Shop Talk

[Although the bar store is still closed, I’ve picked up a shift at the Forge main store, and I’ve dropped by Ye Olde Tyme Magick Shoppe to kill a few minutes before I have to go in. I’m flipping through a text on West Country folklore and trying to remember the name of a different book my friend Jay told me about, when one of the salesclerks approaches me.]

Clerk: “That’s a really good book, if you want something traditional that’s not Gardnerian…”

Me: “Oh, actually, I am Gardnerian. I’m just looking for a particular title a friend recommended.”

Clerk: “Oh. Okay. In which case, just let me know if you need any help.”

Me: “I will. Thanks!” [I keep browsing.]

Clerk: “So… may I ask you something? You don’t have to answer if it’ll make you uncomfortable.”

Me: “Sure, go ahead.”

Clerk: “Do you practice with a coven?”

Me: “I do.”

Clerk: “Really? Where?”

Me: “North of town.”

Clerk: “Oh.”

[long pause]

Clerk: “Well, It’s always nice to meet a Gardnerian.”

He kind of followed me around the shop after that, even finding the book I was looking for (Backwoods Witchcraft, in case anyone’s interested), eventually introducing himself — I’mma call him Gary — and wishing me a good rest of the day. I took my purchase up to the checkout counter, behind which sat two more employees, manspreading like seasoned pros and loudly discussing the magical incompetencies of a mutual acquaintance.

“She was burning blue candles for wealth,” one said to the other while ringing me up. “Can you believe that? I guess some people just don’t want to bother with proper correspondences.”

I wanted to ask whether she was a Chaos Magician or a Hermetic Qabalist, since the color blue is associated with wealth in both of those systems, but I also accepted that this was one of those situations where the best thing I could do was keep my mouth shut. Instead, I glanced back at Gary, who was trotting around the sales floor, helping one customer pick out some herbs while pulling books on ancestor worship for an older lady who couldn’t quite reach the shelves.

You know, I turn 45 next week, and I’ve got a little mad money. Maybe I’ll come back and do some birthday shopping with Gary. I feel like we’d be happy to see each other.