The Yellow Pages. It shows up on everyone's door, mysteriously there, sitting on your front steps when you get home from work. It's a good thing. Helpful, for when you want to order a pizza, or need a mechanic-basic things like that. But, for me, when I see the yellow pages, it's a lot more than a mechanic. For me, it means another job, which is always a good thing, especially when there are bills to pay, but it also means…some craziness, confusion, and me getting into potentially irreversible trouble.
That's because I'm listed in the yellow pages as a wizard. Third one down in the W's. But before you go any further, asking me about dead people, spells, potions and things like that, let me set the record straight. Misconceptions bother me, and they're just a waste of time in the long run. Really, I could kill any myth you've got before I even could begin on your latest nightmare. And trust me, nightmares are a lot more complex than my daily routine.
For starters, when I woke up this morning, after manually shutting off my alarm, (since I don't have telekinesis or a spell that does that—if I did, I would be a genius, and not doing what I do for a living)I went downstairs to go make some tea. I'm not a morning person at all, and it takes a few sips before I even feel alive. I flicked on the lights somewhere in there too, but electricity and I do not get along well. Next, I read the paper, and thought for a while about the article on the front page. Pretty normal right?
But see, what was on the front page, that was about to be the next piece of memorabilia to keep for that fictitious scrapbook, that if it were full, would have you a lot less skeptical than you are.
The front page article contained the average, huge-font, newspaper headline-type that screamed about a murder, of course. West side, typical, according to the papers. Murphy, that's my boss who's on the Chicago PD, asked me about this one, which should tell you that it's not exactly typical. I do…uh… consulting for her. That's where everything gets tricky. And just between you and me, that occasional paycheck is the only good thing that comes of it. Like I told you: When I get a job, irreversible trouble is involved. But wizards aren't left out in paying bills. And there is always some sort of crime to be counted on in the city of Chicago. Depending on how you look at it, this is either fortunate, or unfortunate for me.
About what I do. It's a little something called Magick. Not like that cheap guy that they hire for school assemblies and stuff like that, that was my Dad's thing, and it isn't as easy as it looks.
I'm talking about a group of people called the High Council that have my head. They're like that nightmarish boss everyone else talks about. Except there are multiple copies. And they all feel the same level of absolute disgust towards yours truly. See, that's because we don't really agree on much, and the way I see, it the lines are blurred, it's all gray, and it's up to my hopefully still-good conscience to fix everything. The way they see it, it's black and white, and I'm in trouble like the kid in the corner.
You know, part of it makes sense. I've never had the experience of the learning curve, and I'm still trying to figure out how it works. When I was a kid, school wasn't my thing, and my childhood, well, it could've been worse, but most psychologists would argue that it could be a lot better, I have a feeling. And that's where it all blurs for me, ya know? When family starts getting involved. I'm not very good with relationships, and family myself—stereotypical loner most of the time. This murder, it involved a seventeen year old male, the type reports. Seventeen. Hardly old enough to have done anything, and still thinks he can do everything. How in the hell could anyone mess with a kid, like that? I'm sure he had dreams, I'm sure he wanted something, but some… thing… took it. I of course had no idea yet, and that's why I always scrounge to pay for rent. But it gets me ya know? Somewhere. Cause I remember being seventeen. And that gets to me. So regardless, I've gotta figure it out, and that involves the above mentioned craziness and confusion. Part of me wishes that I could shrug everything off, like the hardened wind. Not mind a bit when huge newspaper headlines scream, or Murphy's on the telephone line, just shrug it off, and go be an accountant or something. But something about that idea never works, either.
Maybe it's the people. I met his parents yesterday. Asked them the usual questions, awkwardly soothed the typical fears, answered the skeptical, cynical questions. The usual first meeting. Looking at someone. Seeing who they are. It's a powerful thing.
Maybe it was his mother. The way she looked at me, afraid, worried, desperate. It was in her eyes. And ya know, I never had my mom around to feel that way about me, and maybe that's good. She died, defending the White Council. This woman now lost her son to the dark. So maybe it was that.
Or maybe it was something more worldly. They shoved a stack of bills in to my hand, begged me to help find their son's killer. Find them some answers. I wish I could, but even so, I do have bills to pay and people to please.
I'll never know. But I'd guess that it's somewhere in between. I'd like to think I still have morals, still value things—but the more you see this stuff every day, working as a Private Investigator, the more you wonder. I solve cases. I'm Harry Dresden, Wizard. Yellow pages, third one down.
It's Chicago, sweetheart, and no matter what anyone tells you, the city isn't really what it's cracked up to be. The hardened, windwashed streets tell all kinds of stories, and mine is lengthened just the same as every other person on the metro. But the downside is, it's only one page at a time.