Jabari the Magician: Nikki and Trey in Crackland
by Devon Pitlor
Pure logic is the ruin of the spirit.
---Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900-1944)
I. The arrest of Nikki BarazanAfter our flight from Marstown to the dismal precincts of Steelsboro and theslow police investigation of the death of the influential restauranteur RonanBax by an unexplained automotive explosion and fire on the driveway of Nikki's mother's house in the quiet subdivision where Nikki and I, conjoinedin unshakeable friendship and unwavering love since birth, had grown intoyoung adults, events forced us once again to relocate another five hundredmiles northeast to the drab and dying mill town of Ungorona Falls, a townthat had been nearly depopulated with the failure of the copper miningindustry in the late 1990s. Like the horrid Freyburg, West Virginia, where Ihad once retreated in despair to extinguish the final hours of my Earthlyframe, Ungorona was in the final stages of its urban death throes. Populatedmostly by vacant, staring corpses who stumbled along its cracked anddislocated streets in pointless circuits by both day and night, Ungorona was aplace of jeopardy, where anything of value was immediately understood to bethe property of anyone who could seize it by whatever means possible. Thisdecrepit element of poverty-driven desperation had been the factor that hadonce brought me to the treacherous streets of Freyburg, and for a time, itappeared that Nikki and I were about to retrace the dramas I had once knownon the most sinister streets on Earth, but Nikki, resourceful as ever andpossessed of mostly all of the sixty-two thousand dollar cash price that hadbeen paid by Ronan Bax to possess her body and soul, a sum paid to hermother but absconded upon our hasty egress by Nikki from a public storage