Or maybe not.
Fact. Not everyone can be bothered to make their own witch bottle.
Fact. Not everyone has the skills necessary to make their own witch bottle.
Fact. There is money to be made selling witch bottles.
I rolled my eyes, wishing that I was somewhere else, anywhere else, other than at one of our industry events listening to this chap droning on.
As you know, I work for V, who either is or believes she is a witch, and as you know I scry, lucid dream and have no particularly strong feelings about whether witchery is a thing or not. I suspect not, although at times I wonder, as for example, burying a witch bottle (LINK), stopped my scrying being hijacked by nasties.
My day job is to run the internet side of V’s business, with occasional forays into the real world side of things as required viz industry events (to be described), the coven book group (hosted by Malintzin next week), visits to a voodoo princess (unsuccessful attempt to sort out my love life), and industry events.
Those who believe in alternate realities hide in plain sight, which is why you never see them, and why I can confidently describe my life. They are your neighbour, friend and colleague, but they have the same lives, a Christmas do (naturally called Yule and celebrated around December the 21st), book groups, work related conferences and industry events. E.g. todays event was called the 'witches and wizards haloween party'.
Industry events, back when I was in the bank were known as Jolies, where you would be wined and dined in expensive locations. Think Shard type venue, large atriums, too much white marble, lots of space, smartly dressed waiters and waitresses (on a minimum wage) catering to your every whim.
Even though I was a mere pawn in the IT department, us plebs got to attend some of these events - although always knowing we didn’t even get a sniff at the real posh ones. These really were in the Shard, Dorchester, Ritz or other places so wealthy that neither you nor me have ever heard of them. In short, bankers like to look after themselves.
Industry events which I attend with Vivienne take place in the back rooms of pubs or similar, and start with the participants being on civil/sneer terms and end with glasses being thrown.
The events are invite only, and in common with the banking world, are a great opportunity for point-scoring, dissing the competition, gossiping, bitching, complaining about modern life and once in a blue moon exchanging ideas.
We were in the grandly named ‘function room’ of a shabby hotel on the outskirts of London. It was so remote, we’d had to take an overland train followed by a cab. Nuff said.
The hotel itself, was all faded grandeur, peeling paintwork exposing cracked and crumbling render, reached through a curved driveway surrounded by ill kept gardens, slightly wild grass, overgrown shrubs and a profusion of rhododendrons (sinister plants in my opinion).
The ‘witches and wizards halloween party’, was in a separate annex, slightly overshadowed by large yew and fur trees.
As we apprached, I imagined the advertisment 'The Mordent Hotel is a modern, elegant 4-star hotel with charming gardens, near too cental London. It is an ideal location for those who arrive for business, tourism in the enchanting and romantic ...' which would entice a booking.
As opposed to 'shabby run down hotel far from civilisation enclosed by dark and spooky gardens that wouldn't look out of place around an asylum'.
Thank your Gods for trip adviser.
I was attending with V, Maryanna and Malintzin, an explosive mix at the best of times, and more volatile than normal. There was a falling out at the book group over the complete book of numerology, quite an achievement since no-one in the group thinks numerology is anything other than pseudoscience. Entertaining but of no real value.
Despite it being the 'coven book group', I am an honorary member as I work for V. I'll explain all at some point. For now, it's enough for you to know that I am a member, picked a book on numerology and it ended badly.
And unfortunately, having arrived late, we had no choice as to where to sit, and sat at the end of a table of eleven headed by a paunchy, florid individual with too much hair and a too bold suit ...
... who was holding court ...
... about the merits of selling witch bottles ...
... to the rest of the table ...
... who were listening with fawning attention.
These industry events (similar to the bank), have their share of individuals with an inflated view of their importance and the need to share their ideas. The individual banging on about selling witch bottles was one of them.
He didn't even pause for breath as we sat, nor acknowledge in any way that his audience had grown by four.
We sat. Thirsty and not for knowledge and he continued:
"Fact. I have already made millions selling with bottles."
"Then why is his suit so cheap" hissed V. in my ear.
I wondered out loud whether he carried his own portable witch bottles for protection, one for each oriface.
I instinctively dislike anyone who either is, or could be a banker ever since my ignominious departure from the bank.
Both that, and the fact that we had been doing Tequila slammers for a while (childish but fun), explained the breach of manners. >
Both V. and M. sniggered as did Malintzinm and harmony was restored between us. I was no longer the enemy. The enemy was at the end of the table, and even though we had just arrived, there was already a certain inevitablity as to the ending of the evening. The only question was how long it would take.
Like lions (lionessed) circling in for the kill, the three of them started sharpening claws, and I moved my hand nearer the heavy candalabra, while the acolytes eyed us with hostility.
I'd been to enough of these events to know, that water only flows one way, and sometimes it is easier to roll with events, and go with the flow rather than worrying about consequences.
"Fact. There is a large market for witch bottles."
“Why are you so sure that there is a market for selling with bottles?” interrupted I can't remember who.
“It’s obvious”, said Mr self importance himself.
I'll gloss over the details but a lot of spirits and wine later (after the main course and before desert, coffee and chocolates), and before it all kiced off, I wondered whether he might have a point.
I'd recently made my own witch bottle and if I could have had one made for me, I'd have paid.
You would still need to add your own blood, menstrual fluid, semen etc, but time might be saved.
Still, on the flip side, why pay over the odds for something that you are going to hide?
The conversation had moved from banter to outright confrontation. Birds were flipped. Glasses tipped over. Punches exchanged and despite superior numbers victory was ours before we were escorted/dragged from the premises.
Mental note, never mess with anyone whose namesake is an aztec princess (and who stole my candelabra).
We left as a group, arm in arm, exhilarated, totally foxed and up for anything.
I now that my old life has gone forever.
I'm good with that:)