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The news runs a small photo. His face is elongated, bean-like, with pudginess around the cheeks. He has an unevenly-trimmed mustache and goatee, and brushlike hair. His eyes peer through dirty elliptical spectacles:

Kirt Shane Magden, age 38, arrested in Sarnia, Ontario. An anonymous tip led to the discovery of a camera in the vent of the women's restroom of a local church, and the subsequent arrest of the suspect.

Patti sucks in her breath.

She had taken a closer look at Drop-Drawer Lady. How, Patti asked herself, had she missed the significance of that cultist robe? The woman wore church choir garb; it could not have been more obvious.

Or easy. Patti amplified Drop-Drawer Lady and her blue robe. Then she image-searched "church" and "choir" with relevant city and county names. Because Magus had to be in Lambton County, where the ping had led, back in grade nine. She found them in minutes. A quick scope of the choir photo revealed Drop-Drawer Lady beaming proudly among the alto section and, standing with the sopranos, Smiling Crotch Girl.

The church bulletin from November opened to her in a pdf of fonts and clipart and, With Denny Cooper pursuing his retirement activities away from home, we welcome Kirt Magden, who has volunteered to assist with our website.

Kirt Shane Magden. Tony Teerden. Magus.

If he was going to make it so easy, he had to expect to get captured.

She experiences a chill, imagining the police entering his private world. She feels regret that she included Chelsea and Katie in the bullshit bully tale she told him, her imaginary teen drama, but she figured it made her look vulnerable, and would draw him closer. She will be especially good to Chelsea, she tells herself, and she'll work to befriend Katie. And when they finally come out, Patti will be waiting for anyone who tries to hurt them.

She might even put a motivational quotation on her own bedroom wall: Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.

Three years and, overall, she enjoyed the game. She checks in with the site one last time before it goes black. Magus has sent a message to her account:

Listen, I'm in a serious situation right now, no way I cn make the Bend. Send a message to my handle here plus the year you joined the site @gmail

It might be awhile before I can reply. Please wait. I know I can beat this & together we can get over the world's crap.

To being alone no more.


FIN

A note on the story

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