As Gideon and I took the long walk through middle class suburbia, I found myself actually feeling good. And I don't mean 'satisfied' a 'well, at least I haven't been bitten by a rabid dog' type of thing. I mean that I actually felt good. Better than normal. Maybe it was the sunshine, maybe it was the walk, maybe I was just loopy from having so little sleep the night before. Whatever it was, it made me shine from the inside, you know? I can't remember the last time I felt like that. I can't remember the last time I had someone to share it with either.

Gideon's company was a fun addition to my day. He was wildly funny, witty, and he was honest to a point of nearly pissing you off at times. But he'd get you to smile and admit to your own faults before you had the opportunity to get your feelings hurt. He wasn't a mean person, not really. But he never sugar coated a single word that came out of his mouth, and while you had to duck a few sharp insults to your pride every now and was a somewhat admirable trait. He was just so free with...well...everything. I wonder if maybe this magic thing could ever bring me to that level of freedom too. Because sometimes...Gideon makes me feel like I can do anything.

"Here's what I want you to do today, Gavin. I want you to walk into school today, and say hello to every single person you make eye contact with today." Anything except that.

"Wait....what?" I asked.

"You heard me. I wanna kick start this thing today and set events in motion. It sometimes takes a week or two, but I think if we start today..."

I stopped him. "What are you talking about? I'm not gonna do that. I'll look like a total dork."

"Why?" He asked, his pace picking up a little bit, racing us to school even faster.

"What do you mean, why? I don't KNOW any of those people!"

"Yes, I'm aware of that. And that's the problem. We need to develop your people skills. That starts by getting rid of the whole 'I'm too shy to talk to anybody' routine."

"I happen to LIKE my shy routine, thank you very much. It keeps me from looking stupid in front of a bunch of strangers."

"It keeps you from interacting. Nothing more." He told me, and I tried to get him to slow down a bit as I could see the high school coming closer, now only two or three blocks away.

"Gideon....wait, dude..."

"Wait for what? Grow some balls, man. They're not gonna eat you alive, you know?" He said with a smirk. "Listen, you asked to be popular. That means actually talking to people instead of hiding out in a corner and hoping that they'll come talk to you first."

"That's not part of the deal. I thought you were gonna use magic? Can't you just...wave your magic wand around or something and make them like me?"

"Hehehe, and you think MY ideas are weird?" He giggled. "The only 'magic wand' I've got to wave around might be good for getting a few dates with high school cheerleaders, but I doubt it's gonna make you any more popular."

"Well...then how is this supposed to help me?"

"I told you, you've got to find your own path and follow it. Magic isn't just some effortless wave of the hand that makes everything all better. You've got to grow into it. You've got to grow into yourself. Now, are we gonna walk the rest of the way to school, or would you rather be late?"

"You are so full of shit." I pouted, and started walking again.

"Hey, hey...come on now, champ. If you're gonna start bailing out on me now, you'll never be ready for the big game." He said, but I didn't answer him. I thought he was gonna make things right. That's what he told me. If I ask for it, he'll make it happen. I'm a fucking idiot for even getting my hopes up. I should have left my life the way it was. "Come here. Gavin, stop. Come here." He put a hand on my shoulder and turned me around, but I kept my eyes on the ground. "You're really that scared of talking to people, aren't you? Jesus, kid...exactly how did you expect to live the rest of your life without ever meeting new people?"

"You shouldn't have lied to me, Gideon..."

"Whoah! Wait a minute! Who lied to you? Certainly not me. I told you that an honest effort would get you an honest result. I never promised you a free ride on my magic carpet while I give you everything you wanted on a silver platter. That won't happen." He told me. "Look at me, Gavin." I rolled my eyes, not trying to connect fully with his stare. "What I'm teaching you here has value. And it's going to matter later on. You got me. This is a part of your training. Are you gonna make a go of this, or are you gonna stop now and try again when you're 45 years old and still don't have any friends?"

"It's just....dude, I can't just..."

"Shhhh shh shh! Stop. You're gonna use up twice the energy it takes to talk to these kids making excuses for why you can't." He literally put his finger to my lips, and smiled. " walk into the school, the hallway is full of, like, a billion teenagers. You walk to your first period class with your eyes open, and your chin lifted off of your chest. If you make eye contact with someone, even by accident, you acknowledge them, and you say hello. That's it. Nothing else. You don't even have to stop walking. Then you make eye contact with someone else, repeat the process. And that's it."

I grumbled under my breath for a moment, but he wasn't going to let this go. I know he wasn't. "And all I have to say is 'hello'?"

"All you have to say is hello."

"And that's IT?"

"That's it." He told me. "Of course, you could suddenly blurt out that you were gay. But I'm assuming that that's a bit much for your first time out."

"Yeah, I'm thinking it is." I replied sarcastically.

"Sure. But if you get the urge, I say let it fly." He grinned, and then we started walking towards the school again. I was literally beginning to tremble at the thought of it. I didn't wanna walk through the school saying hello to everybody. What kinda weirdness is that? That's not gonna make me popular, that's gonna send me on a one way trip to the freakshow category in this place.

We were getting closer, and I could see kids filing into the front doors of the building. God, there were sooo many of them. I didn't like this. My palms were sweating, my breath getting heavy...I don't know what to say to these people. What if they laugh at me? What then? I'm gonna look like such a jackass! "Can we...postpone this little lesson for a day or two? Maybe when I'm a little bit more prepared for something like this?"

"What's going to happen in a day or two that's gonna make this any easier for you?"

"I don't know...maybe the fact that I'll have more than a ten minute warning?"

"Ahhh, but spontanaeity is the spice of life, is it not? Besides, what have you got to worry about?" He asked boldly.

"Gee, I don't know. Possibly the fact that the whole school will be calling me a misfit by the end of the day."

"At least they'll be talking about you. Your popularity will soar through the roof."

"Or fall through the floor."

"See? You've got a sense of humor. They're gonna love that about you." Gideon just kept walking forward, and the school was right across the street now. This is bad! This is a mistake! I should just tell him no. I can say no, can't I? I mean...Gideon can't MAKE me do it! Right? Um....right? "Consider this an excercise. Social interactions are like a muscle. You start off a bit nervous and a little shy..."

"A LOT shy!"

"...Fine...a LOT shy, then. But as you work on it and practice and excercise your social skills, they grow stronger over time. Soon, you'll be talking to people in no time. This is where popularity begins."

"But...I don't see how embarrassing myself in front of everybody is gonna make that happen." I told him, hoping that traffic would keep racing by so we wouldn't have to cross the street just yet.

"You won't embarrass yourself. Look at you, you're making them all sound like an army of hungry jackals."

"It's high school, army of hungry jackals isn't necessarily a harsh judgement of the people inside when it comes to people like me."

Gideon wrinkled up his brow, as though my view of the situation was just plain ridiculous. "Ok, your first mistake is believing for one second that you're beneath a single one of the people in this building. Teachers included. You've gotta stop putting yourself beneath their supposedly superior status and start out on a level battlefield." There was a break in traffic, and Gideon took me by the arm, practically dragging me to the other side of the street. "Everybody gets nervous, Gavin. Everybody has problems and secrets and insecurities just like you do. None of them want to look stupid in front of a bunch of strangers either. And you can use that to your advantage."

"My advantage? How?"

"Because by simply saying hello with a smile, you'll be opening up a gateway of communication. You elevate them to your level, and you acknowledge their value as someone worthy of speaking to. Do it enough times, and they'll soon find comfort in coming to you first." He said, but I wasn't buying it. And I was shaking even worse as he took me to the front door. "Trust me, baby, it'll work. Now get to work before the hall empties out. Move it, soldier!" And with that....he shoved me inside.

My eyes immediately gravitated to the tiles on the floor beneath my feet, and in a subtle panic, I attempted to swiftly hurry my way through the crowd as fast as possible. But Gideon wasn't having any of that. Instead, he put a hand on my shoulder and slowed me down to a snail's pace. "Eyes up, back straight, princess." He grinned. I took a deep breath, and instantly felt the whole world collapse in on me as I saw how many teenagers were between me and my next class. "Go on. Do it. After the first fifteen hundred, it'll be a breeze." He teased.

"I am really gonna make you pay for this! You know that, right?" I said through gritted teeth, faking a smile.

"Ohh, you're gonna have to learn some pretty nifty tricks to pull that off. You just concentrate on getting from point A to point B without letting that head of your drop again." He told me, his hand in the small of my back, pushing me forward. "Now...just make eye contact...nod...and say hello. Simple. Try it out."

"This is so stupid..."

"TRY it!" He said, poking me in the back. "Here...right here." He pointed to a girl heading in our direction. Sighhhh...why am I doing this???

I took a deep breath, briefly glanced at her eyes, and mumbled, "Hi..." My voice was barely audible, and I couldn't look a her for more than a second. But I said it. She looked back at first, but didn't answer. In fact, she looked at me the exact same way I figured she would. As if to ask why this random asshole was even speaking in her direction. I turned to Gideon, "I TOLD you this was stupid!"

"It helps if you try to fake a little bit of confidence, ya know? Just for the half second that it takes to say hello. Maybe even raise your voice so she could hear you."

"Well...I didn't....I wasn't ready."

"Not ready? Gavin, you're just saying hello, not planning to snatch her purse. Come on, humor me a bit. Try it again."

There were two boys walking past me, already in the middle of a conversation with one another and giggling to themselves. As they walked past us, they looked up to see me staring at them. "Hey...hi..." I said, a little bit louder.

"What's up?" The first boy said with a smile, and they kept walking. Well...I guess that's better than the first girl.

"Good. it again." Gideon instructed me, moving me slowly through the hallway.

Another young girl walked by, and I said, "Hello..."

And she smiled at me and said, "Hey..." Okay...that's two.

"Again." Gideon said.

"Hey..." Wow...whoever that boy is, he was HOT! It wasn't too hard to work up a smile while saying it to him.

"How's it going?" He said, and rushed past me to his next class. That's THREE!

"Again." Gideon was smiling wide, but kept calm as he walked me through my 'excercise'. And we made it down the hallway, with me speaking to everyone I came into contact with.

"Hi...Hello...Hey...What's up...Hello..." I chirped, navigating my way through the crowded corridor. Some students returned the greeting, some ignored it completely, and a few wondered who the hell I was. But Gideon kept me going, walking right beside me, step for step. Encouraging me the whole way. I was still nervous and shaking, but I was surprised to find that nobody really rolled their eyes at me, or just flat out rejected me altogether. In fact, as I kept walking, even the people who didn't respond verbally at least gave me a little smirk or something. It got to be a little bit easie once I got past the fear of being ridiculed for being...well...friendly.

By the time I had gotten to my first class, I must have dealt out 75 greetings or more. Which is...umm...75 more than I usually give out on the way to my first class. I stood outside the classroom with Gideon, quaking inside, but smiling nonetheless. Naturally, he took the opportunity to laugh at me. "Hehehe, are you smiling, Gavin? Is that a smile I see on your face? Oh PLEASE, Gavin! PLEASE don't smile! I couldn't bear it if you smiled and gave me the fucked up idea that I might be right about something!"

"Shut up." I grinned. "Besides, that doesn't prove anything."

"It proves that all of those 'mean old people' aren't as scary as you thought they were. Jackals, you called them! That's hardly fair."

"It doesn't make me popular just to say hello to a bunch of people. All of those people are gonna go to class and they're gonna forget all about me ten minutes from now."

"Yes. Yes, they will. And that's exactly why you're gonna do it again after this class. And after the next one, and the next one, and every class break afterwards, for the rest of the week. Possibly some of next week too."

"Ok, now you're just getting crazy." I said.

He playfully pnched me in the gut with a smile. "Hey, don't be so afraid to pop out of the background every now and then. Be noticed. It's a good thing."

"Right." I looked towards my room, and the bell rang for us to get to class. "I guess I've gotta go. Is, anything else I need to do?"

"Nope! Not for now. You gave them a taste on the tip of their tongues. And right now, while they're trying to figure out why you were being so friendly to them, or deemed them special enough to greet on your way to your first get to relax. Then, when the bell rings, you get to do it all over again, and hit the people you missed this morning. Do this for two weeks, and soon they'll be coming to you."

"Are you sure about this?"

"Sure? No. Let's just say that I'm 'highly confident'." Gideon giggled. "You just gave an entire high school wing reason to wonder exactly who you are and what your deal is. That tiny bit of mystery is about to make you very interesting indeed. Consider it an effective form of jackal bait." He started to walk away from me, but before letting me go, he turned me around and unzipped my backpack, reaching his hand in to dig around.

"What are you looking for?"

"The dragon drawing. You brought it with you, right?" He asked.

"Um...yeah. Why?"

"Let me grab it from you. Just for a little while." He said, and I gave him a suspicious look. "I'll give it back! I swear."

I reached into my notebook and handed him the picture. "Be careful with this, ok? I worked REALLY hard on this."

"I know you did, and it's fabulous! Thanks!" He took it and started to trot off down the hall with it.

I called out after him, "Don't show it to anybody, ok?"

He turned around with a grin. "Don't worry. I'm not gonna show it to anybody...directly."

"What does that mean?" He didn't answer, just giggled and jogged off with it. "Gideon! better not....UGH!" And I backed up to go into the classroom when I turned and saw Joshua Roth walking in at the same time. He had his head down, looking at his books as if he were trying to get a few extra seconds of studying in before going inside. My entire world froze, and my stomach turned upside down as I had no way to brace myself for his sudden appearance in my line of vision. My insides became this hysterical turmoil of emotions, and I awkwardly rocked from one foot to the other as he stopped right in front of me. He looked up at me, his hair sliding back a bit to expose those magnificent eyes to me in all their glory. Omigod...he's gorgeous! I am seriously turning into a ball of wiggles here! "Uhhh.........hey.." I said softly.

"Hi, Gavin." He replied, and then he went inside, and left me sitting there...stunned. Stunned and amazed. I just...I just spoke to Joshua Roth! Like...almost a complete sentence! And he said 'hi' to me. I know it was to me, because he said my name. I never knew how awesome my name was until the moment he let it glide through those perfect lips of his. Oh whole body is getting chills right now. Does this speaking thing really work? Oh man...what if Gideon makes it possible for me and Josh to be together? What if I get to actually KISS him someday??? What if...

"Gavin? Class is starting." My teacher leaned his head out to see me standing in the hallway daydreaming about the possibilities. So I went inside to take my seat, but I couldn't stop smiling. Not at all. I must have looked like a freak, but whatever. Joshua Roth spoke to me! He called me by name! Has he ever done that before? Arrgh, I'm too excited to remember! Ok, I've gotta calm down. Breathe, Gavin. We'll work out the details later. But for now...we need to breathe. Just....breathe.

I took my seat in the classroom, and for the first time I almost regretted choosing one so far away from him. There's just something so incredibly unreal about having the boy of your dreams speak to you that excites you into a fit of infatuation so severe that you can't help but giggle to yourself and swing your feet under your desk like a 4 year old with a sugar rush. I saw his sandy blond locks sway gently with every turn of his head. So silky and sweet. I swear that it was moving in slow motion sometimes. And it looked more blond sometimes, and more brown others, depending on how the light hit it. And those lips. A poet could spend his entire career trying to capture the beauty of those lips.

Just then, Josh looked up at me briefly, and it was too quick for me to turn away in time. Just a flash of those big blue eyes was enough to reduce you to jelly inside, and I found myself squirming a bit in my seat as the blissful feelings got to be too strong for me to keep still. When I got the guts to look back over there again, he wasn't looking back. So I guess it was just a random glance around the room that got him to catch me staring. much as I tried to prevent myself from doing it, I continually looked over at him every few seconds for the rest of the class period. Keeping updates on his every graceful movement, and mentally recording it to replay again and again for every minute that he was away from me. Sure...there was still a part of me that felt so microscopic just being in the same room with someone so majestic. That doesn't go away overnight, and my mind was constantly telling me that I wasn't worth spitting on as far as he was concerned. And yet, in the same moment, something about him made me feel better than ever. In a completely selfless way. All he had to do was maintain his existence in this world, and I was walking on air. There's something so comforting about being able to find the one person on Earth who can make you feel that way. Who can make time stand still, and cure every illness you've ever had. Someone who forces you to realize how lonley and pointless your life really was before he stepped in and made everything beautiful again. God...just looking at him from across the room is all the magic I'd ever need.

At that moment, he looked up again, and I think I was able to effectively dodge his gaze this time. I think. I hope he doesn't see me staring. Arrrgh! Idiot! Quit being weird! I tried to pay attention in class, but I think I learned more just trying to battle my emotions as Joshua and I played this silly game of 'eye tag' for the rest of the period. He's gotta think I'm some kinda psycho by now. I hope I didn't go too far overboard this time. He spoke my name, he said hello...I should be happy with that for now. Yeah....happy.

When the bell rang and class was over, I desperately wanted to speak to him again. I mean, I was feeling the butterflies in my stomach going wild, and I could hardly walk straight from being so weak in the knees. But I paced myself while I was putting my books and materials back into my backpack, timing it so I'd go towards he door at the same time as Josh. And when I saw him zip up his bag and stand up, I knew this was it. I got up from my desk, and tried to breathe, even though it felt like my lungs had suddenly been frozen into two heavy blocks of ice. I caught up to him at the door, but he kept walking out into the hallway. He walks fast. His legs are longer than me. I thought that I might miss him, but in a last ditch effort...I actually found the courage to speak. "Bye, Josh..." I had to fight hard to keep from whimpering. I had to fight to keep from fainting on the floor when he turned around in response. Those eyes must cause instant paralysis in everything they land on.

He looked at me for a moment, and I did my best to keep eye contact, even with his ocean blue orbs dissolving a hole in my confidence. Answer me, Joshua Roth....please answer me. Hurry up! I can't take much more of this agony! Then, I saw those sweet kissable lips part, and he said, in his soft angelic voice, "I'll see you later, Gavin." Thank God! I was starting to blush really hard, and I was afraid I'd have to run off if he waited another second to say something. Josh walked away from me, but after a couple of steps, I saw him look back at me again...and he smiled a little. He smiled at me! It was short, and kinda bashful, but it was definitely a smile! It was probably because I looked like a complete moron trying so hard to get his attention for something as simple as saying goodbye. But whatever! It was CUTE! And it was mine! I sighed out loud with a grin, and leaned back against the lockers, staring off into space. That's twice in one day he spoke to me. Not once...TWICE! Wow, I hope this feeling lasts forever.

"You wanna move away from my locker, geek?" Came a voice from in front of me, and I looked to see an angry blond boy and two of his friends grimacing at me. I was leaning on his locker, and had to shuffle aside to let him by. He sneered at me, and all three of them looked at me like I was a loose piece of trash on the floor. So I hoisted my backpack up on my shoulders and started walking away, hearing some mean spirited giggles from behind me. But even though they were being jerks, Joshua Roth, the most gorgeous boy ever created, spoke to me twice in the same day. And nothing they could do would ever take that away from me. It felt damn good!

"Hey...Hello...Hi...What's up?" I continued as I went to my next class. With more of the same results. But my mind was too wrapped up in other things to really take count this time. After a while, it kinda became a strange routine, talking to random strangers in the hallway. And I was never really around them for long enough to make fun. By the time they heard me, I had already passed them by. If nothing else, it at least made them take notice of me. I have to admit, it was a change from the everyday. As always, Gideon gave me a glimpse of something I never had before, and it turned out to be....kinda cool.

After four classes of spacing out over my brief 'less than intimate' run in with Josh, and greeting people in the hallway like I was running for mayor, I had finally reached lunch time. I went back to my locker, grabbing my sack lunch and thinking of nice quiet places to eat around the campus. But when I closed the locker door, Gideon was standing right there waiting for me. "How goes the struggle, my friend?"

"Jesus, do you ever just make a normal appearance in stead of trying to scare me shitlees all the time?"

"I tend to favor entrances with a more theatrical flare." He grinned. "SO...I can see that you've been taking my advice."

"Exactly how can you see that?"

"It's in your aura. Twinkles and all. You've been making some changes, and it shows." Then he leaned forward to whisper, "You talked to him, didn't you? The boy in the picture?"

I blushed a bit, but admitted it. "Yeah. Maybe a little. Nothing major, though."

"This is your life, Gavin. Everything is major. Come on, we're going out for lunch."


"Yes, we. Hurry up and get moving before you make me think you don't appreciate my company."

I closed and locked my locker, carrying my lunch with me. And just as we were walking towards the door, the two cute boys that I had seen earlier that morning before first period walked around the corner. The were passing us, and both gave me a bit of a grin. "Sup, man?" They both said. Were they talking to me? To Gideon? To somebody else enirely? At first I thought it was a mistake, but as I turned to watch them walk away from us down the hall, still playfully locked in their own hit me. Two complete strangers, cute ones at that, just said hello to me for no reason at all. None.

I looked over at Gideon who grinned and threw his hands up. "Don't look at me! I swear, I didn't wave my 'wand' at at them. You did that all on your own, stud boy."

"Hehehe, let's just go." I told him.

"You wanna fuck them don't you?"

"Ack!!! Geez! Keep your voice down!" I said with a jump.

Then he whispered, "You wanna fuck them don't you?"

"Can we just leave please? Pervert."

"I know you wanna fuck 'em. They're cute. I'm straight and I wanna fuck 'em. The one on the right has got one hell of a nice ass too. A girl's ass...."

"STOP! Hehehe!"

"Making you hard? I know it is. It's ok. Once you get your wings, I'll show you how you can fuck 'em." He teased as I gave him a harsh look to shut him up before somebody hears us. "Aww, you're blushing! That's so cute!" He pinched my cheek and gave me a brotherly shove as he led me out the side door and back out into daylight.

We walked out to the school's football field where we could sit under the bleachers and have some privacy. I opened up my lunch and started chowing down a bit, while Gideon had only brought with him a single can of soda and some chewing gum. We leaned up against the network of metal rafters holding the bleachers together, and Gideon stared at me with a smile. "What are you grinning at?" I asked him.

"You don't have to be afraid, you know?"

"Afraid of what?"

"Being happy." He said. "There's nothing silly or embarrassing about it. Enjoy it. Laugh, dance, scream it out to the world if you want to. But wallow in it. Wallow in every second of happiness you get in this life. It's a beautiful thing. And a lot of people bottle it up for the sake of looking childish. Don't you become one of them."

"I'm fine. I'm happy. See?" I gave him the biggest, fakest, cheesiest, smile that I could, and then went back to eating my sandwich.

"You can be extremely entertaining, you know that?"

"I could be a lot more entertaining if you actually taught me some magic instead of making me a social misfit." I said, wiping some mayonaisse from the corner of my mouth.

Gideon was quiet for a moment, and then he said, "You wanna learn something?" I looked up at him, and he gave me a sly grin. "Here, hold your hand out." Excited, I put my sandwich down and eagerly put my hand out. "Palm up." I turned my hand palm up. And then...he spit his gum in my hand! A big juicy wad of gum dripping with Gideon spit.

"Eww, what the hell???" I jerked my hand back and tossed the gum into the grass far away from us, wiping my hand off on my pants leg. "What the hell kinda magic was that???"

"Hehehe! Who said anything about magic? I said put your hand out, and you did. Sucker." He laughed. "You wanted to learn something? Well you just learned not to ever trust me when I say 'put your hand out'. You feel much wiser for the lesson, now, don't ya?"

"Har dee har, funny man. You know, you could at least renew my faith with a couple of dazzling feats every now and then. It wouldn't hurt you to keep my interest."

"Hehehe, Gavin, despite what you see in the movies and on tv, magic isn't just about clouds of smoke and lightning bolts. It's so much more than that. I mean, there are the parlor tricks and the fancy effects too, but a true magician doesn't have to show off with gimmicks and flashing lights. A true magician is more content with what he 'can' do other than what he actually does."

"As usually, you're going right over my head, dude."

"Only because you keep ducking." He said, and took another sip of his soda.

" said you didn't have a magic wand or anything, right?"

"Never had one, never will."

"So...what do you use? A crystal ball?"


"Wizard's staff?"


"Charmed necklace?"


"Well what, then?" I asked.

"I use my head. Nothing else is required."

"Come on, get outta here. You've gotta use something."

"More cinematic hoopla, I'm afraid." He told me. Then he scooted closer to sit next to me. "You see, magic is all about the mind. It's all about faith and belief and the way you use them to tap into something extraordinary. It's really not all that different from any other religion, when you think about it." Gideon poured some of his soda on the ground, and then used his finger to draw a circle in the dirt. "Now...suppose this ritual of me pouring this soda on the ground, and drawing a circle with this finger, was the required spell for making myself invisible. I'd have to make sure that this particular process brings about this particular effect. You follow me?"

" far..."

"Ok, well, the actual 'process' of pouring out the soda and drawing the circle isn't where the magic comes from. It's merely a focus. A ritual that gets me to identify invisibility with this particular ritual. So I teach myself to believe that I'll become invisible every single time I make this motion. And voila!" Suddenly, before my eyes, Gideon litterally faded away into nothingness. I jumped back for a second, my eyes wide open, looking at the nothingness befor me, and I slowly reached my hand out to see if he was still actually there. Just as I got close to where he was, he grabbed my hand and reappeared right in front of me again! "Gotchya!"


"No applause, please. You're too kind." He smiled. "Now, how did I do that? I did it by focusing my thoughts and making it happen, nothing more. Do I need the soda and the circle? No, not really. But if I want to really concentrate on this specific spell, I know that I can do this ritual, and it'll bring my mindstate to the exact place where I need it to be to make it happen."

"'re saying...?"

"All of the chants, the talisman charms, the crystal balls, the magic potions...they don't really have any real effect on magic itself. It merely has an affect on the beliefs of the one performing the magic. If you train yourself to believe that throwing salt over your shoulder will bring you good luck, then it's not the salt, but the faith in its abilities that cause it to happen. Four leaf clovers, knocking on wood, crucifixes against the town vampire, rain dances, demonic symbols, all of these objects and rituals were created to signify certain states of mind to create certain types of magic without getting confused. So if you tell yourself that bat wings will cause someone to die, and wormswood will cause someone to suffer, and lizard guts bring illness, then you have three separate spells to chose from when you need them. And if course, if you want someone to get sick and die a slow painful death...then you mix all three of them in a giant pot, and your mind stays focused on what it needs to do with each separate vibration." He said.

"So none of that stuff is real?"

"It's real enough, just not as important as the faith behind it. If I had told you that chewing that gum I just spit out into your hand would get those two cute boys from the hallway to sleep with you, you would have chewed it, right?"

I frowned up my face a little. "I guess so..."

"Of course you would have. And if you believed in it strongly enough, and the magic inside you made it happen, then your faith would be justified. And you'd be asking me to spit gum in your hand everytime you saw a nice piece of ass walk by. That's your ritual, the gum is your magic wand, and your belief is what makes the spell happen. It's just a matter of association, nothing more."

"I can just make up stuff to represent what I want to happen?"

"Sure, if you want to. Every time you attach a certain skill with a certain object, chant, dance, or give it a definitive place and power. It's the same as you filing those little gay exploits of yours on the computer into places where only you'll be able to find them. You know which folders to go to, and which files open the websites, stories, or pornographic pics and videos, that you want to see. You classify your own spells as you go along." He told me. "Just don't go making the sacrifice of any virgins a part of the plan, ok? You don't want to have to go doing THAT everytime you wanna use a spell to bring sunshine instead of rain."

"I imagine that would be difficult." I said dryly.

"You'd be surprised how many civilizations got that wrong." He grinned, and then stood up to dust himself off. "You ready to go back?"

"Yeah." I chugged down a drink and finished what was left of my sandwich and got up to join him. "Do I need to use that other stuff? The symbols and everything?"

"You will at first. Until you get to a level where you can simply use your thoughts to create the changes you need. But focus is the next part of your training. Don't get ahead of yourself."

"I just wanna....DO something, you know?"

"You are doing something, Gavin. You're building the foundations you need to keep from spinning out of control. Magic isn't anything to play around with. And whatever bad vibes you put out there, even by accident, are gonna come right back to hit you where and when it hurts most. There can be severe consequences for interfering with the natural order of things if you don't know what you're doing. So just keep concentrating on getting through this part right now. And I'll teach ya he jazzed up version later, ok?" I agreed, and we started walking back towards the school. "Before you can believe in anything else, you're gonna have to believe in yourself. Do you understand?"

"Sure thing, coach." I said, giving him a fake grin and a thumbs up.

"Gotta love that tricky sense of humor."

We made it back to the school and walked in through the side door. The halls were full as the bell had all the students scampering back and forth from one end of the building to the other. And as Gideon walked next to me, we tried to make our way past the cafetera. And that's when I saw it. Hanging up for everyone to the hallway right in front of the cafeteria exit!!! "" I gasped.

"Marvelous, aint it?" Gideon smiled. And we both stood there, looking at my dragon picture thumbtacked to the wall in plain sight of EVERYBODY! With my NAME on it, no less! "Putting your name on it was my idea. I thought it could use that personal touch." one of those times that I needed a spell for a slow and painful death!