Doug kind of likes California
California’s nice if you can find parking. There’s ocean here where I live with Diana, fog in the summer, rain, humpback whales breaching in Monterey Bay, and dolphins of all types shoot the tubes along Marina Beach. It’s a lovely place. It’s also a place where regular folk are choked out of residence by the almighty dollar. That’s too bad. People in Cottonwood might like to visit here, but they’d never afford the rent. I wouldn’t be able to afford it. There are too many tech-made cash buyers hoping to short-term rental the hell out of the place.
We’re in the old Sturgis house. There’s something of a creepy feel to the little place and not just because the home, worth a fat million here and about one-hundred and fifty thousand dollars anywhere else, is more than one hundred years old, but because I knew the cantankerous old lady who used to sleep under this worn-out roof. That wormy old witch still gives me nightmares, but Diana says they’ll go away as time passes. She’s at rest now anyway. We saw to that. We’re starting a new life here, one still connected to the old one, but with a twist. I still have my apartment in Cottonwood for one thing, renovated after the fire, and memories of my son remain there. But I’m doing good work now, work he would be proud of. When I go out to visit, I stay there; otherwise I let Glenn live in the place rent free. He’s got a job to do anyway. We both do.
Our coastal place is old adobe-style architecture and made from original materials harvested around Monterey at the time. The windows are small and sunlight is in short supply within the cramped little pad. It’s these shadowy areas I get the creeps in. But I’m getting used to it. I might be missing most of my left leg below the knee, but I’m still something of a hero. I’m still Mantula. I’ll barge dumbly into any situation.
Only I need a little physical therapy first. Kolbe said he couldn’t interfere any further than he has already, so I was on my own when it came to the missing leg. Kip Mooney was serving time for it at least, that and for burning down my crappy little apartment. The saints had used up most of their mystical, Catholic magic setting things right with the old witch. Dymphna hasn’t said a word since the whole thing. Not to me anyway. But Kolbe still sends emails once in a while, reminding Glenn and I of our task. Keep the curse at bay by helping the cursed, helping those around us who suffer. Lucky for me there’s no quota. “We don’t know if the Sturgis Curse will return. We must act proactively to keep on top of any possible issues,” Kolbe told me before I left Arizona.
I laughed. “You just don’t want I bunch of cursed psychopaths running around your town again.”
“It got annoying.”
Say goodbye to Glenn and Doug!
Glenn and I have a pretty good set up when it comes to providing help. We’ve been told we can switch bodies at will pretty much whenever we choose. It seems all of the cursed can, but Kolbe doesn’t want to make a big deal of the fact. Anyone who suffered under the Sturgis curse can alternate back and forth. I doubt any of us have returned to our creature bodies, however. I may try it at some point, but I’m in no hurry to go back to my hairy little existence. Glenn wants to give it a shot. He has this big idea of us going on patrol when I come visit for the holidays.
Until that happens, he’s keeping busy with the people of northern Arizona.
From: Glenn Darling
Subject: Wassup Turkey?
Date: November 26 2014 10:37 AM
To: Doug Lansing
How you living, bestie? We are all set for a full house turkey day here. That one girl, Sandra, who was a sparrow, is cooking two big old birds for everyone and we got others bringing stuffing, pie, candied yams, mashed taters and everything else Thanksgiving is famous for. It’s going to be a killer day. Have to say it’s been tough keeping everyone together and sane. Had a guy go off the wagon, back onto meth, and he split. But overall I dig it here and I like being busy. Sandra’s pretty hot too. She hasn’t cut herself for like over a week, which is killer. Hey, when you come out, don’t forget to bring salt water taffy like you promised. Tell your woman wazzup. Hope you two have a fun Thanksgiving. We’re probably going to do a Godzilla marathon.
Glenn still needed to work on his hipness, but reading such cheer from him made me smile. He was needed there. He had a purpose, which is something I doubt he’d ever had before.
I didn’t need any purpose. The woman sitting like an angel next to me on the beach, currently with a mouth full of egg salad, while I read ManQuail’s email, amounted to all the purpose I needed in life. Diana Sturgis should be a saint for all the crap she’s had to endure in her life, especially lately. With the curse over and the evil spirit laid to rest, she was taking a bit of time off from the drone business, letting her partners run the company for a month or two. We planned to make the most of that time, mostly right here on the beach.
MANTULA Will Not Return