There is one surefire way of recognizing both fledgling wizards and consummate imbeciles.
Unfortunately, there is no reliable method of discerning between the two.
When the man who called himself Alastor Vane walked into my shop, I was fairly certain I was dealing with a little of both. He wore a wine colored suit with a black bowler hat, and carried a slender cane with a brass head.
“Good evening sir, I’d have a word,
A Gentleman’s parley.
I’ve come in search of precious merch
A ransom I will pay.”
I sighed, and hoping to God that he’d only prepared enough verse for his introduction, asked him what he wanted.
“It’s hard to trust, given the must
That this could be the place.
The point is moot, I seek a boot
To stimulate my pace.”
The worst thing about rhyming is it’s contagious. Mentally bludgeoning the urge to join in, I told him that he must be looking for the pair of Seven League Boots I’d got in. Unfortunately for him, I’d sold them that morning.
“You’ll tell me sir, to whom it were
You sold what’s rightly mine.
Pay you double for the trouble
Just point me toward the swine.”
I informed him in no uncertain terms that I did not share my customers’ information, and that if he was one of them he’d no doubt appreciate the same consideration. I suggested that if it was speed he was after, he might like to purchase a silken wrap I had on hand that markedly increased the celerity of the wearer. It’s still available, incidentally.
“You keep your trash, I want no sash,
I’ll soon be on my way.
But you, good sir, my wrath incur,
I’ll make you rue this day.”
I shook my head as the door jingled closed behind him. It hadn’t hit him on the way out. I’d have to get that fixed. I’m a busy man, however, so I didn’t have much time to dwell on my newfound calomniateur. That said, I was fairly sure I hadn’t seen the last of Alastor Vane.