The Wizard’s Way

The New Mailman

I heard the mailman approach my office door, half an hour earlier than usual. He didn sound right. His footsteps fell more heavily, jauntily, and he whistled.

A new guy. He whistled his way to my office door, then fell silent for a moment. Then he laughed.

Then he knocked.

I winced. My mail comes through the mail slot unless its registered. I get a really limited selection of registered mail, and its never good news. I got up from my office chair and opened the door.

The new mailman, who looked like a basketball with arms and legs and a sunburned, balding head, was chuckling at the sign on the door glass. He glanced at me and hooked a thumb toward the sign.

e kidding, right? ”

I read the sign (people change it occasionally) and shook my head.

”No, Im serious. Can I have my mail, please? ”

”So, uh. Like parties, shows, stuff like that? ”

He looked past me, as though he expected to see a white tiger, or possibly some skimpily clad assistants prancing around my one-room office.

I sighed, not in the mood to get mocked again, and reached for the mail he held in his hand.

”No, not like that. I don do parties. ”

He held on to it, his head tilted curiously.

”So what? Some kinda fortune-teller? Cards and crystal balls and things? ”

”No, ” I told him.

”Im not a psychic. ” I tugged at the mail.

He held on to it.

”What are you, then? ”

”Whats the sign on the door say? ”

”It says Ryan Banks. Wizard. ”

”Thats me, ” I confirmed.

”An actual wizard? ” he asked, grinning, as though I should let him in on the joke.

”Spells and potions? Demons and incantations? Subtle and quick to anger? ”

”Not so subtle. ” I jerked the mail out of his hand and looked pointedly at his clipboard.

”Can I sign for my mail please? ”

The new mailmans grin vanished, replaced with a scowl.

He passed over the clipboard to let me sign for the mail (another late notice from my landlord), and said, ”You
e a nut. Thats what you are. ”

He took his clipboard back, and said, ”You have a nice day, sir. ”

I watched him go.

”Typical, ” I muttered and shut the door.

My name is Ryan Blackstone Copperfield Banks. Conjure it at your own risk. Im a wizard.

I work out of an office in midtown Ohio. As far as I know, Im the only openly practising professional wizard in the country. You can find me in the yellow pages, under ”Wizards. ”

Believe it or not, Im the only one there. Youd be surprised how many people call just to ask me if Im serious.

But then, if youd seen the things Id seen, if you knew half of what I knew, youd wonder how anyone could not think I was serious.

The end of the twentieth century and the dawn of the new millennium had seen something of a renaissance in the public awareness of the paranormal.

Psychics, haunts, vampires—you name it. People still didn take them seriously, but all the things Science had promised us hadn come to pass.

The disease was still a problem. Starvation was still a problem. Violence and crime and war were still problems. Despite the advance in technology, things just hadn changed the way everyone had hoped and thought they would.

Science, the largest religion of the twentieth century

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