THE CHIMES OF BAODING by TYLER WEAVER Cover by BLAIR J. CAMPBELL MYSTERY ILLUSION THEATRE #1 .

.Copyright ©2013 TYLER WEAVER – All Rights Reserved.

THE CHIMES OF BAODING .

Smartphones and camera lights pinprick the night around her overturned cardboard box. Tom J–– –– Mister Tom. barflies and college kids celebrating finals. in every plane and dimension throughout the known and unknown universe? The man nods. deal-closers and door- . was that a nod in the affirmative or the negative? Delia aims her probing gaze at Mister Tom. mister… –– Tom. in fact. –– Was that a nod in the affirmative or the negative.THE SPHERULETTE OF MISTER TOM ––This is. the first time you have ever encountered me in all of your existence. Her gloved hands rest on either elbow.

She bows. She tugs three sheets of aluminum foil from the box next to her. –– You have? –– No ma’am. Mister Tom strokes his patchy two-day stubble. ways.closers peer around the corner to witness her display of prestidigitation. co-conspirators or collaborators in any means. –– Very well then. –– I have never encountered you before in all of my existence. or deviations devised under God? The man nods. yes ma’am. . –– And you can ensure me that we are not cohorts. –– And the unknown? Don’t forget the unknown. –– In every plane and dimension? –– Yes ma’am. –– And the unknown. Mister Tom.

She cracks a small smile and turns her hands inward. clasping the invisible egg. Again. –– Will you please make for me three spherules of equal size with the sheets I have provided you? She looks to the growing crowd and tries to hide her face from the tiny all-seeing eyes of perpetual connectivity. is producing–– most tenderly might I add––three spherules of equal size and shape. He extends his hand. since we have never met before in the known universe––that is correct.–– Now Mister Tom. Mister Tom rolls the sheets into the desired shape. Correct. we are not co-conspirators or cohorts or lovers or friends? He laughs and shakes his head. . –– You will see that this gentleman. this fine specimen of Mister Tom here. I ask the gentleman. yes? –– Right. the middle joints of each over the other.

–– Mister Tom. with a lover’s tap? He obliges. this lonely top cup. to ensure the sanctity of these handcrafted specimens. since we are neither conspirators nor lovers. She lifts the cups and reveals the ball underneath. I must insist that you position them on the table in front of me. She takes one of the balls between her fingers and deposits it on top of the middle cup. From behind the box. –– Thank you sir. She places the other cups on top. . she produces three frayed Dixie cups. The aluminum balls chatter on the box top.–– Mister Tom. virtual camera clicks the crickets in the night. She pushes the other balls aside. will you please provide this cup.

you have to feel the… She slams her gloved hand onto the top cup: two balls under the bottom. Click click shutter shutter tweet.–– You have a tender touch. Mister Tom steps back. . She traps the first ball under the cup. this spherule needs a friend. She places another ball on top and covers it. But. isn’t that correct. The neon light from around the corner bathes them in green and red. trapped underneath and alone in the dark like that. It’s lonely. kind sir. –– …pain to arrive at any destination worth arriving. The crowd applauds. a spherulette. –– But you have to suffer sometimes to get what you want. Mister Tom? You have to feel the breath taken out of you. even if you are birthed from the death of one form into another.

Very… She smashes her hand on the top cup. –– But sometimes. To touch them in ways you haven’t before.The third ball on top. Mister Tom’s blush subsides. –– … popular. Show’s over. isn’t that correct? Mister Tom blushes. They put away their smartphones. . a man with your tender touch must be very popular. to feel more than two hands on you. Only two balls under the bottom cup. Delia rubs her temple. a light experimentation with friends. Sometimes you want more. –– Come now. The crowd snickers. two isn’t enough.

He sets the ball on the table. –– Then why is my spherulette behind your ear? Why did you deny these two lovers the rapture of a third? Mister Tom reaches behind his head. please. Thank you Mister Tom. The aluminum ball rests in his palm. Sir. . Never met before. He reaches closer. –– Lovers reunited.–– Now. We’ve never met before. now. –– Yes ma’am. He reaches towards her with the ball between his fingers. is this correct? I must implore you for honesty in this regard. I ask you again. Sometimes things don’t go the way you want. this is only a temporary thing. The crowd gasps. She cups her hands and nods towards the table. She recoils. Mister Tom.

SUGARPRINTS WIPEDOWN –– Thank you Mister Tom sir indeed. –– Does that mean you’re proud of me? –– You’re a great tool. Delia rifles through the cash: three hundred and seven dollars. You’d be lost without me. –– Wipe it and leave it. Cash only. –– Can I pick ‘em or can I pick ‘em? –– You’re learning. –– Pfft. Odette munches on Cinnamon Toast Crunch and taps Mister Tom’s Amex Black against the wallet. –– Am I the greatest tool in the known and unknown universe? –– Don’t push it. .

Delia shakes off Odette’s sugary fingerprints and pulls a sanitizer wipe from her pocket. Odette’s cinnamon-encrusted tongue is the last thing Delia sees before she hears the screech and everything goes black. Cinnamon sugar crystals trickle onto the trashcan lid. Just admit it. –– I would? –– Pffbt. . from the pictures of Mister Tom and his family to the folded Buddha quote on a scrap of index card (be a light unto yourself) to a hotel key card (The Charles. She wipes down the wallet. –– C’mon. discreet and efficient) to the outside and drops it in the trash can. You’d be lost without me. She wipes her gloved hands together.

99 on Amazon at http://www. http://tyler-weaver.com/newsletter/ .amazon.To read the complete story. you can either purchase Mystery Illusion Theatre #1 – The Chimes of Baoding for $1.com/dp/B00C0TIR5O …or you can sign up for The Spinner Rack newsletter and get it for free (PDF only).

com ALSO BY TYLER WEAVER WHIZ!BAM!POW! Whiz!Bam!Pow! Prologue – A Linen Forcefield Whiz!Bam!Pow! Book One – Ollie Whiz!Bam!Pow! Book Two – Frank The Adventures of the Sentinel (Radio Show) STORIES A Perfect Family (A Short Story) I Can See (A Short Story) NON-FICTION Comics for Film. further works and to sign up for The Spinner Rack newsletter. Games. and Animation: Using Comics to Construct Your Transmedia Storyworld (Focal Press) . please visit tyler-weaver. including a blog.For more.

You can find him on Twitter under the creative handle of @tylerweaver. radio. He lives in the wilds of Ohio as the hand that feeds two greyhounds. . a mini schnauzer and an anythingbut-standard poodle. comics. and film. He also once saw an ocelot.ABOUT THE AUTHOR TYLER WEAVER is a writer of stories in (and across) books.

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