Chapter 25: Power, Part One: The Canary & The Azalea

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Kim was sitting alone at a table at El Canario in Punta Mita, Mexico, drinking palomas and nibbling on this chicken? turkey? Whatever it was that had been sitting out under the heat lamp for way too long.

She’d gotten a call from Ash, the third Witch Sister, saying to meet her here. So far she’d talked to all the people with exclamations and hearts hanging by their mouths but none of them had anything interesting to say. It was getting late and she was running out of small talk for these people. 

Suddenly there was a bright camera flash and when Kim could see again, Ash was sitting across the table from her. 

“Hi,” Ash said, without looking up from her phone. “Waiting long?”

Ash was the palest and gauntest of the three sisters and she kind of creeped Kim out. 

“No, I just really want to get back to my puppy in Miami. He’s SO CUTE I LOVE HIM SO MU-”

“--Wonderful,” said Ash, dismissing Kim’s sentence with a wave. “Things seem to be going well on the C-List, yes?”

Kim nodded. “Yes. Did a bunch of modeling this week. The stores are fine. I own So Chic now, by the way. Luther wasn’t excited about that. Auditioned for a couple of pilots but I’m not sure anything will come of it. Simon’s been keeping me busy.”

“And Maria?”

“Also keeping me busy. Willow Pape has been waging a full on psychic psycho attack but so far things are under control with a bit of PR. She seems really intent on keeping me from leveling up though. She’s got these two actors in her pocket and they’re basically preventing me from getting any roles--”

“--Fascinating, wonderful,” Ash said, cutting Kim off again and still not looking up from her phone. “So. This is what we need to discuss.” 

“Okay,” Kim said.

“Simon calls and sends you places. You go where he points. Maria runs interference and strategizes plans for you. You go where she points. This is fine for some people. You can sustain an acceptable, if uninteresting, career that way. True Power, however, is the ability to make things happen on your own. It is about the force of your will. It is about relying on yourself, over others. It is the ability to make things happen.” 

Ash looked up and met Kim’s eyes for the first time. “Does that sound interesting to you? Are you ready to call the Third Corner?”

“I’m sitting here extremely ready,” Kim said. 

“Okay,” Ash said, looking back at her phone. “Do not look, but there is a girl seated over there by the baked chicken.”

“I thought that was a turkey,” Kim said. 

“You thought the girl was a turkey?”

“No, I thought the chicken was a turkey.”

Ash closed her eyes and breathed very deeply. “My point,” she said.

“Yes okay,” Kim said.

“There is a young woman seated over there. Her name is Azalea Grande.”

Kim looked over to see who Ash was talking about.

“I said DON’T look.” Ash smacked her phone against the table, sending Kim’s attention hurtling back. 

“Sorry,” Kim said.

“Her name is Azalea Grande,” Ash continued. “She is an E-list nobody from Miami. She would like to be a singer. You are going to help her achieve her goal.”

“Okay what should I do, introduce her to Maria or something?”

“No. You may not speak to her. You may not interact with her directly in any way, but you must exert influence on her life. You must help her achieve her singing career without her knowing that you are doing it.”

“Without talking to her?”

“Without talking to her. Be the moon to her ocean. Be the road upon which she travels. Pull her and guide her without her thinking about you at all.”

“What? That sounds SUPER complicated.”

Ash shrugged. “It is as complicated as you make it. You have Money and Friendship. They will help. Use your phone. Study your emoji. Experiment. Have fun.”

“Fine, how much time do I have for this challenge?”

“Lol, hilarious. Time is meaningless. You have as much time as you need to accomplish your goal. It could take hours or weeks. It’s up to you. The only limit is the length of your life.”

“Ugh that’s so grim. You’re the gothest of the three sisters, aren’t you.”

Ash thought about it for a moment. “Hmm. Mary is pastel goth. Kate is beach goth. So yes, I suppose I’m true goth goth. At any rate. Have fun. I’ll check in with you later.”

Ash leaned across the table and swiped a piece of meat off Kim’s plate and tossed it in her mouth. “Definitely chicken,” she said. She swiped something on her phone and vanished. 

Kim ordered a third paloma and sat there for a while, looking at Azalea Grande but trying not to look like she was looking at her. How was she supposed to help this girl without actually speaking to her or interacting with her? 

Kim sat back and looked at her phone, swiping through her emoji, looking for something that might be useful. She swiped from nature to smileys and accidentally tapped on the dog emoji. In a flash of light a pack of dogs launched from her phone. They hit the ground running and barking, tearing their way through the restaurant. They pulled stuff down off the tables, grabbing whatever food they could amidst the screams of everyone in the room, then ran out the door to the beach, where they disappeared. 

The stunned patrons looked back to see where the dogs had appeared from and their eyes landed on Kim. Kim looked back behind her like “Wow I agree where did those dogs come from ha ha that was weird right? shrug.” 

The people went back to whatever they were doing and order returned to the restaurant. Kim slunked down in her chair. Her phone was acting really weird lately. Also she really missed her dog. 

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