Cover art by Manu De Mey
“Hey, Karma,” Rhonda the sword whined, “I need to go, like, shopping.”
She hung from the wall of my small home in what used to be suburban Palo Alto. Being far away didn’t help. I could hear her just as clearly as if I’d held her in my hand with her voice coming out the end of the hilt. I’d tried hanging her from my waist at first, but she just yelled loud enough for everyone to hear. Now, I carry her over my shoulder so she talks in my ear.
I hadn’t responded, so she yelled. “Are you listening?”
“Yeah, yeah, I hear you,” I replied.
Two weeks ago, I bought the sword at the city’s disincorporation sale. It was a fine sword, made of good strong steel that could take a beating. At the time, it seemed like a good deal.
For days afterward, my dreams ended in, “Help me, Rhonda!”
One morning, I started singing the old Beach Boys tune.
“I thought no one would ever listen to me!” Rhonda said. She hasn’t left me alone since.
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