She’s punching buttons on the strip joint jukebox when a voice pipes up behind her.
“Excuse me, ma’am. Are you a witch?” The voice cracks just a little, then coughs to
cover it up.
She finishes making her selection: “War Pigs” by Black Sabbath. Her friend Onyx is up
next, and Onyx loves dancing to Ozzy. She has this signature move where she climbs to the top
of the pole, flips upside down, and twerks on the ceiling. The crowd packed into the tiny club
tonight is going to lose their minds.
Circe fixes a smile on her face before turning around to size up the boy. He’s lanky as a
puppy, his long fingers wrapped tight around his beer bottle. A bass player, she’d wager. In the
neon light his eyes are dark and wide with excitement. He’ll be stunning once he grows into
himself a bit.
“What makes you ask something like that? It’s a pretty personal question, don’t you
think?” she fires at him before adding “You might buy a girl a drink first.”
He goes from scared to squirming to relieved in eight seconds flat, his emotions
flickering plainly across that gorgeous face. He nods and she leads him over to the bar, orders a
vodka cranberry and watches him pay for it before she pats the chrome stool next to her. He sits
obediently. Good boy, she thinks.
“My buddies dared me. They said you looked like one. A witch, I mean.”
She raises an excuse me? brow at him and he leans back with his palms up.
“Not like an ugly one! Like a hot one, you know? Like Sandra Bullock in that movie.
Um. I like your boots, by the way. Very pointy.”
His friends had taken up that booth all night, nursing their cheap beers and ogling the
dancers. They knew better than to grab any of the girls, but that didn’t keep the one in the boat
shoes from spitting racist vitriol at Onyx when she tried to sell them a dance. They hadn’t tossed
a single dollar on the stage, either. Pigs, she thinks. From Argonauts to Alpha Sigs, men are
trash. But this boy seems to be at least housebroken, so she decides to let him off the hook. Why
not? Sometimes you can train a young one up properly. And if that fails, oh well. What’s one
more rat in this cesspool?
“Thank you” she grins.
He gives a little laugh of relief and sips his beer. His hand barely shakes at all. Circe
leans in, presses the carefully filed tips of her glossy black nails just above his knee.
“You tell your buddies not to judge a grimoire by its cover, m’kay? My name is CiCi.
Come find me later?”
She leaves him blushing at the bar and walks away towards the locker room, blowing a
little coup de grâce kiss at the boy’s gaggle of friends as she passes by. She whispers a few
words of the old language under her breath, then pops her gum. They won’t feel a thing, at first.
Changing into her street clothes, Circe pictures his bewildered face when he returns to the
empty booth in the back corner. How the jealousy flushes his cheeks when he thinks they’ve all
gone up to the champagne room without him. How the bottle falls out of his long, elegant fingers and onto the carpeted floor when he peeks under the table and sees their broad bristled backs, their curly pink tails.