Septemus 23


Dear Sept,

You’re sleeping soundly on the divan while I’m writing. We had a big night at your new favorite place, the karaoke bar.

“Please can we go?” you asked during supper. “I’ll sing your favorite song!”

“What song is that?”

“You’ll know it when you hear it,” you said.

“All right.” It’s so hard for me to refuse you anything. “As soon as I do the dishes, we’ll head out and catch the next tram.”

“I’ll do them!” And you popped right up, grabbed my plate before I’d even finished the last bite, and washed it up, along with the pots and pans.


Ten minutes later, we were sitting in the first seat of the tram, watching the city lights coming ever closer, and half an hour later, I was listening to you sing, “Here Comes the Sun.”


All it took was hearing your high fluty echoing voice singing, “Little darling! The smiles returning to their faces,” for me to realize, yes. This is my favorite song.

Thankyouverymuch,” you said as soon as you were done. “I gotta say hi to Molly!” And you dashed out of the room.


I found you talking with the bartender.


“Does this belong to you?” she asked me.

“Well, not exactly,” I replied. “Septemus is very much his own person. But we came here together.”

“That’s OK,” you whispered to me. “It’snotliteral. It’s just a way of saying that I’m your son.”

Molly chuckled.


“You’re a very nice person,” you said to Molly. And you hopped up and grabbed all the dirty glasses and appetizer plates from the bar, and whisked them off to wash them.

“Is he always this helpful?” Molly asked.

“Actually, yes,” I replied. “But I also think he wants to be sure he can come back here anytime he wants. This is his new favorite place.”


It got late quickly, and we had to head out to catch the last tram home.

On our way out, you stopped to talk with a vendor.

“Do you really grill the garlic at the spice festival?” you asked him. He was wearing a spice festival garlic hat and apron.

“Actually, no,” the man replied. “I am, actually, very allergic to garlic. Can’t get near the stuff. This is just, you know, regulation.”


“Say,” said the man. “Do you have a little sister? Or maybe cousin?”

“Oh, I have loads of brothers and sisters!” you replied. “Ninety-nine, to be exact. Why?”

“Do you have, maybe, a little cousin named Pandora?” he asked.

“Pandora?” you replied. “What’s her number?”

“I don’t know what you mean,” he said. “Her name is Pandora. She’s my neighbor. She looks a lot like you.”

You got quiet.


“Yes, she’s probably my sister,” you said at last. “Tell her that Ruki says ‘sintu liyu.'”

The vendor walked off to the Forgotten Hollow station, and we got in line with the folks at the Magnolia Park/Willow Creek stop. You looked around at everyone, dressed like they’d just stepped out of a costume party.

“You know what, Pops?” you said. “I love the city.”


Oh, son. I hope this world remains a place of friends and friendliness to you, always.

Your pops,


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