May 7, 2013


Each Tuesday, rather than a POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAY, I'd like to both challenge you and lend a helping hand. I generate more speculative and teen story ideas than I can ever use. My family rolls its collective eyes when I say, "Hang on a second! I just have to write down this idea..." Here, I'll include the initial inspiration (quote, website, podcast, etc) and then a thought or two that came to mind. These will simply be seeds -- plant, nurture, fertilize, chemically treat, irradiate, test or stress them as you see fit. I only ask if you let me know if anything comes of them.

F Trope: Magic is Evil, at best relatively neutral. Often The Corruption. There is a good chance it's directly obtained through a Deal with the Devil, powered by Blood Magic or involves Human Sacrifice and Forsaken Children. (

Martina Felipe el Bueno scowled at the ancient video tape cassette where it rested under glass that perfectly screened out UV and cosmic rays and lowered the intensity of visible in near vacuum. She said something in Spanish.

“Why don’t we just use English. I can’t even understand your Peruvian accent,” said Álvaro Villa softly.

“Fine,” she said. “The problem remains, whether we say it in Spanish or English – or even Spanglish – the occult rites of a former national leader are there for the viewing. But we can’t see them.”

“Why does it bother you so much?”

“The tape is a century old and preceded the collapse of his government before it accomplished anything.”

“You’re saying if he didn’t do the animal sacrifices, he’d still be in power?”
She laughed, “No, he’d still be dead. I don’t think even Brazil is ready for a zombie president.”

“That’s for sure.” They stood side-by-side, staring at the artifact.

“I got in touch with you because I think we can get the images off this, but I think we need to merge science and magic.”

His breath caught in his chest. He’d heard of it from abuelo. “Oil magic?”

Martina nodded, paused, then said, “The college has a supply.”

“It’s illegal for any of us to even touch it,” Álvaro said. “Even if we touch it, we would be instantly expelled right after we were arrested, tried and sentenced.”

“If we do it physically, I suppose you’d be right.”

“What other way is there to steal oil?”

“Magic,” Martina whispered. “Black magic.” Álvaro barked a laugh and Martina spun to face him, snarling, “What do you know about black magic?”

He held his hands up in surrender and said, “Nothing – as in ‘magic is fine in dumb stories like THE GOLDEN COMPASS, but this is real life’. Abuelo was my favorite person on Earth, and when it came to story-telling, he was the best. But he was old – his generation used ‘it’s magic’ to explain something it didn’t understand.” He shook his head, “First time he saw a cell phone 3D projection when I was talking to my girlfriend one night, he said, ‘esto es la magia negra’.”

“What if I told you a way to use the sacrifice of black gold to create a magical field we would protect the cassette…”

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