The Magic Apartment

posted Nov 30, 2009, 2:46 PM by Jeremy Poehnert   [ updated Nov 30, 2009, 3:07 PM ]
This is an idea I've had in various incarnations, but that I especially associate with one particular apartment I lived in.

The apartment was a run-down triple-decker in Boston.  It had these random storage areas; odd shaped closets, weird pantries, shelves built into the wall, and everything was run down.

Something about the beat up nature of the apartment combined with the weird storage areas gave me this idea.

What if a young 20-something, through an odd series of events, had become a nexus of magic in the modern world (this is an idea that I often play with).  In this case, magic spirits and creatures are attracted to him, and instinctively feel fond of him.  It helps that he's very nice.  Slowly different magical spirits and creatures begin moving in with him, filling the corners of his run-down apartment.

The magic is somewhat subtle; a random visitor might not notice (normal people tend to block out things they don't understand), but once you scratch the surface, his apartment is all but infested with magic.

A lot of the magic represents anthropomorphic representations of worldy forces.  So the essence of reptiles is represented by a huge python that lives under his bed.  A colony of fairies lives in his closet.  A species of miniature mammoths live in his freezer.  His cat is the essence of feline nature and randomly turns into a lion.  The ant colony in his wall is completely civilized.  The spider in the corner above his bed is quite friendly, although when it fully displays it's magic nature it's 10 feet across.

A friendly group of trolls lives in his pantry and tries to help with the housekeeping, although they're bad at it.

Wherever the magic settles into his apartment, it warps the reality around it.  When I say the Mammoths live in the freezer, it is both a real freezer and a prehistoric frozen realm.  His closet is both a fully realized fairy village and his closet.  His pantry opens into a troll cave, but is also a fully functional pantry.  The snake under his bed (who is very friendly and sneaks into his bed at night for warmth) is both the size of a small car and able to fit under the bed.  Magic and reality exist side by side, and what aspect you encounter might depend on the angle you're looking, or who you are.

The story is about his odd routine living in this mix of reality and magic.  Some magical spirits/creatures are permanent residents.  Sometimes others come by for help, to be annoying, or just to visit.  The residents all like him, but might annoy each other.

The conflict comes from trying to help spirits with their problems, deal with spirits that are causing problems, and try to have a normal life.  It can be hard to bring home a date when your cat might turn into a lion.  How will your landlord feel about the mural the fairies painted on the wall (all I say is that fairies don't have our hang ups about sexuality and nudity).  The swamp monster that came for dinner were nice, but will the stains come off the couch?