True Foxes Massage sat on the corner of 108 Avenue and Whalley Boulevard
and shared a cracked-asphalt parking lot with Triple XXX Adult Video and Toys.
The shop madam bought us quality Jergens brand lotion and Ultra Soft Kleenex®
and baked her trademark double chocolate chocolate chip cookies every Sunday.
Between noon and nine p.m. sugar was the top fragrance note overpowering all
spunk stink and this made Sunday afternoon the most coveted shift on the schedule.
We all figured Madam once turned dates herself because
who gets DD implants for her own entertainment?
I greatly favoured True Foxes over the shop owned by the failed-restaurateur-cum-pimp
in Kitsilano or the shop run by Hells Angels that burned down in a faulty electrical fire.
The only problem with True Foxes was the Surrey RCMP vehicle that often idled
in our parking lot because what date has the nerve to pull up next to a cop car?
We played premises searches right. At the sight of oncoming blues we slipped into spa
robes that covered our bodies between the neck to the top of our knees and below
the elbows. The Body Rub and Lingerie Model Studio licence hung by the front
door in a gold-gilded frame which we routinely tipped from the nail for inspection.
None of our rub rooms were smaller than a cargo van and all were brighter
than fifty candle flames. You boys think I don’t know how to run my business?
Madam—bless her golden-aged hooker mouth—never should’ve back-talked
and sure enough the Surrey RCMP doubled on us like Doomsday.
Shop will blank if they keep jamming our lot. Fucking cops, they’re eating
A&W out there. I got kids to feed. Donna was the one to call the ersatz
stakeout a curse. She pinched a ten-spot from her bra. Under the welcome
mat went Sir John A and within the hour we heard the date-doorbell chime.
Whore lore! Why hadn’t we thought of it sooner? Sup-whore-stitious!
We’d forgotten power but Madam lit the dollar store candles to call a circle.
What charm will we bring? What rue and iron? What divinity and dark?
We salt rimmed the rub rooms and hid rosemary bows under daybeds.
Turn-outs chanted, money money come to me, in abundance, three times three.
Golden-agers answered, harming none on its way, I summon money, come to me.
Coco rewrote our newspaper ad so each print line added up to numerology nine.
Cleo broke the eyes of six sewing needles. Lily tracked moon cycles. Elle set fires.
We adopted a black cat and named her Willow and for a good long spell
the only blue we saw was the midnight sky as we waved our dates goodbye.
But wind changed again when Donna came late for her shift. Officer took me
for a courtesy ride. Bruises rising below each shoulder like she’d been shook.
The following Sunday sparrow flew through the shop window and a plain-clothed
cop posing as client followed. He cuffed Cleo before she could even towel him off.
A ready-rolled raid had us stripped to our g-strings for a game of who-will-cry-first.
Our purses gutted. Phones wiped. The four corners swept by brute force.
Our stars are un-fixed. Our spring water made ill. We regrouped in the Triple XXX
amid the dildos. Madam clanged in anger and avowed, Ain’t no hex like a hooker hex.
Donna gathered graveyard dirt. Coco knotted black yarn. Cleo summoned Baal.
I came flesh-wound close then rethought cutting alms across my palm. Blood
scarification was not made for we who mete out hand jobs as a vocation.
Madam turned to her mixing bowl—butter and chocolate chips and spit.
Baneful magic is made worse when cast together. So we gathered round
the raw dough. Bitter saliva and tricks on our tongues. May their might
overturn. May they be dealt the same hand. May their rule turn to ruin.
May teeth rot from their jaws. May their seeds turn crooked and cruel.
Wait! Lily broke our incantation. I cursed my father and he went
mad. Or madder than before. He’s moved on to my baby sister now.
Lily’s right, said Cleo. I cursed my first boyfriend and he went
missing. He’s missing still. I wonder about the jerk sometimes.
Coco groaned and swigged back the ritual wine. Pussy up, witches!
Cops ought to be taught a lesson. This curse is our duty, our holy charge.
But curses don’t teach, curses harm, said Madam. And harm is hard
to contain, even for sorcery sluts like us. Think wide and wisely.
We put it to a vote before long our unanimous hands rose. The hex
was nayed. We still have charm. We can still pussy up, said Madam.
Her right hand pushed into her panties and we awed. Never before had we seen
Madam uncross her golden-aged legs. We heard polyester lace rip and slush
and then we remembered the oldest of circles. We moaned and wet-messed
in this primordial magic. The spell set as we buried our hands in raw dough.
We knead passage. We knead respect. We knead love. We knead love.
As below, so above, we knead your love. The balm of our fresh-baked blessed-
strokes and sugar blew through True Foxes’ window and across the parking lot.
Three cop cars rolled in as Madam arranged the warm cookies on a silver tray.
We joined hands as she stiletto-marched out to meet them.
Braced and silent, but chanting love behind our teeth.