Chapter 13

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The next morning, Zandra thinks not of fingers, but of teeth. Specifically, the way they can tell more stories than the lips pressed against them.

Zandra gets a good look at her client's ivory ranks as they greet each other at Sneak Peek.

"Big smiles, everyone," Chris said moments earlier for the greeting's third take. The first two were genuine. The third is forced, irritated by Chris's inability to "get the lighting right with all this sparkly shit on the walls and big windows."

"We good now?" Zandra says to Chris over the client's shoulder in the middle of a hug.

"Hold the hug for a sec. We can edit this together in post," Chris says.

Zandra obliges, wishing she'd had a second cigarette this morning. Falling asleep on the couch used to be a custom, but not anymore. The alarm is in the bedroom, and the files that choked the life out of her old apartment are still with Gene.

"Have a seat, child. I'm excited you're here," Zandra says as they move to the oak desk.

The client, a young woman, takes a seat across the desk from Zandra, beaming a smile that allows yet another chance to scope out those teeth. That's all Zandra will need for the reading, allowing her to work on setting up the shot with Chris.

In the past, she might've noted her client's posture, brand of clothing, speech patterns, mannerisms, pulse, quirks and other "tells." But now, with the pressure from Chris to make up for the blown shots at Target and the awful night's sleep weighing her down, the teeth will have to do.

"I can't believe I'm going to be on TV," the client says. "I had no idea when I booked a reading."

Play along, be a good client, and you'll believe it soon enough. Don't fuck this up for me.

"This stroke of luck is no accident, child," Zandra says. "You're vibrating on the same frequency as this chance at exposure. Tell me, have you ever had the intention to be famous one day?"

The woman blushes and says, "I guess I always felt like I was special, like there was a higher purpose for my life. It sounds egotistical, but I mean it. Like, fame would be a way for me to help the world. It's not just about me."

Of course it's about you. You wanting to help the world by being famous is like saying you want to help the poor by being rich.

"I knew it when you walked through the door, child. You are your intention manifesting into reality," Zandra says and rubs her palms together. She adjusts her hands to make sure they're high enough above the desk for Chris's camera. "This isn't just any client. This is someone special. By the way, what's your name?"

Shouldn't have said that last part. Or slept on the couch last night.

"My...name?" the woman says. Her smile fades, matching Chris's expression off-camera. "But you took my..."

"Your booking. I know. I booked you myself," Zandra says, struggling to keep cool despite forgetting the client's name she read 10 times earlier this morning. Starting over now would blow both the reading and the shot. "Your given name isn't important. I was referring to your spirit name."

"Spirit name? I don't understand."

"Allow me to explain, child," Zandra says. "Your given name is the one assigned to your body, which eventually ceases to be. Your spirit name is eternal, immortal, and it bears no attachment to your body. I simply assumed that because you are operating at such a delicate and enlightened vibration that you were in tune with that name."

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