Julia and Natalie lingered at the storefront window. They glanced at the amethyst cathedrals and giant quartz points, but the smaller and rarer stones grabbed their interest.
“Let’s go in,” Natalie said.
Julia shook her head no. “It’s a metaphysics store,” she said and pointed to the sign above the window.
“Givingana,” Natalie read aloud and squinted at the sign. She looked at Julia and shrugged. “I don’t have a clue what that means. It doesn’t matter. It’s a store with rocks. Come on.” Natalie grabbed Julia’s arm and drug her to the door. Little bells chimed as Natalie pushed the door open. They paused inside the door to let their eyes adjust to the dark interior of the shop. Julia glanced upward. The ceiling had no overhead light fixtures to illuminate the space.
“Maybe they’re closed,” Julia whispered. The shop’s musty smell mingled with burned incense. “Let’s leave,” Julia said. The thirty-three-year-old geologist didn’t believe in metaphysics, but the darkness of the store invaded Julia’s core and sparked her fight or flight instinct. She started to turn for the door, but stopped when a small elderly man stepped through the dangling beads that draped the doorway to the back room. He halted in front of the beads when he looked at Julia. She watched the beads settle. The man looked sixty or seventy, but his stature matched that of a twelve-year-old boy. Gray stubble covered his light brown scalp, but his face was freshly shaved. He didn’t look Australian, white or aboriginal. He seemed of Middle Eastern descent. Julia’s active mind speculated how he came to work in a small Brisbane shop. He stood straight, clasped his hands, and revealed a chipmunk-tooth smile.
“G’day,” he said. He took a few steps toward the friends. “May I help you?”
Natalie stepped forward and closed the space between them. She said, “We’d like to have our palms read.” She pointed to the banner above the register. In bright rainbow colors, the sign read: Palmistry, Numerology, Psychic readings, Aura cleansing.
Julia rolled her eyes and raised her voice, “No, we don’t. We were just leaving.” Julia hated metaphysics, fortune tellers, and con artists. She lumped them into one equal group.
“I’m Joaquin Yamurru,” he said. “Welcome to my shop.” He bowed his head and offered a Namaste pose. Julia sighed. Natalie mouthed the words, “Shut up.” She opened her eyes wide to emphasize her point. In return, Julia mouthed the words, “Make me,” and raised her eyebrows. They’d been friends for years and could fight like sisters. The man, Mr. Yamurru, held his pose, oblivious to their silent argument.
He lifted his head and faced Julia. He stared at her, or through her. Julia turned, looked behind her, and saw nothing there. She wondered if they were alone in the shop...
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