What if Ellen Hayes's Tuck and Bill Hart's wizard met?
SRU: Tuck and the Wizard
A Fanfic by Erin Halfelven
The skinny boy stepped into the odd little shop a bit hesitantly; the place was strange enough to give anyone pause. Brass bells tinkled melodiously as he let the door close behind him. He looked back, he hadn't seen any bells and still didn't. The presence of the door itself was odd enough; most shops in the mall did not have doors, just an open facade.
The deep but narrow room held shelves and tables, racks and bins; all of them full to overflowing with queer items, most of those nameless and many better left undescribed. "Hello?" the boy called out, shifting his backpack to a better position. The quiet and the vague smell of incense and neglect made him uneasy. He wasn't even completely sure why he had ventured into a store called Spells'R'Us.
A sudden apparition almost sent him running out of the door but the grizzled old man in the dingy bathrobe held up a peaceable hand and smiled. "Hello, Valerie. What could bring you to my shop, today?" he said in a voice that made one think of grandfathers and nursing homes.
Not again, thought Tuck. His attitude changed visibly, his stance shifted; posture, voice and expression altering subtly but completely.
She smiled a little nervously. "Do I know you?" Valerie asked.
"Not exactly," said the wizard, smiling. "But we've sometimes been seen in the same neighborhood."
Valerie shook her head. That explanation made very little sense and she decided that the old man must be getting senile. Or maybe she was the one having memory problems because she definitely did not remember meeting this guy. "Er," she mentioned, "someone told me this was a gift shop?"
"Of sorts," agreed the wizard.
"Well, I'm looking for a gift for a friend..."
"Your boyfriend?" the wizard interrupted.
"Er, yeah? You must be a mindreader."
"I must," the wizard agreed again.
Valerie blinked, the old guy had an odd sense of--timing? But she went on, "I want something kinda..."
"Different," she stated.
"Nothing like that here," said the wizard.
She giggled in startled disbelief, looking around at what must be hundreds if not thousands of unique items. She felt sure the old man amused himself by teasing pretty young girls. Though that last thought almost caused a hiccough in her self confidence as she remembered how she was dressed. "Really? It looks like you have lots of--stuff."
"Stuff we have, but nothing for sale--to you."
The wizard made shooing motions at her. "Run along, Valerie. You really don't want to give Travis anything from this store, you have enough problems."
"You know Travis?" she squeaked.
"Tall boy," the wizard gestured about six feet off the ground, "blond hair, really built? Sexy?"
Valerie squirmed a bit, nodding.
"We might have met, once, around Halloween last year," the wizard said. "Or maybe not. What did he give you for Christmas? A gift certificate, right?"
She had to think then nodded.
"That explains it," said the wizard.
Val felt a bit dizzy. "Explains what?"
"Uh, right." She decided that perhaps she should go, this loony had made her decidedly nervous.
"Goodbye, Valerie," said the wizard. "Give my regards to Eugene the next time you see him."
Maybe it was the mad little grin the old man had when he said that, maybe it was just someone using both of those names in the same paragraph. She backed away, then changed her mind and turn and ran for the door.
"Enjoy your gift," called the old man over the sound of the phantom doorbells jangling as she made her escape.
Outside, in the main gallery of the mall, Val looked around for Mike. Spotting her friend buying a cookie from the Mrs. Fields cart, she hurried toward him. "Mike!"
He looked at her with an odd expression on his face. "Huh?"
"That was the oddest shop," she said, "I am so glad to get out of there and back to the normal world."
"What are you talking about?" asked Mike. "The Honeybaked Ham store?"
She almost fell down spinning to look back, then stood there staring with her mouth open.
Mike leaned close and whispered, "And, Tuck, if you don't stop mincing and cooing, I swear I'm gonna smack the shit out of you and throw the body in a dumpster."
"What? But the store that was there..." Tuck pointed, trying not to start gibbering at the strangeness of the encounter while at the same time shifting mental gears.
"You were channeling Valerie, snap out of it," said Mike. "Here come Brian and your folks."
"Mike?" Tuck whimpered. "He knew Valerie?"
Mike scowled, sometimes his friend could be even stranger than--than usual. "He who?"
"Who's on first?" asked Mr. Tucker arriving about that moment.
"I don't know," said Brian and Mrs. Tucker.
"Third base," said all the Tuckers together, including Eugene, then they all laughed.
Whew, thought Mike, back to what passes for normal in this clan.
Tuck is the intellectual property of Ellen Hayes, creator and chronicler. The wizard and Spells'R'Us shop are similarly owned by Bill Hart. Whatever residue is left is the creation of Erin Halfelven. Characters used by permission.
TG SRU Tuck g-rated