Voodoo Love

By on Oct 1, 2012 in Fiction

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Shrine with woman's photo, magnet, coconut-shell candle and sheep's head

Every morning I run downstairs to check on the lamp and evaluate the condition of Capo, as I call the head. Still intact, packed in plenty of ice, I make sure Capo’s eyes are facing my picture, hoping its severed head has X-ray vision and can see through the cooler. Celeste, acting as my spiritual adviser, tells me to add some votive candles to the shrine, just in case the wick in the coconut shell goes out while I am away. I am to visualize what I want to happen. At Sullivan Group, Kip is even more preoccupied with business than usual, and I am working overtime to get our construction proposal out by deadline. I try to conjure up a scenario where Kip asks me to lunch, but I can’t really imagine the specifics. Things are happening but not things I could have ever predicted.

The persistent rumor about a corporate takeover and layoffs is about to happen. Staff is working long hours to clean up loose ends. Maman is in the hospital, in need of heart surgery. She needs stents to open up artery blockages. Celeste tells me Maman’s blood pressure runs high, probably due to her lifelong diet of bacon and goat stew. Maman’s snake is now in Celeste’s care. Celeste sneaks Legba into an office supply closet near her desk so she can keep an eye on him while she works.

On Friday, the pink slips arrive. Whole departments have been decimated. Celeste and I have retained our jobs. There is crying, strained whispering behind office cubicles, and door slamming. Kip stops by my desk and asks if he can speak to me. I follow him into his office. My heart is pounding. Hoping for voodoo magic, I sit in wait for his proclamation of love. Kip tells me he has been let go. The higher-ups were not happy with his management of the viaduct project. It’s all right, though. He and Linda are working on a start-up construction management company; Linda and Kip’s father are providing the financial backing. Looking into my eyes, he says, “We would love to have you on board as our assistant; it will be a small operation. I know you’re a hard worker, Marie. I’ll have to know if you’re interested soon; I must clear out by Monday.”

I feel like I am having an out-of-body experience observing my own stupidity; plundered again by a man, only this time figuratively. I feel my face flush. Breathing deeply I compose myself to speak. “I don’t know, Kip; I will probably stay on here; maybe go back to college.”

“I understand, Marie; if you change your mind, call me. Anyway, I’m going to miss you.” We shake hands; I turn and leave his office. I feel numb; I wander around the office, looking for Celeste, but she left early.

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Michele A. Hromada is a special education teacher and educational evaluator. Her hobbies include reading, traveling and listening to classic rock and jazz music. Short fiction is something she loves and has been working on throughout her life. She lives on the Lloyd Neck peninsula on the North Shore of Long Island with her husband, son and her Jack Russell terrier. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Diverse Voices Quarterly, Forge and Sanskrit. She is a regular contributor to Lloyd Harbor Life, writing restaurant reviews and general interest articles.

One Comment

  1. I love your story. I will pass it on to friends. I’ve always
    been intrigued by Voodoo, from afar, very afar…and I got several laughs…always a good thing. Plus, I’m terrified of snakes, and it took me many false starts to find a great guy in an orange convertible. Keep up the good work.