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The Real Me

Part I in  "Anya, Interrupted: A Triptych of Bunny Terror" - Parts II, III on the Buffy Philosophy Board archives (okay, I'll update this linkage when they go somewhere permanent.)

Oh, and I don't Anya own or the lines from Grosse Pointe Blank.

The Future’s Eyes are Wide Shut

A beautiful winter’s day in the City by the Bay. Sun shining on the water. Birds singing. Well, flying. Well, sitting on the bridge. Sitting there and watching her with their beady little eyes that were beady and focused and watching and…

A cheerful voice from her speakers said, “I am at home with the me. I am rooted in the me that is on this adventure.”

“I am at home with the me. I am rooted in the me that is on this adventure.” Repeated Anya. She let her foot off the brake and moved her car forward one car length.

Also, technically, the sun wasn’t really shining down on the City by the Bay. The sun shown down on the city to her right. The sun shown down on the city to her left. The sun shown down on Oakland behind her.

She wondered if there were oaks there. It didn’t look like it. Just buildings and signs and giant skeletal machines, which looked like something out of that second Star Wars movie, ready and able to crush the rebellion.

But yeah, the sun. For whatever reason, although it was a warm and beautiful day on the east side of the bay, a wall of fog stamped on giant Katnor demon’s feet across San Francisco and was now preparing to devour the bridge and all the helpless people on it.

Every now and again, Anya could see a high rise struggle out from behind a fog tentacle, only to be wrestled back down under the white bright nothing.

She’d been on the bridge for forty minutes and had driven forty feet. Up ahead, she could see a cheery yellow sign pointing left. A series of cones gradually eviscerating her lane. Typical. She had her turn signal on, but there was no where to go. Just typical.

“Now visualize yourself breathing,” said the happy, happy voice, “and say, this is me breathing.”

“This is me breathing,” said Anya, edging forward, “some adventure.”

Interlude Before We’ve Begun

Anya was not having a good day.

She was hot and sticky from driving all day from Sunnydale to San Francisco. She’d been listening to self help tapes and all she felt like was as if she’d been listening to really boring self help tapes all day, but that had been okay at 90 miles an hour. Now she was hot and sticky and bored and cold all at the same time, because you couldn’t even see the sun through the really thick fog. Thick as jellied brains only thicker and ickier and whole lot colder and wetter and she’d been driving around San Francisco for hours and all the streets were one way and they didn’t make any sense and that guy at the gas station, he didn’t speak any English and she’d had to buy a map for $7.50 and his bathroom didn’t look like it had been cleaned since she had been human the first time and she couldn’t look at the map and drive at the same time and she had ripped the map and she was frustrated. Really, really frustrated. It didn’t seem fair that finding yourself should be so hard and take so much time and it’s stupid and this city was stupid and no one would ever let her change lanes and why are there streets and avenues with numbers in the names and why is there so much fog?

Oh, look the hotel.

Anya maneuvered her car into the park lot and shimmied her car into a tiny space. Please,don’t scratch. Carefully opened her door and slid out sidewise. Pulled out her nice little wheely suitcase. Skreatch, skreatch into the hotel.

The nice man at the counter, whose name was Kshetrapala Guptakrishnan, call me Guppy, checked her in, gave her a free parking pass, and told her where the “Getting to Know You” dinner for the “Achieving Synergy by Actualizing the Real You” seminar was being held.

Anya wanted a shower and a fruity drink with both alcohol and a small festive umbrella, in that order.

So, she went to her room and Anya looked upon the bathroom, of which she was the sole user and possessor, and saw that it was good. Plus hot water, which Anya felt was also good.

After an excessive wallow, she went and changed into something that went with this week’s hair and put on a little sticker that said, “Hello, my name is Anya.” Although she really wasn’t sure if she should keep that name or change it again to suit the new her. Whoever that was.

She looked into the mirror and practiced smiling. “Hello, my name is Anya Emmanuelle Jenkins. I own a magic shop. Except my ex-fiancee’s best friend destroyed it. But at least she didn’t destroy the whole world.” Bright smile, head bob.

She took a breath, cracked her spine, and smiled at the mirror again, “Hi, I’m Anya Jenkins, I was born on the Fourth of July, except I made that up. And I made up the Jenkins part too.”

She sighed and stopped smiling, “My name is Anyanka and four years ago I’d have pulled your intestines out through your nostrils if some woman had cried angrily enough and said I wish. Nice to meet you. What do you do?”

She put on some lipstick and went get to know some strangers.

Getting to Know You, the Really Real You

There was assigned seating. Assigned seating is good. It has structure.

There was a choice of chicken fiesta or vegetarian delight. This was not good. The chicken was not festive. The vegetables were not delightful. But, Hi My Name is Bob, a young computer something/something, entertained their table by speculating that the chicken was in fact alligator tail, which only tastes like chicken. The conversation went from there. Anya did briefly manage to stop the flow when she suggested that the chicken was the flesh of a saponaceous Saroya demon. But then she smiled and everyone laughed.

One of her books had suggested smiling when you weren’t sure of “the lay of the land.” and it was working pretty well for Anya.

She had several alcoholic, yet fruity, drinks Including one with a miniature plastic sword through a piece of pineapple, which she used as a prop in an amusing anecdote about the Decembrist Revolution, and progressively everyone got wittier and wittier, became best friends, Hi My Name is Bob was declared to in fact be everyone’s uncle and then Anya went to bed.

There were no girls or giggles or fights. She brushed her teeth in peace.

“Hey sweetie.” Anya glanced to the right. Hallie was perched on the vast counter top next to the complementary shampoo. Ever the fidget, Hallie jumped down and walked around Anya, who watched non Hallie in the mirror. “You don’t look so good.”

The room had been kind of spinning even before the First Evil showed up and now, “I think I’m going to throw up. If I projective vomit, will go away you?” said Anya.

“You never could hold your alcohol. Kind of like your men.” Hallie smiled and twitched her dress. “Why I remember when you and Dracula broke up. Well really it was mostly you mooning over him. As if a big name like that would give you the time of day.”

Anya sat down on the wonderful cold linoleum. The room was spinning so white. And if she sat very, very still, then her stomach wouldn’t know that it existed and except for the incarnation of supreme evil sitting on her toilet and the slight nausea, she felt, he, he, he, the floor was cold on the bottom of her legs. She had goosebumps.

Hallie leaned forward and snapped her fingers, “Hey, honey pay attention. If it weren’t for you and your little Miss Soft serve attitude, I’d be alive right now.” Hallie burst into heatless flames.

Anya jumped back and regretted it. She hit her head on the counter top. “Ow! You made me hit my head. And you’re not Hallie.” Anya began to laugh and cry at the same time, which just sort of resolved itself into a big hiccup. “You’re just the First Evil in a Hallie suit.”

“Sweetheart, it doesn’t work that way. I am Hallie or a part of Hallie.” Hallie burnt face smiled, blackened and creased, “A real big burned for your spineless whining part. Do you think D'Hoffryn is ever going to stop sending little reminders? Not enough to really kill you. Just enough to keep you latched on to a group of people who can hardly stand you. Barely tolerate you.” Hallie leaned forward on her throne, “They don’t know you like I do.”

Anya closed one eye to see if that would affect spin factor. Then she tried the other eye. First Evil Hallie jumping back and forth via perspective. It was. Not. A. Good. Idea. Hot tears traced down cheeks. Rough laughter spasming her chest. Fiery hiccups jerking her lungs. “How can you know the really real me? I don’t know the really real me.”

“Well, sweetie, that’s because there is no real you. You’re nothing but a whim in an Anya suit. Anyanka. Aud. Odd little nothing. Planting Cockle shells in your little garden because no one will play with little Miss Contrary.” Hallie crouched down next to Anya. Close enough to touch. Touch. More burning laughter. Shake the nausea and stir.

Still talking, taunting, burnt not Hallie, “But I’ll play. You let anger fill you once. You weren’t empty then. It gave you a name and a burning garden to play in. Then you were someone. Then you had power. Then…”

Anya pushed herself to her feet and waved her hand through Hallie, “I’m going to go pass out now. See you later.” Anya dragged slow steps the long way westward old woman to the big soft spinning bed.

Anya sort of jump/fell into bed cloud and closed her eyes. Some man was saying something about some vengeance something. “I’m not listening. I’m really drunk and those were really tasty drinks and I’ll feel guilty later when the room isn’t so busy. Kay. Kay.” Anya snuggled into her pillow and ignored the First Evil until it went away.


Light glowing under the burgundy curtains. Anya opened an eye. No Hallie, Vengeance Victim, Vengeance Wisher, Buffy, Potential, no one. Just a room.

She leveraged herself standing and looked in the mirror, made sure there were no dead people in the bathroom, told herself that she was a nice person and that everyone liked her and that her only responsibility was to be the most really real me that she could be and that this was incredibly stupid and that she had better leave this seminar fully and utterly enlightened or she was going to ask for her money back.

The first session was in a large beige room decorated with paintings of blue and purple splotches of pain. Paint. They do not look like bruises. They are probably artistic, but Anya just couldn’t see it, because she never understood and she was just a little tired of always having to ask for an explanation and her head hurt and she was fairly certain that she was having a bad hair day. But she only asked questions if she didn’t understand and it wasn’t like she actually said all the things that went through her head, even if it seemed like it, because she didn’t. It had always been like that and people were always laughing and they never explained and no matter how much she acquired, it never worked. And Anya was sure that if General Buffy were here, she’d just look at the paintings and know what they meant. And Anya had thought she’d finally figured out one thing, except she hadn’t and those were really ugly paintings. And she was going to sit down now.

Anya sat down in an empty chair towards the front, because she wanted to get her monies worth and self actualization was hard work and the air conditioner in the back of the room was freezing.

There was a vaguely familiar blond woman sitting on her left. She was wearing this long purple and turquoise velvet drippy gown thing, with really big romantic sleeves, and a black velvet corset top that was very, very tight. This woman was clearly not human. Her breasts were not heaving up, which is the natural result when you wear a device that prevents your chest from heaving out.

Probably a vampire. A really familiar vampire.

“Excuse me.” said Anya, “I know you. Who are you?”

“Oh, My GOD!” said the woman, “Anya. It’s Harmony! I went to school with you. In Sunnydale. We had Algebra and English, I think. And we were both friends with Cordelia. You wished me a nice summer if I survived the Ascension in my yearbook.”

“Hey, I do know you. You broke my arm. Or was it your minions? I don’t remember. I don’t care. You broke my arm. I don’t think I like you.”

“Oh!” Harmony began to cry, “I suck. I tried to kill Cordelia too and she was actually my friend. Except I even suck at sucking. My own minions tried to kill me.” Harmony began to sniffle.

The room was filling with people. People who were looking at them. Normally when this happened, Anya was the one drawing the attention. She patted Harmony on her shoulder. “There, there. There, there. So, why are you here?”

Harmony bounced in her seat, “Oh, I love Dr. Aldman. He’s incredible. I’ve been to this session six times and I feel soooo much better and more in control of my own un-life.”

“Six times, huh. I would have hoped at these prices for faster results. But isn’t it daylight? Not that that ever stops Spike.”

“Oh, don’t even mention His name. I am sooo over Spike. I have a new guy in my life, Raistlin, and he’s, okay, not cuter, but he hasn’t tried to stake me. And he’s really smart. He’s really been helping me understand the whole undead thing.” Harmony shook her head wisely, sadly and knowingly, causing the ankh on her black velvet chocker to dance about, “Raistlin says that we are tragically driven by our cursed natures to stand alone, looking out longingly from the magrawbolis, the city of the dead, at the eternally swimming tides of humanity as they sweep. It sucks, but in a cool popular way.”



“It’s necropolis. The city of the dead thing. I don’t know what a magrawbo is.” Anya rolled her eyes, winced at the pain and stopped, “And what kind of lame evil creature of the night are you?” asked Anya, “It’s nine in the morning.”

“Not a very good one.” Harmony sighed, “Or is it bad one.” Her brow wrinkled. “I get so confused some times.”

Anya said, “I know what you mean.” They looked around at the room’s fascinating purple, blue and beige color scheme. Did the I have nothing to say head bobble. “Oh,” said Anya, remembering point six in Making Small Talk Work for You!, “I like your top. It makes your waist look very small, and,” Anya gestured with her hands, “Your breasts appealingly large.”

“You think so?” Harmony looked down her side, “You don’t think it makes my butt look too big?”

“No, your butt is appealingly big. In contrast to your tiny waist and large breasts. It is a very nice outfit. And your sleeves are appealingly floppy and poetic.”

“Thanks. That’s so sweet.” They smiled at one another and then glanced around the room some more.

Fortunately, since Anya could not remember points one through five or point seven of how to make small talk, Dr. Aldman walked up to the podium.

For the next two hours, Anya learned about the Pyramid of Change, four steps for Avoiding Scripting and Anti-Scripting, and the six methods for Leveraging her Potentiality.

Then there was a break. The attendees disgorged from the hotel into a plaza area theoretically overlooking the ocean. Anya had seen pictures, which was fortunate because there was no ocean. Only fog and wave sounds. There was also a faint glowy spot where the sun theoretically should be. Harmony quickly smoked a clove cigarette, which apparently Raistlin found to be far more acceptable than actual cigarettes.

After the break, Dr. Aldman said more stuff. Anya doodled a wreath of flowers and implements of self actualization on side of her handouts. This was remarkably like school, except that she’d come of here of her own free will. Although, school hadn’t had Visio slides that made swishy noises. She’d hoped actually going to a seminar would make more sense than the stack of self-actualization books that she’d been acquiring.

Ah, lunch.

Anya chose the empowering three cheese lasagna, symbolic no doubt of the Pyramid of Change. While Harmony had a “shake” because of her dietary restrictions (i.e., she was trying to watch her weight, this corset was custom fitted at this little place in the city). There was gossip of Spike (He got what!), Xander (He did what!), Willow, (twewaa, She did what!), Buffy (Okay, What!) and Dawn (Huh?).

And after lunch, there were exercises.

There was this one where Anya learned trust by falling backwards into the arms of her partner, in this case, Harmony. Oh, yeah. Feeling the trust.

A role playing exercise. Harmony cried and got in touch with her feminine side. Anya wondered if it was too late to go back to vengeance.

During the turning “Bears into Bunnies” session on transforming curdles into cuddles, Anya discovered an urgent need to over there now. Why would anyone spring bunnies on a person like that. And she’d paid for this!

Then they played telephone. Apparently, Hi My Name is Ganji red maraca Xerox. And other stuff that Anya was too busy writing notes to Harmony to notice.

And the day was done. Everyone stood up and told each other that they were okay.

So, not much has happened has it?

“I am not going to a rave with you.” said Anya, “I like your dress, but you’re evil. You’ll eat me and I don’t want to be eaten. Although, it would be nice to leave the hotel.” She took a sip from her apple martini. It didn’t taste like apples and she wasn’t sure that she liked it. However, it was a very attractive green, which as she had learned today, was a positive color.

“There’s nothing to do on this end of town. It’s all damp and I’m bored.” Harmony twirled a strand of hair around a finger, “Anyway, I couldn’t possibly kill a friend. I am a creature of passion. Raistlin says that I’m a natural Toreador, because I’m so artistic. He’s more of a Tremere, because he’s into magic and he knows stuff.”

Anya snorted and grabbed a calamari appetizer, mmm…lime sauce, and leaned back in her person devouring lounge chair. Where was that waiter? Maybe a cranberry martini would be better. “I’ve never heard of those kinds of vampires. I just thought that there were vampires. Well, except for the prehistoric ones that we’re dealing with now in Sunnydale.”

“What do they look like?” said Harmony, eager to display her vast occult knowledge.

“Oh, you know, bumpy. Ugly. Very grr, rip your throat out, scream helplessly. That sort of thing.” Anya savored the taste of lime, reluctant to wash it away with not-apple.

“Oh, Nosfarto. Yeah, Raistlin says that they’re bad. Very, very bad.” Harmony sipped her margarita, nibbled a bit of salt, and looked around the room.

Hi My Name is Bob was sitting at the bar and was halfway through something brown with ice. He noticed Anya and gave her a little nod and smiled.

Harmony turned to Anya with a white flash of grin, “Hey, Anya, that guy at the bar, he’s checking you out. He’s kinda cute. Invite him over.”

“No. It’ll just end in tragedy and entrails. I’m just going to stay here in this overpriced hotel bar and drink great quantities of alcohol because I’m too lame to ever self actualize.”

Harmony leaned forward, “You’re not lame. You’re very cool. You know all sorts of things about demons, way more than me and maybe even Raistlin. And even though you’re really old, you don’t look it. Not even around your eyes. Now invite the cute guy over here.”

Anya smiled and had a sip of her green drink, for courage, if not taste, "Thank you, Harmony! You know, despite your utter vacuousness, you can be really nice sometimes."

“Oh, thanks. You’re so sweet.” Harmony played with her throat ankh, “Now, invite the guy over.”

Anya glanced over at the bar and made a little wave at Bob, who promptly picked up his drink and sauntered over.

“Hey,… ‘Uncle’ Bob,” Anya made sure that she was giving Bob her biggest bestest smile, “This is Harmony. We went to high school together. She is also attending the seminar.”

“Nice to meet you.” Bob smiled, obviously also attempting his best brightest, like me, like me smile. “So, what did you think of the lecture today?” He sat down in an empty lounge chair and promptly had to right himself due to extreme soft devouring chairness.

There was a pause. Harmony gestured in an extremely un-subtle manner that Anya should say something. Now.

“It was unsatisfactory,” said Anya, “I have read all of the books and I was hoping that an in person meeting would make more sense and guide me towards a more leveraged and actualized me.” Anya forgot that she was supposed to be smiling With All the Inner You, and rolled her eyes a bit and snorted. Snorted in front of an attractive guy. Sigh.

Bob laughed, “I know what you mean. These things can be a bit granola and buzzword. I guess the important thing is to get you thinking. Get some guidelines, you know. Not like an exact map or anything.”

Harmony gave Anya an extremely subtle thumbs up.

“Anyway,” said Bob, “Maybe you’re not the group help type. Maybe you’re more the forty days in the desert type. You know, eat locusts and honey and get all wise and enlightened.” He did a vague finger wave in the air, “The emptiness of the sublime thing. Did that once in college. Just went out in the Mojave and just watched the moon rise. It was incredible. Plus, I saw wild burros. And I should so shut up now and let the pretty woman talk.”

“I want to see wild burros.” said Anya. She leaned forward a bit.

“Well, there you go.” Bob danced his fingers a bit on the little table.

There was a lot of a bit in the air.

Anya smiled and then broke eye contact. Sipped and then smiled some more into her drink. Froze and then a horrible thought crept into her brain. She glanced up at Bob and then back down. Drank a large gulp of drink. Terrible thought remained, because a horrible, horrible truth – scripting, it exists. Dark hair, dark eyes, funny, talks too much, does the crinkly smile thing. Sympathetic now, sure.

“Soooo,” said Harmony, “Anya and I were thinking of going to this rave. Want to come?”

“Harmony!” Anya waved her hands back and forth, “Ixnay on the, oh, I suck at pig Latin. I thought we’d already discussed, Not Going.”

“Oh, but I thought you were just worried about two girls going by themselves to some dark spot. Now that Bob’s here it’ll be okay.” Harmony wound, un-wound, re-wound a strand of hair around her index finger, “Come on. It’ll be fun. They’ll be dancing and other alcohol and I’d only eat strangers, really. Come on.”

“Ummm…” said Bob, with extreme helpfulness, glancing from Anya to Harmony, Harmony to Anya. And being a guy, Harmony’s velvet corset and the flesh there constrained. He glanced up. “Heh.”

“No I don’t want to go. In fact, I think we should both go to bed.” Anya made a vague sign of the cross at Harmony.

“Um…” said Bob, “So, did I get my wires crossed here, because if I did I can just go?”

“Yes.” said Anya.

“What?” said Harmony, the veritable portrait of confused predation.

“Yes.” said Anya. “You've corrected deduced the situation. We are indeed Sapphic fellow-travelers, journeying together on the road to self and mutual fulfillment. C'mon, honey--I've got an Indigo Girls CD cranked up in the room." Anya glared at Harmony.

“Huh?” said Harmony. “What are you talking about?” Harmony smile, smile, smiled at Bob, “She’s just,” air quotes, “shy. She was like this in High School too. Ummm…Plus, her fiancée just dumped her at the alter and she needs to go out and have some fun. Dancing. At a rave.”

“Ohhh-kaaay.” said Bob.

“Hey!” said Anya.

“So,” said Bob, “Anya, do you want to go out and forget a bit? I’m pretty familiar with the city.”

“Yes, at a rave,” said Harmony.

“Harmony, you one track imbecile, I can’t even believe that I gossiped with you.” said Anya. “I’m sorry Bob, but Harmony’s a vampire,” Anya glared some more at Harmony, “and there’s no such thing as a Toreador.” She looked back at Bob, believe this stupid story, believe in me, “She just wants to suck you dry of all your blood and discard your lifeless corpse to rot in some deserted ally. Trust me. I know her type.” Back serve to Harmony, “And they’re Turok-han, not Nosfarts. Idiot!”

“Okay then.” said Bob, “I think I’m going to go back to the bar now.”

“Anya! You just met this guy and he looks kinda like Xander, so it’s perfect. Come on. Don't you want me to express the real me and reach my full potential?”

“Oh, I think you’ve reached the fullest possible potential for a dimwit."

Harmony scowled, "That's not very nice." Her face rippled into ridges. Her eyes deepened into popcorn butter yellow. “You are so on my kill list now.”

“Oh, please!” Anya reached into her purse and pulled out a mister and gave it a little squeeze. Harmony gave a satisfying sizzle. “I was a demon for 1100 years. I eviscerated twits like you for breakfast. Which I now feel bad about, but not enough to let you eat me or Bob here. Now shoo.”

Harmony growled in a girlish, cross eyed kind of way.

Anya hit Harmony with another sprits and pulled a stake from her purse, “I’ve got more where that came from.”

“You’re so Mean!” Harmony ran for the door and paused for dramatic effect, “And they’re all going to die you know. I’m connected to a great and powerful evil and it’s going to do really evil stuff to you. And you’ll totally regret being mean to me.”

“Oh, get a job you large bottomed leach on society,” said Anya, brandishing the stake in a random sort of way.

“Oh!” said Harmony, who turned to head out the door, missed by a foot, because two margaritas with three shots a piece will do that to your coordination, slammed into the door frame, took out a chunk and sobbing, poor little lost demon girl, fled from the room.

Anya shook her head, “Vampires, no work ethic. Well, that calls for a drink.”

Bob stared at her in frozen, what the f***!

“Yes, definitely a drink.” The waiter, who had been about to ask if they wanted more drinks, also stood frozen in definite guh?

“So, which of these oddly-named mixed drinks contains the largest quantity of alcoholic beverages?” said Anya.

“Uhh…the Long Island Ice Tea. I uh, did her face get all bumpy?” said the waiter.

“Was she burning? What is that? Acid?” said Bob.

“No, that’s not fruity enough. And no, holy water,” said Anya, “See,” She gave her face a sprits, “Both refreshing and sanctifying. I sold tons of these at the Magic Box. Not really useful against a determined vampire, but well, a good bargain at 6.99. So, do you have anything that tastes like punch? But with lots of alcohol.”

“Um, the uh…Long Beach Ice Tea. Tastes like a bit like punch and will knock you on your…did her eyes change color?”

“Yeah, I’ll have one of those. Do you want one too Bob?” said Anya.

“Yeah. I think that would be a good idea.” said Bob, sitting back down. This time taking full advantage of the soft large padding of his chair.

“Three Long Beach Ice Teas it is then. Grande,” said the waiter, who wandered back to the bar. Glanced at Anya and began to mix some large drinks. Hurray for America, land of the super size.

Anya pondered a bit and then took a drink from Harmony’s margarita. Well, Harmony wasn’t going to need it.

Gratuitous Dream Sequence

White slabs of concrete arranged in a crawling line stretched across the green prairie grass

Anya was a knight. She knew that because of the yellow fuzzy blankie tied around her neck. Andrew was her squire. He didn’t have a blankie.

She had a sword that was shiny and swishy and a cardboard shield shaped like a heart. Not an actual heart, but the representation of a heart and it was decorated with seven concentric bands of pink and red.

And then she was a child sitting on white carpet, coloring the bands in with a stubby felt marker. Careful back and forth and don’t go over the lines.

And then she was a knight again and her name was written on the back of the shield in Black Block Letters and the shield was strapped to her forearm. Andrew was holding her helmet and cardboard greaves that had been spray painted silver with her logo, a medallion of mighty morphing magical vengeance. Bar sinister.

She looked at the grass, which was short and thick and lush and very, very green. And full of holes.

It was very, very important that they walk in the absolute center of the sidewalk or white, white arms, like in that time machine movie, would reach up from the holes in the ground and try and grab them.

Anya knew that if they got her that they would drag her under the grass and devour her, even her bones. So, she cut them with her swishy shiny sword and their blood stood out thick on their arms and on the white concrete.

And then she was running over the grass. Slashing and cutting and running faster than they could grab. Practically flying. Falling forward. She was the wind and they couldn’t touch her. She was the fire and she burned them. She was a knight on a quest for a tree. A spreading tree in the midst of all that grass.

She climbed the tree and it was tall and smooth and leafy and safe. She pulled off one of the leaves. It was wide and long, covered in white down. She ate it, because this was the Tree of Knowledge. The leaf tasted like leather and ink and sweat. And she knew how to read the Monolith, like the one in 2001, which was next to the tree. And it would explain everything. Absolutely everything.

And then she woke up and was very, very pissed.

So, she put on a silky robe and made demanding calls to room service that she would regret and pay for later if the world was not destroyed.

On the Road Again

It was a horrible fuggly day in the City by the Bay. If you could see the Bay. You could barely see the seagulls huddled on the bridge.

“Going slowly,” sang out the chorus.

“Yeah, slowly.” Anya moved her foot off the brake and inched forward. “If I ever get to move.”

Then she saw the dreaded sign of changing lanes. This time to the right. Great. She sat there for a moment with her turn signal on. “Oh, this stupid. We’re all going three miles an hour.” And not waiting for the car next to her to give way, she just started to move into the right lane and magically, because Anya knew her magic, there was room. And then she passed the wrecked car that was blocking traffic and traffic was kinda sorta moving and she went through a tunnel and there was no fog on the other side, just a bright sunny day and industrial buildings in the distance and she made it all the way up to thirty miles an hour. Yay!

She started to sing her favorite musical book song, “Why go nowhere slowly, when you can go nowhere fast?” and did her groove while driving thing. She put on her sunglasses with the sparkles. “Maybe today won’t suck.”

“I wouldn’t count on it,” said Hallie.

“Oh, shut up!” and singing, “God Speed. God Speed. I’m going God Speed,” Anya drove past the Port of Oakland monsters and into the day.

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