When her finger left, it was no longer just a plastic, black ashtray. It was a golden ashtray.

The midas touch.
The midas touch.

“Listen, Odys, if I say you don’t need something, you don’t. I can’t lie to you. Let me show you why you don’t need a job.”

She retracted her hand and raised an inveigling forefinger. Her eyes searched around the room, pinpointing his hallowed ashtray. “Observe, please.” She gestured to the somewhat-filthy thing. She placed her finger on the dimpled rim and traced it. When her finger left, it was no longer just a plastic, black ashtray. It was a golden ashtray.

“Solid as can be,” she added, handing it to him for corroboration. He took it, his hand falling from the unexpected weight. His jaw dropped. He didn’t even care about the butts falling to his lap.

She shrugged it off as if to say, Meh, it pays the bills. “Every atom—molecule—whatever-the-hell—equivalently changed. Don’t ask me how it works. Moreover, don’t expect me to always be able to do it. I have to use energy for this sort of thing—like forming clothes. Just look at me, panting. Also, when we pawn it they’ll ask where you got it. If they don’t the first time, they will the second. I can turn things into any metal you like, but selling the stuff can get tricky. But don’t worry, we’ll find ways. Welders love my work.” She watched Odys place the tray back on the coffee table, as if it was an explosive device. “Just be thankful I didn’t turn the couch solid gold, Odys. Would’ve fallen through the floor.”


[“BLA and GB Gabbler” (really just a pen name) are the Editor and Narrator behind THE AUTOMATION, vol. 1 of the Circo del Herrero series. They are on facebook, twitter, tumblr, and goodreads.]