Sam was a regular kid. Maybe that was the problem. Maybe that should have been my first clue: that he was so regular.

Now I don’t mean that he went to the bathroom like clockwork or anything, which is of course what you’re all thinking. This isn’t that kind of story.

By regular, I mean normal. He was a normal kid. He didn’t like baseball. He knew the Harry Potter books by heart. He complained about doing his homework. He was kind of… boring.

Every Saturday night at 8, the door knocks. It’s Sam. He comes over to watch his Harry Potter DVD on my big screen and I go down the hall to his place to watch a “grown up” movie with his mom. We watch a little of some incomprehensible film, get bored, and screw. It’s convenient, for both of us.

Afterwards, I go back to my place and find Sam asleep on the sofa. I wake him up and we watch Saturday Night Live for a while. He falls asleep. I carry him back down the hall to his mother.

This goes on for several months. Everybody’s happy.

Until I meet Peggy. She’s a high school history teacher and coaches the softball team. We meet at a baseball game and hit it off immediately. In less than a week, we’re in love. When it comes around to the next Saturday, we make plans.

I get back home that night and the door is unlocked. Sam’s inside asleep in front of the TV. I quietly pick him up and carry him home.

The next day I drop by to tell his mom I’ve met someone and ask for my key back. She cries a lot, which I’m not expecting. It’s good that it’s ending now and after about an hour or so of yelling and crying, she starts to see it that way too. She insists she doesn’t have a key and neither does Sam.

Thursday’s Halloween. I get home from work and as I’m passing by their door, Sam comes out all decked out as Harry Potter, complete with robes and wand.

“You make a great wizard”

“You hurt my mom.”

“Excuse me?”

“You were an ass to my mom.”

I’d never heard Sam swear before, but just then his mom comes out and they hurry off to their Halloween party.

Peggy and I go to Napa the next weekend. When I get home Sunday night, I can tell Sam’s been over. Things have been moved, and my gold fish are dead. Peggy assures me I’m being paranoid and buys me new fish. I have my locks changed.

Saturday rolls around again. This time Peggy and I go see a play and I sleep over at her place. When I get home Sunday, my paper’s not on my doormat as usual. I unlock my door, step inside, and find my paper… torn to shreds and thrown all over my apartment. And everywhere, neatly arranged on the floor and stuck to the walls and ceiling, cut from the letters in the paper, is the word “ass”.

Sam’s mother thinks I’m insane. He’s been asleep in his room all morning. It couldn’t be him.

I have a chain installed on my door.

Saturday. Peggy picks me up at 7 and we head out to dinner. Half way to the restaurant, she drops me off and goes home. I circle back and climb up the fire-escape in through my bedroom window which I’d left open.

I sit on my sofa in the dark and watch the clock.

7:58, 7:59, 8 o’clock. Knock Knock.

I don’t answer.

“Alohamora” comes a voice from outside. The door flings open and Sam steps into the darkness.

“Gotcha!” I yell as I throw on the light. “How…” Sam’s standing there in his Harry Potter costume. He doesn’t look regular anymore. He looks… mad.

“Flipendo esnarata!” he says and I’m thrown back onto the sofa. Immediately the flowered pattern sprouts out of the fabric, grows around me, and pins me down.

“You shouldn’t have hurt my mom”.

“You’re not a real wizard”

“Yes, I am! Silly Muggles. Harry Potter’s not fiction. Now I’m going to fix it so you don’t hurt anyone again, like you hurt my mom.”

“I didn’t mean to hurt your mom. We weren’t serious.”

“You were sleeping with her. You were going to marry her.”

“I was never…”

“Impedimenta!” and I can’t speak. I can’t move.

“I’ve been practicing the Killing Curse. It worked on your gold fish. Now I’m going to try it on you.” He raises his wand and shouts “Avada Ked-”

The lights go out. A noise from somewhere. A struggle. The tangle of flowers holding me down disappear. I’m thrown off the sofa, hit my head. I … I black out.

“That was a great meal.” I’m walking down Market Street with Peggy. We’re stuffed with food and laughing about…

“Wasn’t, Didn’t I stay home…”



“Don’t be silly. Why would you have done that?”

“To try and catch Sam…”

“Sam who?”

“Sam… I don’t know”

“Here, have a mint” She hands me an altoid and as she puts the tin back in her purse, I see… No, it must be a pointer or something.

I’m sorry, what was I saying?

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