How To Be A Bad Ass Witch: Book One
A tale as old as time, ” What am I going to do with the rest of my life?” This question is looming over Kera’s head the literal wake up call from her mom is not helping either. She might end up getting more than she bargained for in this self help book.
“Blergh.” Kera MacDonagh poked her head out of the tangle of covers, looking for the source of the beeping in her immediate vicinity. The clock near her bed showed the time 11:42 am. That was well before the alarm she had set, which meant the culprit was her phone. Wild flailing in the blankets produced nothing and she flopped over to reach blindly around on the floor for her phone. “Ughhhhh.”
Her fumbling produced the damned thing, currently displaying with her mother’s contact information. Kera dropped her head back onto the pillow with a groan as she answered. “He—” She cleared her throat. “Hello?”
“Hello, Kera, it’s your mother.” Her mother’s voice had the sort of impeccable diction and unidentifiable accent practiced by news anchors.
“Oh, good.” Kera forced herself to sit up and began wiping sleep crusts out of the corners of her eyes. “For a second there, I was afraid someone had stolen your phone and called me from it.”
“Yes, dear.” There was a little sigh. “I had a few spare minutes, so I thought I would call you.”
Kera, who had been slouching as she rubbed her face and smoothed her hair, sat up a bit straighter. A sigh instead of a joke? Her mother, a devoted philanthropist, had a few spare minutes?
“I’m, uh…” She shoved herself out of bed and curled her toes under on the cold concrete, wincing. Her Spidey senses were tingling. “I’m good. Thanks for calling! Great to hear your voice, but I know you’re super busy, so—”
“Wonderful.” Her mother studiously ignored the implicit request to hang up. “So, how are things going?”
Kera rolled her eyes heavenward. Her mother had a specific question for her, but it would be useless to ask her to cut to the chase. The woman would lead with side questions, maneuver Kera into a verbal trap of some sort, and then pounce. There would be no speeding this up.
“Things are good,” she said finally. “You know, work. The usual.”
The second the words came out of her mouth, she cursed herself. There was no going back, however.
“Wonderful,” her mother said again. “You know, it just occurred to me that today is the two-month anniversary of your graduation.”
“Here we go,” Kera muttered.
It was too early for this shit.
“With your grades, companies should be tripping over each other to hire you.” Her mother’s tone was sweet and cheerful. “And, as we all know, Los Angeles is host to twenty-three of the fifty-seven Fortune 500 companies in California, all of whom need computer science graduates.”
“The only people who know that are the ones who read about Los Angeles on Wikipedia.” Kera rubbed her face. “Look, Mom, I really appreciate you trying to help me get a job, but the fact is—”
“You haven’t gotten a job offer and not told me, have you?”
As a matter of fact, she had gotten a few calls from recruiters, but Kera knew that if she admitted it, her chances of getting out of this conversation alive were slim to none.
“I haven’t been looking for jobs like that,” she said honestly.
“Why is that, honey?” The tone was still sweet, but there was a warning there.
“Because as I’ve told you several times, I have no interest in working with AI developed for customer service robots.” Kera, having been raised by this woman, was able to give as good as she got. “I’d rather be a waitress-slash-bartender, and do you know why? Because when there’s idiocy on the other side of the bar, there’s a reason behind it, compared to the idiocy of the AI, which is usually technically logical but stems from a missing comma or some ridiculous parameter that management insisted on even though they don’t understand AI.”
Mrs. MacDonagh sighed, and Kera braced herself.
Sure enough, the lecture that came next could have filled out a bullshit bingo card in record time. “Kera, you can’t just waste your abilities and potential working on your motorcycle and slinging drinks.” Her mother’s tone was crisp, which was a sure sign that she was angry. The angrier she got, the more formal she became. “I understand that it seems like good money when you’re getting tips, but trust me, a stable job with good benefits is worth far more in the long run. Have you considered the raises? Have you considered the health insurance and the retirement investment matching?”
“When things go south—and they will eventually since everyone has bad luck sometimes—you will want stability, and—”
“No, listen to me, Kera.” She could see her mother drumming her fingers on the kitchen counter. “You always wanted to do something that made a difference.”
Kera clenched her free hand and fervently wished she was holding something she could throw at the wall.
“Be honest with yourself, dear.” Her mother’s tone had gotten slightly gentler. “I know that an entry-level job in IT doesn’t seem like a dream come true, but the ten-year trajectory it puts you on is very different from the one you’re on right now. What are you going to do, buy the bar?”
Kera was sighing when an idea struck her. “Maybe,” she said. “Maybe I will. Maybe I’ll buy the bar, start a chain, and let people open franchises. I’ll rake in the profits while other people do the dirty work, and then we can talk about whether I’d be better off in a cubicle, getting harassed about semicolons.”
There was silence.
Kera sighed. “Mom. Please. I know all the people who ended up in those jobs. They’re not happy, and I wouldn’t be, either.”
“So, you’re still in touch with some of the young men you studied with?”
Kera, sensing that the subject was changing into yet another dangerous area, immediately began evasive maneuvers. “I have to go, but you bring up some good points. I’d love to talk to them another time. How does five weeks from Thursday look for you?”
“Whatever happened to that nice running back you were dating?” her mother asked, determinedly ignoring Kera’s rapid-fire goodbye. “Michael.”
Kera sighed. “That was sophomore year.”
“And he is now married, with a baby on the way, living in the suburbs and teaching high school football.”
“Well, strike that option, then.”
“Darling, if you’re attracted to…” Her mother cleared her throat. “Well, please know that if you’re worried about shocking us, we aren’t going to disapprove.”
“Mom. I haven’t had a boyfriend in a while, so you’re asking if I’m a lesbian?”
“I just didn’t want you to be afraid of telling us,” her mother said. “If you were.”
“I’m not. Mom, can we talk about something else?”
“Kera, you’re awfully squeamish. You always were apt to stick your fingers in your ears when it came to talking about sex.”
“Because you tried to give me the talk by telling me where Rob and I came from!” Kera waved her free hand. “Oh, God, and I worked so hard to suppress those memories. When will someone come up with brain bleach? It would make a billion dollars on the open market.”
“There you go,” her mother said smugly. “Now you have a goal—one that isn’t bartending, but also isn’t one of the cubicle jobs you so hate.”
“Sure. I’ll get right on it, thanks.”
“Mmm. I have to go, sweetie. Have a good day. Try not to lose the ability to learn. Grab a business book, learn an extra craft, but do something with your life.”
“Goodbye, overprotective maternal figure with a goddess complex.”
“I can’t help it,” her mother asserted. “Our family—and that means you, too—has had special genes for generations. I’m just making sure you find a productive way of—”
“Wasn’t this the point where you were supposed to hang up?”
“Not without having the last word,” the elder MacDonagh pointed out. “Goodbye, baby.”
Something on the other end clicked and the call ended, the screen returning to Kera’s list of contacts.
It wasn’t even noon, after all. There was no reason for her to be awake at the current hour, but her mother had not only woken her up, but she had also robbed Kera of the ability to go back to sleep.
After all, there was nothing more frustrating than ruminating on the fact that college was a gigantic con and life after it was a glorified hamster wheel.
Not that Kera disliked her job, of course, and she had loved her degree. She had taken to learning the internal logic of how things worked, how to measure them, and how to troubleshoot them like a fish to water.
She just hadn’t figured out what to do next. Working as a bartender wasn’t really changing the world—which, unfortunately, was something she did want to do.
Except that it seemed insufferably juvenile as a goal.
Kera groaned and looked back at the bed, but she knew she wasn’t going to be able to sleep. With a sigh, she headed off to take a shower. Now she had to come up with something to do for the next three hours that wasn’t going to make her feel like an abject failure.
She picked her phone back up and stared at it for a moment before opening the reading app she used. She navigated to the store and hesitated.
What the hell should she search for?
“How to become a slumlord for bars?” she said aloud. She grinned. “How to…how to… Okay, start there.” She began typing. “How to…”
She blinked. Suggested results had already popped up, and one of them didn’t look like the others. She double-tapped it, frowning. It was a joke book; it had to be.
No, there was no way anyone thought that was real. On impulse, Kera clicked the Buy Now button, then rolled her eyes at herself.
“Good job, MacDonagh. You’re trying not to feel like a failure, and what’s the first book you download? Something written by a crazy person. Still, as far as How To Be guides go, I do like the idea of How to Be A Bad Ass Witch.”
I don’t think that is what Mother MacDonagh had in mind in urging Kera to do something with her life.
Check in again to find out the story behind this book Kera has picked up.
How to be a Bad Ass Witch: Book 1 is available for download on November 27th.