Spin Doctor

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Book: Spin Doctor by Leslie Carroll Read Free Book Online
Authors: Leslie Carroll
stuff, but he told me that his editor preferred an alliterative title to a PC one; and besides, everyone except the Gypsies still calls them Gypsies. “Now if you called them ‘thieves,’ that might be a bit on the un-PC side,” Eli had said sarcastically, spreading Neufchatel on his whole wheat bagel.
    Mala Sonia entered the laundry room and spat at the two lesbians. “Te bisterdon tumare anava!” She turned her back on Naomi and Claude and crossed herself—the wrong way, as usual—then sat on the couch and thumbed through an issue of People that was so old it featured Ben Affleck and J. Lo’s engagement on the cover.
    â€œWhat the hell did she say this time?” Naomi muttered crossly.
    â€œMay your names be forgotten!” I translated under my breath, and Claude laughed.
    â€œYou’re too kind, Mrs. Badescu,” Claude replied loudly, giving Mala Sonia a huge smile. She turned to me and whispered,
    â€œWhat am I supposed to do when she does that? Curse back at her in Mandarin and tell her that her ancestors slept with goats? What purpose is it going to serve, except to make the one doing the cursing feel…what? Better in some sick and twisted way?”
    â€œYeah,” Naomi said, emptying their washer. “World peace is a goal that only Miss America contestants still think is realistic. Unfortunately.”
    Alice Finnegan came downstairs with another load. “These clothes are mine this week,” she said to me. “Oh, are you waiting?” she asked Mala Sonia. Alice gave a resigned little shrug. “I guess I’ll come back later then.” Mala Sonia began to stare at Alice, who visibly shuddered under the intensity of her gaze. “What? What’d I say? Did I say something—or do something—wrong?”
    â€œYou have deep sorrows,” Mala Sonia told her, wearing an Oscar-worthy expression of sheer empathy. “A-ko isi pomo shinava tumen. Maybe I can help you. Let me give you a reading.”
    â€œI don’t need a reading. I know why I have deep sorrows.” Alice then grew curious. “How much does it cost?”
    â€œTwenty dollars. And for a full reading and a chart, three hundred. Cash. After I go to my church and meditate on your life.”
    Naomi drew Alice aside. “Those ‘churches’ are really Gypsy hangouts where they boast to each other how they took advantage of some gaje that day. Trust me: don’t do it.”
    I caught Mala Sonia giving the two of them the evil eye.
    â€œI can spring for the twenty bucks,” Alice told the Gypsy. “Beyond that is out of my price range I’m afraid.”
    â€œSar laci and’ekh vadra,” Mala Sonia muttered to herself. “Like crabs in a bucket.”
    The worm was on the hook. Mala Sonia was a pro who knew how to turn that meager tidbit into a mighty fine dinner. She led Alice away from Naomi and sat her down at the long table. “I know your grandmother just died,” she began.
    â€œWell, you’re the super’s wife, so of course you do,” Alice countered suspiciously. “You’d better not predict that I’ll be served with an eviction notice—because my name is on the lease, so everything’s legal.”
    The super’s wife ignored the threat. “Is that a Dana Buchman blouse you’re wearing?”
    Alice gave Mala Sonia an incredulous look, stunned that the pulchritudinous Gypsy woman currently sporting a skintight horizontally striped tank top and orange terry-cloth shorts above tanned legs and Fredericks of Hollywood–style mules might possess an intimate familiarity with a midtown, mid-priced, middle-of-the-road designer who’s not exactly a household name. Actually, I suspect that Mala Sonia spends themoney she makes giving “psychic readings” on terrific clothes: we just never see her in them. Or else she’s gained her knowledge of Fashion Avenue

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