61. Santa Voltaire


There are plenty fortune tellers down in New Orleans. The market is saturated with oracles of every discipline, all clamouring to tell your future. Only Santa, though, only the ageless orisha with the X-ray eyes, can tell your past.

It’s amazing what you can forget, and then forget you forgot – the origins of certain fears, good moments in bad relationships, whole human beings and the wisdom they imparted. Santa’s clients leave her sturdy little shack with potent new memories swimming behind their eyes, blocking any present tense visions from getting in. She employs a doorman for this reason, and while he guides them down her steps they whisper their own mundane prophecies, grounded in thir renewed knowledge.

She is a practiced asker of questions, and with herbs and quiet words and different colored smoke she melts the present moment and leads her visitors by the hand through the palaces of their own minds, a docent pointing out the architecture they’ve long taken for granted.

Her own memory is perhaps too good, augmented as it is by every asset of her art. It’s why she learned the quiet words, procured the rare herbs and the sources of the smoke: a life remembered in full is worth countless lives forgotten. That’s the motto she speaks aloud, anyway. When she’s alone, though, and all the colored smoke has cleared, all that remain are the wisps from the rolled-up photographs she smokes. And in those floating patterns she sees a face, always the same – a face that only exists in smoke these days. And though that woman’s name is written in the folds of Santa’s mind with razor blades, she never says a word.

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