Tarja's a sullen bitch, but she answers the phone when I call. I'm one of the only ones who'll put up with her mood swings. Still, a good diviner is worth their weight in Columbian nose candy, and Tarja's nothing if not good - and well aware of it too.

"Tarja, I need the cards."

She spits on the other end. Long drag of a cigarette audible. "Cross my palm with silver, bitch."

I pause. Wait.


"Silver." She's not budging. Usual Tarja bullshit.

"It's the twenty-first century, Tarja, and aren't you a Buddhist now? No one keeps silver anymore. You want a piece of flatwear?" If I can find one in the dishes. Hah, what you think I've got maid service? I'm busy, and this sink rates low for me.

"I'm Gypsy this week, you ignorant gadje." There's a long pause on the other end of the line. "Fine. Bring me a jug of milk, I'm out." She slams the phone down, and I'm left with dialtone.

After a few seconds, the white noise starts to snarl at me as the Telephone Worker's Union 666 (slogan: Devil's Phone) begin their strike. I hang up, and reach for the taxidermied rodent over the door. It buzzes and beeps as it begins to boot.

It's a bad week. But I can handle it. After all, I'm the only cut-rate supernatural rodent therapist in town, especially after my buddy Marcello bought it from some cyclops with antisocial disorder and a rat fetish.

This is the city. Los Angeles, California. Sometimes someone gets the urge to pet a small furry animal. That's my job. My name's Friday. I carry a badger.

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