You're a witch

More from Jock Shaw


She eases into life as she does most Fridays in October, an hour before sunrise, buried under blankets. That’s what happens when you’re obsessed with your personal carbon footprint – you set your thermostat all the way down to freeze-your-ass-off. Be one with the cold, she thinks, reaching for socks on the floor. Visitors find that mantra tough to swallow through chattering teeth, but still they come round. It’s hard to resist a red-headed witch who can read a client’s mind just as easily as she can file a restraining order.

It was fifty years ago that Lorelei Olive Leigh slipped out of her mother’s womb minutes ahead of her identical twin, Layla, sending a stern psychic warning to the obstetrician on duty.

Save my sister.

And thank goodness the doctor listened, because while Lori was on the way out, Layla was on the way down, with a cord wrapped just too tight.

As luck would have it, the twins survived being born and grew up more or less sane in the coastal Carolina town of Sunrise Beach, where the family occupied a sturdy cinderblock house on the corner of Oak and Shell. The girls were a matched set in every physical way, with hot red hair and cool green eyes, and boobs that blossomed prematurely, capturing the unwanted attention of their perverted old man. Mom came home one day and found him inspecting his daughters in the bathtub. She called him to the bedroom and shot him in the stomach.

After the accident, that’s what the police called it, mom and dad stayed out of trouble for a few years, doing enough drugs along the way to kill two people, which is more or less what happened. On the night of high school graduation, the girls came home to dead parents and just enough insurance to pay off the mortgage.

In the wake of the overdose, Lori found herself preferring the company of just about no one, the press of human incompetence proving more than she could bear. Meanwhile sister Layla moved in a different direction, falling for any guy who breathed. One of her lovers, a fortune teller named Zeke, could look into a crystal ball for five bucks and tell you every truth. The romance burned out fast, but not before it delivered two mixed blessings. Zeke became Layla’s first paying customer, launching her impressive career as a tattoo artist. And Lori discovered she had a few more senses than she knew what to do with.

That psychic insight came at dinner one night, the first time the trio got together. Layla had just gone to the bathroom, when Zeke reached across the table for Lori’s hand.

“You’re nothin’ like your sister,” he leered with secret knowledge.

“What are you doing?”

“Reading your palm.”

He took her hand and spread it open, studying the lines with his fingers. Then he looked her straight in the eye. “How long you been talking to dead people?”

You mean like right now? she thought without thinking.

The shock of those words shook Zeke’s brain so hard he winced. “You’re a witch.”

Layla was back from the bathroom by now. “He says that to everyone.”

“He was reading my palm,” said Lori.

“I hope he saw a fortune ahead.”

“As a matter of fact, he did.”

Zeke’s premonition came true ten years after Lori moved west to the historic town of Hillsborough, where she set up shop as The Medium Miss Olive, offering psychic advice to anyone carrying cash. She earned enough money to get through college, and then law school, with the help of her law partner and lover, Diane.

Harold Hart was typical of Lori's clientele in those early days.

“Your wife's will is airtight,” Lori said after reading the papers at her kitchen table. A six-inch crystal ball filled the space between her and her nervous customer. “Nothing for you, Harry. Not a penny.”

“That bitch,” he said.

Lori pushed the papers aside and picked up a deck of Tarot cards, placing them into a familiar cross. As a second year law student, she couldn’t charge for legal services, but that didn’t stop her from selling fortunes. The first card up was the two of swords.

“What’s that mean?” said Harry.

“The poor house. Your dead wife says that’s all you deserve.”

“No way she’s talkin’ to you.”

Lori held her words, sifting through space to reach Harry’s wife.

“What’s she saying?”

“She told me to tell you to keep your crazy girlfriend away from her kids.”

“It don’t take no genius to figure that out.”

“Harry!” Lori’s voice summoned the storm of a dead woman's rage. “Stop looking at Miss Olive’s tits!”

Harry sank under the weight of that familiar voice.

“That’ll be thirty dollars. Cash,” said Lori. “See you next month.”


For nearly twenty years, Lori worked the fortune-selling ropes on the side as she built a law practice with Diane, using some of her psychic sizzle to win a handful of impossible cases. As Zeke had predicted, she made a mint.

But now she’s taken on something beyond impossible. She’s taken on Jock Shaw.



The Twins

Fascinating twins.

The first chapter

might not have hooked me if I had picked up the book, but it was short and led to this one which makes me want the book finished now.

I've read so much crap from "indie" authors on Amazon who all gang up to give each other 5 star reviews. Books that read like someone wrote them during NaNoWriMo and clicked the submit button without polishing a word.

This is wonderful, James. Makes me want to pick my book back up today and have some creative fun. What I really want is the next chapter, get to it!

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.


Off to a damned fine start.


"...the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be."

Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail