We’re trying to get into a better cadence of posting on here, and the good news is that, since we’re categorically unable to resist writing short stories for our own universe, we have no shortage of material.
This week, we’re celebrating the submission of our final manuscript to the agency by posting the story of the origins of Weed Brownie – the favorite pun and chief descriptor of our main character, as well as what we called this work for way too long.
Content warnings: Coarse language, drug references, references to sexual acts
“You are a magic goddamn entity.”
“You have an supernatural relationship with fauna. I’ve seen you charm a ficus through a brick wall. Plants are your birthright. At your fingertips lies the world of plant-based unguents and poultices, cosmetics and elixirs.”
“Plants are the only thing you’re good at, the uncharitable might say. Not me.”
“Fuck off, Chick.”
“Plants are your soul. But let’s leave plants for a moment, let’s just talk generalized magic, the shit that comes natural with being, like I said, a magical fuckin’ entity. You can charm, beguile, conjure, lay down a geas like a DJ laying a track -” Maybe she was still a little buzzed on the wine Pidge had brought with him from Lord Pip’s stores. “You don’t even have to be that good at magic! You’ve got the entire goddamn world of plant related witchery at your fingertips and the human world is your oyster, or at least your aphid, and I bring you to this shining new world of rust and promise because I’m a great fuckin’ mentor-”
“Were bored and lonely,” said her bratty little brother, whose company really was worse than no company at all.
“ – and what do you choose to do with your power?”
“Listen,” said Pidge. “I ain’t half bad at it.”
“Deal weed,” said Chick, briefly sounding like their mother when someone forgot to feed the changelings. “I’m not mad, Pidge. Just disappointed.”
“‘S good weed, Chick.”
This was, annoyingly, correct. It had started with the friends of the mohawked boy Pidge took home from the bar. They’d proceeded to invite Pidge to ‘cater’ all their parties based on the dime bag he’d sent Jaeran home with to keep his books balanced.
(‘Wouldn’t it be easier not to fuck human guys?’ Chick had asked him once, watching him fret over yet another bathroom handjob unrepaid.
‘Who’m I s’posed to fuck instead?’ he’d retorted. ‘You’ve found the only halfway decent fey lay this side the mound.’)
Jaeran’s bros were as good as a flock of pixies for gossip, and better than sirens for word of mouth. In quick order Pidge was on the books of any number of UMass bros, Fitchburg townies, and Worcester burnouts.
Much as Chick thought he was squandering his talents, she couldn’t help twitching her ears with interest as she watched him sniff the leaves of a Purple Warlock, trying to determine the potency of a drug that would have no effect on him even if he mainlined it. She didn’t have much interest in plants whose main purpose was getting you high – too many hours in her grandmother’s gardens getting doped on the blooms of catweed and ironmoss until her eyeballs melted and rolled across the floors of her hallucinatory dreams – and also it just seemed a waste of a plant. It was like picking a flower just to put it on your shelf and be pretty until it died. Chick didn’t get it; couldn’t reconcile the point of it all. All that energy gone into growing its small, desperate ambition, only to be snipped short for some shallow hack’s passing pleasure. It was… well, it was strongly in keeping with how the Fey treated most living things. But it wasn’t Chick’s bag. There was a reason she’d left.
There were several reasons, actually, and most of them included how to turn passing pleasures into sustained science.
Pidge had followed her for less than scientific reasons – namely staying out of grabbing reach of certain of their siblings and the ability to find a tattoo artist tasteless enough to ink an eggplant onto the small of his back – but she held out hope for him.
“What’re you trying to refine?” Chick wandered over like she was checking he wasn’t messing up her water lines but craned over his shoulder to see what he was doing.
“It’s gritty in the lungs,” he said, clipping a bud with one fingernail and rolling it between thumb and index finger to try and get a read on it.
She didn’t ask how he knew it burned gritty if he never smoked the product himself; he read his reviews on Deal-Me-In obsessively, memorizing usernames and stoking his ego on their misspelled praise.
“I was gonna lay an acne blight on tH2c’s ass for the diss, but I think he’s right, the fucker. It needs somethin’ else but the THC content is fuckin’ perfect, and I don’t wanna sacrifice a mellow high in the name of a smooth burn.”
“Maybe you should market that one as more prime for edibles,” she said, running her own finger over a jagged leaf. She was already turning over the notion of a hybrid, crossed with the soft fuzzed Kobold Green Pidge kept under the downspout, or if the odor would turn out to be too pungent. The frat bros rated low for anything whiffy that had their landlords complaining. “Bet it cooks down a treat.”
Pidge sniffed derisively. “Edibles are for burnouts who couldn’t make it on Cupcake Wars,” he said. “Anyway, Lupine’s got that market cornered and she’d gut me if I horned in on her Mary J Muffs.”
Lupine, with her homespun skirts and soft kerchiefs over long mossy braids, would gut for a lot less. She’d ridden with Lady Shrike’s coterie before a bad fall from her horse left her with a twisted leg that no amount of glamour would cover. The Butcherbird had forgotten her, and Lupine had retired her bellyripper and emigrated to the Gray Realm to haunt farmer’s markets and Lilith Fairs.
She hadn’t forgiven her lady, though, and Chick steered clear lest she remember Shrike’s two most wayward children were also in that rusty part of the world.
“Probably wise,” said Chick. “Can’t trust a weed brownie.”
“Chick, that’s fuckin’ abysmal. You should be ashamed. Seriously. You’re better ‘n that.”
“You’re just mad you didn’t think of it,” said Chick, whose company was Pidge’s punishment for following her, and Pidge loftily forebode to answer.