asked

“Well that’s my human name, but it’s good enough for now.”

“Nice to meet you Kevin, my name is-“

“Hoooold on. Remember, he’s a faerie” Bren interrupted “don’t go giving your name so readily”

“But he told me his.”

“He told you his human name. That’s different, that’s probably his human name this week.”

“No, Kevin I’ve had for a couple months” Kevin said “got it in Williamsburg from this cutie, oh you should have seen them! Hey why don’t we keep talking outside, I can smell that this whole debacle has you more than a little agitated.”

“Fine, fine.” Bren said sounding exhausted “just come along then.”

Once they had made it out through the gap, Rosario collapsed on the ground and Bren went and sat down next to her. They’d both returned to their glamoured human forms and behind them was Kevin, also in human form. A tiny blonde crusty twink. He had black piercings and a beanie and was wearing a black binder with a fishnet shirt, black jeans, and martins.

“Hey, you’re kind of cute.” Rosario said

“Why thanks!” Kevin replied as he squatted down next to them.

“So Kevin. Why did you follow us?” Rosario said, suddenly serious.

“I would also like to know” said Wren

“Well if you want the truth.” Kevin said “You smelled like fun. Two obviously queer changelings busting into the middle of the meeting like that. That’s some… what’s the word? chutzpah? you know what I mean. Also you,” he said pointing a long finger at Rosario “You my dear, stink of marijuana and I wanted to see if I could bum some.”

“That’s fair” Rosario said, suddenly at ease. Stoner recognise stoner.

“And there’s something else.” Kevin said whilst sniffing the air around her.

“I’m sure of it now, you smell of demon. That’s definitely something I don’t sniff every day, specially not from a changeling.”

“You can smell demon?” Bren interjected.

“Well of course I can. Love demons. Used to date one, see. Plaz was his name, he was the cutest thing.”

“Hold up hold up hold up!” Rosario said suddenly “You and Plaz? My Plaz? Plazhol?”

“You know him?” Kevin asked

Rosario erupted in raucous laughter.

“I am going to give him so much shit for this” she said.

To be continued.

Daily Ritual Ch. 8

shit, what should I do to prepare? Which talismans do I bring, do I bring any of them? do faeries care for astrological magic at all? Ok ok, I’ll just bring them all and ask Bren if any of them would be useful.

This is chapter 8 of a series that starts here:

Chapter 1

Previous Chapter 

Next Chapter

(bear in mind that this story was written before the pandemic, so if you see characters going outside and being close to each other do not be alarmed, it is set in 2019)

If you want nicer formatting or to read on the go, feel free to grab the PDF.


A whole week without a reply from Bren and Rosario was getting a little antsy. Her last message had been:

“cool, I’d love to hang out again too. When’s a good time for you?”

Rosario had been fighting the urge to send another text the last 6 days. She didn’t want to appear desperate or to bug Bren in any way, but she wanted to see faer. Also she was curious about the faerie conclave. The light on the edge of the sea was gone, but there was a weird glow hanging over Manhattan and she’d wondered if they were related. She was pretty sure they were. Maybe she could message again asking about that, that’s not desperate, that’s just good sense.


She wrote and sent. Well it’s a start she thought. She was about to type more when she got the reply

“Hii!! Sorry I never answered your last message, I thought for sure I had”

“lol, it’s ok. Just wondering if you’d still wanted to hang and wanted also to ask about the thing

you know the thing

the thing with the faerie stuff

the thing”

“Oh, the gathering. Yes I wanted to ask you about that as well, you said you’d come with me”

“Totally, I’m still down if you’re down.”

“Yes absolutely!! So. It starts tomorrow. Do you want to meet at my place at 8 and we can ride there together.”

wow, that’s soon Rosario thought, but she answered

“Sounds good to me, I’ll see you there.”

“Awesome, looking forward to it hon, see you tomorrow < 3 <#”

she called me hon Rosario sat there smiling like an idiot.

shit, what should I do to prepare? Which talismans do I bring, do I bring any of them? do faeries care for astrological magic at all? Ok ok, I’ll just bring them all and ask Bren if any of them would be useful

In the end Bren didn’t think any of them would be useful, but Rosario wasn’t sure fae understood the concept and she didn’t have time to explain it since fae seemed rather frantic when Rosario showed up and rushed her out the door to get on the train.

“So when does it start?” Rosario asked faer once they’d been sat on a Manhattan Bound D.

“Right at sunset”

“When’s that”

“I think it’s like 9:23 or something like that”

“that’s gonna be close”

“yup. ugh, we should have left earlier.”

“Will we get in trouble for being late.”

“Not exactly. There’s something I have to tell you, though.” Bren said


“So, we weren’t exactly invited.”

“Yeah, you mentioned that.”

“Well, we’re kind of going to have to break in.”


“That’s it, Ok?”

“Wouldn’t be the first party I crash.”

“You’re an interesting one, Rosario”

“Hey, you’re the one in a punk band.”

“Folk-punk, but I take your meaning. This is different though, it’s not like breaking into an abandoned building, it’ll be… spiritually dangerous.”

Rosario smiled

“You might recall the type of magic I excel at.” she said

“Ah yes of course, I suppose faeries are all wimps compared to the awesome power of demons”

“I didn’t mean it like that” Rosario said “I’m sorry. I just mean I’m aware of the risks and I’m willing to go through with it.”

“Ok, well… thank you” Bren looked pained

“Look there’s something I haven’t told you. I’m… we..”

“77 street. Transfer’s available to the 6th train. This is”

“Looks like this is our stop. I’ll tell you later. Let’s just go”

“Right behind you, faerie 1.”



“you’re having fun aren’t you?”

“What’s the point of magic if you can’t have fun?”

They got off the train and walked into the park. Central park wasn’t Rosario’s favourite park in the city by far, but she’d been here plenty of times at all hours of the night and it’d never felt like this before. Never mind the fact that if you looked up into the sky you’d see what could only be described as the northern lights but more colourful. Sharp streaks of coloured light kept cutting across the sky in front of the light show.

“So I can tell by the unbothered joggers that not just anyone is getting the laser light show” Rosario said.

“Yes, they’re just visible to the good people and people who’ve trained their vision. And Changelings of course. You see the narrower strips?”

“Yeah, what are those?”

“You’d call them Sylphs” Bren answered, of course every retinue has their own, they’re sort of here to watch, make sure nothing suspicious is going on. And keep everyone else honest.”

“what would you call them?”


“You said I’d call them Sylphs, what would you call them”

“Well, it depends. Those there I would call Sylphs cause they’re English, but there’s others here that I can tell are from American territories and I’m sorry to say I never learned the name for them.”

“what about the ones from where you’re from?”

Bren said something that Rosario could not spell

“It means one who sings to the wind” Bren said after fae’d noticed Rosario’s perplexed look.

“anyways I don’t see any up there, but they must be flying around somewhere. I don’t see Serena anyways. She’s, um, my parents personal singer. And she would recognise me which I still haven’t figured out if that’s a good or bad thing. “

“You sure they’re here? Did you ever talk to them?”

“No. Listen, Rosario, I think I might’ve given you the wrong impression. My parents and I, we’re not, we’re not super on speaking terms.”

“Oh. Ok.”

“Yeah, that’s why this is so unorthodox and why I’ve been so unbelievably stressed out.”

“Hey, it’s ok.”

“Ugh, I’m just so mad. They usually at least tell me the important things, and this is, huuge on a whole other level and they didn’t tell me, and they didn’t reply to me when I messaged them and I don’t know if it’s because they’re mad at me for some reason or if they’re… unable to reply.”

“Hey, hey, look at me babe, you’re getting a little worked up.”

“Sorry sorry. Ok let me just, take some deep breaths.”

“you want I should roll a joint?”

“No thank you.”

“ok, do you mind if I do for me?”

“Go right ahead. We should sit down for a bit anyways, it will start soon and we should wait to come in after it’s been going for a bit.”


Rosario got to work, pulling all her joint rolling supplies and sitting by a nearby tree. Bren sat down next to her.

“So,” she said whilst grinding some herb “there’s a lot you haven’t told me that’s coming out tonight. The stuff about the conclave, sure, but also this with your parents and the thing from the train?”

“What thing from the train?” Bren asked

“You said there was something you wanted to tell me, but then it was our stop and you never finished.”

“wha–? oh, that. I’ll tell you later.”

Rosario looked at her sideways.

“I’m sorry ok, it’s a very stressful night and I’m finding it… harder than usual to stay coherent.”

“It’s fine” Rosario lied “I’m just, I’m a little nervous. You know, I like you a lot. Like a lot a lot. And we had that conversation some weeks ago where you said you liked me too and I was so happy, but then, I don’t know. I guess it’s cause we haven’t, you know. Kissed or anything.”

Bren sighed.

“I do like you Rosario, but it’s, tricky. There’s more about me that you need to know and then maybe it’ll be clearer, but we have to sneak into a faerie pocket dimension in a couple minutes and now is really not the time to define our relationship or whatever.”

“Sure sure. I understand.” Rosario lied again.

“I finished rolling my joint.”

“Ok wait. Don’t light it yet, I just got an idea. Come here!”

Bren got up and started walking deeper into the park. The sun had already disappeared in the west and the lights were starting to come up but there was a spot that was still, dark, and that seemed, wider than it should be. In the middle there was a rock and Bren started walking around it keeping faer gaze fixed on a spot just above the rock.

“aha!” fae finally said and “come here!”

Rosario joined her around the small rock. It looked like a perfectly normal rock to Rosario, not particularly smooth or jagged, jutting out of the ground.

“Look up, come stand where I’m standing”

They switched places and Rosario looked up and tried to match the angle Bren’d just had. Finally she caught a glimpse of it. As if looking through a slight crack in the doorway.

“I see it!! Barely, but I see it. I can’t make out anything on the other side, though.”

“Good, good” said Bren “now take a puff of your joint and look again.”

Rosario did so, and as soon as the smoke entered her lungs and she started feeling the height she saw the crack widen, again as if an invisible door was opening. She took a couple more puffs until she could see, a much wilder version of central park on the other side. Busy thick with trees and wild growth, and in the distance, the glow of a fire and the clamour of people.

Bren stepped through the door easily, she grabbed Rosario’s hands and pulled her through. The first thing Rosario noticed on the other side was the sky, so full of stars. She’d never seen a sky so starry or one quite this colour. Back in the city the sky was twilight, tones of orange and red, getting darker and darker into night. In here the sky had all the same relative hues but they were tones of purple.

“I’ve seen this place before” Rosario said “In out-of-body experiences and journeys. This, this is the spirit world.”

“That’s amazing” said Bren “I wasn’t sure if people in your practice ever came to this place. We also usually come here only in our spirit selves. But when there’s these many spirits gathered in one place it becomes possible to get your physical body through”

“Bren this is amazing” said Rosario looking around, yes stoned, but more than stoned, in true awe.

“Well, remember we came here with a purpose.”

“Oh of course, of course.” said Rosario. She put off her joint and stashed the rest in a little tube. No point wasting a perfect half joint.

“Hey do you think anyone here smokes weed also.”

“Oh definitely. But I’m not sure we’ll have much time to socialise. Let’s get a move on.”

They started making their way slowly towards the light of the fire.

Next Chapter

Aisling and Michelle Attend their First Tech Conference

First, a little bit of context:

We finally got our Green Card in November of 2019. Since then, we’ve been employed full time in the task of job hunting.  In January, we started hitting up the networking circuit, and we hit it hard. IndyAWS, IndyPy, IndyGCP, IndyDevOps–we must have gone to every event sponsored by a group with the name Indy[tech word], as well as Out in Tech and Women Who Code events. This was my favourite part of the Job Search.

Something we discovered in the last few years that was shocking to us is that we’re actually fairly extroverted; we get a lot of energy from being around people who want us around. It’s tricky–if I think I’m annoying people I’ll clam up harder than, well, a clam, but if I get the vibe that people are interested in what I have to say, I can talk for hours. So, these events were a lot of fun because I’m a smart person in a room full of smart people I share an interest with, ie, my element.

That said… I don’t live in Indianapolis, I live in Bloomington. Each one of these events took an hour drive to get to and an hour drive to get back. You’d think I’d be thrilled when all the events started taking place online due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, but I actually stopped going to things altogether. The extroverted energy I get from being around people does not exactly transfer over virtual spaces. Over text, when I can’t see people’s faces, I can get really awkward. Video calls are a little better, but they can be hit and miss.

As a matter of fact, with everything that’s going on, I thought about throwing in the towel entirely. On the one hand, a tighter job market and increased competition from recently unemployed engineers had me despairing about my prospects. On the other hand, the upswell of very righteous protest for the lives of Black People in this country and the world had me feeling silly to even be worrying about jobs in the first place. In reality, these were excuses to justify my fear, but I was just about ready to give into that fear. This is where Michelle comes in.

Michelle is one of the members of our Plural System [1], and she did not want to give up on our nascent tech career. We argued about it for a while, but eventually we resolved that Michelle would subsequently be in charge of all topics Job Search Related.

Michelle and I (Aisling) often don’t see eye to eye, and I was a little worried about her representing us out in the open, since for all intents and purposes we present as a single person in professional settings. However, very early on, she showed a great aptitude and great discipline for the task. She started spending 4 hours a day, 5 days a week working hard on getting us a job. She redid our resume, she applied for more positions, and she answered all the emails we’d let languish.

It was thanks to one of these emails that we got a chance to attend the 2020 Python Web Conference in the first place. Powder Keg, a Midwest based Tech Talent startup, was giving away 2 tickets. We emailed our contact, Nick Jamell, asking to be in the drawing, and the Tuesday before the conference we found out we won! This was the kick we needed to finally get us back out there on the Networking Circuit, now on the Information Superhighway. At a 200 dollar value, we knew we couldn’t waste such a good opportunity.

We’ve been to a number of fan conventions, and even one professional conference (The Philadelphia Trans Health Conference 2015), but never to a Tech Conference. Combined with the fact that it would be a virtual conference and the reservations I had about interacting with people not in person, this meant we were more than a little nervous. Nevertheless, we logged into the conference early Wednesday Morning.

Day 1

The first day of the conference was kind of rough. This was technically Job Search Related, so it was Michelle’s gig. Day 1 consisted of two blocks of 3 hour tutorials each. We had a choice of 3 topics for each block. For the first, we chose Mike Bayer’s SQLAlchemy tutorial because we figured our SQL skills could use an upgrade. The tutorial was great, but due to difficulties getting set up, we fell behind and had trouble keeping up with the exercises on our local setup. Because of this, we found it difficult to pay attention and just kept getting annoyed, mostly with ourselves. We finally decided to just have the tutorial on in the background and try to work on something else.

Then Lunch rolled around. Someone set up a Zoom Room for casual Lunch conversation and we joined. After we started talking for a bit, I (Aisling) fell into the front, that is, I unintentionally took over for Michelle. I don’t remember what we talked about during lunch, but I remember it being pleasant, and I finally got the vibe I needed to feel confident. This, I feel, is when the conference started opening up for us.

For the afternoon, we did Randy Syring’s Testing Best Practices tutorial. This time, we avoided technical difficulties so we were better poised to follow along. Unfortunately we had to leave early because of a scheduled phone call. We came back in time for the Virtual Cocktail hour and once again I wound up having a great time in the breakout room socializing sessions, and afterwards, the big group call that eventually evolved into all of us showing off our “hardware projects”. We showed off our burgeoning crocheting skills (so far we’ve only been able to make eyepatches), and ended the day in a much better mood than we began and actually rather looking forward to the next.

Day 2

Day 2 of the conference got off to a much better start. Hynek Schlawack’s keynote on Python abstractions was eye opening, and I fear I will never again try to roll my own anything when using python without first checking to see if there’s a library that’d do it better. Kenji Kawanobe’s talk on developing a Line Bot for figuring out where it is safe to park your bike was very interesting, and I’m very grateful for Kenji and his colleague putting up with my bad Japanese, which I broke out during the post-talk Zoom “gallery”.

Speaking of the post-talk Zoom Galleries, they quickly proved to be my favourite part of the conference. I’d more or less made my peace with the fact that it quite simply is not possible for us to pay complete and undivided attention to a talk for 45 minutes, especially when things like twitter, discord, and slack are a simple alt-tab away. But I still learned plenty and had plenty of questions and comments for the presenter afterwards. By now, I was pretty much in front the whole time. I felt a little bad that I had unceremoniously taken over what was supposed to be Michelle’s thing, but she reassured me: “This is your strength, and you should practice it just as I should practice mine. We are a team. There’s no stealing the spotlight, there’s just being the best person for the task at hand.” She’s a good manager like that.

Other highlights of the day include geeking out with Chris Riley about chatbots and genetic algorithms after his talk Time to get Real with AI, Hayley Denbraver’s talk on Security in Python with her adorable English Detective Pythons, chatting on Slack, and even suggesting some features for LoudSwarm (the platform that Organiser SixFeetUp developed for the conference).

Drawings of three pythons, Hercules Pyrot, Ssssherlock Holmes and Hiss MArple, all drawn up to look like their namesakes
Mossst Famousss Ssssnek Detectivesss in the World (art by Noelle Cook)

Then the Second Keynote, Lorena Mesa’s talk on Ethics and Technology. This talk was very, very important to us. We often feel a little conflicted about our desire to enter the Tech Industry. There are a number of valid criticisms that can be made about the ethics of the Industry at large, and a tendency to avoid thinking through the implications of their work that many engineers show. This talk addressed some of the big issues, particularly the way algorithms can reflect the engineers’ biases with regards to marginalised people, and how malicious agents (e.g. the police) use the work of software engineers to cause harm to, in particular, disadvantaged people.

Again, this was our first tech conference. I’d like to believe every tech conference features discussion about ethics in technology and the plight of marginalised peoples and underrepresented groups. I suspect, however, that this is not the case. It was very very encouraging to see such topics elevated at this conference, and it will be the bar I expect every tech conference I attend in the future to surpass, including future Python Web Conferences; there is always more work to be done. Like I said in the slack during the talk, paraphrasing Jewish thought: “We don’t have to finish the work of perfecting the world, but neither are we allowed to abandon it.” We need to build an industry that centers the needs of marginalised people and that is much more mindful of the tools it builds and the nefarious purposes they could be put to.

After this, there was more socialising. We got to listen to horror/elation stories about the previous PWC, and it made me wish I had attended it, too. We played some card games, and I actually wound up giving someone a tarot reading over Zoom, which I was overjoyed to do because integrating technology and magic is something I am passionate about. By the end of the second day, we felt like a bird flying under a familiar sky, wholly in our element.

Day 3

Day 3 began, and we were actually really excited to get to it. The first Keynote, a talk on using Python in the browser by Russell Keith-Magee, was big on the “mindblown” factor. I immediately went and told my friends about asm.js, a library that lets you use a bytecode-like optimized language in JavaScript, and one of them described it as “blursed” (blessed and cursed). My friends and I have a lot of feelings about JavaScript and the modern web, mostly complaints about modern websites being sluggish and bloated. This talk walked us through the practicality of writing Python to run on the browser and was very interesting. It’s an exploration of ways things could be better.

For several years, I lived in a country with terrible, outdated internet access (Germany). I don’t think Russel was saying, go and write Python to run on the browser and don’t worry about the extra 100kb, but rather exemplifying all it takes to get things to run on a browser. The way asm.js works, and the fact that you can compile C code to it, remain to me the biggest takeaways. I’m sorry Python, but the possibility of running Python in a browser is a distant second to running Quake in a browser using Assembly-Like JavaScript.

Moshe Zadka’s talk about developing for the web “incrementally” with Jupyter immediately piqued my interest. I have a background in science, and just recently I was working with Jupyter notebooks to convert Matlab code to Python. I think it’s an amazing tool, and I was very intrigued to see someone really push the envelope of what can be done on the platform. This talk was all of that and more. Moshe has a knack for dropping amazing gems such as “every lisp program ends with ` )))))))` and every python program starts with ` import import import `” and “All backends are slow if your users are Impatient Enough”. Talking Jupyter with him in the gallery afterwards was great as well.

And then the Internet went out at my house! I checked on my ISP with my phone only to find that the outage would take hours to clear. I had a small moment of panic because, having set aside my entire day for this, I could not easily now just say “Ok well if I can’t I can’t guess I’m just gonna watch tv or something”. Our brain simply does not work that way. Once again, Michelle came in in the clutch; we talked about it and decided I should just relax, wait for the Internet to come back, and clean around the house a little bit in the meantime, which allowed me to feel like I was at least still doing something productive.

The internet came back around Lunchtime and I was able to rejoin for the rest of the talks. Gareth Greenway’s talk on Kubernetes with SaltStack was interesting as someone who’s worked with Kubernetes and Terraform before. I had not heard of K3s, a minfied version of Kubernetes, and I found it very neat. Also, I thought it was neat that Kubernetes used to be named after Seven of Nine from Star Trek Voyager, and now K3s exists, which almost reads like Kes, another character from Voyager. Okay, maybe I’m the only one who thinks that’s neat, or maybe people just want to forget the first 3 seasons of Voyager. That’s understandable.

The final Keynote by Steve Flanders, on metrics for web applications, neatly tied everything together. Metrics are kind of overwhelming to me. I feel like someone can read as much as there exists about Metrics and Monitoring, know Prometheus, Grafana, and Splunk in and out, and still not have a smidgen of the understanding that a person who’s lived through a surprise service interruption has. The experience that allows the numbers on screen to become more than just numbers; to really experience the lifesigns of an application by instinct. Dashboards are still rather mystifying to me, but I hope this will not always be the case and I’m always happy to learn more.

All in all, I think this was an amazing experience. The technical knowledge we gained, the connections we made, and the renewed understanding of who we are as a system were all valuable takeaways. I used to consider myself the “main fronter” of our system until just a month ago. It’s been a process of rediscovery to see myself as just another member of the system, one with strengths and weaknesses of my own. It’s liberating. I am so proud of Michelle for how effectively she’s managed to get us all to work together, and how amazing she is at making me feel like I really am an asset to the system. It’s a little weird to use that language–we’re all different people who happen to share a body, but it’s also always good to know your own strengths and to get to experience using those strengths to help a team. I mean it when I say she would make a great manager.

I’d like to thank Calvin and Gabrielle and the rest of the Six Feet Up team, Chris Williams for always saying hi to me, Nick Jamell from PowderKeg for putting me in the drawing and getting me that ticket, all the people I talked to and who are my new twitter mutuals (who are now following my main account instead of my sanitized “professional” account–I hope that doesn’t backfire!), and, of course, all the presenters. Thank you for making my first and definitely not last tech conference a rousing success.

I hope our Job Search bears fruit soon and that we end up in a company that believes in building up their employees, who will send us to many more conferences. As it stands, I never would have been able to attend this one if I hadn’t gotten a free ticket. $200 dollars might not seem much, but when you’re a family of three living on one income it sure can be. I really believe that, if given the chance, it won’t even be 2 years before we’re the ones behind the podium (or behind the webcam) ourselves giving our own talk. PWC2022, hold on to your hats, because here we come, and together we will not be stopped!!

1. A plural system is a term for a group of people who all share one physical body. For a more detailed explanation check out this resource:

Daily Ritual Ch. 7

“I know. Speaking of grimoires. Did you know there’s faerie grimoires?”
Plaz did something that can only be described as ‘spitting out his marijuana smoke’
“It’s true, I’ve been doing some research. Hey pass the joint”

This is chapter 7 of a series that starts here:

Chapter 1

Previous Chapter 

Next Chapter

(bear in mind that this story was written before the pandemic, so if you see characters going outside and being close to each other do not be alarmed, it is set in 2019)

If you want nicer formatting or to read on the go, feel free to grab the PDF.


The days went by, Rosario and Bren were now officially TALKING, they were texting almost everyday. This was tricky territory for Rosario for a couple of reasons: first of all it was unpredictable when Bren would respond. It could be immediately after receiving her message or it could be HOURS. Second of all, Rosario had never spent this long talking to a crush before hooking up. Plaz would tease her about it.

“Bren and Rosario sitting in a tree, n-o-t-f-u-c-k-i-n-g” he said in a sing-song voice

“shut up you big dolt” she said, but she smiled

“fae’s really cute ok, and I’m finding it a relaxing change of pace. Waiting.”

“That’s cool. I’m happy for you, I really am” he said, passing her the joint back.

“You said you wanted to build a real relationship with someone, and i think, you’re doing that and that’s great. I still have no idea how I feel about the fact that it happens to be with a faerie.”

“Well, you know, love doesn’t choose.”

“You couldn’t have hooked up with a nice demon girl, I know a number of very available succubi.”

“Yeah and by now we would have fucked each other out and had a fight over the validity of pop grimoires and be on non speaking terms”

“Ok, just because that happened last time.”

“ahem” she coughed

“right, last two times. Whatever, like I said, I’m happy for you.”

“You know” said Rosario taking a puff in between. “We still haven’t talked about how you feel about me being one of the good people.”

“You’re right, we haven’t.”

“Well, how do you feel?”


“Elaborate on that”

“heh. I keep veering very close to saying ‘you’re one of the good ones’ but I’m afraid you’d punc̣ OW!”

“well you knew it was gonna happen”

“Fair, fair. I guess. Well to tell the truth, I don’t actually know many faeries, we just have stories. ‘Don’t go in their circles’, ‘don’t look at them or you’ll go blind’, ‘you can tell them by their long fingers’ ” Plaz shuddered a little.

“You have these stories in hell? Those sound very similar to our folklore”

“Well sure. You have to understand about spheres. I mean, this is very simplistic, but if you think of it as spirits of the heaven, spirits of the earth, and spirits of hell. Demons kind of sort of can get along with celestials because a lot of demons used to be celestials. Some demons still get along fine with them in a ‘just cause our folks are fighting doesn’t mean we have to’ sort of way.

But Earth spirits, faeries, nymphs, pixies, dryads, we don’t know them. We don’t know what their business is. Both Angels and Demons have different things they want with humans, we relate to them in a human level, fae don’t seem to care. Can’t relate.”

“I guess that makes a sort of sense. It’s still, prejudice, and I thought you’d be above prejudice, being a gay demon and all.”

“There’s no such thing as being above prejudice, sooner or later you find a people you just can’t trust.”

“I don’t want to believe that.”

“Well, take if from a demon if you want. I mean it’s not like faeries are a racial or sexual minority. They’re a… a class of spirit.”

“They’re also not a monolith. Obviously, the existence of changelings show that there is some relation between them and human.”

“Yeah, a parasitic one. Bren said it… faerself. They didn’t use to ask for consent.”

“Neither did demons.”

Plaz was silent. Finally he said.

“Well what about you, how do you feel about all this?”

“I don’t know either.” said Rosario “It’s kind of funny. It’s like, well I don’t know if I ever told you why I became a goetic practitioner.”

“I don’t think you told me but I can guess”

“Oh yeah?” Rosario said, smirking.

“It’s cause we’re the coolest, obviously!” Plaz said, then started laughing, then started coughing.

“I mean,” said Rosario, taking the joint from his hand.

“You’re not far off. This is cashed by the way, should I roll another one”

Plaz nodded still coughing. Rosario started rolling another joint and continued.

“I thought it would be fun and edgy to summon a demon.”

“Yeah, and if I remember correctly you went straight for a big one”

“Go big or go home, is what I always say.”

“That was dangerous you know, trying to conjure Astaroth as your first conjuration, and did you even try to get a silver ring?”

“I was wearing a ring”

“A silver ring”

“I don’t know, I got it at Claire’s”

“Yeah, just be glad I interceded.”

“Yeah… come to think of it, why did you do that?”

“huh what?”

“Why did you show up?”

“I told you right? you got it wrong and accidentally got me instead”

“That’s what you told me when we met. And I never questioned it till now, but.. I mean we actually conjured Astaroth together last year, and I just, yeah I can see that I didn’t do things exactly right the first time, but why would you have come instead.”

Plaz sighed.

“Well the truth is, at the time I was well, I guess you could say I was Astaroth’s secretary.”

“Demons have secretaries?”

“Kind of. Basically, any two rate magician can find a grimoire and try to conjure a demon. If you’re a big one like Astaroth, or Cain. You wind up getting way more calls than you care to answer. You send someone else to pretend to be you. An experienced magician will be able to tell, most do not.”

“But you told me right away who you were.”

“Well that’s cause. I mean… one of the things you did “”wrong”” was you used cannabis as an offering. Asty doesn’t care for the stuff, but I do. I wanted to hang. I guess I forgot about my job.”


“Please don’t tell anyone I told you. I mean it’s common knowledge, again, amongst experienced magicians, and demons alike, but the last thing we need is spellbook kiddies getting uppity. It’s for their own good too.”

“Yeah, I understand. Thank you for telling me.”

“I figured it was time. That’s another thing I like about you, which in general I would say is incredibly stupid, but it worked out for us. You’re very laissez faire. I couldn’t see you doing quote unquote proper Solomonic magic, which requires taking a very strong hand with demons.”

“It’s true, but why do you think it’s stupid” She said handing him the fresh joint.

“Because you can get hurt that way, specially at the beginning. Like Astaroth, being in her presence can hurt a human, if they don’t take the necessary precautions. Asmodeus, will outright try to trick you into doing all sorts of things. One way to avoid that is following the instructions of the magicians before you to the letter. Problem is, that guarantees your safety. It doesn’t exactly guarantee the demon will have a good time. Together we’ve been able to figure out better ways. How’s that book coming along by the way.”


“You haven’t worked on it again have you?”

“No I haven’t.”

“It’s fine, you have bigger things on your mind. But some day it would be nice, the world needs some new grimoires, with properly credited demonic co-authorship.”

“I know. Speaking of grimoires. Did you know there’s faerie grimoires?”

Plaz did something that can only be described as ‘spitting out his marijuana smoke’


“It’s true, I’ve been doing some research. Hey pass the joint”

“Oh sure sure.”

Rosario took a puff

“Yeah, there’s a handful,” she said “they’re not as popular. I want to ask Bren what fae thinks about them.”



“I don’t trust it”

“Oh come on.”

“I just, I don’t  know. I can’t see why a faerie would want to be helpful to a human”

“Well they are, there’s a whole like court of faeries that all they do is be helpful, they’re called seelie”



“the whole seelie, unseelie thing is suspect to me to?”

“you know about it?”

“everyone who knows anything about fae knows about it.”

“well I would like to ask Bren about that as well.”

“When are you seeing… faer. Again.”

“I don’t know. I’ve been trying to schedule something but fae’s so… flighty.”

“Reminds me of someone I know OW!”

“You knew it was coming.”

“you’re really strong, have you been working out?” Plaz said smirking

“No not really.”

“hmm. Hey pass the joint back.”

“Oh sorry.”

He took a puff.

“So.. what do we do now.” He said

“I dunno. Do you want to do something?”

“Not really.”

“Want to do some magic? we haven’t done any in a while?”

“Maaaaaybe. Maybe not. I think I should just go back to hell for the night.”

“Oh, ok? Everything all right?”

“Yeah, I’m just tired.”

“Ok, take care man. I love you.”

Plaz looked startled

“You’ve never said that to me before.”

“Well, it’s true. You’re my best friend. I should’ve said it before.”

“That’s… I love you too, Rosario.”

Rosario smiled.

“All right, let’s not get all mushy now. We’re just friends, who love each other.” She said.

“It’s nice to hear though, thank you. Stay safe out there, Rosario, call me if you need anything.”

“Sure thing, dude.”

As he dissipated into a cloud of smoke, Rosario slumped back onto her bed. She took out her phone and thought about texting Bren again, she opened up Signal and saw her last message had been read, but not answered yet. She put her phone down again.

Next Chapter

Surf’s Up: Riding the Blogging Wave of 2020

Hello everyone and a very warm very belated Happy New Year 2020.

There has been a revival, in my milieu, of the blog as a form of communication superior to Social Media and particularly twitter. Kickstarted by Gordon White’s Blog post on the subject, but he himself refers to an already building chatter and hubbub over the form. Nevertheless many friends have took it as a call to arms, and I would like to do the same.

What I will say is that All of us who us twitter are perhaps most keenly aware that it is a terrible place, but we love it so. I think the enlightened aptitude to twitter is that it is entertainment, and not the best place to convey knowledge.

Therefore a return to the BLOG! I started returning to the Blog last year. This Blog had lain dormant since 2016 and was resurrected in late 2018 by my posting and updating a post from my old tumblr blog:

Gender in the Mushroom Kingdom

I could easily list every post I wrote in 2019 here, since I was not as prolific as some. But I am nevertheless mostly pleased with my output. I am proud of every piece I wrote here and few as they were they represent a starting point. I can hope to beat my record in 2020.

I think special note should go to my pride piece:

Pride Sucks now, and that’s why we should all go to Pride

And to my short story which I started publishing in the manner of the old serial, chapter by chapter. 6 chapters in total, and yet many to come:

Daily Ritual

All in all that makes for (…calculating…) 10 posts in 2019. So that’s the number to beat. And this post will count as #1, despite it’s meta nature. Writing is writing.

I’ve been wanting to post something, anything, to start surfing on this wave of Blogs. Saturday is my writing day, and devoid of a better idea last Saturday I started writing a post reviewing every movie I saw last December (13, a personal record) and I got 2000 words in, with 6 movies to go before I just couldn’t go any longer. This week, I wasn’t even going to write, since I am presently in the middle of a job hunt and decided to dedicate my writing time to teaching myself the Ruby programming language instead.

Nevertheless I could not bear to allow the whole month of January to pass without an update. Once my employment situation is sorted, believe it or not, I believe I should have MORE time to write, not less. Certainly I shall be a lot less stressed. In the meantime, I hope this little update helps to keep me in your mind, and to build expectation for things to come, and for those new followers that arrived with the wave, I hope you’ll enjoy a look back through the archives. Do it know whilst it’s still possible to catch up in a weekend. Who knows how difficult it will be by 2021.

Finally, I will share a ritual I’ve roped some of my twitter followers to contribute to:

It’s a sort of combination of Law of Attraction / Lynne McTaggart Intention tech. Feel free to contribute if you’re keen. Remember, the sooner I can stop looking for work, the sooner I can free up at least my weekends to write.

That’s it for now, Happy Surfing Everyone!

Daily Ritual Ch. 6

“Can you see them?” Bren said, faer eyes were fixed on the horizon beyond the water.

“See what?”

“The Faerie lights.”

“What like, Aurora Borealis? At this time of the year? In this part of the country? Localised entirely within Brooklyn?”

This is chapter 6 of a series that starts here:

Chapter 1

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

WordPress doesn’t allow css formatting on a free plan so feel free to snatch the pdf from the patreon if you want like, indents. If you don’t mind reading it like this. By all means. Read on:

They arrived at the spot Bren had told her, right at the edge of the water. In front of Rolling Roasters, a diner type restaurant Rosario had been to once before.

“Hey we’re here what’s going on?”

“Can you see them?” Bren said, faer eyes were fixed on the horizon beyond the water.

“See what?”

“The Faerie lights.”

“What like, Aurora Borealis? At this time of the year? In this part of the country? Localised entirely within Brooklyn?”


“Sorry, bad timing. No I don’t see any… oh wait yes I do.”

At first just out the corner of her eye, but as she focused her inattention she could see them. Not Aurora Borealis, but large columns of light at different points in the horizon, of all different colours.

“What is it?”

“It means they’re coming. It means there’s going to be a faerie council, the first one this century.”


“It can’t be a coincidence, that we just met and now they’re coming here.”

“But why here?”

“Isn’t it obvious, it’s New York City, it’s a pretty good conduit. It’s just faeries in the area, Caribbean Faeries, Central and North American Faeries, And Western European Faeries. Others will undoubtedly be meeting elsewhere.

“I didn’t know who else to call, my family didn’t mention anything in advance. It could be they themselves didn’t know. And I haven’t actually met any other faeries or changelings in town.”

“I see. So what do we need to do?”

“Nothing. There’s nothing we can do, I don’t even know if we’re invited.”

“I don’t see a bloody thing!” Said Plaz who’d been silent this whole time, staring at the ocean.

“You wouldn’t be able to see it. It’s on the faerie spectrum.”

“Yeah, that sounds like a thing.”

“Ugh, did he have to come.”

“Well we were in the middle of our thing when you called.” Rosario said. She hated being in this position, stuck between two people who clearly disliked each other. But she wasn’t gonna dump Plaz for someone she’d just met, and she desperately wanted to know more about her place in the world as a changeling, so stuck she was.

“Listen up you two.” She said, suddenly determined.

“Bren, you clearly want my help and support in this situation. Well Plaz is my oldest and closest support system, we come together. Plaz, this is important to me, this gets at to the nature of my very being, I want to see this through. I’m gonna need you two to fucking cool it.”

“Ok yeeesh.” Bren said

“As you will mistress.” Plaz said bowing his head, Rosario thumped the back of it.


“I mean it, smart ass.”

“Ok ok.”

“Glad that’s settled. So Bren, if there’s nothing for us to do, why did you call me?”

“I’m sorry, I was just freaking out a little bit.”


“I’m not as cool as I can come across, I guess.”

“That’s ok, none of us are. When will they get here?”

“They’ll get here at different times, but it’ll probably take a couple weeks or so for everyone to get here. A lot of them are travelling by land or by sea. Though faster than any usual method, and some are flying I’m sure. There’s also faerie workers who can’t always travel with their faerie spirits who’ll be coming through more mundane methods.”

“I see. Um, will our… ancestors be coming.”

“I don’t know, I figured if mine were my human parents would’ve let me know somehow. As for yours, you don’t even know who they are.”

That’s right, she hadn’t told Bren about her encounter with her aunt. Hard to believe it had all happened in the same day.

“Actually I do know a little bit more about them now.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yes, I can tell you about it later. Do you mind if I stop to roll a joint right now?”

“I approve of this plan” Plaz chimed in.

“Go right ahead” answered Bren.

They found a spot to sit by the ocean. It was very windy so she had to be careful and use Plaz as a wind shield whilst rolling. It’s usually pretty safe to smoke weed in New York, but all it takes is one cop who wants to ruin your day for that not to be the case. Thankfully as a demon Plaz had a passive stealth field he could lift or thicken at will. One of those, people just happen not to pay attention to them kind of jobs. It was very useful for peace of mind in this situation. The joint rolled Rosario lit it and took a few puffs, then passed it to Plaz, the smoked in silence. He then passed it to Bren, who accepted it this time. This made Rosario smile. Bren started coughing and wheezing.

“Holly shit, you Americans and your joints, they’re so freaking strong.”

Rosario and Plaz burst out laughing.

“I guess you’re a bit Eurotrash after all.” Rosario said.

“Am not, am not just a big a pothead as you two!”

“I kid, I kid. Some of my best friends are Eurotrash though.”

“I’ll take Eurotrash over ameritrash any day.” said Bren and passed the joint back to Rosario.

“What time is it?” Rosario said.

“30 past eleven” Said Bren.

“Shit, we can still go to RR over there, anyone down.”

Vague signs of agreement from all the gathered.

“Cool let’s do it, and I can tell you what I found out about my parentage.”
They got dinner, and Rosario told her story for the second time this day.
“I’d say it’s entirely possible she’ll be here.” Bren said when Rosario had been done.

“There’s bound to be a Dominican contingent, but it’s not certain that every Ciguapa will be here.” She still budged the pronunciation but Rosario overlooked it.

“Will she recognise me?” she asked instead.

“Oh yeah, and you’ll recognise her. The faerie in you would react quite strongly.”

“I see.”

“There are no coincidences, that’s not how our world works.”

“Faeries never experience coincidences?”

“It’s more like we never treat them as such, we find a reason for it even if we have to invent it.

But I don’t think they would convene a whole council over this. Like…”

Fae fell silent

“what’s the matter?” Rosario asked

“I wasn’t the one who was supposed to tell you about you”


“So it was a breech of protocol for me to do it, but like, surely it’s not the first time it’s happened? Surely it’s not that big a deal. I want to say that but fae folk, fae folk have different priorities than humans.”

“Ok, now I’m nervous.”


Now they were both quiet. Plaz interrupted through a mouthful of burger.

“Just don’t go then” he said

“What?” The fae said in unison.

“We can’t just not go” said Bren.

“You both said you hadn’t been invited so why do you assume they want you there?”

“That’s actually a good point” said Rosario.

“No, we can’t just not go. It’s too important.” said Bren.

“Well, Are other Changelings gonna be there?” Asked Rosario

“I really don’t know. I need to get in touch with my folks, they must know.”

“So why haven’t you?”

“I did, I emailed them. But it’s like 5 am in Ireland.”

“If this is such a momentous occasion you’d think they’d be awake for it.”

“Hahah you’d think wrong then, my friend. They don’t give up sleep for any spirit. I wish I could say the same.”

“I see.”

They sat in silence for a while. Rosario looked at the time on her phone, more for the look of it than anything else. It was 1:20.

“Shall we head home then?” She said, and received various nods and grunts of agreement.
They stepped outside and looked at the column of light again.

“aight then, imma head out. I wish y’all luck in your various commutes, I’m taking the hellway myself.” said Plaz.

“Good-Bye” said Bren, cooly, but not coldly.

Plaz pulled Rosario aside and whispered.

“sorry about third-wheeling so far, but now’s your chance”

“What, oh give me a break, we’re just gonna go home. Fae’s probably real tired.”

“If you say so.” said Plaz and winked

“Toodles” He said and disappeared in a cloud of smoke.
“What did he tell you?” Wren asked. “Did he warn you not to trust me.”

“No.” said Rosario. “He told me to put the moves on you.”

Bren stifled a laugh but it wasn’t enough, she started laughing heartily.

“Well” fae said “are you?”

“I don’t know” Rosario answered coyly “I’m not sure you’re ready for that.”

“How bout you just walk me to the subway station?”

“Sure, Rosario said. What’s your route?”

“hmm, D, to Atlantic, then the 3 or 4. Well I guess the 4 by now.”

“Cool, I also have to… Ride the D”


“Come on you.”
They walked to the station together. When they got there, unsurprisingly, they found they had to wait 20 minutes for the train. They got to talking.
“So I’ve been wondering, how long you’ve been in the states?” Rosario asked faer inside the station.

“Oh way long time. Since I was 10 years old.”


“Yeah, my parents sent me to live with my aunt, upstate.”

“How come?”

“It’s my destiny, well out destiny. A stipulation of the deal, my Sidhe ancestors wanted to come to the states, to kind of bridge the gap for our people in this country.”

“Your shy what?”

“Oh right. It’s complicated, but Sidhe is a preferred term for the Irish spirits otherwise known as faeries. Also a word of advice, don’t use that term at the gathering around the Neighbors. They really don’t like it. I’ve lived here long enough that I’m desensitized to it and I actually think it’s useful as a catch-all, but old habits.”

“I see how do you pronounce that again, Shyy?”

“Just say fair folk.”

“No I want to learn.”

“Ok, it’s like she with two Es. Shee, Sidhe”






“There you go that’s pretty good.”

“And how do you spell it.”

“It’s anglicized Sidhe.”

“Cool lemme write that down. So you’ve been in the states a while then. That explains it.”

“Explains what?” Oops, Rosario hadn’t meant to say that last bit out loud.

“Well you don’t sound very Irish.”

Bren laughed at this.

“Oh I suppose you’d expect me to sound like this then, eh lassie” fae said in a very exaggerated but not very good Irish accent.

“No, I have much of an accent it’s true, but people in Éire don’t generally have that thick of an accent either. Except maybe in the Gaeltacht.”

“What’s that?”

“Oh, that’s the part of the country where Irish is spoken more than English.”

“Oh interesting. Ah, here’s the train”

They got on the train, it was one of the older cars, the conductor said in their inscrutable not to New Yorkers voice “Manhattan Bound D, stand clear of closing doors.” and the train got moving.

“You don’t have much of an accent yourself either, isn’t your first language Spanish?” Bren said once they’d been seated in the mostly empty carriage.

“Yes, that’s right. And I don’t have much of an accent, though it jumps out in certain words.”

“Oh yeah.”

“Yeah, like I have to be very careful to say Yale instead of Jail, or like chair gives me trouble, and don’t get me started on shart.”

Bren snorted.

“Did you do that on purpose?”

“No.” Rosario was laughing too. “I really can’t. Shart, sha, shhh,”


“Yeah that. Shart.”

“No come on Ch, Chart”


“there you go. Now I wonder if there’s things I say where my accent jumps out.”

“I haven’t noticed any. But then, English is your first language isn’t it.”

“More or less more or less. We spoke equal parts English and Irish in my house.”

“Oh cool, so you’re fluent in Irish?”


“I take it that means yes”

“More or less.”

“Does everyone in Ireland speak Irish, then?”

“No, not really. Everyone has to learn some of it, but most people tend to forget it. It’s kind of like how almost every American says they took Spanish in High School but can’t even ask for the time now. Though it seems Irish is growing in popularity lately, in Éire and abroad, there’s even a Duolingo course for it.”

“That’s cool! You’ll have to speak some to me sometime.”

Bren then said something that Rosario wouldn’t even have been able to try to spell out. She just smiled at Faer.

“That means, ‘anytime'” fae said.

“That’s amazing.” Rosario said “Oh, here we are, Atlantic Avenue.”

They got off the train. Walked off the platform to the spot where they’d have to go in different directions.

“Hey, this was really nice, you know considering the circumstance.” Rosario said before they split off.

“I agree. I’m still really nervous, but I guess I feel a tiny bit better knowing there’s someone else in it with me. I’m really glad we met, Rosario”

“I’m glad we met too. Hug?”


They embraced. Rosario’s heart was beating excitedly.

“I’ll text you tomorrow. Ok?” Rosario said.


They went in their separate directions, Rosario had to wait 15 minutes for her train again, but eventually she made it home and fell asleep with a smile on her face.

To be continued

Read on! Chapter 7

Daily Ritual Ch. 5

At least a decade and a half ago, one of the first times Rosario had visited New York City, she and her brother had been invited to her Aunt Flor’s house for dinner. They made the mistake of grabbing a late lunch at a restaurant Downtown…

This is chapter 5 of a series that starts here:

Chapter 1.

Chapter 2.

Chapter 3.

Chapter 4.

WordPress doesn’t allow css formatting on a free plan so feel free to snatch the pdf from the patreon. If you don’t mind reading it like this. By all means. Read on:


At least a decade and a half ago, one of the first times Rosario had visited New York City, she and her brother had been invited to her Aunt Flor’s house for dinner. They made the mistake of grabbing a late lunch at a restaurant Downtown and weren’t at all hungry when they showed up at Flor’s house for early dinner. She’d prepared a sumptuous feast with chicken, steak, rice, beans, fried plantains, and sliced avocados, and she’d looked so sad when they tried to imply that they wouldn’t be eating much of it. So they ate as much as they could and collapsed in their hotel room when they’d been done. Rosario vowed never to make that mistake again.

That’s why on Monday morning she got up at her usual 7 am but did not make her usual hearty breakfast and instead got by on a cup of coffee. She had planned to get some writing work done but she couldn’t concentrate. She tried to tidy up the flat instead.

When 11 rolled around she took the B train to Manhattan. It would have served her better and been less of a walk to catch the 2 or 3, but she liked taking trains that went over the bridge. She wasn’t in Manhattan very often and she never got tired of the view.

She walked from the Museum of Natural History stop to her aunt’s rent controlled apartment in the Upper West Side. When she got inside both her aunts greeted her warmly. It probably been less than a year since she last saw Flor, but it’d been at least 8 years since she’d last seen Nana. She hugged them each in turn, and was introduced to yet another cousin of hers she’d never met before. They never seemed to run out.

Lunch had been as extravagant as she’d expected, aside from Sancocho, a hearty Dominican soup that one bowl of would make lunch in an of itself, with its 3 different kinds of meat (the full dish calls for 7) and various starchy root vegetables, there was also rice, a leaf salad, fried plantains and avocados.

They had a nice lunch, they caught up, Flor showed her photos from her recent 75th Birthday bash. Rosario knew she couldn’t really broach the subject of faerie magic in front of of everyone, she hoped she’d get some time alone with her Tía Nana later. She kept giving her glances, but mostly she tried to genuinely enjoy the time with her family that she rarely ever saw despite living in the same city.

But of course, such family affairs then to get drawn out, there was dessert (Dulce de Leche), her aunts gave her gifts of cheap jewellery and money. And when it was finally time to go she offered to walk Tía Nana to the subway. She was so exhausted from the socialising and the food, she almost didn’t want to go through with it, but she knew it was now or never.

“Tía?” She said.

“yes, honey?”

“Did you… is it true that you used to do Santeria?”

Her aunt was taken aback immediately.

“No no no” She said.

“Latter Day Saints, I’m a Mormon.”

“Oh she said.”

“Not Santeria.”


This was disappointing, to say the least. She thought to herself. One last attempt.

“So you wouldn’t know anything about Ciguapas?”

Nana sighed.

“I see. So you know.”


“I wanted to tell you. But I was supposed to wait until you were eighteen and by then.”

“My mom wasn’t talking to you.”


“Was it over… this?”

“No No no no, you know what it was about don’t you?”

“All I heard is it had to do with money and Aunt Mindy.”

“Yes, your Aunt Mindy was… reckless, it cost her her job and very nearly cost your mother hers. That’s all it was, it had nothing to do with the Ciguapa, that whole thing was much earlier.”

“What happened.”

“Let’s find a place to sit down.”

They walked to the park and found a bench to sit in, then her aunt told her everything she knew.

“I was a Santera” she said.

“And I want to say I was pretty good. I healed a lot of people, I helped people get jobs, I made and broke careers with the help of the Orishas. But I had no reason to touch those creatures, the Ciguapas and the Galipotes, they’re not the domain of Santeria.

“But I knew about them of course, I’d seen them, when I had to spend long nights in the Bosque, and when you’ve developed your sense through the work. They’re hard to miss. We tend to avoid them.

“But one day I was tasked with a request the Orishas and the Saint would not answer. Do you remember. When you were a very small child. Being in the hospital?”

“Yeah, I remember, I must’ve been 5.”

“Yes. You got very sick and the doctors didn’t know how to help you. You were throwing up, dehydrated, they couldn’t get fluids in you quick enough you’d lost them again. Your mother, who’d never asked me anything to do with my work, suddenly asked for my help.

“I tried everything, every remedy, every prayer. I could see the spirits, clearly, walking away. I don’t know if they couldn’t help you, or if they just wouldn’t. But I was out of ideas. In the forest, fasting, she found me.

“She said she could see that I was in great pain, and she said maybe we could help one another. Her own child was sick. But, she said, the diseases of her people don’t easily kill us, and our diseases don’t easily kill them. If we brought you two together, both of you would live. You wouldn’t be the same. Rafi, and back then I still thought of you as Rafi,”

Rosario flinched at the mention of her dead nickname but she didn’t interrupt

“Rafi would cease to be Rafi, and Anacao would cease to be Anacao, but both of you would live on in what you would become. She was very clear that when you reach the age our people consider maturity I was to tell you all of this, and allow you to seek her if you wanted to. She said that is what had been agreed by her people to be the proper thing for these situations.

“of course I never did. And I never touched Santeria again after that day, but it worked. I said yes and the next day you were already a little better, and in a week you went home and you never had that problem again. You didn’t seem different, but I guess you must have been. You are different now.”

“If you’re referring to my gender, I don’t think those are necessarily related.”

“No of course not. The Ciguapa don’t have a gender like we do, they’re all the same. They have long hair so people think them women, but then, the Taino men wore their hair long and had no beards either.”

“I never thought of it that way.”

“I know you think I’m an old lady out of touch, but I’m a little more savvy than that, niña”

“Ok, Tía”

“Do you… do you resent what I did?”

“What? Of course not, I wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for that right? And who knows, maybe it’s helped me more than I thought?”

“How so?”

“Well, I do magic too, right? Well maybe you didn’t think of Santeria as magic, but I think it’s at least similar. And I don’t do Santeria OR Faerie Magic, but I seem to have a knack for enchantment anyways, and spirit work.” She kept to herself the fact that her favourite spirits to work with were the demons of the Goetia, she somehow thought her aunt wouldn’t approve.

“Oh I never knew that, that makes me really happy to hear, niña”

“It does? I would think you wouldn’t approve. Being as though you stopped practising.”

“I did because I was afraid, I thought I had dug a whole for my family that I couldn’t get myself out of, I never wanted to be in that situation again, and I didn’t know if my Orishas would answer me again. But seeing the confident young woman you’ve become. That gives me hope. Maybe it wasn’t so bad after all.”

“So will you do Santeria again?”

“Oh no. I don’t think so. I think those days are behind me.”

“Dang, I was hoping you could teach me”

“It doesn’t sound like you need me to teach you, you’re on your own path, and that sounds wonderful. Of course I’d love to help you if I can, but I think my Santera days are well behind me.”

“If I ever wanted to find her, the Ciguapa. Do you know how I could?”

“I suppose, if you did what I did. Fast for 5 days and 5 nights in the mountains north of Santiago, that might be enough. If you need more potency… well.”


“I want you to be very careful.”


“You can try eating some Yucca Leaves. They’re very poisonous so be very careful, but they should let you see the Ciguapa. Anacao’s mother. Her name is Jaca. Remember that.”

“I will.”

Tía Nana looked at her wristwatch.

“I really need to be getting home. So we should go catch the train. Was there anything else.”

“Well, Just one more question I suppose?”

“What is it?”

“Why Mormonism?”

Her aunt laughed.

“Haha, why it’s safer isn’t it? It’s just people. People can be dangerous yes, but they don’t hold a candle to what an Orisha or a Ciguapa can do.”

“That makes sense, I suppose.”

They walked to the Museum of Natural History station, her aunt took the C and Rosario waited around and took the B. When she finally made it home she was tired and needed to unwind. She hadn’t smoked weed at all since the day after the “revelation”. She thought about rolling a regular joint, and not summoning Plaz, but eventually decided she would really like talking to him. So she did her ritual. She ground the herbs, this time mixing mint and weed, and of course, the sigil. He was there before she was finished rolling.

“Wow you’re eager today.”

“Well what’s your excuse, we haven’t gone this long without talking since like year one.”

“I’ve been processing a lot of stuff, ‘member?”

“Not a very good excuse then.”

She rolled her eyes, and the joint. She offered him the first puff. He took the joint and lit it with his finger. An old trick he didn’t seem to use very often anymore.

“You know, all of my other subjects”

“subjects, hah!” she sneered

“Well the rest of them are. Anyways, they all offer weed, but it’s always worse rolled, worse quality, and even if they mix shit in they never get the ratio right.”

Rosario put out her hands in a generous gesture

“I aim to please” she said.

Plaz handed her the joint.

“So. You speak with your aunt?”


“And what’d you learn.”

“Nothing actionable. I mean she told me where I could go to meet my faerie mother, but like, I’d have to fly back to the DR and I’m not about to do that.”

“You sure? I could take you?”

“You can?”

“We’d have to go through hell though.”

“That sounds unpleasant.”

“I mean a human wouldn’t survive it, but maybe a changeling would.”

“Maybe? the fuck do you mean, maybe?”

“Well, it’s not like it’s ever been tried before.”

“Let us take that option, OFF the Table.”

“Ok, excuse me for trying to be helpful. Do you have a different idea.”

“well my folks always pay for me to travel for Christmas, so maybe I find an excuse to fuck off to the mountains during… yeah that’s probably not gonna happen. Well, in any case, I don’t want to go right now, I don’t think I have to.”

“You don’t want to know about your heritage?”

“I do, but damn, like it’s too much all at once, I can’t just drop everything to pursue it, I still have deadlines, you know.”

“ah yes, your ‘job’ I’ve told you I can make you rich you don’t have to keep doing it.”

“Yeah, and I just have to pledge my soul to your boss in perpetuity, no thank you.”

“She’s pretty nice once you get to know her.”

“I don’t disagree, lots of love to Lucy, but I have different plans for my soul. Also, I happen to like my job. Now can we please get back to the matter at hand.”

“Right, right, so tell me more.”

She relayed the whole encounter to him with only minor interruptions.

“So yeah. I don’t know how I want to play it, but I don’t think I need to run into the forest and look for answers that way. I want to keep exploring, see what abilities I have and don’t have. Maybe journey on it and try to recover some of Anacao’s memories from before we joined.”

“And what about your crush?”

“I… I’m not sure. Fae hasn’t texted me and I don’t want to bother faer.”

“Oh that’s rich, when have YOU ever shown this much restraint.”

“Well this is different, this is the first time someone I’ve dated done… that to me. I’m usually the one in control, even with supernatural creatures, I’m the magician, the holder of the secret. I’ve never had my own secret revealed to me that way. And I’m afraid… I’m afraid fae might see me as a nuisance, especially if I try to talk to faer about the whole changeling stuff. I don’t want faer to think I want faer to take care of me or to teach me or anything.”

“Well why the hell not? Fae seems like precisely the kind of person to help you in this situation.”

“But… I want to be faer girlfriend, not her charge.”

“Girlfriend? Oh this is worse than I thought, I thought you just wanted to boink her.”

“Well that too, but… I don’t know what I want any more and that scares me. I’m not in control…. what the fuck is in this joint, I’ve never been quite so open with you.”

“Well, keep it coming I like it”

“You were the first to ever tell me not to trust a demon.”

“Oh that was then, we’d just met. We’re friends now. We’re not summoner and summonee.”

Rosario smiled at him

“We are, aren’t we.”

“Thick as thieves, you and I. This is cashed by the way.” He put the roach in the ash tray.

“I’ll roll another one.

“So, if we’re friends, maybe you’ll tell me what you’re supposed to be the demon of now?”

“Oh, pfft, I mean sure I guess you’ve earned that. It’s…”

Just then Rosario’s phone rang.

“Oh for the love of Satan.” Plaz said. Rosario reached for her phone.

“Oh fuck, it’s Bren.” She said

“And what does the faerie want?”

“Let me see.”

She answered the phone.

“Hiya! Oh… ok calm down. Ok We’ll head right over. Yeah me and Plaz, is that ok? ok ok we’ll come. In Sheepshead bay. Ok we’ll be there as soon as we can.

“Fae needs our help.”

To be Continued.