Once again it was fall and once again the leaves were drifting peacefully past the windows of the building. This didn’t make Juno feel calm this time ’round, though, her eyes fluttering here and there and her thoughts skipping ahead to tonight’s party. Few people were around, since it was morning and class time. She paced the corridors a while, looking for those distinctive paintings of Joni’s that had been prominently displayed the last time. There weren’t any. Juno found this pretty strange, and when she saw a lone guy opening a glass case in the hallway by the main stairwell, she approached him.
‘’Scuse me,’ she said. ‘D’you know a student called Joni Anderson? Blonde, slim, kinda striking I guess. There used to be a bunch of paintings by her just along here. Kinda… dreamy pictures. People with suns and flowers, that kinda stuff. Bright colours.’
It was only when the guy, who was in his early twenties and real dishevelled-looking, with untidy hair and stains all over his scuzzy clothes, did the rabbit-in-the-headlights that Juno remembered what happened when she talked to males outside Southern California. She put a quick charm on him and he recovered.
‘’Course I know her,’ he said. ‘But she’s gone.’
‘Gone? Gone where?’
‘Toronto. I think she’d decided to leave when term finished back in June. Wants to play the guitar, I guess.’
‘June?’ echoed Juno, trying to think back. It was true that Jock hadn’t really talked to Joni during the past summer. His alter ego had been too concerned with David Wiffen, and with herself. Joni’d definitely still been around in July, though, for that hootenanny at the Calgary Stampede. But of course Juno hadn’t gone to that.
‘Thanks…’ she mumbled.
‘Hey, could you gimme a hand with this?’ said the scruffy dude. ‘I sold it,’ he added proudly.
Juno regarded the sculpture he was pulling out of the display cabinet. It was indescribable. The only thing it possibly reminded her of was an agonized naked man possibly being hosed down, possibly ’cause he’d been on fire. She was glad she’d never seen anything like it in real life. The nude figure looked vaguely familiar, though.
‘Who did you sell it to?’ she asked in awe.
‘Smurfit’s,’ said the artist. ‘The big hardware on Richmond.’
Since Juno couldn’t wait to get her crystal ball out she hexed the sculpture into its box and sent its creator on his way with another charm on him. Then she raced to the ladies’ room, sat on a lavatory lid, and within seconds there was Joni in her lap.