Year of publication: 1993
The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump
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Harry Turtledove The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump I I hate telephones. For one thing, they have a habit of waking you up at the most inconvenient times. It was still dark outside when the one on my nightstand went off like a bomb. I groaned and tried to turn off the alarm clock. Since it wasn’t ringing, it laughed at me. The horrible racket from the phone kept right on. “What time is it, anyhow?” I mumbled. My mouth tasted like something you’d spread on nasturtiums. “It’s 5:07,” the clock said, still giggling. The horological demon in there was supposed to be friendly, not sappy. I’d thought more than once about getting the controlling cantrip fixed, but twenty-five crowns is twenty-five crowns. On a government salary, you learn to put up with things. I picked up the receiver. That was the cue for the noise elemental in the base of the phone to shut up, which it did—Ma Bell’s magic, unlike that from a cheap clock company, does exactly what...