“Ridiculous,” she said to Simon, her 13-year-old cat, the only one around who listened.
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Carefully Joyce read each word out loud as if expecting Simon to remark. When he only blinked his yellowed eyes, as if saying he’d seen it all, Joyce picked up the phone and dialed.
Perhaps she should have at least checked out the website before diving in. But no matter. The situation had become bad enough that Joyce was using no sense, and even ready now for nonsense, if only to change what seemed inevitable disaster.
The ringing phone stopped with a sweet, soft voice:
“Hello, Athena here. We have spells to ring his bell, or hexes to vex any enemy. What’s your choice?”
Joyce stammered, “Um, no ringing of bells, so I guess a hex.”
“Appointments necessary,” Athena said immediately. “Bring an item of the person to hex, and one of your favorite things – a piece of clothing or jewelry will do. 1 pm today okay?”
“Oh,” Joyce replied. “An item belonging to the hexee? Hmm, 1:30 is better.”
“Done. Knock three times.”
At 1:33, on the third knock, a flaming red-haired sprite-like woman opened the nondescript brown door on the alleyway between 3rd and 4th Street.
“I’m Athena . Quickly, come in. But first, your favorite thing?”
Athena nodded knowingly.
“Ahh, one of those.”
She nodded for Joyce to follow her down a narrow, lightly lit hallway to a small, red-hued room that contained only two chairs and an intimate round table.
“Sit,” Athena said in a fortune-teller kind of command.
Athena continued. “I assume this is a hex to rid you of someone who has deceived you in some way? Maybe lied? Cheated.”
“Exactly,” Joyce agreed.
“Then may I have an item belonging to this person?”
Athena was all business. She held Joyce’s ruby ring in the left hand and opened her right hand to receive.
Joyce fumbled in her purse, her face suddenly red, fingers trembling.
“Are you sure this will work?”
Athena nodded. And then screamed loudly when Joyce dropped
a fat pinkish-brown
in her open hand.