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

Inside the sanctuary of my car, I put my head on the steering wheel and begin bawling. I am making myself dizzy with the intensity of my sobs. My glasses slide off; I catch my reflection in the rearview mirror. Some women look sensual when they cry — full, reddened lips; I am not one of them. Stupid, stupid, stupid! I think as I pull out of the parking lot. My eyesight is blurry, but I am careful merging onto the entrance ramp. I stay in the right lane; someone in a sports car behind me is honking his horn. He passes me on the left, still blowing away. What a jerk; I know I’m doing the speed limit. Back home I go to bed, too exhausted to check on Capo.

* * *

I spend part of the weekend dismantling my shrine. When my mother goes out for her hair appointment, I bury the sheep’s head in a far corner of the backyard. Capo is still in good condition, but garbage pickup isn’t until Tuesday; I don’t want to take chances with a suspicious smell coming from a Hefty bag. I put all the Polaroid pictures in a dresser drawer with my panty hose.

On Monday morning, I drive to work. As I get closer to my exit, I hear honking; it’s the same guy in the sports car. My car swerves while I squint into the rearview mirror; the car tilts to the right, and I hear a thudding sound. Just my luck, a flat! I pull over to the shoulder; the sports car is right behind me.

“Do you need any help, miss?” A man gets out of an orange convertible; he is tall and dressed in immaculate business clothes — blue shirt, brown suit, and pale-yellow tie. I wonder how he gets his body to fit inside the car; his height dwarfs it to toy size. He does not wait for a response; taking charge, he gets a jack from his trunk, and lifts my car. His tie is undulating in the breeze; he is kneeling. I worry about him dirtying his creased trousers. He looks up at me; I can’t see his eyes behind aviator sunglasses.

“You know, I pass you on this road almost every day. I’ve honked and waved to you, but you have incredible powers of concentration; I don’t think you ever noticed me. I’ve wanted to meet the girl with the turned-up nose, driving the Honda.”

I am incredulous; my nose is straight, not ethnically definable, but decidedly not turned up. “Th-thank you for your help,” I stutter. I introduce myself.

My rescuer works at a swift pace, managing to change the flat and, at the same time, keep up a steady one-sided conversation about himself and his work as a marketing rep. His most notable attribute is that he is bald. Max Burnett is not buzz-cut bald, receding see-through hair bald, or bald on top with a horseshoe of hair circling the back of his head bald. His skull and forehead are one glorious expanse of gleaming skin — pink, like a baby’s behind. In the bright sunlight there is no evidence of even a single hair follicle; his baldness is mythic and unapologetic. I sense my Samson is unaffected by his genetic flaw and would never conceal his head beneath a hat. God, he’s gorgeous. My eyes gobble him up from his shiny head down to his polished wing tips.

Max, with facile hands, changes my tire. He gives me his business card. “Call me later. We’ll go to lunch.” Max gets into his car and waves.

Late to work, I hurry to my desk. Kip’s office is empty. Files are packed up in boxes; faded rectangles are visible where framed diplomas were once carefully aligned. There is a message that Celeste won’t be in today. Maman is coming home from the hospital. I go to check on Legba. The mesh cover is askew; the snake is gone. Celeste probably took him home to greet Maman.

The office is quiet today; I keep checking my pocket for Max’s business card. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a black object slink past Kip’s office door, headed toward the hallway that leads to the elevators. My god, it’s Legba! Terrified, I climb onto the top of my desk. When he leaves my field of vision, I stumble down and venture out to the hall. Legba is slithering at warp speed to the staircase. Snakes can climb trees, so I guess he can manage the stairs. I am too much of a coward to try to capture him with my bare hands, and if I call for help, someone might kill him. Snakes must have a mating season; that’s what I plan to tell Celeste. I walk back to my desk and take out Max’s card.

It’s too easy, I think; all I have to do is call him. Max will pick up; we’ll go to lunch in his orange convertible. Maybe in some convoluted way, Maman’s charm lamp worked. I know I’m a romantic fool, but I believe in love, even voodoo love.

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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.