Okay, you’re all set, then? You have your smock? Pockets are full, right? Scissors? Brushes? Tweezers? Anti-venom? Freeze dried mice? Miniature candied apples? Chocolate? Honey packets? More anti-venom?
Good. Right. Let’s go.
Through these doors here. Remember, it’s the doors straight off the supply room. That’s what the big green dot means: safe. You go through those doors to the right?
Well — don’t, okay? Just don’t. That’s the big red dot.
What’s that? Oh, yeah. The yellow dot. After a few years and some more training, you’ll be able to go through the door on the left. Just be patient. Promise, it’ll be worth it.
But for now, welcome to your first day at The Salon!
Yeah. It’s always this busy — everyone has to look good for the holy days and, well, since we serve Deities, demigods, spirits, and powers from every pantheon, it’s always a holy day.
So, this is the main department. The beauty parlor. Hair, make-up, pedicures, manicures. Just so you know, we never ever ever schedule Aphrodite and Venus on the same day. Hathor and Bast, sure, even Oshun, Tlazoteotl, Ushas, Aenghus. Yeah, sure.
Oh, when Ishtar comes in, she goes straight to Kevin, no ifs, ands, or buts. Kevin is her guy. Nobody else touches her hair. Nobody.
Okay, clarification. This is where the, uh, human-form Deities and spirits get their beauty treatments. Our nonhuman-form clients — still highly valued! don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! — get specialized rooms. Like, over here, this where our serpentine clients can enjoy all of the luxuries that The Salon has to offer!
See, right over here. Soaking pools for the naga while our beauty technicians work on their hair, nails, and teeth —
Don’t worry, we’ll train you before that.
Same with the gorgons. Keep the freeze dried mice handy. You’ll need something to keep the snakes distracted and happy. And make absolutely sure that you keep the mirror between you and the gorgon. You can look at her reflection, but never look at her straight on.
Yes. The statues in the garden. That’s — yeah.
Oh! Speaking of the garden!
So, through here, on the far side of the naga pools, this is the garden where the nature spirits get their treatments: dryads, pixies, gnomes, so on. (Keep the honey packets handy for the pixies, so they’ll sit still long enough for you to do whatever they came in for.) And Deities who just abhor the indoors — Nut, Cernunnos, Arduinna, Medeine. All the ingredients are organic, of course. Nothing plastic. Everything is grown or made on the premises. Our world flower wreath is very popular. The dryads love it. Complicated hair weaving with dozens of flowers from all over the world. Yeah, you’ll get trained on that, too.
Try not to stare at the statues, okay?
And then, over here past the garden, is the field. A lot of pegasi and unicorns are regular clients. Tulpar and qilin, too — yep, that’s what the apples are for. (Oh, carry some dried peaches, too. Qilin love them.) We get simurgh, too. Even Sleipnir, once, when Odin came by. (Beard treatment, complete with gold and amber beads.) Very occasionally, we’ll get a dragon. Usually the eastern variety, so, whatever you do, don’t even look sideways at their heavenly pearl, okay? If it’s one of the western dragons, there are stations scattered all over the field with fire proof suits and flame retardant.
Uh … I think that’s everything?
Your shift starts promptly at ten. One lunch break at three. Technically, you get two fifteen minute breaks, but, really, most of us eat at our stations. Add a power bar or something to your pockets. Just make sure you don’t get it mixed up with one of the freeze dried mice.
I did that once.
All righty, let’s get started! Smiles! Always smiles! And remember: the client is always right.
Just ask some of the statues.
[Rebecca Buchanan is the editor of the Pagan literary ezine, Eternal Haunted Summer. She has been published in a wide variety of venues, a complete list of which can be found at EHS.]