and together we’ve piled up an impressive track record. No, I’d rather stick with the rat-pack I know,
however strange, than trust my fate to anyone else, no matter how qualified they might seem. If anything,
from time to time I wonder what they think of me and wish I could peek inside their heads to learn their
opinions. Whatever they think, they stick around . . . and that’s what counts.
It isn’t the crew that makes me edgy ... it’s the title. You see, as long as I can remember, I’ve always
thought that being a leader was the equivalent of walking around with a large bulls-eye painted on your
back. Basically the job involves holding the bag for a lot of people instead of just for yourself. If anything
goes wrong, you end up being to blame. Even if someone else perpetrated the foul-up, as the leader
you’re responsible. On the off chance things go right, all you really feel is guilty for taking the credit for
someone else’s work. All in all, it seems to me to be a no-win, thankless position, one that I would much
rather delegate to someone else while I had fun in the field. Unfortunately, everyone else seemed to have
the same basic opinion, and as the least experienced member of the crew I was less adept at coming up
with reasons to dodge the slot than the others. Consequently, I became the President of M.Y.T.H. Inc.
(That’s Magical Young Trouble-shooting Heroes. Don’t blame me. I didn’t come up with the name), an
association of magicians and trouble-shooters dedicated to simultaneously helping others and making
Our base of operations was the Bazaar at Deva, a well-known rendezvous for magic dealing that was
the crossroads of the dimensions. As might be imagined, in an environment like that, there was never a
shortage of work.
I had barely gotten settled for the morning when there was a light rap on the door of my office and
Bunny stuck her head in.
“Well . . .”
She was gone before I could finish formulating a vague answer. This wasn’t unusual. Bunny acted as my
secretary and always knew more about what I had on the docket than I did. Her inquiries as to my
schedule were usually made out of politeness or to check to be sure I wasn’t doing something undignified
before ushering a client into the office.
“The Great Skeeve will see you now,” she said, gesturing grandly to her charge. “In the future, I’d
suggest you make an appointment so you won’t be kept waiting.”
The Deveel Bunny was introducing seemed a bit slimy, even for a Deveel. His bright red complexion
was covered with unhealthy-looking pink blotches, and his face was contorted into a permanent leer,
which he directed at Bunny’s back as she left the room.
Now, there’s no denying that Bunny’s one of the more attractive females I’ve ever met, but there was
something unwholesome about the attention this dude was giving her. With an effort, I tried to quell the
growing dislike I was feeling toward the Deveel. A client was a client, and we were in business to help
people in trouble, not make moral judgments on them.
“Can I help you?” I said, keeping my voice polite.
That brought the Deveel’s attention back to me, and he extended a hand across the desk.
“So you’re the Great Skeeve, eh? Pleased to meet you. Been hearing some good things about your