10/25/21 Snippet, TINSEL RAIN.

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When I got back to the office, Graciella was already there and going through paperwork from old Cases, just like I had told her to. She was deep enough in them that she started a little when I opened the door. “Oh, hi, sir! How was the Castle?”

I was surprised she sounded interested, but then I remembered how my new Sidekick was from the wild and woolly north. Familiarity hadn’t gotten hot and bothered enough to breed some contempt. Yet. “It was the Castle. Walls still doing what it’s there for.”

“Keeping out the riff-raff?”

“Nah. Making sure the hangers-on don’t become layabouts. Is that the file from the Wolfie Case?”

“‘Wolfie?’ Oh… right. Yeah, it is.” She looked at me funny. “Isn’t that dangerous?”

I went to pour myself a cup of coffee, and kept myself from wincing it when I took a sip. Graciella liked the stuff, but she made it a little too strong. “What is?”

“Making fun of a Dominion mage like that?” Her brow furrowed. “Especially since there’s another one in town now?”

“Ah. No, and for two reasons.” I sat, in the approved ‘Shamus about to expound’ posture. “First off, he was a fake. No mage can be killed with a bullet, so if you do kill one with a bullet then he couldn’t be a real mage. Ask anybody from the Dominion, they’ll tell you.”

I could feel the dubiousness coming off of Graciella over that, but she let it slide. “All right. What’s the other reason?”

“Oh, that one’s even easier.” I sipped more coffee gravy. “You can say whatever you like about a dead Dominion mage. They’re dead and gone, so who cares?”