Originally published in the 2018 edition of the literary and arts journal, Parley. Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash
Could It Be Magic
“Who is he, more importantly, what is he? What is your Twin Flame’s zodiac sign? I’ll paint the perfect planetary picture for you by looking at your birth chart. Only from Cosmic Cannibal can you gain insightful for romantic bliss. So what do you say, are you looking to be enlightened?”
I finished my clever sales pitch and turned my hungry eyes to a nubile ginger-haired 18-year-old who was piss poorly trying to hide her faint-hearted expression of indecision.
She looks like a mermaid, I thought. Must be a Pisces.
“I’m not sure exactly what it is that you do…is it a consultation?” The innocent sylph asked.
“Yes!” I said. “These are cosmic consultations.” I paused to lean in, so as not to scare the little Fish away, “Are you familiar with astrology, sweetheart?”
“Uhh…a little. I’ve had my, uh, chart read once. At the mystic fair.”
Ewgh. The Mystic Fair. One tier below the Renaissance Fair. Essentially a carnival for swindling metaphysics peddling their self-made supernatural trappings: Handmade resin and wood rings, healing crystals, and books about Atlantis and awakening one’s aura.
“Well, I urge you to forget everything you were fed during that so-called reading, because I guarantee you that whoever served you that plate of poppycock disguised as a natal chart analysis was robbing you of the astro-nourishment a Pisces girl like you needs. My readings are undoubtedly more insightful and easier to swallow. I cover the affairs of the heart.”
Her eyes flickered. “Oooh. Like soul mates and stuff?”
“The technical term is Twin Flame.”
“So you’d be able to, like, predict who my soulmate is?”
“Twin Flame,” I corrected her then added, “Why don’t you take a seat in the Cosmic Corner, and see for yourself?”
“Um…” her eyes darted back and forth.
Ah. I recognized that look. She is a Pisces, and she’s stalling, something I and my Pisces Moon know how to do very well. The only difference is that I conceal my hedging with rambling bull shit.
“They’re completely confidential,” I cooed, hoping to calm her obvious nervousness and lure the astro-Fish into my net. “Think of me as a member of the clergy: what is revealed here stays between you and me.” I lifted my hand to my heart and winked. “Astrologer’s honor.”
Yet even with my tone-down coercing, the cute redhead isn’t taking the bait. And I really need her to!
While we were drunk last night, Vani gave me the nifty idea to set up a uniquely chic cosmic nook at the flea market where passersby could get a rapid reading from me, thus introducing them to the artful science of synastry while also building a favorable clientele. I couldn’t see any anything wrong with her suggestion. I mean, the wisdom I possess must be shared with the flea market serfs en masse! So, we embarked on this slapdash outing in the heady heat of midsummer to the Denver flea market.
It has been a less-than ideal excursion. Indeed, my enthusiasm is on a low simmer as I failed for the umpteenth time to coerce a potential client into letting me (yes, letting me) perform a chart reading.
Earlier in the day, as soon as Vani and I had finally figured out a way to make a teepee tent out of our limited equipment, a guy in a wheelchair rammed into it, and his service dog ran off with our tiki torch support beam. So we had to redo the entire layout of my Cosmic Corner, which I know affected sales. Then, when I was closing in on a tween and her gaggle of girl besties, this old woman got all up in my grill, and knocked several holes in my handmade astrology sign with her cane, shouting some sort of religious remark while doing so.
The timid ginger Fish waded back to her Neptune safe place, through the swarm of curious skeptics watching me fall flat on my face.
“All I need is just one person,” I said, turning to face Vani. ” Once I get one, then the rest of the Saturday shoppers will see that this,” gesturing to myself, “awesome babe decked out in her lucky Terminator 2: Judgement Day muscle T isn’t just blowing smoke.” I took a puff from my costume cigarette for added effect. “Plus, I made a pact with myself and the powers that be that I need to make twice what I paid for this $20 tarmac hangout. And so far, all I did was sell a cardboard painting for $15 to that weird Crocodile Dundee panhandler.” I gestured to the Paul Hogan lookalike sitting across from our astro-area.
In front of him was a pro-gun control sign (and my former art piece) which said, ‘That’s Not a Knife – Stab the NRA’, and an open guitar case full of flea marketer’s cash.
“And he’s making more money than me!”
Vani sighed. She looked around at the lack of traffic, and suggested out of friendly pity, “Maybe we should pack up and head out?”
Realizing that it was time to surrender, I agreed with Vani’s suggestion. I sighed, shook my head, and put my fake ciggy back into its Jem cigarette case. “JC Chasez…It’s too hot and I’m too sensitive to deal with another wise-ass old woman telling me I’m doing the devil’s work while she destroys my fine art.”
Tattered and worn out by the day-long rejection, we decided to pack up our cosmic camp. It had been five hours of blistering torture, plus 20 minutes of loading our furnishings. I was spent. Vani had granted me permission to use her sub-par car sound system to play disco. I cranked on Donna Summer’s cover of Barry Manilow’s song, “Could it Be Magic” (off her A Love Trilogy album) because I decided it was a solid pick for an end-of-the-day song, and hoped it would summon some sort of miracle.
We briefly recapped the events of my flea market flop before switching to hunger pain complaints as Vani’s air conditioning cooled my armpits.
With Donna Summer still singing in my inner ear, Vani and I took in the sights of the flea market vendors, searching something sweet. Apparently, this was a primo day for grocery shoppers. Farm fresh foodstuff was everywhere. Fresh cut flowers, rustic booths boasting “happy” eggs and “garden-fresh” veggies, stacked wire baskets brimming with all natural cookies, cupcakes, and jams, and chalkboards with declarative demands intended to be cute. My favorite said, “Support Rad Agro”.
It was a beautiful bohemian sight to behold, albeit ruinous for my mystical business venture. I awoke this morning with my insides feeling like an uncorked bottle of champagne. I was going to happen upon something that would set free my inner bubbly of buoyancy. And that something was supposed to be my future in the mystic arts. Mental Note: check flea market schedule before impulsively slapping together a makeshift market stall for astrology advice.
I could’ve made a killing had people been here for something other than food.
Vani ooh’d and ahh’d at nearly everything she saw, as she was repeatedly tempted with the urge to splurge. I, however, remained somewhat sullen as I tried to figure out what went awry today.
Was it the fact that I acted on an idea that came about from a late night of drinking with Vani, and didn’t fully work out the schematics of today’s activities (including checking the market’s schedule or preparing the decorations properly)? No, it couldn’t be that. Planning is for earth signs. I do things on the fly, and… they usually work out. Well, today they didn’t, but usually they do.
I plied Vani’s attention away from the diversion of homemade bath bombs to our immediate northwest: a food truck.
Vani and I walked arm in arm, and were gearing up to chow down. About halfway to the stationary food truck, one of the employees turned around.
Like, for real. Seriously. Time ceased to exist.
All that existed was the most gorgeous guy I had ever seen in my lifetime. Blue eyes like T. Hiddleston, gauged ears, a smooth smile, and hair slicked back into a bun like Gavin Rossdale.
Lordy, lord, I thought. A man like this shouldn’t be schlepping street food, he should have a harem of scantily clad servants pooled around him. A cult of virgins and eunuchs feeding him grapes and fussing over him, sowing fennel, lettuce, and grains in celebration of this holy being’s existence. I didn’t know people like him lived in cities like this. I have never – in all of my years of being a native to the city of Denver – ever seen a male specimen as divine as this one before me. He’s an Adonis. An Urban Adonis.
And, he’s looking back at me.
The volume of the Donna Summer song grew louder in my head.
♪♫Come, come, come into my arms
Let me know the wonder of all of you
Baby, I want you
Now, now, now and hold on fast
Could this be your magic at last?♪♫
I could hear/see/notice nothing else but the enchanter several feet away in front of me. I was moved, the hot air whirled around me in a glittering cyclone. It was like he was surrounded by a swirling nebula. Being near him was like being near an angel who had all the answers to all of my questions — even ones I hadn’t formed yet. All I knew was that I had never been so instantly attracted to another human before. What is more, I had never had one that I was so interested in be so unquestionably interested in me. I mean, we locked eyes and our souls copulated in the Mile High air. I felt it. And as such, I’m motivated to profess my feelings to Adonis, to confess my attraction, in an unfiltered and totally blunt manner.
Then I got hit with a vision:
Me, a scantily clad vestal virgin, wordlessly sauntering up to Mr. Adonis’s corn counter, erecting his curiosity (and maybe something else – hey-o!). I confidently come onto him with a blatant proclamation and praise of his obvious desirability. He is stunned by my boldness, bosom, and pronounced beauty, and feels compelled to submit to a bold act of his own. Our eyes lock, he wordlessly nods, and rips off his yellow polo shirt to reveal glistening muscles. I remove his visor and unwrap his manbun, allowing his flaxen hair to flow freely. We canoodle for several seconds. He casts aside the corn accoutrements, and prepares the table for our unexpected, but entirely welcomed copulation.
I don’t know how many minutes passed, as I stood paralyzed, gaping at this Greek God in a pale yellow polo work shirt serving recyclable cups of what looked like Mexican street corn, but Vani said something, and I managed to shake the numbness from my tongue and mind. I smiled at the Adonis, then, with eyes wide, turned towards Vani.
“We need to keep walking,” I said.
She didn’t ask why, because she knew why: an object in motion stays in motion in order to remain mysterious and cool to a magical man like him.
“Did you see that guy?”
“Yes!” She paused to catch her breath, “He is a babe…And he…” Vani exhaled sharply three times(This guy is so sexy, he knocked the wind out of my imperturbable Bull BFF). “I’ve never seen anyone look at someone like that before.” She peeked behind us to catch sight of the Adonis again.
“I’ve never been so flustered,” I said, ventilating the collar of my muscle ‘T to remove some of my chest sweat.
Vani and I languidly zoomed over to the Support Rad Agro booth to collect ourselves and fake-look at Swiss chard, leeks, and expensive Do-It-Yourself beauty products that probably don’t do a damn. The booth’s overseer approached us. He was a tall, brown-haired fellow with a soft smile.
“Hello Ladies. What can I do for you today?”
“HUH? Nothing!” I said, giving the guy the stinkiest of stink eyes.
“What she means is, we are just browsing. Thanks.” Vani said, using her politeness to replace my rudeness.
Vani and I huddled together, I looked behind us to make sure Adonis hadn’t left his corn field. I needed to think of a way to approach him. “What’s your name?” I asked the dark-haired booth owner.
“Ben? Ew. That’s an awful name.” I said, and made a gagging face towards Vani. “Listen Ben, as much as I’m sure you would love to pester us, I’m in the middle of a make-or-break situation, and need you to shut up so I can think of something witty to say to this hot guy we just saw.”
“Why don’t you just tell him you like his face?”
Vani and I looked at each other.
“Because that’s not Rob Thomas and Santana Smooth,” I said. “That’s,” I hesitated, “Boring. I don’t make boring first impressions, even if they are to strangers.”
He shrugged. “Suit yourself. Probably couldn’t pull it off anyway.”
“Excuse me?” I looked at Ben. “You don’t think I have the huevos rancheros to tell a stranger that I like his face.” I cannot believe the audacity of this dude, challenging me – ME to a dare. The fact that he would even suggest that I lack nerve is ludicrous! I’ll show him.
“No. I don’t.”
“Ok, Ben.” I took out my ponytail, and ruffled my hair. “Watch me.” I stomped off, towards the Adonis, with Vani in tow. The momentum of my hastiness was pushing away all traces of doubt.
We made a U-turn back to the Total Forage station, and patiently played with the utensils and napkins while Adonis chatted with a squat senile woman who was keenly interested in the geographical origins of his corn. She kept insisting that it was from Trinidad. He was politely informing her that it was from Olathe. And I was trying to avoid gawking at him too much, lest I give away my plan to pummel him with my come-on.
Finally, the woman stormed off, and it was my window to chat one-on-one with this a hot piece of man-ass.
Self-coach time: Look him right in the eye, and say, “I came over here just to tell you that I am in love with your face.” And then strut off. Ok. Sounds good. why am I talking to myself? I should be focusing on Adonis.
He strolled over to Vani and I.
“Well, hello there. How can I help you today?”
Inwardly my jaw dropped. Wow.
Suffering from babe paralysis. My limbs, tongue, and neurons are frozen and useless. I can’t form any words. Instead, I let out a pained groan, and looked down at the grilled kernels. That didn’t help. Now, all I can think of are corn products.
Tortillas. Chips. Hominy grits. Taco shells.
I tried to peel my eyes away from his corn trays whilst resisting the itch to orally list more products that contain corn.
Blue corn. Popcorn. Cornflakes.
Vani softly glared at me. “We’re doing swell.”
I looked past his shoulder.
How does one explain to a stranger that a quarter of a century of loneliness just disappeared when we locked eyes, that I saw he and me doing the Greek nasty? How do I say that when I have an inability to formulate words with my tongue? Every time I was going to speak up, I found my mouth rough and dry as starch – another corn product.
There was a weird silence as he and I looked at each other. It’s like he knew I had plotted to come over and verbally assault him and his good looks, and was giving me a chance to do so.
“Ok. Well, we should be off now. Hahaha. Vani? Hahahaha,” I nervously tittered like a hyena on PCP.
Vani looked a little confused, but did as I was blatantly signaling, bidding the Man Wonder farewell. And rather than verbally admit defeat to the RadAgro guy, we skedaddled out of there. We didn’t speak for several paces, as I simmered in my stew of inner mortification.
As we made my way back to the car and make-shift consultation station, I examined the scene with glumness. Before, it was decorated with some of Vani’s tribal-looking trimmings (scarves, sheets, blankets and other paisley-patterned beautifications from Pier 1), which we knitted between the chain-link fence to make the space more inviting and indigenous. We were going for exotic, but it just ended up looking disordered. The empty space reminded me of the disappointments that littered the day.
I was upstaged by a protesting pauper dressed like an Americanized Australian stereotype, defamed by an ex-nun, laughed at by market merchants (I didn’t actually see or hear anyone laughing, but the day’s events support such speculation), and I failed the challenge to profess my feelings to a complete stranger. What. A. Megaflop.
Today was supposed to be my big break. I was to include it in my diary as well as my future memoir, because my successful attempt at convincing the Denver marketers of their need for astrological supervision was going to turn the world on its axis. The magic of Cosmic Cannibal was supposed to spread through the ether, unclogging the pop astrology atmosphere, clearing it of smoggy cosmic untruths, and get me noticed (finally).
And I was noticed! Noticed by the sexiest creature my Gemini eyes have ever seen. And how did I handle his much-too-hot existence? I mentally indexed corn products, posed as a mute, and scurried away. Ugh. I’ve been subjected to too much today. I didn’t accomplish my task of saving the world by way of smart and sassy astrological guidance.
For five hot-ass hours I sat with Vani, trying to coerce people to my corner, like the Pied Piper, but not a single rat had followed my peppy pleas. How could I have been so naïve to think that this scene, this improvised and ill-timed incident would manifest a miracle? A very large part of me wanted to run again, because all the zest and zing had been squeezed out of this swap meet parking space. Everything looked so mediocre.
I don’t do mediocrity. And I don’t do rejection or embarrassment. I’m a Leo Rising, dammit! Ordinarily, I’d sashay up to any dude of my choosing, completely impervious to their apparent good looks, and say whatever the hell I want, because that’s what I do. That’s just who I am. Confidence is my way of being.
So what happened to my moxie, my mojo? What the hell could’ve happened to Cosmic Cannibal’s magic?
*please note, COULD IT BE MAGIC is a work of fiction; Unless otherwise indicated, all the names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents herein are either the product of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.