Taken from pages 208-209 of MELT:

Kyza removed her hat and sat primly in the plastic lawn chair provided. Kyza couldn’t recall the last time she had talked to one of these nuns. It was an experience she avoided, because these were some mean Sisters. Efficient, but also mean. Today’s Sister Dispatcher was Evelyn Primrose, who wore her glossy brown hair in a tight bun at the back of her head. Evelyn’s scarlet lipstick matched the polish on her pointy fingernails. She turned down the gospel music on her radio as her client took a seat.

Sister Dispatcher asked: “What can I do for you today, Miz uh…”

“Ashtara. Kyza Ashtara,” Kyza answered, clearing her throat.

“And you are…?” Sister Dispatcher prompted, propping her elbows on the desk and making a steeple of her red fingertips.

“Head Witch of the Shotgun Brides MC, in Seattle,” Kyza told her evenly, crossing her legs and settling back in the chair. “My Guide is Lady Inari Ki– ”

“You think name-dropping will help you here?” snapped the angry Sister Dispatcher known as Evelyn Primrose.

“Can’t hurt,” Kyza said, stretching her neck and working the kinks out of her shoulders.

“What do you want?” the Sister asked.

“I need a Babysitter,” Kyza told her.

“What for?”

“We need someone to help out with the kids and cooking and laundry while I go on a retrieval mission,” Kyza answered. “Shiver’s laid up. Ruby’s losing her mind.”

“And this Shiver and Ruby are members of your clan, coven, tribe, club or troupe?” Sister Dispatcher asked.

“All of the above,” Kyza answered.

“Okay, what’s your offer?” Sister Dispatcher inquired snidely. Kyza handed her a small square of paper with a number on it. The Sister read the paper and then crumpled and ate it. She swallowed before saying with a chuckle: “Miz Ashtara, we make sure our Operatives are well-compensated. That’s why they trust us to handle their business. I’m sorry none of our Operatives are within your budget. Good day.”


There’s more, of course. But I’m leaving it at that, with a hearty reminder to always show respect to the people who do things for you. Society would cease to function without babysitters, housekeepers, truck drivers and food service personnel. Happy holidays, y’all.  😉

– Kendra, 12/25/17



Taken from pages 207-208 of MELT:

Straightening her navy blue shirt-dress, for she was suddenly wearing one, Kyza stepped out of the tunnel through a stone archway into a tiled office lobby. Directly across from the archway was an unattended desk with a Take-a-Number machine.

The sign on the wall read:


Housekeeping Etc.

The tagline lower down, in italics, said:

Meet the Sweeper

The logo image was a drawing of a well-endowed, black-skinned nun in a miniskirt habit and platform heels. The nun’s powerful hands clutched a straw broom, and the way she had one foot kicked up behind made Kyza wonder: “Is she sweeping with that thing or is she riding it?”

   Kyza took a number from the machine: #542. She glanced up and read the NOW SERVING sign: #12. There was no one else in the waiting room, so she had the whole couch to herself. Kyza stretched out with her ankles crossed, hands folded, cowgirl hat covering her face, and took a nice long nap.

   Eighty-four years later, just before her hair turned white, Kyza’s number was called. She got up, straightened her navy blue shirt-dress once again and headed into the inner office, preparing herself to talk to Sister Dispatcher.



Taken from page 207 of MELT:

Ducking behind the locker door, Kyza took a last swallow of bourbon from her flask before locking up and heading for the sauna in her navy blue tanksuit, flipflops and cowgirl hat. Inside the hot little room, she cut a fine figure: Seated in full lotus on the low bench, she was the cowgirl Buddha, a modern mystic on a deep spiritual journey in a crowded public space.

It was a hard task, falling into deep trance and accessing the Lower World while surrounded by moms and kids and teachers and varsity swimmers, but Kyza knew she could do it if she tried. She closed her eyes and started to bob her head gently, in time to her own internal rhythm. She began to hum low in her throat – not quite loud enough to be heard – and within minutes, Kyza was far away. She sank into her seat on the wooden bench, then she slipped through the bench and through the concrete floor before executing a slow, controlled descent down a vertical tunnel carved in the earth. She dropped down, down, down, down, down, down, down through layers of soil and consciousness until, finally, she landed in the Lower World.