When someone asks me to price their house, first thing I do is wonder where I put my special pants, because I’m going to need those. And I dig out my custom-cut willow divining rods, the ones with the wee little bits of Thunder Bay amethyst set into the business end. And the special, squat candles formed by a good friend of mine from soft mounds of Nepalese beeswax. Eight of them, I use, arranged in an oval around me. Then I close the green velvet curtains and put on the Enya record (Watermark’s the best, of course). It’s amazing how focused I am on the task at hand, if I get my preparations just right.

It doesn’t always work out, you understand. Once, all I came up with was a fantastic recipe for masala hummus. But then nothing’s foolproof, is it? And oh yeah, last summer I did set fire to the fringed edge of the carpet, which in turn acted like a wick which ran the flame all the way down to the hem of those aforementioned special pants, which is why they have that black-edged hole in them and I walk with that slight limp and that funny little grimace on my face …. 

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