Based on a line from a James Bond novel, where Our Boy notices a Black woman behind the wheel, and reflects that "it's rare to see a Negro woman driving", and of course it turns out to be Mr. Big. I reflected I could come up with at least four other stories...
  • Y’all…this is Foxy Brown, an’ this is YOUR Foxy Taxi! We do ANY kind of drivin', funerals, weddings, anythin 'cept proms. Too much clean up. But, to the airport, or around the block, we'll take you there with sass, no frass, and class! 
  • He’s actually the usual driver, and his wife (or daughter) is driving him to his annual eye test
  • She’s the latest teenage R&B singing sensation! She bought this boat, and she loves driving it! The man in the back is her manager. 
  • This IS our family car. A used limo is cheaper than a new station wagon. We have four kids, we need the room. Yeah, he looks like a cradle robber.  Bad…what was that again…genes? We're actually quite close in age. Anyway, my turn to drive today. 
Have fun with this. Can you do better?
Harlem in the Fifties was a neighborhood full of contradictions. If you subtracted the people, and simply looked at the buildings, it looked like a normal small city in itself, with a Grand Hotel (the Theresa), several High Streets of shopping, and plenty of urban housing, some fairly high-end. There were doctor’s and lawyer’s offices, plenty of restaurants and night clubs, all the normal amenities, and then some: there were more, and smaller, churches than most places, and corner stores were smaller and shabbier, but more numerous, than the lower East Side. Subtracting white people, there were plenty of schoolteachers, but not police, some lawyers, but not judges, many nurses, but not doctors. Libraries would have custodians, but not librarians, banks, guards, but not bankers, nightclubs, performers, waitstaff, and crew, but not owners. Absentee landlords outnumbered those on site, with all the evils of the system. Being thoroughly middle class is rare, being affluent, even rarer, but not unknown.

Women, as in most traditional societies, are either goddesses or doormats. That is, one either leans on one's virtue, or throws one's self away. Everyone wants to have 'good hair' (straight) and 'good skin' (lighter). Men fear/love their mothers, and love/dominate their women. Every family is a two-income family: even on Sugar Hill (the Millionaires' Row) people talk about men as being 'in banking' if only because they work at a a custodian or security guard.

In short, the Northern solution to The Race Problem: they can go as high as they will, but don't they dare leave their (geographical) place.

Note: Contains lots of swear words, as in mostly constructed of same. Feel free to continue on or flee to safety.


Mr. Bigglesnort squeezed his expansive bulk into the back of the limousine. He slipped a fiver into the hand of the Ritz Carlton concierge before he closed the door.

“All right, James, let’s get going. The SS Blue Riband leaves for London from Pier 23. Try not to be late this time,” said the financier with an Oxford-educated accent. He distracted himself looking for something to eat in the well-stocked larder.

The small window between the opulent passenger section and the utilitarian driver’s seat snapped open. A black woman with a chauffer’s cap perched on her dreadlocks peered back. “Sit yo fat white ass down, bitch. We got a bumpy ride ahead.”

The limo lurched forward, tires squealing, throwing Mr. Bigglesnort sideways in the back seat. He flailed around like a turtle as the vehicle hurtled around corners and raced through red traffic lights.

“I say, please don’t hurt me!” he whimpered. “I’m only visiting, I’ll leave the country straight away!”

The limo driver adjusted the rear view mirror so she could see the man shaking like jelly. “Yeah, I know who yo ass is. Sir Percival Bigglesnort. Mister got more fucking cash than Jesus.”

“If it’s a ransom, I’m sure we can reach some kind of arrangement to your satisfaction,” he said, finally righting himself.

She reached for something and produced a nickel-plated revolver, holding it up so he could see it through the sliding window. “Shut the fuck up or I’m gonna put some fucking holes in your lard ass. Fucking lead-based liposuction if you don’t do what I say, bitch.”

Mr. Bigglesnort braced himself as best he could and stared at his captor until they were out of New York City. She drove until dusk, then pulled off of the highway and turned into a metal machinery shed set back among a grove of maples.

She exited the limo and opened the door. “Get the goddamn fuck outta there before I get pissed. I can’t call triple-A to get a tow truck out here to unload you.”

It took several tries but the financier huffed and puffed his way out of the vehicle.

She pointed the gun at his head and pulled the hammer back. “Do I got yo attention now, motherfucker?”

“Yes, m’am,” he said, a dark stain forming on his pants and running downward.

“I ain’t no m’am. My name is Latisha Jones. Say it, bitch!

“Your name is La…Latisha Jones.”

“If you don’t do exactly what I’m about to tell you, I’m gonna pull this trigger and spray lard brains all over this place. You got that?”

He nodded, knees shaking so hard he had to keep catching himself by grabbing the limo door. “Yes, m’am. I mean yes, Latisha Jones.”

“You learnin’. Now, pay close attention. Your life depends on this next part.” She moved closer, placing the barrel of the revolver against his forehead. “In ten years, you gonna have a son. His name is Reginald, which is a fucked up name in both this time and the nineteen eighties. You gonna tell him to send one of them goddamn fucking time machines he makes to this exact time and space. Lookit your watch, bitch.”

He slowly pulled his pocket watch chain until it slid into his sweaty palm.

“What time is it? Hurry, ain’t got all fucking day.”

He glanced down. “It’s six fifty-five.”

“Tell yo son if he ain’t got a time machine here by seven, I’m gonna give him a retroactive abortion by killing his fat fuck of a father before his fat fucking sperm swims up his pathetic excuse of a mother. Remember that. Seven o’clock means I punch yo clock, bitch.”

An earsplitting crack made them both wonder if she had accidentally pulled the trigger, but a blinking metal box had appeared in front of the limo. Mr. Bigglesnort fell over in a dead faint.

“You fuckin’ lucky you got a good memory, bitch.” She pulled off her chauffer’s cap and threw it at his face.

The door of the metal box opened and a voice said, “Time machine #5 is pre-programmed to return you to 1988, leaving in five…four…”

Latisha dove in just as the door slammed shut. The whole machine vibrated for a few minutes, just like it did when she had volunteered to test it out.

The door opened and she marched out, ready to give her asshole boyfriend a piece of her mind.. Instead of a loft apartment on Park Avenue, she was surrounded by brackish water and a ring of magma-spewing volcanoes stretching off into the distance. Every few minutes large meteors streaked across the sky, bursting into pieces and plunging into the water.


The door of the time machine closed and, as it faded from view, a familiar older and shaky voice said, “I say, who’s the bitch now?

"Turn here," the portly man said.

She did. "So you see him?" she said. She cast a glance at him through the rear view mirror and saw that his eyes were still closed. "Got anything?"

He raised up a finger to shush her and frowned, brow furrowing.

"I think. . . I. . . Yes! Left up ahead! Left!"

The limo squealed as she took sharp turn, nearly taking on two wheels.

"This thing doesn't exactly turn easy!" she said. "Give me a little warning!" She pulled down an alley way just barely big enough to squeeze into. Nobody followed them.

"I'm warning you now, squirt, I--" His eyes flew open. "Oh no."

"What?" She killed the engine and turned to face him. "Zeb? Zeb what--?"

The man unbuckled his seat and clamored out the door. Claire grit her teeth, grabbed her baton, and followed suit. If Zeb was moving fast, then that meant big trouble.

Zeb was standing in front of the car, favoring his left side. Claire absently noticed he'd forgotten his cane inside the limo.

"Zeb," she said, her voice low. "Is it-?"

There was a sudden gust of wind blown down the alley strong enough to kick up every leaf, can, and piece of trash towards the duo. It was hot, and it was damp, and it smelled like rotten meat.

Zeb held up his hand, palm out towards the alley.

"Come out, Talagon!" he said to the empty air. "I know you're here!"

To Claire, it looked as though the new man stepped out of nothing. There was no sign of any portal or spell, no puff of smoke or flash of light to signal his appearance, save for the slightest shimmer in the air. The newcomer was tall, thin, and would have been considered well dressed in the 1800s, with a high-waisted vest, a coat with tails, and a cravat. He smiled at the two mildly, and his slightly-curled blond hair was almost long enough to cover the tell-tale points of his ears.

"Very well, Zebulain," he said in an airy British accent. He opened his arms, as if gesturing to the alley around them. "You caught me."

He snapped his fingers, there was a flash of blinding light. Claire turned away, eyes closed, but was too slow to shut it out entirely, and her vision filled with dancing red spots. The force of the elf's blast of magic threw her back, and she landed roughly on the hood of the limo.

"Ugh," she said, sitting up. There was definitely a dent in the hood. She'd been lucky her head hadn't hit the windshield. Blearily, she checked her bracelet, a thick silver one carved with arcane runes, with a gem inlaid on top. A pang of relief flooded her chest; the bracelet seemed undamaged.

Zeb and Talagon stood a few feet away. An opalescent forcefield that looked for all the world like a giant soap bubble surrounded Zeb, ready to sheild him from any oncoming magical assaults. Talagon stood facing him, a swirling, inky darkness at his back and around his feet. The darkness branched out at his back like writhing tentacles, spreading across the alley on the ground and onto the sides of the buildings on either side of them. Claire wrinkled her nose. The air stank of necromancy and shadow magic.

"What was their plan, Zebulain?" Talagon said, projecting his voice. "The Order sends a crippled old man to stop me?"

Talagon drew back his arm and hurled a bold of dark, Aetheric energy. Zebulain raised his hand, as if hitting it away, and the bolt blasted off the side of the wall, taking out a chunk of concrete. Claire slid off the hood, trying to make herself seem less noticeable. Zeb needed his cane. If she could just get to it. . .

The two were sparring, now, with Talagon on the offensive. It was all Zeb could to to block his attacks. Talagon threw dark lightning, Zeb's forcefield expanded to absorb the blast. Talagon rained down dark fire, Zeb moved as though he were performing Tai-Chi and guided the fire away from himself, back towards the elf.

Claire tucked her baton into her inner-coat pocket and crept to the passenger side where Zeb had been seated. She tried to open the door, but it was jammed shut.

"Oh crabapples," she hissed, tugging on the door has hard as she could while trying not to be noticed. She was so focused on the door and getting the cane, she didn't see when Zeb's shield finally broke under a rain of burning hail. All she saw, out of the corner of her eye, was something being launched down down the alley and into a fire escape. She heard the crack and looked up in time to see Zeb's body fall from the elevated stairway onto the concrete.

For a second, there was nothing. No noise. No breath. She thought later that her heart might've stopped beating. Then, she heard Talagon laugh-- the elfin laugh all his kind had that usually brought to mind golden sunsets and bells, but from him only made her think of psychiatric wards and rotting cloth. She turned and saw Talagon striding towards Zeb's body, his hand out like he was about to do more to him.

The world rushed back to motion.

"Get away from him!" Claire shrieked. She ran between the two men and faced Talagon head on.

"Who are you?" said Talagon.

She tried desperately to remember her training. "Talagon Othelriel, former Lord of the Sidhe Courts, by command of the Order Arcane, you are under arrest for--"

He was frowning at her, head tilted. "You smell. . . odd," he said, wrinkling his nose. "There's something wrong with your magic."

"You are charged with--"

"Clarion," he said, snapping his fingers like he'd just remembered. "Clarion Ngwenya! The Jinx. I've heard about you."

"You're under arrest," she said again, her voice shaking.

"Here I am," he said. "So tell me, what do you intend to do?" He took a step forward.

Claire felt fear rising in her chest. Zeb was hurt. If he was alive, he'd heal, but he wasn't getting up any time soon, and his cane-- his focus-- was still stuck in the limo. She'd never done this before on her own, and now their lives were depending on her--

The gem on her bracelet burned a vibrant red, growing warmer by the second. She covered the bracelet with her other hand and turned partly away from Talagon. "Stay back!" she said, an edge of panic in her voice.

Talagon grinned, seeming to enjoy her fear.

"Or what, jinx child?" Shadows gathered at his back. These ones were not just strange, swirling tendrils, but creature made of darkness. The crawled out of his back and stood along side him, mouths open, their silhouetted teeth large and sharp.

Somewhere behind her, Zebulain groaned. Relief blossomed her chest. Still alive then.

"I said you're under arrest," Claire said again, voice bolder. She produced her baton from her pocket and held it up like Zeb had trained her to do.

Talagon stopped mid-stride.

"Is that. . . Is that an anime thing?" he said.

Claire looked at her wand. It looked like it was made of hard plastic. It was long, pink, and topped with two inward-facing gold spirals that formed the shape of a heart. On top of the heart was a crown. Below the heart was a gold bow. In short, it was a replica Spiral Heart Moon Rod from Sailor Moon that she had gotten online when she was twelve.

"That is!" said Talagon. He sounded excited. "That's an anime thing! I can't believe it! That's so pathetic. That's so. . . nerdy."

"Shut up!" Claire said.

Then Talagon pointed at her and snapped his fingers. The shadow monsters sprang towards her.

Claire yelped and threw her hands up, shielding her face. With a brief direction of will, the ambient power that had been burning through the gem in bracelet broke free. Without a focus, as had happened so many times before, the magic would have gone wild. It would have destroyed anything, or created anything. It could have blasted anything in front of her and reduced it all to ash, or it could have turned her purple polkadot, or it could have caused an earthquake. It could have set fires ten miles away, or it could have extinguished the lives of every insect within city limits. The possibilities, horrifying and unknown, were endless.

But she had a focus. Instead of spraying out in a wild burst, the power coursed through the wand in her hand, and waves of twisting, pale pink light shot out of the crown, enveloping the oncoming shadows. There was a brief moment where the shadow creatures' silhouetted jaws opened to scream in shock and terror, screams that had no voice but drilled their way directly into Claire's mind, but it was only for a second, maybe half of one. The light tore through the shadows and began to take form a few feet before reaching Talagon.

Through the chaos, Claire could see Talagon looking at her and her light, mouth agape, eyes wide, as the light barreled directly towards him. He closed his eyes and flinched-- something she'd never seen any elf do before-- and he waited for the devastating light.

What he got were bubbles.

Hundreds upon hundreds of glistening, soapy bubbles, tinged slightly pink. The smallest was the size of a pea. The largest were big enough to fit a basketball inside. They surrounded the elf harmlessly. Some popped. Some stuck to his clothes. Some collided into each other and formed larger bubbles, then popped from the stress.

He stared. There was a solid few seconds of silence that stretched endlessly between them. Then, Talagon laughed.

"Bubbles?" he said.

"Shut up!" Claire said, face burning.

"Bubbles!" he said again. He held his hand out to catch a few. "To think I was afraid for a moment there, jinx!"

"Shut up!" Claire said again, whipping her baton forward, shaking it and trying to get it to do something useful.

A beam of pink and gold light spilled out. Talagon raised his arms and called up a towering wall of darkness to protect him. When the pink light ceased a moment later, he lowered his wall and laughed some more.

"Oh ye gods!"

Claire winced.

Everywhere the beam of light had touched was now covered in stickers. Layered with stickers. Carpeted, cocooned, and engulfed by stickers. Bright, cheerful stickers of pink hearts and cute animal faces and glittering seashells covered a good chunk of the alley now. Stylized flowers, unicorns, rainbows, dolphins-- there was nothing that would be out of place in a Lisa Frank binder.

Talagon started towards her again, casually and slow. He sauntered. "Jinx," he said, as though he were sharing a secret. "You're becoming more entertaining by the second."

His eyes glinted, and Claire suddenly remembered the old stories about the Sidhe. How they'd steal away people they found interesting. Children. Artists. Musicians.


He came closer. Five feet away. Three feet. Then, he was within arm's reach. He eyed her in a way that made the hairs on the back of her neck stand straight up.

"What's the matter, child?" he said. "Suddenly shy?" He reached out like he was going to touch her.

Claire closed her eyes and held the wand two-handed. "Moon Spiral Heart Attack!" she hollered, hitting him upside the head. There was a heavy thunk, much louder than any plastic toy could produce, but the correct sound for a plastic toy that had been reconfigured to have iron and silver painted pink and gold. There was a crack as Talagon's nose broke and began gushing scarlet-and-silver blood.

Talagon screamed in pain. His skin burned and peeled where the wand had touched him, and any protective magics he had dispelled.

"What?" he screeched, backing away and shielding himself with his arms.

"Eat iron, elf!"

She followed him, thwacking him furiously with the wand.

"Stop resisting!" she shouted, giddy with fear and adrenaline. She couldn't help herself. It was working! He was on the run! He was--

With a piercing cry that shattered windows, lamp lights, and the limousine's windshield, Talagon stepped backwards into thin air, with only a slight haze in the air to show his passing.

--on the run.


Claire stood, waiting. Her heart was pounding, her ears were full of the sound of rushing blood. She couldn't feel out timelines and anomalies like Zeb could. She had no idea if Talagon was truly gone, or if he was there, invisible, waiting for her to let her guard down.

There was a groan from behind her.

Cautiously, she went to Zeb.

The old man was struggling to his feet, leaning heavily against the wall.

"Zeb!" she said, going to help him up. "Did you see that?"

"Part," he grunted. "Auugh. My back. . . "

"I scared him off," she said. "I beat up an elf."

"I saw, kiddo. Got him right in the schnoz Good work. But. . . bubbles? Really?

"I was going for fire," she said, tucking under his arm and taking his weight on her shoulder. "Big spurts of hellfire. Bubbles just sorta happened. Where'd he go?"

"Back to the 2000s, I'd wager."

"Do you think we stopped him from changing the future?" Claire said, leading him to the car.

Zeb closed his eyes for a moment, leaning against the vehicle. "Well, the timelines seem fine, and no big-wig political magicians from back home are telepathically yelling my ears off, so I'm guessing we stopped him."

"Zeb," she said, suddenly exhausted. "Let's go home. This time period sucks."

"Agreed," Zeb said. "Wait a sec." He touched the passenger door of the limousine and it crumpled inward like tissue paper, shrinking in on itself until it was a molten blob of metal the size of his fist. He grabbed his cane.

"Last time I ever use a company car," he grumbled. "None of those office types have any idea about practicality. It's all image image image. . ."

He used the cane to point at the wall across from them, and a violet portal opened up. It moved like turbulent water and emanated purple light.
Together, the two walked through, and vanished.

The alley was quiet.

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