Chapter 16: Power Cycling Your Amulet

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Michelle and Luther dropped Kim off in front of the CTM building. Luther made her swear on her own dark heart that she would show up for her shift at So Chic within the next few hours. He promised to hunt her down if she did not. 

“I’ll be there! Relax!” Kim said, smiling. Luther grunted and slammed the door and they took off like BYE. 

Kim had hoped they would come in to Maria’s office with her, and kind of defray some of the anger Maria was definitely going to be directing at Kim? But apparently friendship had its limits, even in this world.

Kim took a deep breath and opened the door to Maria’s office. Maria had apparently been standing there, waiting for her, eyes on the door. “You have a problem,” Maria said, as soon as Kim entered.

“I have SO MANY of problems,” Kim said. “But for the record which one are you referring to.”

“Willow Pape,” Maria said.

“Oh. OK that one. Sure.”

“While you’ve been on your little spiritual walkabout” (Maria did exaggerated air quotes on “spiritual walkabout”) “Willow Pape has transcended you. She’s currently D-List but frankly she’s only one or two React to Backdrops from being C-List. Meanwhile here’s you. You’ve been here for weeks and you’re farther behind than when you got here.”

“I get it,” Kim said. “I’m here, I’m ready. I’m highly focused. Let’s do this.”

“If you spend much longer on the E-list I won’t be able to help you anymore. There’s my reputation for one thing, but it’s more than that. If you don’t make efficient use of your time here in Hollywood, if you just exist, never invoking the Four Corners, never leveling up...terrible things happen.”

Kim flashed back to the creepy shadow people she’d seen on the Metro back in Chapter 4. 

“I 100% get it, I’ve seen some things, I’ve been on a whole journey, I’ve seen the error of my whatever, next scene please.”

“Fine,” Maria said. “Here is the plan. You have a few things to finish up here in Los Angeles and then you’re going to Miami. You will get the job managing the Kardash store. While you’re there some friends of mine are going to be checking in on you to ensure that you are doing what you say you will do when you say you will do it.”

Kim nodded. “OK. How will she get in touch with me.”

Maria gave Kim a look like What Is Your Deal. “She will call you.”

Kim held up her dark black useless brick of a phone. “Umm, so about that.”

Maria’s eyes did a full round-off back handspring in their sockets. “You broke your phone?”

“They told me I needed to wipe it? For reasons?”

Maria grabbed the phone from Kim’s hand and slammed it down on her credenza. “They didn’t wipe it, they stole your data.”

“Oh. Ooops. I don’t think I had anything important on there. Just a lot of selfies mainly. I can take more.”

Maria reached into the credenza and took out a bowl of polished agate. She pulled a few leaves off a nearby plant, which Kim recognized for the first time as foxglove. She crushed up the leaves in the bowl and added a few drops of something from one of the nearby bottles. 

Maria muttered something under her breath as she was doing this but Kim wasn’t sure if Maria was chanting a spell or just cursing her out.

Maria did something with her fingers that caused the ingredients in the bowl to explode and turn to ash. She took the ash in her fingers and rubbed it across the face of the phone, then shook it clean and handed the phone back to Kim.

“There. It’ll take a few seconds to restart but then you should have all the latest updates.”

“Thank you,” Kim said. 

“Now leave. And go straight to So Chic to start your shift.”

“But I’ve been in these clothes forever and I’m tired of this hair style and I feel extremely gross.”

“Leave,” Maria said. “I banish you from my office.”

“Hand hug?” Kim asked.

“GET OUT.”

“Fine, bye, love you too,” Kim said, and left.

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