Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Favorite Scene From Angela's Coven by Bruce Jenvey

My truly favorite scene in Angela’s Coven would give away the surprise ending, but this one is a close second! This scene is part of chapter 10 and takes place in the kitchen in the back of Angela’s shop in Greenwich Village. I like this, not only because it’s where the relationship between Angela and Reggie Sinclair really begins to develop, but it also gives you a good ‘taste’ of the type of Witchcraft you’ll find in my book: No magic wands, no pointy hats, no twitching noses…

From Angela’s Coven by Bruce Jenvey (Unedited Text):

When she returned, she had a small collection of interesting objects stacked on her clipboard and she set them on the table as she found her seat again. She started by opening a paper envelope and removing what looked like a small plant root, barely an inch long.

“What’s that?” he asked with keen interest.

“Oh, it’s got a lot of names, but I know it best as ‘St. Isaac’s Root.’ It’s just part of an herb plant.” She then opened the first of two jars, this one filled with a fine, gray powder and began to rub the powder into the surface of the root, one pinch at a time.

“And what’s that?” He asked with even more anticipation. She paused a brief moment to look at him with a smile on her face.

“Patience, little boy… It’s a mixture of other herbs, mixed, boiled down and then ground into a powder… I guess you’d call it a ‘concoction’… There are more things like this simmering on the stove over there.”

“You mean, this didn’t come from the ‘Mysterious Far East?’”

“Some of it… Part of it… But it’s what you do with it and how you combine it that makes it all work.”

“That’s what’s on the stove?”

“Among other things… It takes days, sometimes weeks to make something like this. You have to simmer slowly, never boil. Sometimes, you have to simmer twice, down to nothing, and then grind what’s left into a powder you can combine with other powders. It’s all pretty complicated… really.”

“I was going to ask about the electric stove…”

“What? You think I should be ‘bubbling, bubbling, toil and troubling’ in some big black cauldron over an open fire someplace? Well, this is New York City and they frown on open fires you know!” She was teasing him pretty hard as she continued to work the gray powder into the herb root. As she did so, the root’s color slowly changed from off white to a bright yellow.

“It would fit the image…”

“You mean the stereotype! The misconception!”

“What would you call it?”

“Basically… it’s chemistry… that’s all!”

“And there’ll be no magic words or spells to cast?” He tried to hide behind his sarcasm and his snicker.

“No…” she said casually as she closed the jar with the gray powder and opened the second jar filled with a nearly black powder. “When you go to your doctor for a flu shot, does he chant or dance around the room before he injects you?”

“No…” he said sheepishly.

“No magic words?”

“Other than ‘If you don’t cry, Reggie, I’ll give you one of the suckers I save for the children’?”

“Yes, other than those magic words!” She laughed at the image it all painted in her mind.

“No, I guess not…”

“It’s all chemistry… and that’s what you’ll find here, too. Maybe a long forgotten chemistry, but simple chemistry just the same.” As she worked this powder into the root, it slowly began to change its color again, this time, into a bright, emerald green.

“So, what’s in that jar?”

“Oh, you don’t want to know… really… and yes, I will be washing my hands before I do anything else!” And she laughed again. A really delightful laugh, too, thought Reggie.

When the root was sufficiently treated, she closed the jar and produced a small wire hook that was probably nothing more than one of those used to hang Christmas ornaments. She forced the small end through the root, much like baiting a fish hook, and then held up her finished work with a sense of pride.

“There you go! One Boomerang!” She gently dropped the root and its hook into a small plastic zipper bag and sealed it. “Just hang this in the center ring of your Dream Catcher between the Dream Catcher and the glass. That’s the important part, it has to be right next to the glass!”

“And what do I owe you?” the rock star asked reaching for his wallet.

“Dinner!” she answered without hesitation. “Here, tomorrow night. I’ll cook!”

“Cook?” he said with reservation as he pointed to the stoves next to him. She laughed again.

“No… nothing from there! Upstairs! I live upstairs and I actually cook and eat real food, too. No roast Hansel, no grilled Gretel… I promise.”

“Well, that’s comforting…” he said with a genuine relief.

“Be here just before the shop closes at six, and you can tell me how this little thing worked as well.” she said handing him the envelope.

From Angela’s Coven, by Bruce Jenvey, coming October, 2011 from Museitup Publishing. Visit us on Facebook! Just search for COVEN BOOKS and we’ll be right at the top of your list. Or, you can read the whole chapter at our web page: There, you can actually ‘Join the Coven’ and get an e-mail notice when the book is released.

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