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Authors: Annetta Ribken,Baylee,Eden

Allegories of the Tarot (21 page)

BOOK: Allegories of the Tarot
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OMG.
AND???

-----

Date:
Friday 13 June, 10:38am

From:
Justia, Marie

To:
Forza, Geraldine
;
Williams, Temperance

Subject:
RE: Leaving early today

And
nothing.
I can’t hear
anything. Geri, can you hear/see anything?

-----

Date:
Friday 13 June, 10:38am

From:
Forza, Geraldine

To:
Justia, Marie
;
Williams, Temperance

Subject:
RE: Leaving early today

No, nothing.
Totally quiet.
He’s just staring at her computer. She’s
staring at him.

-----

Date:
Friday 13 June, 10:38am

From:
Forza, Geraldine

To:
Justia, Marie
;
Williams, Temperance

Subject:
RE: Leaving early today

Oh wait. He’s
yelling now.
Something about kittens???

-----

Date:
Friday 13 June, 10:38am

From:
Forza, Geralding

To:
Justia, Marie
;
Williams, Temperance

Subject:
RE: Leaving early today

Kittens?
WTF??

-----

Date:
Friday 13 June, 10:40am

From:
Williams, Temperance

To:
Forza, Geraldine
;
Justia, Marie

Subject:
RE: Leaving early today

OMG I can hear him
now.

-----

Date:
Friday 13 June, 10:41am

From:
Forza, Geraldine

To:
Justia, Marie
;
Williams, Temperance

Subject:
RE: Leaving early today

He’s yelling. He’s
saying he’s going to kill Mammon. Temperance, I think he’s going to Mammon’s
office. HIDE.

-----

Date:
Friday 13 June, 10:41am

From:
Mammon, Stanley

To:
Williams, Temperance

Subject:
RE: Leaving early today

Temperance, please
come to my office IMMEDIATELY.

-----

Date:
Friday 13 June, 10:41am

From:
Williams, Temperance

To:
Justia, Marie
;
Forza, Geraldine

Subject:
RE: Leaving early today

OMG

-----

Date:
Friday 13 June, 10:41am

From:
Forza, Geraldine

To:
Justia, Marie
;
Williams, Temperance

Subject:
RE: Leaving early today

TEMPERANCE HIDE

-----

Date:
Friday 13 June, 10:41am

From:
Williams, Temperance

To:
Forza, Geraldine

Subject:
Out of office

Thank you for your email. I am currently out of the
office. I will respond to your email as soon as I return.

Sincerely,

Temperance Williams

Executive Assistant
to Stan Mammon, VP - Arcana Enterprises

-----

Date:
Friday 13 June, 10:41am

From:
Justia, Marie

To:
Forza, Geraldine
;
Williams, Temperance

Subject:
RE: Leaving early today

TEMPERANCE
ARE
YOU OKAY???

-----

Date:
Friday 13 June, 10:41am

From:
Williams, Temperance

To:
Justia, Marie

Subject:
Out of office

Thank you for your email. I am currently out of the
office. I will respond to your email as soon as I return.

Sincerely,

Temperance Williams

Executive Assistant
to Stan Mammon, VP - Arcana Enterprises

-----

Date:
Friday 13 June, 10:41am

From:
Mammon, Stanley

To:
Williams, Temperance

Subject:
RE: Leaving early today

Temperance.
NOW.

-----

Date:
Friday 13 June, 10:41am

From:
Williams, Temperance

To:
Mammon, Stanley

Subject:
Out of office

Thank you for your email. I am currently out of the
office. I will respond to your email as soon as I return.

Sincerely,

Temperance Williams

Executive Assistant
to Stan Mammon, VP - Arcana Enterprises

-----

Date:
Friday 13 June, 10:42am

From:
Justia, Marie

To:
Forza, Geraldine

Subject:
RE: Leaving early today

It looks like
Temperance has left the building.

-----

***

Anne Chaconas was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala, and
made it her mission from around the time she was three years old to move to the
United States (where, she told anyone who would listen, all the music was in
English, which automatically meant life was better—flawless toddler logic,
people). She fulfilled her mission at eighteen when she moved to Connecticut to
attend a small private university in New Haven. There she bounced from major to
major, finally landing on Literature (and guaranteeing herself absolutely no job
prospects upon graduation but absolutely exceptional cocktail party
conversational skills).

After realizing people down South were much nicer (and
the food was much more fried), she moved there in 2007. She currently lives in
North Carolina with her husband, two kids, four cats, two dogs, and entirely
too many books. She is a work-at-home mom, and spends her days making things in
the Crock-Pot, changing shockingly awful diapers, getting sunburned at the
park, and working on her prose and for her marketing clients during those 45
minutes when the kids' naps overlap and those fleeting hours after they go to bed.

Anne writes many things, but has found her true love in
humorous non-fiction and parenting essays. She is currently working on two
books,
Embrace Your Weird (a how-to guide
on how to be happy from someone not academically qualified to write such a
guide)
and
A Stork Flew Over The
Cuckoo's Nest (a collection of essays, limericks, and assorted musings on
pregnancy, childbirth, parenthood, and other unnatural acts)
.

She also swears.
A lot.

You can stalk her online at
about.me/annechaconas
.

***

THE DEVIL

Hoarder

By Patti Larsen

Jane hovered near the rickety wooden yard sale table,
discomfort clear in every line of her body. The thumb and index finger of her
right hand absently reached for the gold band no longer gracing her left ring
finger, though the indent of twenty years of marriage remained.

Annie bumped her shoulder from behind, a little smile on
her face. “You look like someone’s torturing you,” Jane’s younger sister said,
tossing her blonde bob, mascara laden lashes winking. Jane hated how great
Annie looked, fit and happy. Diamonds of happy matrimony glinted from her hand,
a slap in Jane’s face.

It just wasn’t fair. Why did her life have to fall
apart? But she forced a little smile and shoved her shoulders down from the
tense mountains they made on either side of her ears.

“Sorry,” she said, even as she hated the automatic
reaction of apology left over from years of trying to make Bob happy and never
succeeding. “I haven’t been to one of these before.”

Annie swung her designer bag over her shoulder and
grabbed Jane’s arm, pulling her closer, fake nails digging into the soft flesh
of her arm even through her jacket.

“A little retail therapy,” Annie said, lip-gloss shining
in the sunlight of the bright June morning. Jane shifted sideways, out of the
path of a pushy older woman who pawed through the offerings on the table, “never
hurt anyone.”

Retail therapy used to be Jane’s favorite when two
incomes kept her comfortable, if not happy. But now Bob was gone, the cheating
Angela with him—what were best friends for?—Jane hadn’t been able to afford
much in the way of new clothes or nick-knacks for the house until she’d gotten
her very unstable feet under her at last.

The woman behind the table smiled at her, rumpled and
weary, the strained, almost bitter undertone making Jane retreat a little even
as her eyes settled on the sweet statuette perched near the cash box. A lovely
mermaid smiled at her, iridescent shell sparkling in the sun. The painted maid’s
hair
glowed
richly red, eyes clear blue, darling smile
showing perfect white teeth as her flawless human body blended into the
carefully painted scales of her fishy green tail. Jane’s hand went
unconsciously to her own hair, once that gorgeous shade, now faded to brown and
threaded with gray. Her limber, attractive young body was long gone, too. One
of the reasons Bob left her, he said.

Jane’s eyes burned with tears as Annie, unknowing,
uncaring, left her there staring at the statuette. The sudden need to flee, to
hide in the small house she’d barely been able to afford on her own and never
come out driving her back from the table.

Until the old woman pushed her again.
Something inside Jane snapped in that moment as the woman’s grubby paw reached
out to take the statuette.
To touch Jane’s precious memory.
In a move nothing like her normal passive and quiet nature, Jane shouldered the
old woman aside and grasped the mermaid in her hand, holding it out, shaking
slightly, to the woman behind the table.

“How much?”

***

Annie’s lack of enthusiasm over the statue, which she
deemed ‘quaint’, did nothing to deter Jane. She’d found a side of herself
previously unknown, an aggressive side okay with getting what she wanted. The
surge of joy and excitement buying the mermaid brought her was as powerful as
the rush of a heroin injection.

Jane ensconced the statuette next to her bed, where she
could look at it before she slept and where it would be the first thing she
woke to each morning.
A reminder of the new Jane.
As
she fell into sleep that first night, she was positive the statuette smiled
just for her.

Life became the passion of the purchase. Jane’s job
working as an insurance technician allowed her to do so from home, and afforded
her enough money to indulge in her current favorite past time—yard saling.
Anticipation of each weekend’s goodies was only partly satiated by the
exploration of thrift and dollar stores she discovered after timidly Googling the
topic.

Annie wrinkled her nose immediately the next time she
came to visit at the pile of goodies Jane eagerly showed her, perched on the
spare bed.

“What do you want all this junk for?” Just seeing Annie
handle her precious discoveries with her filthy, clammy hands made Jane’s
newfound temper boil.

Their visit didn’t last long.

An introvert by nature, it was easy for Jane to fall
into a happy routine over the next six months: working all morning with a quick
trip to the thrift shop over lunch before finishing her day. It became harder
and harder to keep her time in the stores down to the half hour she’d booked
herself, turning quickly into two and sometimes three hour marathons she paid
for by working well into the night. But to Jane, it was worth it.

When she realized she could no longer sleep in her own
bed because it was full of things she just had to have, Jane paused. A flicker
of concern passed through her mind, but only a flicker. The moment her eyes
settled on the mermaid, doubt faded and her happiness came back. Jane scooped
up the little statuette and carried it to the living room, setting it on the
end table beside her recliner. She often dozed in the chair for a few moments
after supper looking over classified and yard sale adverts, so it seemed
logical to make it her full-time sleeping place.

Especially if it meant she had more room for her stuff.

The first time she heard the statuette whispering, Jane
thought it was the television. But no, that soft, sweet voice, the words she
couldn’t quite make out, they came from the mermaid.
Crazy?
Maybe.
But Jane wasn’t willing to admit it. Not when
hearing the statuette’s lovely murmuring gave her such peace. It was so much
easier to fall asleep to the sound and she welcomed it.

BOOK: Allegories of the Tarot
5.45Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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