He watched breathlessly as she walked up to the clerk at the special order desk and asked a question. The man told her something and motioned in Adam’s direction.
Adam immediately ducked his head behind the book he was reading so she wouldn’t notice him. He waited a few seconds, then peeked over the top of his book and watched her walk over to the New Age section...
Yes, he thought, his heartbeat quickening.
She began to thumb through a book on astrology. The New Age section was directly below Adam’s table in the cafe, affording him a clear view of everything, including the cleavage of those wonderful women who chose to wear low-cut tops. The girl picked up another book, an astrological cookbook. Adam couldn’t read the title from where he was sitting, but he knew the order of the books in that section. And he recognized the cover art: Sagittarius.
She browsed through the book for a couple of minutes, then replaced it on the shelf and removed a Sagittarius volume from another collection.
Adam watched as she picked up books on the Tarot cards, Runes, palmistry, the I-Ching...
Yes, yes, yes.
She was perfect! An inquisitive learner, a crop ready to reap. And her body! Petite, but exquisitely curvy. He would have to tear off those baggy jeans and her T-shirt to know for sure. But his instincts told him he would have to work for this one.
He shut his dog-eared copy of The Modern Tarot. Making certain that she didn’t notice him rise, Adam quietly made his way downstairs and to the front of the store. He checked his blue work shirt (which accentuated his blue eyes perfectly) in the reflection of one of the windows. He wanted to make sure the collar was open wide enough so that his Tamuwah Stone, which hung from a black leather strap around his neck, was clearly visible. He forced himself to relax for a few seconds, then walked over to the shelves where she was browsing.
She barely glanced at him. He gave her a friendly smile and began to scan the shelves beside her as if he were looking for a certain book. She was wearing some kind of essential oil...rose hips? Very nice. How he loved these second-generation hippie chicks! He watched out of the corner of his eye as she picked up a book on Zen meditation. Oh, she was so eager to learn! And Adam had so much to teach her...
He squatted, moving a little closer, pretending to search the bottom row of shelves.
“Damn!” he said.
She glanced over at him.
“You haven’t seen any books on Tamuwah, have you?”
“Tamu-wah?” she asked, a little awkwardly.
“Tamuwah stones.” Adam reached up to his necklace and held the stone out so she could see it. “They’re magic stones, from Africa.” Her pretty green eyes focused on it, and he made sure he moved it back and forth a little bit that so she would see the rainbow hologram inside.
“That’s pretty cool,” she said.
Adam looked back at the bookshelves, shaking his head. “Man, that pisses me off. They ordered me a copy of a book written by the shaman who makes the stones, but they must have sold it to somebody else by mistake. The publisher is in Africa, too, and it takes three months to get a copy.”
“Oh,” she said sympathetically. Her eyes were drawn back to the stone. This was the critical juncture. Would she go for the bait?
“What’s magic about it?” she asked.
Adam smiled inside. “It’s a wish-fulfillment stone. It’ll give you anything you want, if you use the proper meditation techniques. That’s what’s in the book. I had a Xerox of it, but I lost it.”
She nodded, but looked skeptical. “Does it really work?”
“Oh, it definitely works.” Adam chuckled and gave her his best grin. “Sometimes too well. You know the old saying, ‘You better watch out what you wish for, because you just might get it?’”
“When you use one of these things,” he said, letting the stone drop back against his chest, “you really get to know what it means.”
“Where did you get it?”
“In Africa. I went there last year on a spiritual retreat.”
“Hm,” she said, looking impressed.
Of course, what Adam had told her was a lie, along with practically everything else. But it was for a good cause. He stole a glance at her smooth, delicate neck. A very good cause.
“If you’re interested,” he said, “I might be able to get you one.”
“Yeah. I still have the address of the shop in Mali that sells them, and I’ve gotten a few for my friends. The shaman, the one who makes them, lives at the top of a mountain there.” Adam had no idea if there were mountains in Mali or not, but he was confident that she had no idea, either.
“Are they very expensive?”
“No, not really. This one only cost me thirty bucks.”
“That’s not much.” He could already see her tallying up her financial resources, which he was certain were practically nil. But of course, she wouldn’t need them. He had a half dozen more Tamuwah stones at home, and he would simply give her one, at the appropriate time.
He leaned forward and inspected her face more closely.
“What’s wrong,” she said, looking self-conscious.
“Let me guess. You’re a...Sagittarius?”
“Yes,” she said, blushing a little. “How did you know?”
Adam shrugged. “It’s pretty obvious. Sages are the great adventurers of the universe. The sign is ruled by Jupiter, which has to do with expansion, growth, development of higher consciousness...it’s in your eyes.”
“Oh.” She smiled in a way that told him he had touched the right spot.
Adam debated only a split-second, then decided to proceed to the next level. There was a chance it was too soon, but other parts of his body had begun to interfere with his ability to think clearly.
“Where’s your North Node?” he asked.
“Your North Node—it’s part of your astrological chart.”
“Oh. I haven’t had my chart done yet.”
“You haven’t?” Adam said, incredulously. “You really need to have it done.”
“I know, but I can’t afford it right now. I’m in school.”
“Oh. Well, I do charts on the side, kind of as a hobby. I could do yours for you, if you want.”
She looked as if she were suddenly aware that he might be coming on to her. “That’s okay,” she said, backing away from him a little bit.
Take it easy, Adam. Be cool.
“It’s no big deal,” he said, turning back to the bookshelves. “I have a computer program that prints them out—it just takes a couple of minutes.” Adam picked up a book on astral projection and thumbed through it, trying to appear casual. “You have to know your exact time of birth, though.” As he flipped through the book, he could feel her sizing him up.
She said, “I’m not sure what time I was born.”
“It’s usually on your birth certificate, if you have a copy.” Adam fought the temptation to look at her again.
She was quiet for a few long seconds. “What does the North Node mean?”
“It’s calculated from the position of the moon. Every astrological chart has a North Node and a South Node—the South Node tells where you’re coming from, karmically speaking, and the North Node tells where you’re headed, in this lifetime. It tells you the main lesson that you have to learn while you’re here.”
Fifteen minutes later, they were sitting upstairs in the café, sipping cappuccinos at the same table Adam had been sitting at before.
Her name was Bethany, she was 19 years old (he had calculated from her birth date), and was a sophomore at Kensington, majoring in philosophy (what else?). She had not mentioned having a boyfriend, which, in Adam’s experience, meant that she either didn’t have one or wasn’t happy with the one she had. Fortunately, she hadn’t asked how old he was, not that he would have hesitated to lie about that, too. He was 38, something he tried to hide from his “marks,” who were always under 25 and often under 20 (women much older than that were too savvy for the whole routine). He usually told them he was 33. In addition to the obvious Biblical overtones, there was a nice symmetry to this number (not that he really believed in numerology or any of the rest of this New Age nonsense). Because he stayed in shape and had a baby face, they never questioned it.
When she asked him what he did for a living, he explained that after graduating from Kensington with a degree in business, he had opened a computer store on a shoestring, grew it for several years, then sold it to ComputerWorld at a big profit, which he then invested in stocks and bonds to provide himself with a comfortable living so that he could devote all of his time to “exploring himself.” This was all true, except the last bit—it wasn’t only himself that he was exploring.
The talk eventually turned to the Tamuwah Stone, as he knew it would. She wanted to know exactly how it worked.
“Have you ever held a magnifying glass in the sun and burned a hole in a piece of paper?”
“Yeah, of course. When I was a kid.”
Adam tried not to smile at this remark. “Well, it works like that, using the principle of focus. A magnifying glass focuses light waves into a single, intense point of energy so powerful it can burn through things.” He held the Tamuwah Stone away from his neck and turned it from side to side again. “This works the same way, except that instead of focusing light waves, it focuses thought waves. So whatever you think about—your wish—gets magnified and focused into a single, powerful point of psychic energy.”
“Interesting,” she said. “How does it do that?”
Adam smiled. “I guess no one knows that but the shaman who makes them.”
“So how do you use it? Just look at it and think about what you want?”
“You can do that, but it works a lot better if you repeat your wish over and over again in conjunction with certain mantras. You know what a mantra is, right?”
“Yeah,” she said, though a little uncertainly. “It’s a word you say over and over when you meditate, right?”
“Exactly. The shaman has about fifty in his book, and which one you use depends on what you’re wishing for. Like if you want a lover, you use one set of mantras, or if you want a physical object, you use another set. They create special thought-energy patterns that are in tune with the stone and magnify your fulfillment wish even further.”
She nodded, then gave Adam a curious smile, revealing a couple of dimples that made his heart ache. “So, what are some of the things you’ve wished for?”
“Well, when I first got it, I had been trying to sell my business for almost two years, but nobody seemed interested. A week after I started using it, ComputerWorld called. Six weeks later, it was a done deal.”
She appeared to be skeptical. “It could have just been a coincidence, couldn’t it?”
“That’s exactly what I thought, until I wished for the next thing.”
“What was that?”
“I had some money from the sale, not a fortune, but enough to make an okay living from it if I spent a lot of time investing it wisely. The only problem was, I didn’t want to spend a lot of time investing it wisely—I wanted to put into something and make a fortune fast, so I would be free to pursue other things. So, I wished for that on the Tamuwah Stone. A week later, I was having lunch—” he pointed to a nearby table “—right over there, in fact, and this guy in a three-piece suit asked if he could sit down with me because it was so crowded. When he found out I had owned a computer store, he started telling me about this nanotechnology company in California that he was investing in. Well, to make a long story short, I ended up investing some of my money in it, too—five thousand dollars, to be exact—and a year and a half later, when it went public, I got back over a quarter of a million.”
Her eyes got big for a few seconds, but then her doubtful expression returned. “That could have been a coincidence, too.”
“Yeah. And everything else I’ve gotten with my Tamuwah Stone could have been a coincidence.” Adam chuckled. “See, that’s what makes this thing so powerful, and, what makes me believe in it. It’s really not magic, not in the sense that most people think of it. The things you wish for don’t just appear out of thin air—you have to work for them, at least a little bit. All the stone does is line things up for you, so to speak, so you have the opportunity. Once that happens, it’s up to you to take advantage of it.” He motioned to the nearby table again. “When that guy told me about the company in California, I could have just said “oh, that’s nice’ and done nothing, and nothing would have happened. You have to work for what you wish for. And you have to take some risks.”
Bethany nodded, and though she still looked like she was trying to maintain her objectivity, Adam could tell he was swaying her. It wasn’t surprising, really. The stories were true, and they had a ring of authenticity when he told them, even though he was certain that the Tamuwah Stone played no role in them whatsoever. He had wished on the stone for a few things that had come true, but it was only when he was alone in front of his bedroom mirror, gloating over the girl he had just seduced with it. Still, the fact that he had used it, even in jest, eased his conscience a little bit.
Bethany took a sip of her cappuccino and gazed at the stone again. “Well, I have to admit, it’s intriguing.”
Adam nodded. “And you’re right. It may well just be coincidence. All I know is that before I got the Tamuwah Stone and started using it, I was struggling to make a living from my little computer store. Now, I’m completely financially secure and do whatever I want all day long, every day.”
“That’s impressive, I have to admit.”
Adam shrugged, then glanced at his watch. “Well, it’s almost time for my afternoon nap.”
He briefly pined over her dimples again, then scribbled his land line number down on a napkin and handed it to her. “If you find out the exact time you were born and call me, I’ll do your chart for you.”
(end of sample)
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