With many thanks, my heart graced me with his words and I am overwhelmed by the joy I feel this morning… Thank you my heart, Miriam is a wonder and joy to all…
A Kissing Tale
Miriam had truly grown into her role as Special Collections Librarian in the Realm Library. She was a careful cataloger and capable researcher. She loved the books, maybe even more than the Head Librarian herself, and had, more than once, spent the night locked inside the great ark of books, snuggled up with the books in her collection. Tera kind of envied Miriam for that—the Queen could never go unnoticed and locked away for so long—but she suspected that, if she could, there was an incubi or an angel or . . . maybe . . . one or two other flesh-and-blood beings with whom she would snuggle.
The good part of this, for Miriam, was that she had become extremely familiar with her books. She was able to tell patrons which alcove to search, which shelf to look on, and often which page to turn to (wearing white cotton gloves for the rare volumes, of course, lest they face her wrath) and which paragraph to read to find just the quote, just the fact, just the citation the researcher required. It was here that some of her best succubi nature came to the fore, since she could often discern what a patron needed before the patron did).
For the most part, our young strawberry blonde was maturing into a fine succubi. Even her relationship with Irving was coming along quite well. Given how easily embarrassed and awkward both of them were with matters of love and sex, it was surprising how swimmingly it all went once they both finally got going. Of course, it had taken just about every technique Keith and Tera knew . . . and a few that Tail made up . . . to get things going, and just about every resident of the Realm had a story about the two amorous librarians bampfing into awkward places in various stages of in flagrante delicto. It took Lil, the Realm Knitter, three days and a chapter of the Kama Sutra to untangle them from her yarn—of course, the three of them might have engaged in some other activity along the way, as Miriam suddenly knew a breathtaking bed-borne somersault.
Of course, our Miriam was still a yellow tail, and the brightest yellow tail in about a century, the brightest that just about anybody in the Realm could remember—although Tail has hinted that, over a few bottles of ouzo one night, Lil told her a story about a youngster in Mesopotamia who wanted to take a swim: “She met the cutest guy named Noah . . .”
But even Miriam’s enthusiasm brought delightful results, such as the kindergarten teacher who had been looking for the original text of A Visit from St. Nicholas and was actually able to give her students an actual visit from St. Nicholas. And the snowball fight and ice dancing at the holiday party was the stuff of legend . . . even if the holiday was Summer Solstice.
Miriam was coming along ever so nicely, but there were parts of her development that were being left unattended. Tera, who cared for all of her children, her subjects, equally, couldn’t let this pass. A succubi, even a succubi librarian, was not complete until she was living into her full succubi pleasure, and not all of that could happen with her Eternal. She had to leave the Realm and touch the lives of others. But our young yellow tail was afraid to go. She was afraid of getting all of this wrong. “Better to be a lesser being, and a good librarian, even if I lost my sexy Irving to another, more desirable succubi,” she had told her Queen, “than to harm some innocents out in the mortal realm just to better myself.”
Tera kept trying to combat this fear, kept talking to Miriam. The younger succubi considered that there truly must be something wrong with her—a notion she had not entertained too much since the day she was accepted into the Library’s apprentice program. After all, all of her contemporaries had begun to venture out into the world. Helena had so charmed some Greeks that a thousand ships had been launched to win her favor. Lisa had met a rather handsome Florentine renaissance man, and had inspired him to focus on his painting for long enough to change the face of art—all, she insisted, using nothing more than an enigmatic smile. She did the same for an American popular singer. Of course, both the painter and the singer wore that same sly smile for the longest time after encountering her.
“To make matters worse, I am one of the only succubi I know whose name doesn’t end in an ‘A’,” she grumbled, her violet eyes glistening with tears.
Her Queen heard her, and felt such compassion. As the young librarian slept one evening, the royal red tail visited a mirror in her apartment overlooking the library. “Miriam, I really have other people to do at this hour and . . . oh! Your Majesty!!” The dark-haired, silver-tailed Marilyn, Miriam’s tail-self, pulled a sheet over herself, then decided it was more appropriate to drop it. “Did you need something from me?”
Tera smiled; Marilyn and Miriam were not the gangly pubescent they had once been. “I was wondering if you could give me some advice. Miriam is long overdue for venturing out into the world, you know.”
“Yes, Your Majesty, and, if I may say so, Irving isn’t exactly my cup of tea. I mean, he’s nice and all, but . . .”
Tera cleared her throat, gently: “But that isn’t exactly our subject this evening.”
“No . . . of course not. I am so sorry, my Queen.” Then the silver-tail got very quiet and thoughtful, finally saying, Do you know how mama birds teach baby birds to fly?”
“You mean by tossing them out of the nest?”
“You want me to toss your sister, your other self, out into the mortal realm without warning, without protection?”
“I want Miriam to fly, Majesty. And I will be there. I will look out for her.”
Tera pondered, and sighed, and realized that she had, indeed, tried everything else that both her selves could think of; maybe drastic methods were in order.
So it was that, the next morning, Miriam woke up in a New York City apartment in the summer of 1945. She was shaking her head when she heard Marilyn’s voice: “The Queen wants us to find a young sailor home on medical leave”—an image flashed in Miriam’s mind. “He is the only survivor of a kamikaze attack on his ship, and he feels that he should give up on living. You and I both know that is wrongheaded thinking. You get to give him a special idea of what he has to live for.”
“But what if I . . . “
“. . . get it wrong? Throw the course of mortal history out of whack? Cause our worlds to collapse together somehow? Fill the Statue of Liberty with lime Jello? It might even be fun. But, seriously: do you expect Queen Tera would allow you to get into any real trouble? Do you think there is one moment when I don’t have your back?”
“Oh, of course I trust both of you.” Miriam almost giggled; somehow it tickled when Marilyn spoke in the back of her mind like this.
“Then get yourself together, and let’s get to this.”
The New York Public Library, it turns out, is simply a branch of the Realm Library. Miriam was usually able to pass freely from one into the other, but now found her access blocked, “Not until you kiss him,” Marilyn whispered. Still, everyone seemed to accept without question that this strawberry blonde was a member of the staff who had been around as long as anybody could remember, even though they couldn’t remember why. Still, the faint smell of lemons was so very pleasant. As days and weeks went by, her female co-workers were all so very impressed that Miriam’s nylons never had a run, and her seams were always—always—absolutely straight. While she wasn’t used to keeping her yellow tail and horns under wraps all the time, she got used to it, and really grew to like the 1940s sense of style. She might have to make some changes to her wardrobe when she got home.
One day, as she went out for her lunchtime walk, she saw the young sailor sitting on the steps near one of the iconic stone lions. He was half-reading the same page of a novel over and over again, clearly unable to focus. She smiled, took a deep breath, and shyly sidled up next to him: “I’m sorry you don’t like that one. We have loads more inside, and I could help you find something more to your liking.”
He looked up, confused, as she nodded back towards the top of the stairs.
“I work in there.” Miriam offered her hand, “My name is Miriam.”
He blushed, then finally reached out to shake. “St-St-Stanley,” he stammered. I’m from Brooklyn.”
“And you got stationed so close to home? You’re a lucky duck!”
“No . . . no; I was sent home to pull myself together.”
Miriam sidled up next to the young sailor, and, for some reason, he felt deeply comfortable with her. It was a warm, early-August day, and, as they walked away from Central Park, Stanley told Miriam all about his fears, his guilt, and his concern that he should be back in the war, back in the Pacific. Even though Miriam, with Marilyn’s help, had worked all this out, hearing it made her heart reach out to him. The two of them had begun strolling down into midtown by now, and Miriam realized that her own hesitancy greatly mirrored that of her assignment; she became more and more convinced that, for him to get better, he had to take a leap, and that meant she had to, as well.
She was pulling the young sailor closer to her as they walked and as she listened, and, as her head rested on his shoulder, as the warmth of her body was close to his, he was feeling more and more confidence. They walked quietly for a while when Stanley blurted out: “Miriam, do you really like me like this, like me this much.”
“Mmmmm-hmmmmmm,” she purred.
“How could you come to feel this way about . . . about somebody like me? I mean, I ain’t no Clark Gable. How could somebody like you fall for me so quickly?”
“Do you believe that it could just be possible that forces in the universe put us in certain places for a reason? That I might just be right here, right at this moment, to fall for you?”
“W-W-Well . . . I . . . I guess . . . maybe.”
“I am most certain of that, and I think that, like you, I need to trust where my heart leads.”
They stopped, and Stanley turned Miriam to face him. Her violet eyes gleamed, and his breath caught for a moment. The bustle of Times Square was going on all around them, but they seemed to be the only two people on earth. As he pulled her close, he whispered, “The only thing that could make this better is if this damn war was over.”
He meant for it to be a brief, chaste kiss—they had only met that afternoon, after all. But things have a way of escalating with yellow tails, and this was a long, deep, soul-searing smooch, with the sailor dipping the librarian, never even considering who might see.
On the other side of the world, the Japanese high command, terrified and furious over the recent massive bombings, was actually leaning toward digging in and calling their people to fight to the last woman, man, and child. But then there was the faintest aroma of lemons.
Things have a way of escalating with yellow tails.
The word of an unconditional surrender was almost instantly spread around the world by wireless. Whether they realized it or not, the two young lovers were now standing in the midst of one of the biggest spontaneous parties New York had ever seen.
Things have a way of escalating with yellow tails, and Miriam’s was the brightest yellow anybody in the Realm had seen for at least a century.
As she returned to her own library, her Queen waiting for her, Miriam was excitedly jabbering about her experience and insisting, “Ooo!! I want to do another one!! Right now!!”
“Patience, my daughter,” Tera smiled, taking her portegé by the hand and beginning yet another conversation about the importance of focus.
Late that night, with most of the Realm asleep—Miriam and Irving had finally exhausted one another—Marilyn, out and about, had the opportunity to snuggle briefly next to Tail. “So, it seems to have worked.”
“Mmmm-hmmmm . . .”
“Still, it was an awful risk Her Majesty took, letting our girl alter history like that.”
Tail raised an eyebrow, her oh-so-green eyes glinting exactly as her counterpart’s would. “I don’t see the trouble. History suggests that Stanley only vaguely remembered Miriam, and went back to Brooklyn to find and marry the girl next door.”
“But Miriam ended the war!”
“Tera says that we should not be so sure that everything is so linear.”
“Are you saying that Her Majesty allowed Miriam to cause something that was already happening anyway.”
Tail took on the same innocent look as her counterpart . . . which didn’t seem to fit her, so she winked and slipped off into the night.
Miriam pulled her blue-tail tighter to her in her bed, and mused that the two of them really should visit 1940s New York very soon.