Hawley believed in magic because magic was taking things as they were. Magic was discovering black holes, not harnessing them. It was observing the disparity of wealth, not inflecting it.
He wanted food. Noodles in umami that could be drawn into his mouth without a pause for breath. He left his home and his family, absorbed in a shattering riot of TV color, for the corner.
What was a home? Six unlike bipeds under roof and on camera. This was also a family. When the producers sat Hawley down and asked about his family, he included the producers, anonymously, in his description.
The lead producer had had another life as a regional network executive. Consolidations later, his facade perforated and peeled. He was paid the same as the associate producer, a green media studies major who had just finished her degree. One’s mortgage and child support was the other’s rent and student loans. Each always tried to skimp on their share of the takeout bill.
“But what about your parents?” they asked.
“What about your wife?”
Losing his job, the producer’s face said, had been like being disconnected from 911. He preferred to keep to himself. He never looked in mirrors; he knew he had no heart.
At the corner, traffic signals were against Hawley. And the train came through.
A Grand Am with more rust than trunk roared into view – faulty muffler. It did not stop. The bank’s front windows excused themselves gracelessly.
Bank security drew guns, but too slowly, and succumbed.
Magic. Hawley held this thought, from behind a bench. Magic was when you couldn’t inflect the world.
He was the fifth person to call 911. Immediately after, he called the producers. They were his family too.
The whole household came down to gawk. He joined them at the police barricade. He was intact, but hungry. Family shared a loaf of bread.
In their era, there were no great wanderings or tales of heroic exile. There was only glue. They would keep vigil for as long.