by Curtis C. Chen
"It's still fighting me," Coyote said.
"Level out!" said Crow.
"You should be happy it's still in the air."
They watched from the large, flat rock as the mechanical bird circled the clearing. Coyote used both front paws to manipulate the unwieldy remote while Crow hopped excitedly from side to side.
A sudden gust of wind pushed the bird sideways. Coyote shoved one joystick forward and realized too late that he had overcompensated. The bird angled down and crashed into a tree.
"Well," Crow said, "I'm not happy any more."
"Stupid levers," Coyote growled. He swatted the remote to one side. It skittered off the rock.
"Careful!" Crow squawked. "Those things are expensive!"
"Waste of time," Coyote said. "Why are we messing with machines anyway?"
Crow dipped his beak. "I told you. Our magic doesn't work anymore."
"Maybe your charms have failed--"
"You're not listening," Crow said. "The power's fading. The humans can explain away just about any strange sight or occurrence these days: it's hallucination, or fatigue, or stress.
"They call it psychology." Crow pronounced the word as if it tasted sour. "The only thing they believe now is technology. That's the only trick we have left."
Coyote lay down on the rock. "Fine. But this remote-control-box thing isn't working. What now?"
"We can fix it." Crow began hopping again. "I'll get the bird down. You get on the cell phone and call tech support."
Coyote groaned. Crow said, "What?"
"I hate talking to Ganesh."