Boiling Water

Last night a friend came down from Boston to visit. We did a little shopping and spent the rest of the day making cookies and hanging out, watching dumb Disney movies. Now my friend is not entirely a skeptic. They believe in the paranormal because they’ve experienced it but they don’t entirely buy into the whole magic thing. However, they’re really nice about it, open-minded but rational. Essentially, they’re not a dick.

So Friend is manning the stove as we make dinner, waiting impatiently for the water to boil. It’s been well over twenty minutes and it’s just starting to simmer.

“How fucking long does water take to boil on your stove?”

I shrug, dicing carrots. “The electric coils are dying. The back burners are a bit better but not much.”

They look over their shoulder at me, annoyed. “And you can’t magically fix it?”

I half-laugh and dump the carrots into the salad, switching to shredding a block of cheese. “No. When I use my magic on technology it does revive the item for a while but when it dies again it dies permanently. That’s why I have to replace all my electronics all the time. Why else do you think I need a new cell phone every year? And have you ever heard an Xbox make the noise mine makes?”

My friend is quiet for a long moment and the silence isn’t exactly uncomfortable but it’s considering. Feeling the need to add in a qualifier, I say,

“Well, that’s my theory at least. For me personally. Other witches have better luck. Anyway, that’s why I don’t use more magic on my Jeep. I can’t afford for it to die forever. Besides, I love that damn thing.”

We work silently for several minutes. Finally the water boils and my friend dumps the homemade pasta in the water, stirring expertly. Their voice is slightly resentful but at the situation at large rather than me, “I don’t know why you don’t land yourself a sugar daddy.”

I throw back my head and laugh. “Because I’m worse at love magic for myself than anything else. Really though, I can’t seem to do rubbish for me.” Done with the cheese, I go over to the stove and stir the bubbling pasta sauce.

“Aren’t you the one who said that it’s important for magic practitioners to use their magic for themselves first, then others?”

I shrug, moving the sauce off the other burner. “Oh yes. But I understand why it works that way for me. It’s a personal hang-up, rather psychological in nature. I have a hard time accepting that I’m worth something outside of helping people and my writing. In turn, that means I’m my own worse enemy when I do magic for purely selfish reasons. Money magic is easy for me because it helps pay bills, fulfulling responsibilities. But love? That’s just selfishness.” My tone is matter-of-fact as I pour the wine.  “I’m aware of my flaws. Now, which movie shall we watch?”

The next morning we both grumpily crawl out from our blanket cocoons and tea, toast, and eggs are in demand. My friend take the toaster out and sets out toast enough bread for an army. I fill the kettle, switch on the burner, and dump it on. My friend groans.

“Tea will take forever.”

I make a noise, because it’s too cold to form sentences, and pull the lid off the kettle, dip my finger in the water, then spin it clockwise to speed up the boiling process. I work my magic and, as always, when the power is raised my arm twitches uncontrollably for a moment before, satisfied, I clamp the lid back on and get to heating the pan for eggs.

“Get out the tea you want. Tea boxes are right in front of you.” I wave at the cigar boxes that hold my tea bags and small amounts of loose-leaf tea. “I have herbs if you’re looking for something that isn’t there.”

“Earl is fine with me. I know it’s your favorite.”

I reach over the frying eggs to pick up the kettle, and set to warm up the teapot.

“That water isn’t boiled yet-” My friend says, because it hasn’t even been five minutes yet, and yet the water comes out just boiling. It heats the teapot quickly.


“Magic. How else?” I dump the water into the dirty dishes, plop the tea leaves inside the teapot, and pour the rest of the water in the kettle over the tea leaves.

“You can magically heat water.”

“I can speed up the heating process. Whether I can actually heat the water or it’s a trick of the mind is up for theoretically debate.” I tuck the kettle away.

“Why the hell didn’t you use it last night?”

I hand over an empty mug, “I wasn’t done making the salad yet.”