The campus coffee shop was just about as normal a place as Kayla could have asked to meet. She and Lenay had been having coffee there off and on for years, even long after graduating. So why did Kayla walk in looking absolutely panicked, like a spooked deer who might run at any surprise?
“Hey, weirdo. Don’t you want some coffee?” Lenay said, stirring cream into her own.
“What? Oh, coffee. Yeah. But just wait a second.”
“Wait? Is this another crisis of romance?”
Kayla winced. “Yes? In a way? Look, it started like that, but – no, it’s just easier if I show you.” She pointed to a man sitting on a park bench outside. “See that guy? In five seconds, he’s going to start doing the washing machine.”
“No way,” Lenay said. “The dance? Like from – ohmygodhe’sdoingit.”
True to her word, the nondescript gentleman began swaying his hips in a way that seemed totally unfamiliar to him.
“Okay, but how did you know?” Lenay said. She looked back and saw her friend’s fingers drawing little circles as if she were stirring her own coffee. Then Kayla lowered her hand. The man sat.
“So remember how I told you I was going to pick up a love spell?”
“And I told you not to.”
“The lady who sold it to me told me how to cast this ‘adoromancy,’ but it didn’t exactly work.”
“Because it’s not real? Because you know it’s not real.”
“I think I may have accidentally invented the art of… Theodoromancy. That guy out there, who’s acting like a giant chicken?” The man began bobbing his head and clucking as Kayla darted her hand forward. “That’s Ted.”
“A guy in my building.”
“Well, that solves your romance problem,” Lenay said.
“What? No. I think he’s gay. Plus you can’t just make someone… No. Just no.”
“So you can control him, but you don’t want to use it for evil? What will you use it for?”
“I’m not exactly sure,” Kayla replied. She picked up Lenay’s coffee and sipped. Ted mimicked her movement with no cup of his own. “This could take some getting used to.”