I bet you are expecting the fortune teller, Minerva, to pack up her kit and set out immediately after her talk of bringing back the dead. You think she’s going to run off, that she needs to collect esoteric herbs and unguents, gather candles and crystals. In your mind, she needs to take a ritual bath, that she has to put on special ritual clothing. You’re already imagining her conjuring sacred space, casting a circle of power, invoking the elements and the gods. But, in this instance, you are simply wrong.

Minerva actually enjoyed her job as a psychic. There were regulars that she loved with all her heart. There were the giggly teens asking about the likelihood of boyfriends, sometimes husbands. There were those who came in dead-set on hearing what they wanted to hear that didn’t always leave happy when she told them otherwise. Minerva was comfortable dealing with people, comfortable helping where she could and letting go of the rest.

Minerva spent the rest of her day, which for most would be the night, speaking to clients, summoning the dead, speaking to the ethers, cajoling the incorrigible. It was three in the morning when she called it a day. Sometimes she worked later, but it had been a busy day, a busy week. She was tired. She cleaned up her space, putting her icons and tidbits away with care. She dusted. She swept. She counted out her register. She sealed the money up in the safe. Her son Devon would come in the light of day to do that. Minerva had worked in this office space for more than twenty years. She had been mugged three times. Only that first time had she had any money on her. She had learned her lesson. She made sure that nothing she carried worth anything was reachable during an attack. At night, like this, she never carried more than twenty dollars cash on her. The whole neighborhood knew this, as far as she knew. She locked everything up tight and went out the back door, into the gloaming light.

Her little car, an old beat-up 70s Volkswagen bug that her daughter had painted using can after can of spray paint until it was just right, huddled at the curb, afraid of being alone in the dark. She patted the flowery hood as she passed it. Her oldest had turned the car from a dingy yellow into a field of flowers two summers ago. Minerva was surprised at just how well the spray paint had held up on the old thing. The car door screeched as she opened it. The interior was comfortable and tonight it smelled of cigarette smoke. That was a comfort to Minerva. That smell told her her Ancestors were near, specifically her Great-Great-Grandmother, a woman she had never met in this lifetime, but with whom she now had a great relationship.

It took only a few minutes to drive to the diner. Parking itself was more complicated. It was all on the street parking. Minerva couldn’t parallel park to save her life unless there was room for five cars…and god forbid someone park too close in front and in back of her. Minerva had once been at the diner for more than seven hours waiting for other people to move their cars so she could finally get hers out. That’s just how she worked. Better safe than sorry.

Martin sat at their usual table. He knew she wouldn’t drink coffee at that hour. She’d never be able to sleep that day if she did. He had ordered her a hot chocolate, complete with a tower of whipped cream on top. She slid onto the bench across from him.

Tough night?”

She smiled at him, her old friend. “Same old, same old.” Shaking her head, she shrugged off her coat and shoved it into the space beside her. She gave him a look. “I found one for you.”

Are you sure he is a viable candidate?”

She wrapped her hands around her cup, seeking the warmth of the cup. She nodded. “He’ll be back tomorrow.” She looked into Martin’s deep golden eyes. “I’ll send him to you as soon as he agrees.”

Martin nodded. The waitress neared their table, saying she’d be there in just a sec. Martin smiled up at her, nodding to let her know he heard her.

Martin and Minerva, age-old friends, passed a pleasant meal, as they did every morning once she called it a day. Martin always sat at the same table, back in the corner, with a full view of the restaurant, well away from the door. He was always waiting for Minerva, no matter what time she closed up shop. She never asked what he did before their time together. She didn’t want to know.