Chapter 17: Mother Hazel

On Jeanie’s next visit to Mother Hazel she spoke of the incident at the

Christmas party. “Mother, recently something very strange happened to me during my husband’s annual Christmas party; a man approached me, a powerful man, his name is Gerald Ross, and he oversees the company. He waited until I was alone and then he propositioned me, it was a lewd advance; he wants to be intimate with him in exchange for my husband’s promotion. Jeanie said embarrassed.”

“He said that if I refused; not only wouldn’t Mark get the promotion, but he would fire Mark or make him suffer while he worked there. Mark isn’t happy but he’s trying to salvage his job because of the time he’s spent working there. I need to know if I sleep with him will this man keep his word?”

“Jeanie, you are an honorable woman, we must find a way to stop this man from using his leverage against you, Mother said.”

Jeanie, tried to sleep that night of the Christmas part, but she kept tossing and turning, she looked over at her sleeping husband.

She would never betray him, she loved him dearly, but now they were in debt way over their heads, and the money pressures were affecting their marriage. It was horrible.

Mark was often moody, irritable, even raising his voice, which he knew frightened her. But despite his best efforts he could not control himself, Jeanie tried to be reasonable and supportive, but sometimes he became so inconsolable, all Jeanie could do was cry herself to sleep. He had shared everything with her, his deepest secrets, his fears of insanity, his irregular heart-beat. Even his family problems.

She knew what Mark did not, that he was never going to get that future promotion. Not unless Jeanie interceded on his behalf.

She didn’t care about the house or the cars, even thou they stood to lose everything, she was only worried about Mark. If she didn’t sleep with Mark’s boss, Gerald, his boss would make up some “legitimate” excuse to fire Mark, or worse keep him on, and then where would they be?

It took Mark almost six months to find this job, and that was when the economy was “fair,” how long would it take him to find a new job now that unemployment had soared. Or make the same money for another company starting at a entry level position.

Jeanie remembered the banks letter that she had read earlier and left it open on the kitchen table. She was staring at it now.

The bank had sent their final notice. If Mark would have let Jeanie help them at the start, then maybe they wouldn’t be in this position.

Why were men so stubborn, so prideful, she didn’t understand it.

“No, Mother I must know, I need to know if this man will honor his end of the deal.”

“Okay, if that is your wish, I will do the reading, which deck do you want me to read from, Mother offered.”

“The Tarocchi, Jeanie requested.”

Mother nodded and then she went to find her oldest deck of Tarot cards, which she kept in her back bedroom, and when she found them she put them in the side pocket of her House Coat. Jeanie was sipping her tea looking just miserable.

Mother grabbed the Kettle of Tea, and filled Jeanie’s cup again along with her own, when she set the kettle down it hissed as she finished.

Mother shuffled thru her cards and found the card that most resembled the man

Jeannie described to her,

“State your question with his name, Mother said initiating the ritual.”

“Will this CEO Ross be true to his word, Jeanie asked?”

Mother re-asked in a way that resembled a poem spoken in prose.

“A fool and his power

Current in reign

Take another man’s wife

In exchange for the same.”

She offered the deck to Jeanie to draw a card and flip it over. The tarot card was the “Lovers,” the man was on top and the woman was on the bottom and she had her head turned away from him.

“He will honor his end of the deal, Mother confirmed.”

“If Mark finds out it would destroy his trust in me, perhaps change our relationship forever, maybe even end it, if that’s possible, Jeanie replied.”

“Then he must never know, Mother warned.”

Jeanie started crying again, “I wanted the cards to confirm just the opposite, now the choice has been made for me.”

“I would not be so certain, Mother said.”

“If I don’t do this Mark won’t get the promotion, and the money problems will continue; worse than that this man promised to keep Mark in the same retched situation, to push him over the edge. I could stand any punishment for myself, but I can’t watch Mark suffer because of me, I would feel just as responsible as the man who did it.

I have to do it to save and protect our marriage, even if it means “giving-myself” to this man, Jeanie said.”

“Child, Mark not knowing is not the same as you not telling him, keeping a lie from the man you love may be more damaging to you than to him, Mother warned.”

“I have to take that chance, while I still have a choice, Jeanie decided.”

“Jeanie, you have two more questions, did you wish to continue, Mother said?”

“When Mark finds out will he leave me, Jeanie asked?”

“How can you be so certain that he will find out, Mother said?”

“He will, Jeanie said.”

“I won’t waste a draw on that, you know that man is bound to you, Mother replied.”

“Please Mother, if I’m going to do this I need to know everything, what is the result of Mark getting a promotion, Jeanie asked?”

Mother repeated the ritual as before and Jeanie drew her card and laid it on the table; both women stared with confusion.”

“What does this mean mother, Jeanie asked?”

The card had a picture of a man in an armor suit and he had one head with two faces, one face was older and the other was a much younger, it reminded Jeanie of a picture she once saw of a snake that had two heads. One was stern and merciless, the other a handsome smiling psychotic jester.

“A curious draw this “two headed man,” and easily misunderstood, Mother said.”

Jeanie tried to control her panic, “Is it bad, she asked.”

“No, no, not bad, Mother said quickly, but open to interpretation, I do not want to offer an immediate explanation, but consort with the other members of our coven, two others to be exact, this matter needs to be sorted out before any other interpretations can be made, each card is influenced by the card that precedes it, so we must proceed with certainty because clarification hinges on it.

“Mother, I can’t wait, I don’t have more time, Jeanie said.”

“I will call you before the fort-night, Mother replied.”

“I may have to decide before then with or without clarification, Jeanie replied.”

“Time is always the enemy of the righteous, Mother pounded her fist on the table, and the cards shifted position as the table rattled.”

“Mother let’s try another card, Jeanie begged.”

“No, nothing more, the waters are already murky, we can’t be throwing any more dirt in em, Mother replied sternly.”

Jeanie looked like she wanted to cry again.

Mother tried to comfort her, “Jeanie this is an odd card and not even one of the original deck, a card this archaic can easily lead to a dangerous or even fatal misinterpretation, no less than three elders can decide its final meaning. I being so close to you may actually have to be removed from the reading.

“What do I do in the interim, Jeanie asked?”

“You wait, Mother said.”

That the only thing I can’t do, Jeanie thought to herself.

And then Jeanie looked at the clock.

“Thank You, Mother, Jeanie said finishing her tea, I’m sorry that I’m leaving so abruptly but I forgot the time.”

“Now, don’t go rushing off in a tizzy, girl, I’m going to consort, my sister, Gabriela, she’s the one with the evil right eye, and her powers of interpretation are far better than my own.

She will get to the bottom of this conundrum, don’t ye fret, there is nothing that she and my other sister Charlotte the one with the evil left eye, have not come across, that together the three of us have not been able to solve yet.

Mother Hazel did not have either of the two sisters “evil-eyes” and she envied both for that, but secretly she knew that she was the best practitioner of the arts then either sister or both combined.

“Until then you keep a cool head girl, and Mother reminded Jeanie that she had come a long way from the strong-willed teen-ager who came to her for help so many years ago, now she had grown into a woman, and a powerful sorceress in her own right.

Jeanie tried to deny her power, but the power would not deny her. It would express itself thru her whether she wanted it too or not. And by not harnessing its energy she was doing herself more harm than good. Sometimes she could feel it running through her like a conduit.

Like electricity thru a corded wire. Jeanie could even start physical fires without getting burned.

Jeanie smiled despite herself and laughed, “I will Mother and Thank You, the hour is late and the burdens of marriage beckon.”

Jeanie got up hugged Mother, put on her coat, and walked out the doorway.

“I will call you as soon as I have ye answer, Mother said, in a broken Scottish accent.”

“Thank you again, love, and health, Jeanie said leaving.”

“Love and health mother repeated, and then she shut the door after her, and paused at the door, before turning around.

The two-headed man was an evil card, it you read it right side up it meant one thing, and if read it upside down it meant another, but it was always trouble, it could mean Death, Fear, Evil, and Misery.

Even in the most conservative reading it always meant change. The two-headed man a card based on a parable about a two-headed snake, where one head bit the other and they both died. Jeanie was in trouble, and the Mother could not be certain if the two-headed card applied to Jeanie, whether she slept with the man, or if she did not sleep with the man. The outcome had not been determined. Mother was terrified herself.

Cabot waited until Jeanie’s car left the driveway and then he jumped into the same seat Jeanie was sitting in and stated at Mother, who saw him as she turned around, then she ignored him until she could no longer stand it.

“What are you looking at, ya miserable black bastard, Mother finally asked him.”

“Cabot never looked away but meowed several times as if trying to form a sentence.”

“Interfering?

“Whose interfering and in what, Mother asked guiltily?”

Cabot meowed again.

And even if I was, which I’m not, what business is it of yours to be voicing your rude opinion in another people’s interfering.

Cabot laid in a perched position he didn’t “say” anything again, he just looked at Mother knowingly.

“And don’t be thinking you got away with shetting under me bed, because I found those expensive turds of yours, you ungrateful son of a bitch.”

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