"Nick?" Phoenix glanced up at Maya as the Steel Samurai credits rolled across the television screen. "Do you know what it's like?"

Phoenix blinked. "What what's like?"

Maya blushed. "You know... it." Phoenix frowned in confusion. What was she talking about? He thought back to the last thing they'd discussed - a few minutes ago, they'd been idly speculating about the nature of the Steel Samurai's sword. That must be what she was talking about. Although why she'd be bashful about asking, he couldn't imagine.

Phoenix cocked an eyebrow at the medium. "I don't really know much about it, Maya. I'm not exactly an expert."

She giggled. "Oh, I didn't think you were, I just thought you might know something about it."

Phoenix shrugged. "Why don't you ask Will Powers? I'm sure he could tell you a lot more than me."

Maya's jaw dropped and her face became scarlet. "Are you crazy?" she shrieked. "I barely know him! I couldn't just go up to him and ask about something like that!"

Phoenix recoiled, startled by her reaction. "Come on, Maya. There's no reason to feel shy about it. He's a nice man, I'm sure he'd be happy to--"

"NO!" Maya interrupted. "I'm not asking him about it. Look, Nick, why can't you just tell me what you know? Even if it's not much."

Phoenix sighed. When Maya got into a mood, there was no arguing with her, was there? "Okay," he relented. "But don't expect too much." Maya nodded, accepting the terms, and he muttered under his breath, "I doubt I know anything you don't."


"All right, all right. Let's see here. It's, uh... well, I guess it's pretty long."

Maya nodded. "It's better if it's longer, right?"

Phoenix shrugged. "Maybe? I mean, being long would make it easier to get to the other person, but it'd be harder to handle."

"That makes sense."

Phoenix scratched his chin, wondering what else he could tell her about it. Already, he'd made one obvious statement, and she'd taken it like she'd never heard it before. "I suppose it's also hard."

Maya looked surprised by this. "Really? I was under the impression that it was pretty easy..."

Phoenix frowned in confusion. "No, I don't mean that kind of hard. I meant hard as in stiff."

Maya hesitated. "Are you sure? That sounds kind of painful..."

Phoenix snorted. "That's pretty much the whole point. Anyone on the wrong end should expect to get hurt."

Maya's expression grew more uneasy. "The... wrong end?"

Phoenix sighed and ran a hand through his hair. Did he have to spell everything out for her? "You know, the pointy end?" When she lifted an eyebrow, his exasperation only grew. "Come on, Maya. are you telling me you don't think it would hurt if someone stuck that thing into you?"

Maya's face took on a peculiar green hue. "Wow..." she muttered, staring at the floor. "And to think women actually like all that..."

Phoenix gave her a funny look. "What are you talking about, Maya? You're the one who introduced me to the whole thing."

"I did WHAT?"

Phoenix narrowed his eyes. "Come on, Maya. Ever since I met you, it's been 'Steel Samurai this' and 'Steel Samurai that'."

Maya's head shot up and she stared at him. "Wait a minute. You're talking about the Steel Samurai?"

Phoenix felt an uneasy feeling stirring in the pit of his stomach as he returned the spirit medium's horrified gaze. "You weren't?"

Maya's face became, if it was possible, even greener. "I'm gonna go now..." she mumbled, rising from the couch.

"Wait!" Phoenix stood as well. "What were you talking about?" When she didn't reply, Phoenix winced. It couldn't have been... "Please tell me you weren't talking about--"

"You know what? Forget about it, I think I'll go ask Will Powers after all..."