Wednesday, March 28, 2007

It's All In The Cards

by Anita Marie Moscoso

Idell Galina tells fortunes and casts spells from her little store on Eastlake Road.

Of Course Idell can't really see into the the future and she can't really cast spells but she can tell a good story and she's got a very winning smile and looks good in velvet so none of that really mattered.

Until the night Denae Colquite came in and asked for a Reading- then what Idell could or could not do mattered very much.

Denae Colquite took a seat on the little wooden chair Idell offered her and she kept her purse in her lap. She even kept her jacket on, refusing to take it off when Idell asked for it. " I know this is all- um, subjective. But I'm at a loss Miss-"

" Madam Galina " Idell extended a long hand over the crystal ball that sat on the table between them.

Denae looked down at Idell's left hand and then she looked back up and said, " Miss Galina. "

Idell shrugged pulled her hand back and slumped a little into her chair with her arms crossed over her chest and the air sucked out of her lungs. " What exactly can I help you with ..."

" Denae my name is Denae Colquite and I'll get right down to it Idell- I need to know if one can escape their fate."

Idell felt her Sea Legs come back, and she said " Our fates are..."

" Yes, yes, yes, written on the sands or wind or something like that but Miss Galina the upshot is my fate is about to ruin my life and I'd like to escape that. So, can you help me or not."

It wasn't a question and it wasn't a demand but Denae expected an answer all the same.

And it was obvious she wanted it now.

So Idell reached over to the counter to her left for a candlestick and she placed it next to the crystal ball and struck a match. Then she looked down into the reflection cast by the small yellow flame and as she did Denae put her forehead on the table's rounded edge and started to bang it up and down.

" Yes or no Madame Galina can you change a fate that's been cast. Do you really need to look into the future to answer that question? Because if you're that unsure of your present I don't see how you can help me with the future."

Without raising her head from the table Denae reached into her handbag pulled out a small box of playing cards and dropped it on the table.

" Here, it's all in here. My Grandmother did a reading for me 10 years ago when I got married. It's all there, in those cards. I need to know if I can escape it."

Idell smirked a little and wiped it off her face as Denae looked up. " Our futures, our destiny are constantly being rewritten, I see images, impression of things that could be. That's what I can offer you in the way of help and guidance."

Denae dropped her head back onto the table and mumbled, " Well, damn. It's starting to look like there is no way around this. No way at all. I mean the one person who can really pull this gig off was like a thousand percent right. You know, she was the real thing.I've been to hundreds of you people for the past ten years and all you guys have been less talented then she was. Everyone said Grand was one in a million. I guess that was just the simple truth. She was one in a million."

Denae got up and sighed " How much."

" An offering of 20.00 is appreciated."

Denae got up and and put her jacket on. Then she opened her purse and dropped the offering on the table.

" Oh your..." Idell picked the box up.

" Cards- you can keep them I don't need them anymore. I know what they say. They've been saying the same thing for 10 years now."

And then as Denae walked towards the door the little flap on the bottom of the box slid open and the cards spilled out onto the table and the floor at Idell's feet.

Idell reached down and picked up one of the cards. She could see they were ordinary playing cards with something written in spidery red script across their faces.

She held the card up to the light and she could see written in old fashioned script, " My Granddaughter is going to kill you, run Miss Galina "

Idell looked up in time to see Denae throw the deadbolt on the door. " Don't bother, I told's all in the cards."

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Mrs. Beenettle's Garden

by anita marie moscoso

Outside the town of Dewhurst is a little Country Cottage House standing all by itself up off of a long dusty road. There's a rusty mailbox out front leaning over a ditch and a low stone fence that runs for miles along the Cottage's property line.

Within the borders of the stone fence the small white cottage has potted plants on it's porch and at each of it's lace covered windows there are flower boxes full of purple and white and yellow Pansies.

That's where Mrs. Beenettle lives.

People who drive by Mrs. Beenettle’ s House always comment on the old fashioned looking elderly lady with the straw hat and the basket of flowers on her arm.

" I wonder how old Mrs. Beenettle is, " they'll say " she's been out working on that garden of hers since I was a kid and that was over 20 years ago. "

Then they forget all about her until the next time they drive by.

You see, Dewhurst is an up and coming town with streets full of houses called " Mini-Mansions " and roads with names like " Glen " this and " View Ridge" that and the people who live in those developments aren't the sort of people who slow down their cars or themselves for anything.

That includes sweet old ladies who tend Old English Cottage Gardens in the suburbs of Seattle.

Last spring, after years and years of waving to people somebody actually took the time to stop and drive up to Mrs. Beenettle’ s Cottage.

That somebody was named Betsy Ware.

Betsy Ware swears too much and drives to fast and when her kids moved out and left Betsy and her husband with an empty nest Betsy filled their old bedrooms with boxes full of their books and old furniture and outdated clothes and broken toys.

" If they want to move back in they're going to have to haul all this crap away. "

A fool is a woman who doesn't know her own children and Betsy knew her kids would rather live in a dumpster then to be responsible for their own messes so they never did come back-not even for visits.

Betsy was either one step ahead of you or maybe a half a step behind. But she was never far off the mark. That's what made Betsy such a hard person to mess with.

It was a gift she guessed.

One day Betsy just got it into her head to make the drive up to Mrs. Beenettle’s. She wasn't sure where the idea came from; it just seemed like the right thing to do on that nice cool Spring morning.

She got out of her jeep wearing a faded black t-shirt and her hair tied back in a braid and Mrs. Beenettle came from the side of her house with her basket full of flowers.

Mrs. Beenettle smiled her roadside smile. " Well Good Morning!" she said bright as a daisy.

Betsy stood there and smiled back and the thought came from nowhere and locked Betsy's smile into place..." I have no idea why I'm idea at all."

Mrs. Beenettle was pleasant enough, she knew all about plants.

What she said was not exactly what you would read in The Lady Gardener’s Companion Books.

" Flowers are just cool and cunning as any gambler or card shark" Mrs. Beenettle said in her soft warm voice. " They will wine and dine and seduce anything they have to in order to get what they want."

" What is it they want Mrs. Beenettle " Betsy asked because Betsy had the feeling this was going to be a whopper.

" Why, they want to take over dear- simple it truly is as simple as that. I mean, if you think about it the only thing that consumes and reproduces with such blind determination are humans. We're a lot alike, plants and humans."

And Betsy found she couldn't really disagree with that.

They chatted about plants that ate bugs and flowers that smelled like cigarette smoke and Betsy asked, " are there really such things as plants that eat people?"

Mrs. Beenettle laughed and so did Betsy and at that moment they both knew what the answer was-which only made them both laugh more.

The sun was starting to set and it was getting cooler when Mrs. Beenettle said, " All kidding aside Betsy- if you're interested in Man Eating plants this may tickle your funny bone-follow me."

Behind Mrs. Beenettle’ s Cottage there was a grove of Hazel Nut trees. The trees had long thin spidery limbs and they were covered with moss and the bark on the trees was leather like and dark brown.

That surprised Betsy, she thought it would be more fitting if they were bone white, but she was far to interested in what was growing beneath the little trees to wonder why the bark was the color it was.

Under each tree was a large flower.

The petals were black and purple and red and the flowers themselves were as large as the trees themselves.

And they smelled bad; they smelled very, very bad.

" Whoa " Betsy said.

The sound of awe in Bety's voice seemed to please Mrs. Beenettle a lot. In fact Mrs Beenettle smiled wider then ever and then she put a Motherly arm around Betsy's shoulders.

" I am curious about the smell Mrs. Beenettle."

" These beauties are called Corpse Flowers Betsy. In order to thrive they attract blow-flies, and in order to attract Blow-Flies they have to give the flies what they desire which of course is the scent of death."

" Is that all they attract Mrs. Beenettle? The Blow- Flies?

Mrs. Beenettle held her arm out and Betsy took it. " Plants always seem to find the perfect environment to survive in- they're very cunning in that respect.”

Towards Sunset Betsy left Mrs. Beenettle's Garden.

Tucked into the back of Bety's Jeep was a flat box filled with tiny compartments. In each little square were tiny shoots that were coiled and spiraled upwards and each little shoot was tinted black and red purple at their edges.

Next to the flat, wrapped in oiled paper were Betsy's shotguns and in a little plastic envelope under the guns were tags from sweaters and jackets and shirts.

Like Mrs. Beenettle said, plants always seem to find the best enviorment to survive in- they're very cunning in that respect.