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Stephanie Long

Electric Magnajoust is a sport thriving among people who care about things that matter, which is to say most teams barely make the rent on their domes. The antiques industry is larger, in gross annual revenue, than both Joust leagues combined.

This is why Stephanie Long sometimes buys dinner for professional athletes.

Simon Yu (#0) wouldn’t permit it, of course, but Carol Tolliver (#41) doesn’t mind. “You have something you want to ask me,” she says, around a mouth full of salmon nigiri.

“Say I did something,” begins Stephanie, “to make my best friend incensed.”

“Well,” says Carol Tolliver (#41), “why?”

Stephanie Long

“I told you not to hook up with her,” says Simon Yu (#0).

“I didn’t,” says Stephanie Long, in a protest so weak that buzzards immediately begin circling above her in the instinctive belief that something is about to die.

“Just don’t let Imani Rhodes (#17) find out,” says Simon.

“Nobody got stabbed, Simon,” says Stephanie Long, carefully examining a watch with a radium dial. (This is her job, by the way: she buys antiques.)

“That’s the third one you’ve looked at,” he says. “Do you specialize in phosphorescent kitsch?”

“I specialize,” says Stephanie Long, “in things that can kill you.”

Stephanie Long

Stephanie Long and Lucie Corner (#30) dance until it’s time to go to the back porch and get interrupted making out by a startled Miguel Sebanon (#8) and continue from the back of the cab to Stephanie Long’s apartment. The cat won’t leave them alone. Lucie Corner pries herself away at three in the morning and leaves Stephanie Long with her shirt off, her pants on and a throbbing petulant disappointment, then comes back at seven and they get in the shower and Lucie Corner leaves again and finally, sleep.

Stephanie Long isn’t sure who’s supposed to call whom. Neither does.

Stephanie Long

Last year the Stone City Thunders went two for five in the quarterfinals against the Richmond Roar, during which series the Roar temporarily stole Carol Tolliver (#41) via contract loophole. So when the Thunders beat them in early season play, it’s a good excuse for a party.

Stephanie Long actually attended the home bout this time. Standing in the box with her graph-paper score pad reminded her of watching games with her mother, and therefore she finds herself gliding into a corner on vodka skates.

“Hi,” says the person there, above the music.

“Hi, Lucie Corner (#30),” says Stephanie Long.

Simon Yu

Lucie Corner’s back the following week, so they throw a receiveoff (or possibly a sendon; signs are unclear) to welcome her. You get traded a lot in Electric Magnajoust if you’re in it for the money.

Imani Rhodes (#17) has never been traded.

“Don’t do it,” Simon Yu tells Stephanie Long, as they lie on the roof with their feet in the window.

“I’m not,” protests Stephanie Long.

“Don’t hook up with Lucie Corner,” says Simon Yu. “She’ll wring you out, Stephanie Long. Stop coming to her parties. I mean it.”

Which shows how much Simon Yu (#0) knows about women.

Stephanie Long

Stephanie Long doesn’t actually play Electric Magnajoust; she just hangs out with most of the Stone City Thunders. This is why she’s at Lucie Corner’s goodbye party, leaning on a molded archway frame as Miguel Sebanon (#8) holds forth about the consequences of the inbound tangent rule, when she becomes aware of someone beside her.

“Are you listening to him?” asks Imani Rhodes, who came after all. “You didn’t even watch the game.”

“That doesn’t mean I don’t like to hear about it,” she says.

Imani Rhodes snorts.

“Don’t you?”

“Talking about Joust,” says Imani Rhodes, “is like buildings about dancing.”