Dear Ms. Bronson,
I'm “Mrs. Lovette” of Mrs. Lovette's Witchcraft and Fortune Telling. You may have seen my sign, in front of the house with the red door, driving down Spring Street. I've been waiting for you to open an account with jobLinks. It's good to see that you finally opened an account. I'd like to offer you a position as a familiar in my small business. So far, there's only one employee, myself. I've been getting a lot busier, with the latest shenanigans in the world. So, I'm looking for a helper with day-to-day operations. A “gofor”, I believe is the contemporary vernacular. You would be in charge of obtaining objects needed for individual clients, as well as keeping appointments up to date. We can discuss methods of payment when we speak in person. I hope to hear from you, soon.
Mrs. Lovette's Witchcraft and Fortune Telling Inc.
I got the email with the job offer, this morning. The weird thing is, I hadn't actually posted for anything, yet. I was about to delete it as spam, until I realized that I do see her sign every day. Well that is, I did see it every day driving to and from work until my position "dissolved". I think that's how they put it. Essentially, they decided they didn't want me anymore and fired me. Today's economy, right? You think you work for a company big enough not to be affected by it, right up until they fire you. At least they gave me a small severance package so I won't go homeless while I look for something else.
A friend of mine told me about jobLinks. They said that's how people find work, these days. So unable to pass up on any opportunity, I signed up and forgot about it. This morning, I get the email. I made an appointment for an interview, just to see what the job would be like. She said in her email that it was a business of one person, so I didn't expect it to pay much. But any job is better than no job, right now. I can take it until I find something better, right?
The day I went to see her, well, it was actually evening. She insisted on a meeting after sunset, saying the spirits would be stronger, then. I thought it was a gimmick and just went along with it. So, I showed up at her place on Spring Street and stood in front of that red door. I thought about it for just a moment and wondered if it was going to be a waste of my time. I mean I could talk to a crazy lady about healing crystals who wants to pay me in karma or I could go home and watch New Jersey reality shows. I just had to decide which would be more entertaining.
Before I could knock, a small woman opened the door. Her waist-length graying brown hair had to be a wig. But the gypsy clothes she was wearing were a nice touch. "Mrs. Lovette?" I asked.
“Come in,” She said.
“I'm Bette Bronson. I'm here for the...”
"I know," she said. "I said come in. And shut the door behind you." She walked int to the house and took a right into a side room. Her place looked like a house that someone lived in with the normal kitchen and living room, She had a nice big screen TV and surround sound speakers. She had crystals everywhere and a bunch of colors, from purple amethyst to milky selenite. The walls were covered in Renaissance-style paintings. A lot of them were scenes of Greek myths. She seemed to like the Circe and Hecate. It seemed fitting. On the far wall of her living room was a huge bookshelf of dark wood, spanning almost the entire wall and filled with books. I would love to spend a few hours with it, just to investigate her taste in literature.
Mrs. Lovette took me by the arm and pulled me into the side room with her. I must've been too curious about her place and gotten sidetracked. The interview didn't really go the way that I thought it would, either. Well, I mean it didn't go the way I'd think interviews should go. Here's how it went -
“So, when can you start?” Asked Mrs. Lovette, sliding a stack of papers in front of me.
We sat on either side of a round table, complete with a stereotypical heavy tablecloth with tassels on the corners and a mounted crystal ball in the middle of the table. I looked at the stack of papers and see that they're all contracts and waivers, ready for me to sign. She even had my name printed right next to all the signature lines.
“Wait,” I asked. “How do you know I'm right for the job? You just met me. Am I the only one to reply to your email?” I slid the stack of papers to the center of the table.
“The only...” She started to talk but stumbled over what she was about to say. “Honey, you must've missed the sign on the door.”
“Huh? What do you...”
“I'm a witch. Remember? I found you. You didn't find me,” She said very plainly. She leaned closer and added, “Did you think we were fake, or something?”
“I... uh... I have real respect for your rel...”
"Relax. The answer you're looking for is, 'Yes, I thought it was a gag.' It's okay. We get a bad rap in movies and T.V. shows and stuff. No matter the plot, the "witch" turns out to be a fake, using wires and fans to take people's money. Once it's brought out in the light, everyone feels safe as all is right in the world." She waved her hands in the air, like she was escorting her story through empty space.
“So you really are a...”
“Witch. Yep. It's not a swearword. Still interested?” She slid the stack of papers back towards me.
I tapped my fingers on them and asked, “So what would I be doing? Do I need to cross the globe to acquire magical ingredients for potions? Do I keep all your spell books dusted? Do I keep all your spells and curses alphabetized? What do you need me for?”
Mrs. Lovette thought about it for a moment. “Do you know what a 'familiar' is? That's what we witches call the job.”
“I thought that's what vampires had. You know, humans who hope to become vampires if they're really good boys and girls and do what the vampires tell them? Like Renfield in Dracula.”
She thought about it a little more. "Yes. Yes, it's exactly like Renfield in Dracula. Basically, you do what I need you to do, but you don't get to be a vampire. Unless, of course, you want to be a..."
“No, no. That's fine, thanks. I really like garlic.”
“Okay. If you ever change your mind, just let me know.”
I put my hands up like I was saying no to seconds. “What would I be paid?”
“How would you like to be paid?”
“What type of currency do you require?”
“What a strange question. American dollars would be fine.”
“Then that's how you will be paid, then. That's probably the easiest way.”
“But how much?”
“How much do you require?”
“This is the weirdest conversation I've ever had. No, wait. It's not. But it's up there. Would you pay me a hundred thousand a year?”
“You've got it.”
"Okay then!" I grabbed the pen lying on the side of the table and started signing the papers before she changes her mind. "Lady for that much money, I'll do anything you want."
“Wonderful!” She exclaimed. “Make sure to press down hard so the carbon copy gets a good impression.”
"You got it." I stood up and stepped towards the door. "Just wait until I tell my parents. They'll flip that they don't have to help me pay my electric bill, anymore."
“Where are you going?” She asks.
“Well, home. Did you need me to start, today?” I asked, confused.
“It's not that. It's, well, you can't go outside, now. You've signed the papers, already.”
"What do you mean?" Great, a crazy kidnapping lady. "You can't stop me from leaving!"
“You're absolutely right. I can't stop you,” Mrs. Lovette said. “You didn't read what you signed, did you?”
“I can read it, tomorrow. I'm leaving and I'll be back tomorrow.” But as soon as I open the door, my height shrank to a foot of the ground. I was covered in gray and black fur and my hands changed to cat paws. “What have you done to me!” I demanded.
“Nothing. I haven't done a thing to you. You signed the papers to take the job as my familiar, remember?” She walked over and shut the door. As soon as she did, I went back to being just as human as I was before.
“What are you talking about? You're crazy! Let me out of here!”
“I should have explained. I'm sorry. No one ever reads the papers.”
“What's in those papers that explains this?”
“Okay, see... You're a familiar.”
“Yes, we've established that. We're clear on that subject.”
“Okay, see... You remember in school how witches always had cats, right? They were usually black?”
"Don't tell me." I took a seat on a stool, near the kitchen.
“I can't keep you here. But if another human sees you, they see a cat, not a human. To me, you're Ms. Bronson the human. To anyone else, you're Ms. Bronson the cat,” she explained.
"I swear, this is the worst job ever."