E. Godz
any plans for a joint directorship."
    "Do you seriously believe that Dov could steer this company by himself?" Peez
snapped. "That mama's boy? He never had to take an independent step in his life! He's
only a figurehead in the Miami office. How can he do something for the American
wiccan population when he's got absolutely no experience doing anything for himself?"
    "You seem to think that you know what American wiccans need," Fiorella remarked
calmly. "But do you? Do you really?"
    "I know that you represent more than talk-show fodder," Peez shot back. "I've
followed your career, Fiorella. Every Halloween, just like clockwork, there you are on
TV, in the newspapers, sometimes in those slick-and-sleazy gossip magazines: Fiorella, a
so-called 'real' witch, fashions by Morticia Addams, props straight out of Stereotypes-R-
Us, something for the rubes to gawk at and imagine they've glimpsed the Dark Side. And
it doesn't hurt that the Dark Side shows a lot of cleavage. Am I wrong?"
    Fiorella smiled and shook her head.
    "But the reality is that you're just about as 'real' as this whole town. Salem,
Massachusetts, home of the infamous witchcraft trials! There's a joke."
    Fiorella stood up, no longer smiling. "Have a care what you say, woman," she
intoned, her voice going deep and menacing. "Have a care, lest you summon up the
shadows of vengeance! This ground is sanctified with the blood of our venerable
ancestors, those women who gave their all, America's first wiccan martyrs who—"
    "Oh, please." Peez dismissed Fiorella's outburst with an airy wave of her hand. "In the
first place, this ground wasn't sanctified by any bloodshed: They hanged all the accused
witches, except for that man who died under the peine forte et dure, crushed under a load
of rocks when he wouldn't confess. You know, Giles Corey, Mr. 'More Weight'?" Teddy
Tumtum's impromptu history lesson was coming in handy after all. "Second, none of
those poor souls was a witch, and they'd probably look at you funny if you so much as
mentioned the word 'wiccan' to them. And finally, Salem isn't even where most of the
madness happened. Salem Village, now that's more like it! Only there isn't any Salem
Village any more. They changed the name to Danvers because they had the good grace to
be ashamed of the whole nasty business. Bad publicity and a load of embarrassment are
very strong charms. They have the power to transform a place or a person or even a
financial empire."
    She leaned towards the still-bristling witch-queen and concluded: "Don't make me use
them on you."
    "Threats?" Fiorella raised one eyebrow. "Didn't take you long to reach that point, did
it? Well, and how would your bad PR bugaboo touch me?"
    "How hard would it be for me to set up someone else as a rival witch-queen, Fiorella?
Some out-of-work model who's at least as pretty as you are, only younger and maybe
with some connections to the music industry? I can help her tap into the earth magic just
enough to give her that air of authenticity—my equivalent of start-up funds—then get her
all of your old Halloween spots in the media. You may be the founder of several dozen
covens, but can you hold onto your constituents in the face of some real heavy-duty
    Peez held her hands up in front of her face, palms outward, thumbs touching, in the
classic director-framing-a-shot pose. In the voice of TV hype artists everywhere she
declared: "She's beautiful, she's a witch, and she's slept with rock stars! You, too, can
share the glamour, the power, the six-degrees-of-Kevin-Bacon celebrity! It's not just
witchcraft, it's cool!" She lowered her hands and gave Fiorella a hard stare. "And it's the
same principle behind every cosmetics ad ever run. Rationally, women know that they're
not going to look like Cindy or Naomi or Husker-du or whoever's the supermodel du jour
just because they buy that brand of lipstick. Ah, but somehow, when they look at those
ads, reason

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