by Tim Pratt and Heather Shaw
The day I emancipated Izzy, in the lull of winter break when the students were mostly gone visiting their families, the boss had left a jumbled box of his latest decorative scroungings, and my job as manager included finding a place to put them. After we closed and cleaned up and I shooed out my best barista Jade, I opened up the box.
There was a red Fiesta tea pot that would have been pretty if not for the inexpert glue job someone had used to repair it, but maybe I could turn it so the crack wasn’t visible. There was a French press, pretty standard, except the glass was cobalt blue, which I’d never seen before. The last thing was the best, though: a brass dallah, the traditional Arabic coffee pot. I’d often listened to boss go on about the origins of coffee brewing, and he’d talked about the perfection of the dallah, a design unchanged for centuries. Basically it resembles a fancy pitcher, with a bulbous hourglass shape to the body, a curved handle, and a crescent-shaped spout that looks kind of like a bird’s beak. This particular dallah was old, the brass darkened by age and patina, but its entire surface was intricately filigreed with images of flowers, clouds, curves that might have been water, and spikier curves that might have been fire. The thing was a work of art in a coat of dust.
About the Authors
Heather Shaw is a writer, editor, UX Designer, sewist, and lindy hopper living in Berkeley, CA with her husband and 15-year-old son, River. She’s had short fiction published in Strange Horizons, The Year’s Best Fantasy, Escape Pod, PodCastle, and other nice places. She has been the fiction editor at the erotica zine Fishnet, the speculative fiction zine Flytrap, and the pro-SF zine, Persistent Visions. As a family project during lockdown, Heather, Tim, and their son River designed, created, and successfully Kickstarted a tabletop card game called Cyberwreck. You can find more about Heather at her website, www.UXbyHeather.com
Tim Pratt is the author of over 30 novels, most recently multiverse
adventures Doors of Sleep and Prison of Sleep. He’s a Hugo Award
winner for short fiction, and has been a finalist for Nebula, World
Fantasy, Sturgeon, Philip K. Dick, Mythopoeic, Stoker, and other
awards. He’s also a senior editor and occasional book reviewer for
Locus magazine. He tweets incessantly (@timpratt) and publishes a new
story every month for patrons at www.patreon.com/timpratt.
About the Narrator
Dave Thompson aka the Easter Werewolf aka the California King is still uncomfortable with the notion of pumpkin beer, but don’t hold that against him. He lives outside Los Angeles with his wife and three children. Together with co-editor Anna Schwind, he ran PodCastle for five years. Dave is an Escape Artists’ Worldwalker and Storyteller, having been published in, and narrated for, all four EA podcasts.