Thursday, April 28, 2011

Curses ... Spoiled Again!

Jasper, Nebraska
February 2, 1957

Jazz was in love. Absolute lust-filled, hormone-jumping, panting love. She stared at the aqua and white Ford Thunderbird with the same covetousness she gave her favorite See’s chocolates.
Too bad there was a cranky looking woman seated in the passenger seat.
“So, ah, Fred Merton over at the Saveway said you can do something about things like this.” Harold Carmichael, a ruddy-faced man in his late 50s shifted from one foot to the other. He turned back to stare at the car with a similar look of lust but his expression was also coated with frustration, a hint of fear, and a smidgeon of anger. Who knew one man could show all those emotions at once? “You have to understand I don’t hold for nonsense about curses and such, but …” he shook his head.
But then why wouldn’t he when his wife didn’t just kill herself in his brand new car, but also managed to haunt it?
Probably a good thing Harold couldn’t see his dead wife glaring daggers at him.
But that was why Jazz was here. The 600+ year young witch was gifted at eliminating curses. Have witch will travel and banish all those nasty hexes that mess up your life.
“What do you notice about your car, Mr. Carmichael?” Jazz asked, glancing around at the garage that had tools neatly placed on the walls and a floor that looked clean enough to eat off of. At 5’8” she towered over the portly man with a bad comb over and dressed in an ill-fitting brown suit topped by a heavy coat against the late winter weather. Her nose twitched at the strong aroma of too much bay rum aftershave.
He stared down at the ground. “It does things,” he said, clearly uncomfortable with the subject.
“Things,” she repeated, realizing this job wasn’t going to be as easy as she’d hoped.
Wasn’t it bad enough she was stranded in Nebraska, of all places? Or that her job at the A&W Drive In would end after one night. She figured the grabby mechanic would recover from non-stop hiccups in about a day or so. Maybe. But now she needed money so she could head down to the Greyhound station and buy herself a bus ticket out of this burg.
“What are you? His new chippie? Wasn’t Lorraine enough?” The ghost in the car demanded.
Jazz knew enough to ignore the spirit since Harold couldn’t see her. Guessing by his uneasy manner, she had a good idea he could sense something wasn’t right.
“The Reverend Morris says my car is possessed,” Harold’s words came out in a rush. “He came over one night last week and prayed over it then ran out when the horn wouldn’t stop honking and the headlights turned on and off.” He jumped when both happened. “Do you see what I mean?” He pointed a shaky finger at the vehicle. “Now I paid good money for that car and I want whatever devil’s in it out. Fred said he heard you do things like that.”
“Not if I have anything to say about it,” the gray-haired wraith spoke up. “I didn’t die in this car to let that bleached blonde floozy Lorraine Bigelow park her cheap perfumed behind in here.” She crossed her arms in front of her generous bosom. “I don’t know what you are, young lady, but I suggest you leave right now.” She glared at her. “That man deserves to be haunted and I’ll do it until the day he draws his dyin’ breath.”
Harold frowned and leaned closer to Jazz. “Can whatever’s in there hear me?” he whispered loudly. “Is it dangerous?”
“I’m dead, not deaf!” Irma shrieked, her powdered cheeks flaring a bright red.
Jazz nodded and turned to Harold. “I can understand your worries, Mr. Carmichael. Just as you must understand that what I do is highly specialized work.” And something no mundane human being should see. “Why don’t you go on in and wait in the house for me? I should be finished in about thirty minutes.”
“Never!” the ghost snorted.
“Harold! Is everything all right out there?” A woman’s nasal voice cut through the air. “Can she do anything for the car?”
Harold divided his attention between the unseen woman, Jazz, and the car.
“Go,” she advised. “I’ll come in when I’m finished.
The man wasted no time exiting the garage.
Once she heard the back door slam, Jazz turned back to the car and its spirit occupant.
“So I gather you’re the wife and you have a reason to haunt the car.”
“I’m not sitting out here for my health, you know!” she said tartly in her flat Midwestern twang. “I am Irma Carmichael and I will not allow that tart to move into my house. Lorraine has been sniffing after my Harold for the past fifteen years after her Edgar died of a heart attack. I wouldn’t be surprised if she managed to kill him somehow. Edgar was never going to get promoted over at the railroad yard and she saw her moving up in the social circle if she nabbed Harold. He owns his own hardware store, but it was my family’s money that helped him get started. Harold wouldn’t have even a little of what he has now if it wasn’t for me.”
Jazz looked around and found a stool, sitting down as she folded her wool coat around her knees. She whispered a warming spell into her hands as she rubbed them briskly together.
“So you’re Irma and you killed yourself in the car along with cursing your spirit into it.” Her moss green eyes ran over the car as she imagined herself driving down the highway on a sunny day with the top down, the wind blowing through her coppery red hair. She even thought she could smell the rich scent of the leather upholstery.
What good was being a witch if she couldn’t hex up a gorgeous car like this? She wondered how many decades Eurydice would add to her banishment if she conjured up this gorgeous T-Bird’s twin.
“And Lorraine in there is taking over,” she figured out.
Irma nodded. Her Tangeed colored lips narrowed in anger, but tears sparkled in her eyes. “Harold called to tell me he was working late at the hardware store,” she said. “And here I had made a nice pot roast that day, so I fixed it up to take down to him. I don’t like him eating at the Kountry Kitchen. Ruby, who does the cooking there, looks at the money and not at the flavor. Well, I went in through the back door of the store and there was Harold and Lorraine,” she stopped and swallowed hard. “They were having carnal relations right there on Harold’s desk when he wouldn’t even kiss me when I’d be down there! He said it wasn’t businesslike! Yet, there he was with his pants down and her dress up over her head.” Her double chin wobbled. She sniffed loudly and gathered herself together. “So what are you?”
“I’m a witch. I am,” she insisted, when she saw the spirit's skepticism.
“Witches are evil, so says Preacher Morris.”
“But he couldn’t get you out of the car, could he? And I can.” Jazz reached down into her coveted Chanel quilted leather bag and pulled out candles, and a vial of water charged with cedar and oils along with several crystals.
“You will not use those wicked items on me!” Irma insisted with wide eyes. "I"m a good Christian woman."
“Then leave the car.”
She stiffened. “I will not! As long as I reside in Harold’s car he will not allow that wanton woman to ride with her.” She smirked. “She tried once and said she didn’t feel right.”
Jazz grinned. “While you probably couldn’t make her feel anything, you made her feel uncomfortable.”
The witch felt bad for the wife who not only lost her husband’s affections, but took her life at the same time.
“Why did you curse yourself into the car when you died, Irma?” She didn’t believe in tiptoeing around when talking to a wraith. There was no doubt that Irma knew she was dead.
Irma faced straight ahead, her fingers tight on the strap of her navy patent leather purse.
“I was so angry at Harold for being with Lorraine,” she said. “I was hurtin’ and I wanted him to hurt too. He’d just bought this car and treated it better than he treated me even though I’d been cookin’ and cleanin’ for him for the better part of thirty-four years. We got married the day after I graduated from Jasper High. I swear if he could have brought this thing into the house he would have.” Her fingers twitched. “I thought about coming in here and droppin’ a match on it.”
Jazz nodded, understanding the need for revenge. “Too bad you didn’t know me back then. I could have referred you to someone who would have made both of them suffer a lot.”
“I did make him suffer,” Irma told her. “I came out here, closed the garage door, and turned on the engine. I knew he wouldn’t be home any time soon. I told myself he’d never be rid of me now and he’d never know peace with Lorraine. And then I went to sleep.” Her forehead crinkled. “Funny thing about that. When I woke up, I was sitting here in this ugly dress that I’m sure Lorraine chose. She never had any taste and it’s not like Harold would know what to buy. And I couldn’t leave the car.” Her lips stretched in a pleased smile. “Harold came out here to start up the car and I could hear him complaining how cold it was. Even the heater didn’t warm him up. It took me awhile, but I learned I could honk the horn and turn on the lights. Preacher Morris came out and prayed over the car. Can you imagine how much Harold must have paid into the church building fund for that? He told Harold the car was possessed and he needed to get rid of it.”
“And why I’m here.” Jazz stood up and started to take off her coat then changed her mind. She was getting out of Nebraska as fast as possible. From now on she was living where it was sunny and warm.
She smudged the garage with white sage then set out her crystals and the charged water.
“Past time to grieve. Best to leave.” She placed her palms on the icy cold metal and projected her magick into it. “Move on, go away, and do as I say. Your time is past, so make it fast. Because I say so, damn it!”
“I do not allow cursing in my house!” Irma shouted as the crackles of power covered the car.
Jazz smiled as she felt the swirls of magick surround the ghost.
One un-haunted car and a nice fee to get her out of Nebraska.
“What do you mean you can’t get it out of the car?” Harold’s roly-poly body practically bounced around the garage. “Fred said you could do it!”
“And I can.” Jazz glared at Irma who smirked back at her. “Your wife doesn’t want to leave the car. I’ve done everything I can and it didn’t work.” And here she had a 100% success rate in eliminating curses too. Didn’t this woman understand it was time to move on?
“What am I supposed to do?”
“You can either sell the car or put up with your wife haunting it.”
“Do you know how long I had to wait for it?” he yelped. “That car is my pride and joy.”
“I’m sure Lorraine would love to hear that,” Irma sniffed.
“These things happen.” Jazz gritted her teeth. “Now as to my fee.”
“I’m not paying you a dime,” he sneered. “You were supposed to get that woman out of my car and you didn’t.” He crossed his arms in front of his chest. “I don’t care what Fred says, you’re nothing more than a swindler. I should just call Walter up at the sheriff’s office and let him deal with you.”
Jazz’s red hair was the perfect indicator of her Irish temper. She narrowed her gaze at him as she stared down the man. “And I say you will pay.”
“Ha!” Irma bounced up and down on the seat. “You show him, witch! Use your magick and make him a toad. I don’t want the kind a princess could kiss and turn him into a prince.”
Harold looked from Jazz to the car. He looked uneasy. “Is she talking?”
“Of course, she’s talking, you idiot!” Irma shouted, trying to throw her handbag at her husband, but failing.
Jazz smiled. “Irma doesn’t want to leave, Harold and I’d say she’s got enough revenge in mind she can make your life miserable for the rest of your life. I’d say you only have one choice.”

February 4, 1957

“You’re driving too fast.”
“Kansas is very flat, isn’t it? There’s really not very much to see.”
“Oh! I’ve heard of Stuckeys, but Harold doesn’t like to drive out of state. Let’s stop there.”
“Is there a way you can use your magick to give me a new dress?”
“You turn that hellish music off right this moment! Everyone knows that Elvis is dangerous to innocent girls.” Irma’s fingers swept through the radio dial.
“Will we live in Hollywood? Do you think we’ll see Clark Gable or Tyrone Power? I hope you can give me a new dress before we run into them.”
Jazz’s fingers tightened on the steering wheel until the circle almost cracked under the pressure. Angry magick fountained around her like Roman candles.
“If it’s the last thing I do I will get this woman out of my car.”

Copyright 2011

Was Jazz ever able to get Irma out of her beloved T-Bird? Did Irma ever forgive her husband for cheating on her? Did she ever get a new dress?

I'll give you a hint. The answers are in Hex Appeal.


  1. Thanks Lisa! I thought it would be fun to write about it, especially since I wrote one on how Jazz obtained Fluff and Puff.

    I probably should write one on how Jazz met Nick. :}

  2. I absolutely loved this, and laughed myself silly over it. Good job!

  3. So much fun! Just like the books are :-)

  4. Will there be more books in the Hex Series? Just started reading them and love them. I bought the last 2 today for my kindle.

  5. Thanks! Demons Are A Girl's Best Friend is a continuation of the series. My publisher just changed the covers and titles. And I'll be putting up some original Hex material soon. A novella and a full length novel.

  6. Did not realize that. Thanks for the info. I really like the original covers. They look fun & different from the usual! Guess I'll be purchasing more of your books! ;-)

  7. A lot of readers didn't realize it and I've done my best to let them know once my publisher made the change.

  8. Well I'm helping you get the word out on Pixel of Ink. I'm not the only one that loves this series. Sending them here to read about the T-Bird. Thanks for your reply!

  9. Thank you for that! I'm also thinking about writing how Jazz met Nick. It's fun to write the shorts about the characters.