The CEO of a prominent local winery sat cross-legged before her, just a few inches off the floor on a hand-sewn satin cushion stuffed with rice and dried aromatic herbs. The dim candlelight did what it could to flatter his face, but she could still make out ruddy splotches and dry areas around his cheeks and forehead. He didn’t mind the rashes, he said, because he was sure that the facemasks were making him more virile at work and home.
Her lip curled in a satisfied smile, invisible to the CEO because her entire face was hidden behind a different sort of mask—a papier mache deer’s head from which jewel-encrusted antlers branched off in all directions, forming a corona.
Last week, she had given him a tiny pouch—the type that a piece of costume jewelry comes in to make it feel like something valuable. Inside the tiny pouch was a tinier note and an unnamed powder. The powder was just some old chipotle and cinnamon from her spice drawer. She had suggested to the CEO that he should open the pouch at exactly 12:34am or pm and heed its instruction. The note advised whomever possessed the pouch to bring himself pleasure, save his emission and mix a pinch of the powder into it, then spread it on his clean face and allow it to dry before washing it carefully with warm water.
The facemasks weren’t making him more virile. They were just irritating his skin.
This was by design. In truth, she loathed the CEO as she loathed every other client she saw at Iconoclast Isle, but she loved her job as the club’s resident astromancer. Disdain lived inside her like a little pilot light in her chest. Making power-hungry men do senseless, stupid things was her fire’s accelerant.
She chose her first name using an online wizard-name generator. She chose the last name “Quixon,” a portmanteau of the surnames Quigley and Dixon, a reference to the astrologers who guided the Reagans and the Nixons. She wondered if Jeane Dixon or Joan Quigley ever purposely sowed minor chaos into the lives of their clients.
The candle’s flame danced across the CEO’s broad face. She peered at him through the eyeholes of her mask, which were covered with little one-way mirrors. She peered at him and he peered at himself. They saw different things, which was okay with her. She didn’t need him or anyone to know about her little ruse. She slept well at night.