But All The Other Guides Do It
by Maaaaa




Sometimes Sandburg seems incredibly, impossibly young.

Like now.

He’s huddled in a ball on the end of the couch, arms wrapped around his knees, dirty bare feet on the furniture in clear violation of the house rules.

The look he’s giving me is a classic ‘misunderstood, nobody wants to hear my side of it’ glare every petulant twelve year old has down pat…with those damn puppy dog eyes thrown in for good measure.

I’m not gonna let it work. I’m not.

He lied to me.

I know what you’re thinking.

How can anyone, especially a guide, lie to a sentinel?

I’m a human lie detector, right?

It doesn’t work that way. I mean, yes, I can tell if someone is lying to me, when I’m looking for it. And the person has to actually be lying, and know they’re lying.

Sandburg obfuscates.

Which in his mind isn’t lying.

He’s fidgeting now, and making with those pathetic heart-tugging sighs any up-to-my-eyeballs-in-deep-shit kid would be envious of.

Which might be a lot more effective if he weren’t still covered, and uncovered, in the evidence of his obfuscatory escapade.

Obfuscatory? Is that even a word?

Sometimes Sandburg makes me feel incredibly, impossibly old.

If he utters just one more ‘But Jiii-iim’…I swear I’ll put him over my knee.

I caught him red-handed participating in a mind bending, hallucinogenic mushroom-induced shamanistic ritual of some sort with a bunch of whacked out flower child wannabes who took a wrong turn somewhere back in the 70’s.

Can you believe that?

Okay…red-handed isn’t exactly right.

It was more like I caught him buck naked, with what I assume he thinks might be Chopec tribal markings painted all over his body…dancing…in the middle of a public park, no less, at 2 AM.

This was after he told me he’d found some sort of documentation saying all guides need to go on a self-discovery vision quest.


We discussed it. Calmly.

Oh, he tried the old ‘but all the other guides get to…’ routine, using the obligatory whiney voice, of course.

And I used the tried and true ‘I don’t care what all the other guides do…’counterpoint, implementing a properly stern tone and rigid stance.

He saw it my way.

Promised he wouldn’t do it.

End of discussion.

And then, the very next night, he turns around and scampers off to cavort in his birthday suit.

Of course, it wasn’t actually me who caught him.

Getting a call at 2AM from a hysterically laughing patrol office is always a joy.

I had to do some pretty fast-talking myself, let me tell you, to get his obfuscating little butt released to my custody and not arrested and hauled downtown.

The fidgeting has stopped.

He’s looking at me again, through the disheveled curls that obscure most of his face.


This is it.

The look has changed to the ‘oh, man I really screwed up this time didn’t I and will Jim ever forgive me?’ pout.

I gotta go.

My guide needs me.





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