"I am exceedingly bored."

The King of Phantoms was slouched on his marble throne with a very irritated look on his handsome face.

"Your highness, you haven't been into the city in a while," his advisor suggested. His advisor was a tall, good-looking, half-Phantom man who could accordingly half-disappear, when he wished. He had yet to discover exactly what good this did him, but it was certainly a fun party trick for full humans, who were always impressed and were often attractive females.

The King of Phantoms sighed. "I am bored and my seat is dreadfully uncomfortable." He shifted slightly, and then stood up exasperatedly, sweeping his black cloak around his shoulders as he stepped down the black marble steps. "I want a new one."

"A new throne?" his advisor asked tiredly. It was the King's fourth one in three months.

"Perhaps if you were to choose one that wasn't stone," he suggested.

"Don't test me, Henrik," the King said, turning to him warningly. Henrik immediately shut up, since he was well used to the King's moods and knew exactly when complaining would turn into true anger that might lead to bodily damage.

"And the city bores me as well," he continued when he was satisfied that his choice in chairs wouldn't be further questioned.

"A different city, then? The gateway has been fixed in London for some time now. We could resituate to Paris, or Rome, or even New York or some other place in North America."

"They're all boring," the King said thoughtfully, striding quickly down the mirrored hallway to his recreation room.

"It seems we have reached an impasse," his advisor said, then stopped talking abruptly as the King turned to him, his face dark. "It is extraordinarily dangerous to mock me, Henrik."

Henrik shut up again well aware that even though the King was actually five years younger than his advisor, and the two were in fact very good friends, the King's wild moods were unpredictable and deadly.

"Raoul, it would do quite well for you to shut up sometimes." He retorted after a moment, unable to help himself.

The King shrugged, and Henrik started to feel worried. If the ruler wouldn't react to such blatant disrespect, something really was wrong.

"Let's move the gateway, your highness," he said steadily. "We'll see if that's any better."

"Fine."

"Give me a moment…where would you like it to be?"

"Wherever."

"How about California?"

"Sure. Just pick a city I like, will you? I'm going to sleep."

Henrik thought hard, then smiled. "Got it. Alright, I'm switching the gateway right now."

There was a moment of silence in which the King's advisor closed his eyes and muttered something to himself, and then he opened his eyes and smiled brightly. "OK, it's changed."

"Henrik," said the King suddenly, sounding curious, "why is there a toaster in the floor of my hallway?"

***

"What do you mean, you lost my toaster?"

Jonathan shrugged apologetically as his friend and roommate Isabella glared at him with her hands on her hips.

"I have absolutely no idea. All I know is that I was in the kitchen, and I wanted a bagel with cream cheese, and so I got out the bagels and put one in the toaster, and then I went to the fridge to get the cream cheese, and then I turned back and the toaster was gone. With my bagel in it, might I add."

"So someone stole my toaster," Isabella said slowly. "Because toasters do not routinely travel very far on their own."

"No," Jonathan insisted vehemently, "I swear, it was there one second and gone the next."

"That, or you forgot to lock the apartment and accordingly someone came in and stole my toaster," his friend suggested helpfully.

"They took your really old toaster and left the brand new stereo Mark gave you for your birthday?"

She sighed. "Okay, maybe not, but seriously, Jon, where is my toaster?"

"Bells, I swear. The toaster disappeared."

"That isn't possible," she said exasperatedly.

"Tell the toaster that," he retorted defiantly.

"I could, if it was here." she crossed her arms. He looked at her pleadingly and she said tiredly, "So my toaster has disappeared, according to you. No chance you sold it to buy vodka?"

"I would never do that," he said indignantly. "Besides, it would only get me like three bucks, the condition it's in. Not that I've thought about it," he added hastily as Isabella looked at him darkly.

"I want my toaster, Jon," she said reasonably.

"I want my bagel," he replied in a hurt voice. "I didn't do anything with your damn toaster."

"Fine, I'll just buy another one. Have you seen my shoes?"

"No," he said petulantly. "They probably followed your toaster."

***