Sara Genge’s story “Godtouched” may be found in Strange Horizons.

Alex Dally MacFarlane’s story “The Devonshire Arms” is available online at Clarkesworld.

Trent Walters, poetry editor at A&A, has a chapbook, Learning the Ropes, from Morpo Press.

Luc Reid writes about the psychology of habits at The Willpower Engine. His new eBook is Bam! 172 Hellaciously Quick Stories.

Magic Pants

by Luc Reid

The thing was, Dave had never known Grandpa to lie–not even little white lies. There was no one you could trust like you could trust Grandpa. And before he’d died, Grandpa had said the pants were magic.

“Magic pants?” Dave had said, trying to figure out the joke Grandpa wasn’t telling. “What do they do?”

“Honestly, I couldn’t tell you,” Grandpa had said. “It’s funny …” Then Grandpa had staggered, and when his mouth opened, no words came out. It was a stroke, it turned out, and from the stroke until he died four months later, Grandpa’d never said another sensible word.

Dave doubted the pants would kill him. Because why would someone make murderous pants? On the other hand, why magical pants at all? Without the answer to that question, there was no way of guessing what the pants might do.

Grandpa wouldn’t have given him something he knew to be dangerous–but then, Grandpa had confessed he had no idea what the pants did.

Dave had a good life. He had a girlfriend who rocked his world and didn’t mind that he was a little on the chubby side; he was graduating with honors and proceeding directly into his dream job at a game development company; even his no-good brother seemed to have fallen into a crowd that was turning him around. As long as there were cheese fries, margaritas, love, and high-quality graphics cards in the world, Dave honestly had nothing to complain about. Even if the pants were something miraculous, who needed magic pants? That was why they’d been stuffed in an old duffel bag high on a shelf in his closet since Grandpa had his stroke, and why they’d stayed there after Grandpa died.

He took out the pants again and looked at them. They were dull gray, made of some kind of heavy, soft material, with a button fly. Maybe he should burn them. Or he could give them away. Drop them off at the Goodwill store. Tell his brother to try them on.

Finally, he unsnapped, unzipped, and peeled off his jeans. The pants slid onto his legs like water flowing over dry rocks. He buttoned them up and looked in the mirror. Well, they weren’t magic that way: he was still fat.

But then he felt a giddy sensation, and as he began to drift up into the air, he thought he heard Grandpa’s voice, calling his name.

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3 Responses to “Magic Pants”

  1. Jeff Swanson Says:

    August 11th, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    Not your best! No reason for the past perfect in the first part, and about 50% too long.

  2. Luc Reid Says:

    August 11th, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    Jeff, thanks very much for commenting; the feedback is much appreciated! I see what you’re saying about (as I picture it) using the simple past in the first part, probably with a break after just to help make it clear that time had passed–it would make it seem less removed, and the language would feel more fluid.

    I’m also thinking that a bigger payoff at the end would have been good. Then again, I’m always leery when I see something unusual coming out of somebody’s pants …

  3. Jeff Swanson Says:

    August 11th, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    LOL! You’re a good sport, my friend. Love your work! 🙂