The Book of Lilly

“So give me the goddamn thing.”

Potsy eyed the man before speaking.  “I don’t think so.”

“Well if you don’t know what the fuck it is, why should it matter to you?”

Sir Charles, or so he claimed was his name, was a very tall mammoth of an African Canadian.  Potsy felt he even looked like “Sir” Charles Barkley, the basketball player…however, his tattered clothing suggested that this Sir Charles did not quite make the same amount of coin as Barkley did.  The two currently stood, eye to chest, in the GO Bus terminal just across from Union Station.

The GO Buses, the provincially run intercity buses, would normally hustle downtown commuters out to the sleeping suburbs like Mississauga, Newmarket, Burlington or Guelph each day.  At four o’clock on a Sunday morning, however, it was deserted…other than Potsy, the massive Sir Charles and a three of Sir Charles’ closest friends.

This was the last place Potsy had expected to find himself after Flying Carl, the dead homeless guy that he and his friends had found earlier.  At Tammy’s urging, Potsy had hidden the crystal ring and chain that Flying Carl had given him with his dying words and did not mention it during the police interviews.  Flying Carl was a name that Bill had given the dead man as they drove home an hour later.

They had arrived back at Bill and Potsy’s shared condo and, as a group, made love.  Potsy and Bill had regularly discussed sex, and even watched each other, but this was the first time they had shared partners.  At one point, both Tammy and Mary were riding Potsy’s erection and referred to him as a god.  Potsy, however, was simply laying on the living room floor while they did all the work.

A bit later Mary was straddling his face and he was fingering Tammy who was also up on her knees beside him.  The fact that a mouth engulfed his dick was not the most shocking part.  Even Bill, after sucking on him for a while, then saying “You’re like a god, man.” did not shock him.  The fact that Potsy found this entire activity rather dull and these three useless, however, did.

Two hours ago he had stood in the bay window of Bill’s bedroom with his naked body looking out over the naked city from 27 floors up.  The three all slept in the bed behind him, both women with their heads close to Bill’s lap at the ready to spring into action should a random erection occur.  Potsy reached into his jacket and found the crystal ring.  He held it up and looked at its glow from the city lights and how it twisted refracting different colours that seemed to change with every passing second.

He had to know what it was.

He made his way quietly back to his own bedroom.  Dressed and found his long black leather coat.  He was what Neo would have looked like with light brown hair and no sunglasses as he made his way out of the building and back to the scene.

Phil Copeland, one of the police officers that had interviewed him saw him.  “Can’t sleep?  Too much shock.”

Potsy nodded and smiled.  “Yeah, something like that.  Did you guys talk to any of the other homeless who saw it happen?  There were some watching from over there.” He pointed to the southwest corner of Front and Yonge.

Officer Copeland had a similar shape to Flying Carl in that they both resembled pears.  His black uniform and fluorescent yellow jacket did nothing to help him.  “You mentioned that, but we never found anyone who said they saw it.”  He shrugged.  “I can tell you they found no drugs or alcohol in the victim’s body, so it was simply a misadventure.  Suicide or psychotic episode, we will probably never know, but the man was in fantastic health.”

Potsy thanked him and walked around the taped off area and down towards where he had seen the group.  Walking down along the street and into the empty GO Terminal where he met one Sir Charles and his posse.

Now, still eye to chest with Sir Charles, he found himself looking at the dirty white tee-shirt under the heavy felt coat.  “Sir Charles, just tell me what it is.”

Charles brown eyes burned down at him.  “Or else what?”

Potsy shrugged.  “Or else I’ll take it to the local pawn shop and see what happens.”

Charles and his posse all broke into laughter.

“You have no fucking idea, do you?”

Potsy shrugged again, feeling the tension releasing with their laughter.

Sir Charles arose back up to intimidation status, however, and stated, “If you would be kind enough to give it to me, I will be kind enough not to mash your skull into the pavement.”

Potsy wanted to shrink, as he normally would have, but something in him stopped it.  “You can’t do that,” he hissed at Charles.

“CHARLES!” a woman’s voice called from a shadowed bus shelter.  “You know better.”

Charles’ shoulders slumped like a guilty school boy.  He glanced over at the shadow that now approached and nodded.

The shadow was tiny, no more than five foot and a very trim female form.  She had curly brunette hair that was unevenly cut at her shoulders.  “Please forgive my friend here, but…” Her clothes were like a dusty homeless cat suit, mostly black, that showed off gorgeous curves on her petite frame.

Potsy shook his head.  “This is like a bad scene out of a movie here.”

She offered her hand.  “I’m Book.”

“Book?”  Potsy shook his head again.  “Isn’t that the character name that Neil Gaiman uses in Neverwhere?”

She laughed and covered her mouth with her wrist.  “You’ve read it?”

Potsy nodded.  “Saw the mini series even.”

“Okay, I’m Lilly then.  I like the name Book as it has such a mysterious feel to it.  Oh well.”

He shook her hand this time. “Potsy.”

“Potsy?” She mocked. “Isn’t that the character name from Happy Days?”

“Yeah, but it’s my real name.”

Lilly shrugged. “So you have the crystal, do you?”

Potsy carefully eyed Sir Charles before nodding.

“Notice anything different?”

“Like what?”

She laughed. “Lack of interest. Doing something extraordinarily well that, perhaps you were average at before.”

Potsy pretended not to understand.

“Try wearing it,” Lilly suggested.

“What is it?”

“Just fucking try it.”

“Lilly?” Sir Charles stepped in sheepishly. “Perhaps Carl made a bad choice.”

“Charles, take it from him. Inside left pocket of his trench coat,” Lilly ordered.

Two of Charles’ friends stepped up and each grabbed one of Potsy’s arms.

In an even deeper timbre than normal, Charles said, “This won’t hurt a bit.”

Potsy struggled to no avail and was surprised by their strength. “Wait…”

Charles reached in and, as Lilly had predicted found the large crystal hoop on the chain. He smiled broadly and pulled back. “I have it.”

Lilly smiled at it as well. She gave another order, “Put it on him.”

The smile on Charles’ face vanished. “But…”

A glare from Lilly silenced the question.

As ordered, Charles unlatched the chain. Walking behind Potsy, Charles slipped it around Potsy’s neck and clasped it again at the back.

Potsy felt warmth course through before everything went black.

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