Princess Witch Boy is a fantasy memoir, weaving together true tales of one boy’s story with the adventures of three different women from his imagination. The second issue focuses on Replica, a shape-changing super-spy from a distant planet. As Replica searches for clues pertaining to her identity, the young boy learns startling revelations about his family. By pretending to be Replica, he finds the means to survive in less than ideal situations. This story examines the places in which fantasy and reality intersect, creating new ways to think and to believe.
It was Tuesday and Devon hadn’t called yet. She was supposed to call three days ago. She was supposed to call as soon as she got back into town. After all, weren’t they best friends? Didn’t they do everything together? Tell each other everything? Hadn’t they made plans? Hadn’t there been arrangements?
Chancey knew she couldn’t call her. No way. Devon’s land-line was disconnected. Again. Her cell phone had quit working ever since Jason Bell’s party when it fell unceremoniously into a toilet. Devon had never taken the time to get another. She had said she was too busy, but Chancey knew better. She knew that Devon didn’t like to receive phone calls. She liked to make phone call. She like to be the one in charge. Devon’s mother was the one who got the cell phone for Devon. It had been her way of trying to keep track of her free-spirited daughter. As far as Devon was concerned the toilet baptismal was a blessing.
Chancey looked dismally at her Mickey Mouse telephone. She wanted to knock that smirk off that impertinent rodent’s face. But she didn’t. Chancey had never hit anything. She simply couldn’t. It wasn’t like her. Not like Devon who once punched a guy in the gut for looking at her the wrong way.
Chancey chewed on a stray lock of her hair that had wound itself around her face. Her hair was always doing that. Winding around her head like an old-fashioned telephone line. So unlike Devon who kept her hair shortly cropped in defiant day-glo spikes. Chancey remembered the color distinctly: bright inmate orange. Chancey had helped Devon with the hair bleach. But that was a week ago. Chancey wondered what color it was now.
Chancey paced the small confines of her room a couple more times then collapsed onto her bed. A few scattered pillows, some stuffed animals, a battered People magazine and a wooden box bounceded slightly as the weight of her body hit the spongy mattress. She lay there, face down in the pink comforter, like when she was pretending to be a dead body in their neighbor’s pool and sighed. Loudly. Her body felt like a blow up doll with a pinhole in it. Make that three or four pinholes. She was leaking and nothing could patch her up again. Unless–
Chancey began chewing the lock of hair again. It was stuck to her face even more now by the spit it had soaked up from her mouth. She sat up and stared at the wooden box beside her. Roughly, she brushed off the pillows, the magazine, and the stuffed animals onto the floor. Then she took the wooden box into her hands. She rubbed the top of it listlessly, mechanically. It was smooth to the touch. Chancey wondered if she could still get splinters from it.
What if Devon didn’t call for another day? Did she have enough ‘til then? Chancey couldn’t remember and dared not open the box to check. She still had a buzz. There was no reason to look yet. With another heavy sigh Chancey collapsed onto her back and stared up at the ceiling. The well-coifed members of Nsync greeted her with plastic posturing and synthetic smiles. Chancey ignored them and began to count the glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling. Then she remembered that Devon had helped her put those stars up the summer before they started 8th grade together. Devon had just moved here. They were best friends and spent all their time at Devon’s house. It had been the best summer ever. Chancey had written all about it in her diary. It was the summer of many firsts for Chancey. Devon had introduced her to so many things she had never thought about before. That summer was her first time drinking alcohol. Her first time smoking. Her first time smoking marijuana. Her first time smoking hash. Her first time smoking opium. Her first time snorting crystal meth. And most importantly, it was the first time Chancey had ever made out with a girl.
Suddenly a ringing interrupted Chancey’s reverie. A high-pitched voice sang out, “M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E, Mickey Mouse!” Chancey sprang up into a sitting position on her bed. She stared dumbly at the phone for a moment and then gingerly picked up the receiver.
“Hello?” she stammered into the receiver, trying to smooth out the curly line that connected the hand held piece to the phone.
“Hey Chancey Chance. It’s me, Devon,” said the voice on the other end.
“Uh, Hey. Where are you?”
“Look, Chancey Chance, I can’t talk long. Daddy’s gonna kill me as it is when he sees the hotel bill for this.”
“You mean you’re still not home?” asked Chancey incredulously, her teeth grinding her lock of saliva covered hair into a thready paste.
“Uh, no. I’m not. And I’m not coming back. Daddy’s found a great job here and we’re gonna stay. He’s already found us a house and everything.”
“B-but what about school? And what about—“
It was Devon’s turn to interrupt. “School? Daddy’s gonna enroll me in a school here. Something private, I’m sure. He says it’s first rate.”
Devon paused. There was a long moment of silence. Chancey was dumbfounded. She had lost her words. She thought she was made of ice. Or was it smoke? She couldn’t tell.
“And,” Devon continued, “This is pretty obvious, but I’m not gonna be able to bring you that, uh, present like we planned.”
“Um, ok.” Chancey almost whispered the words. Her hands were shaking. She tried holding the phone with both of them but they only shook worse.
“Um, Devon. You’re really not coming back? Like, never?”
There was another pause. Chancey felt like hours were passing. Or was time standing still. She couldn’t tell.
“Devon? Please, tell me you’re gonna come back. Please say something.”
“Look, Chancey. There’s something else, too. You might as well know it.”
“What? W-what is it?”
“Daddy’s new partner has a son our age. His name is Ricardo and he’s my boyfriend.” Devon began to speak faster. “I-I just thought you should know. Look, Daddy just came back into the hotel room with his work buddies. I need to go. I shoulda called earlier. Or maybe I never shoulda called at all. I dunno. I gotta go, Chancey Chance.” There was a click and then the sound of the dialtone.
Chancey stared at the plastic figure of Mickey in her hands. Slowly, she placed him onto the telephone stand. Silently, she sat down on her bed. Her vision seemed blurry and everything smelled like new plastic, the way a just opened Barbie smells—or was she thinking of Colorforms? She wasn’t sure. She breathed for a little while, until she could see again, her vision slowly coming back to her. While everything came back into focus, she spread her hands behind her until she found the wooden box. Carefully, she placed it in her lap and opened it. She could see clearly now. She stared intently at the pipes, straws, screens, spoons and pieces of crumpled plastic wrap inside. One by one, she took out each item and let them fall silently onto the pink shag carpet. A few minutes later, the paraphernalia lay scattered at her feet. Chancey stared blankly into the box. There was nothing else inside.
If That’s Your Boyfriend…
“Justin didn’t come over last night. We made plans to get together earlier, but he didn’t show. No call, nothing. That’s just not like him. Well, it’s not like the way he used to be. I suppose I don’t know what he’s like now.” Miranda took a long drag on her cigarette, sucking in her cheeks. She paused a moment, then exhaled, staring off into the distance. She casually flicked half an inch of ash into the air with her French manicured hand. The black and white flecks scattered through the air like shrapnel. She stared at the window, rain coursing down in spidery rivers on the glass. It was dark. “Have you talked to him since you’ve been back?”
Stephen sat up and reseated himself on the couch. He leaned back, trying to escape the cloud of smoke slowly rising to the ceiling. It curled around the basement like a sea serpent, fusing its form with the cloud already gathered from the half pack Miranda had smoked in the last ten minutes. A naked light bulb hung crookedly in the center of the ceiling, shining a sickly yellow light through the fog. Stephen coughed. “Do you know what Alan is doing?” he asked, his eyes fixed to the door.
Miranda sighed. “His Nazi mother asked him to carry some shit out of her car or something lame like that. You know how she is. Crazy bitch.” She looks at Stephen’s face. It is pale. “Oh, man, I forget how sensitive you are.” She stubs the cigarette out and adds it to a collection of crumpled white cylinders in a in an overflowing ashtray. Tossing her hair back, she says, “It has been six months, Stephen. A lot’s changed.”
“Yeah. I get that. But some things stay the same. My allergies fall under the latter.”
“But I don’t get it. How did you deal with it when you were dating Alan? I know he rolls his own, but it’s still tobacco, right?”
“I hated it. At first, I wouldn’t kiss him if he smoked. Then I got sick of not being able to kiss him when I felt like it. It got old fast.” Stephen stared at the walls of the basement. He reread the familiar graffiti. “I don’t remember you smoking so much.”
“Don’t start, healthy boy. You must love California. No smoking in bars or anywhere, right?”
“Well, it beats living in tobacco land, USA.”
“Well, my daddy’s money comes from tobacco. I can’t knock it.” She laughs, fumbling in her Louis Vuitton bag for her compact.
“Yeah, I guess it helps pay for all that M.A.C. makeup you love so much, huh?”
“Don’t start Mr. Chanel.”
“I used to work for them, remember. I–”
“Stole it.” Miranda examines her painted face in her compact. “Employee’s privilege. Trust me, I know how that works.” She shuts her compact, places it back in the handbag. “I really miss the days when the four of us went out on double dates together. Justin and me. You and Alan. Skinny dipping in pools of rich people.”
Stephen smiles, crosses his legs. “Yeah, I don’t know how Alan talked us into that shit.”
“Alan’s certifiable. That’s why I trust him. You know, Justin and I broke up a week after you left. We hadn’t talked ’til this week. Then he does this shit after I call him. I just wanted to talk.” Miranda sighs, picks up a glass of water. “You seeing anyone in California?”
Stephen shifts again on the couch, slouches. “Just this one guy, but he was bi and liked this chick better. I didn’t feel like competing.”
Miranda gulps down three swallows of water. “Justin’s bi.”
“Yeah, I know.” Stephen looks away from Miranda to the door.
Miranda puts the glass down. The crumpled butts bounce like jumping beans. “What do you mean?” she asks, “Do you know or do you know know?”
The door of the basement opens and Alan walks in, finger combing his dreds. “Sorry, guys,” he says, “My mom’s fucking crazy. Let’s smoke a blunt.”