You may wonder how I decide what to write about.
And it is a fair question, as working for V, a lot of what I would rather uncharitably call lifes flotsam and jetsam pass through the door (literally) amd through our servers (metaphorically).
"As are you", pointed out V unkindly having read these pages. (Yes. I edit what I write when it seems fitting).
Some time back, V sent me on a spellcasting for beginners course, run by Maryanna, a colleague, friend, competitor, and sometimes arch enemy of my boss and (self appointed) mentor.
Take your pick. Witches (self described) are in my experience a fickle lot.
Anyway, Maryanna gave me the creeps, and we didn't hit it off, what with me being an unbeliever and all, so I was surprised to discover (and sufficiently unsettled to write about it) that I was invited to a seminar she was running on prosperity spells.
"I'm not going", petulantly to V, "Maryanna gives me the creeps and doesn't like me".
I can be honest when necessary.
"You are going" - in reply and as to a small child - "she has requested your presence and will help you understand".
When V. speaks like this, I know better than to argue, firstly because I know where she is going (my eventual belief and enlightenment in the witchy arts), and secondly because she pays my wages.
She's scary as well. And all those factors coupled with my lack of employment prospects back in the real world mean that I often meekly go along with these schemes. Like a lamb to the slaughter.
"And if you understand how to cast a simple prosperity spell .."
"... you won't need that pay rise you are continually talking about".
That was a bit rich. Back when I worked in the bank you couldn't move for inducements, pay rises, bonuses and so on. Probably my undoing in hindsight.
"And if you take notes on how to cast the prosperity spell, you can have a part share in the online psychic biz ..."
"Fifty percent and I'm your man" >
"Twenty five" replied V.
I am a (very) part owner in some of V's smaller ventures, but have been keen for some of the psychic action for a while, so against my better judgement agreed.
"Daylight robbery but it's a deal"
"Why does Maryanna want me there?" I asked, but V had vanished. She does this quite effectively. Vanishes. I'm looking at the screen, and she just goes. Silently too.
No doubt this is a good trait in an assassin, but not such a good one in your boss. Someone who can sneak out, can also sneak back in. Unobserved.
I arrived at the Black Cat in Finsbury Park at the appropriate time, as before locating the room by looking for a door with glyphs, moons etc.
As before on seeing said nonsense, I sighed ... deeply, slowly and as it happened loudly.
"Well hello" said Maryanna opening the door, catching me yawning, "do come in", and in I went trailing after her - desultory like.
There was no-one else in the room. And only a single spot of light, drifting almost from a desk lamp in a corner, on a large ornate mahogony desk, covered in witchy paraphernalia (symbols and what not), and totally out of place in the Black Cat (a run down dance studio) - names changed to protect the guilty.
The desk looked too large to fit in the door. And I didn't remember it from before.
We went over to the desk. Maryanna briskly, and I couldn't help thinking that she is totally hot, despite being way older than me, scary and someone to avoid at all costs. (Actually not so scary now that I know her better - and I also know she reads this pages - hi M xx).
I was just about to ask where everyone else was when M. explains:-
"You are going to look at my web site. And in return I will teach you the prosperity spell ..."
"... it's so easy anyone can do it ... even you. V knows you are here. Have you read your e-mail?"
Clearly, I hadn't. I did. The gist being that M. would help me develop (sigh), starting with a simple prosperity spell which would in turn help me with my dream life, and that in turn I needed to sort her website out. There is no use swimming against the current so I smiled sweetly at M saying "do show".
Maryanna opened her laptop, a top of the range macbook, and handed it to me, sitting farther away than strictly necessary.
I looked at the website and went through several pages. While I might often be flippant, I'm professional when it comes to SEO, *nix and so on.
"There is no call to action, no pipeline, no sales funnel, the colours are wrong, and it is hopeless in terms of SEO"
"On a positive note, the design is competent but we would need to think more about your target demographic and possibly make some changes."
"Whoever did this site for you was incompetent, chose a default wordpress theme, ripped you off and didn't do any sensible keyword research".
I was about to continue, but sometimes discretion is the better part of valour.
"Well, more fool them. I will deal with them later" muttered Maryanna, and "what next?"
"If you have your password for your ISP, wordspress account ... and give them to me, I can come up with some initial designs, basic keyword research and general witchy SEO" thinking as a said it that there was more chance of hell freezing over - due to lack of trust and well my experience of users (or lusers as we unkindly called them back at the bank).
"Of course" was the reply "we are not all totally incompetent when it comes to tek" which was I guessed a not so veiled barb at my employer.
And she said 'tech' like 'tek' which as a geek is something that I appreciate, not like 'technology' as the lusers used to say it when trying to ingratiate themselves. Gross.
"And now you, in return, need to learn a simple prosperity spell. Take notes. And yes, you can give them to V. She has said you are not a bad boy really. Just a bit slow."
Speechless. I was. Patronised by a someone whose webiste I was going to fix essentially in my own time and for free.
"Remember you won't be fixing my website for free if you understand how the prosperity spell works".
Mind reading or lucky guess.
Take your pick.
The basic idea behind a simple propserity spell (and there are it seems more complicated methods of casting), is based on the law of attraction (if you believe in such a thing) to attract prosperity into your life.
The easiest way to do this, is to put something of minor value into an envelope, address it to yourself, put a stamp on it, and post it.
Minor value could be a dollar, a few coins or even a representation of money.
There was a lot more detail, cups of coffee drunk, and even smile or two. I also took copious notes (as recommended), just in case. I'll add them at some point.
I turned on the way out, as I reached the door ...
"Um ... Maryanna - what are you going to do to the muppet who did your website?"
"I have a very good lawyer. What did you expect me to do leave a dead frog on the doorstep? Turn them into a rat? Honestly. We witches move with the times. Always have."
I closed the door, and as I did the light inside blinked out, and I had the disconcerting feeling that if I opened it, there would be no M, and no desk. I put my hand on the cold brass handle, gripped ready to turn and then basically ...
... chickened out.
I cast my spell late at night. I'll set you know what it brings into my life.