The Phil Phorce is a fictional periodical featuring my favorite characters from my own writing. It comes out in episodes, once every three months or so. To find out more and to read previous episodes, please go to these two pages: About the Phils and the Phil Phorce. Please enjoy and critique if possible.
Quirk stood at the edge of Morgannen Cemetery, watching the smoke curl up into the sky from the crypt. He flipped open the cell phone Percival had given him and hit the speed dial. It went to the answering machine.
“The only reason you’re hearing this is because I don’t want to talk to you. Please leave a message to appease your irrational need to tell me something. Don’t delude yourself—I won’t respond to it. Beep!”
“Hello, Mr. Tospockingtonham,” said Quirk in a deep voice. “This is the IRS. We’re calling to tell you that all your possessions have been repossessed. Thank you!”
Percival picked up just before he hung up. “Wait!” He sounded frantic. “Don’t do that! Maybe we can work this out!”
“No, we can’t,” said Quirk. “Let me give you over to Quirk. He’s here and he wants to talk.”
“Okay,” said Percival.
“Hello, Percy,” said Quirk in a normal voice. “I wanted to tell you that the spiting thing really isn’t working for me.”
“What do you mean?”
Quirk decided to get to the point. “Why did you run off with the Phils and leave me drooling on the bed?”
“Oh, were you drooling? I’m so sorry, I meant to take a picture.”
“Yes, but why?”
“Because it would be funny.”
Quirk almost shouted. “Why did you escape without me?”
“I… didn’t,” said Percival. “He let us go.”
“The cloaked guy from the murals or whatever. You were the ransom they talked about in the commercial.”
“You could have at least left a note.”
“I didn’t have any note pads in colors I liked.” Percival’s sigh rattled through the speaker. “To tell the truth, I forgot. I hated being in there so much, I couldn’t wait to get out. Really, we tried to bring you along, but the shady guy wouldn’t let us.”
“I assume you’ve escaped, though?” asked Percival.
“Yep. Set some pretty awesome fires, too.”
“So that’s what the smoke was.”
“You saw it?” He felt strangely pleased.
Quirk heard the sound of the speaker rubbing against Percival’s face as he nodded.
“Guess what,” said Quirk. “I promised someone something.”
“Oh. That’s exciting.”
“It is,” agreed Quirk. “As Vice-Phil, you can handle it.”
“Oh.” Percival paused. “Who?”
“The Blanks. They left the cloaked guy’s service at my request, in exchange for something yet to be demanded. Have fun.” Quirk hung up.
He smiled at the column of smoke. “No one makes a shrine to me without my say-so,” he whispered.
The torch seller was looking at the smoke too, but he anxiously glanced at Quirk every few seconds. When he saw Quirk pocket the phone, he walked over. “I just remembered something,” he said.
“Oh, congratulations!” said Quirk. “May you remember many more things in the future.”
The torch seller pointed at the column of smoke. “You left your story in there.”
Quirk looked at the crypt, imagining the pages curling and blackening beneath the flames, losing every word Liam had written. He bit his lip. “You know,” he said eventually, “that dude with the glasses was right.”
The torch seller frowned.
“It was boring.” Quirk turned away and whistled. Gologer appeared on the horizon. Quirk was glad Percival had sent the dragon—if nothing had happened when he whistled, he would have looked stupid.
Gologer crushed several tombstones as he landed and offered the platform on his back for Quirk to climb. Once he was secure at the center, Quirk looked back down at the torch seller. “Aren’t you coming?”
The torch seller shook his head. “I’m going home to tell my stories,” he said. “It was great to meet you. May you outlive several more of my descendants.”
Gologer lifted his wings and took to the skies.
“This lifespan is so awkward,” Quirk muttered into the wind as they turned toward New York City.