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Eliza: Chapter Three: The Money Tree

March 22, 2009


Eliza awoke before the dawn the next day. She finally had a renewed sense of purpose – finding Emmy Straight. The letter had said to look for a fortune teller, and since there was only one phone listing for “Fortune Teller” in the Yellow Pages, Eliza figured that would be the place to start.

“Miss Emmy Straight…Fortune Teller to the Stars and Matchmaker extraordinaire at your service,” came the answer.

“Um…yes. Miss Straight? I am Eliza DiPotere, and…”

“You’ve come! Oh, Isadora said you would come! I’ll be right over.” With an abrupt click, the line went dead and Eliza was left in a state of shock.

Within half an hour a strange looking woman appeared on her sidewalk. The woman seemed ancient…her skin paper thin, her body withered and small. Yet despite the stranger’s outward appearance, there was an aura of power around her Eliza had never before experienced. The very air around her seemed to shimmer and glow.

“Um, Miss Straight?” Eliza asked nervously. The woman did not speak, just grabbed Eliza into a powerful hug, the likes of which Eliza had not felt since her mother was alive. Isadora, too, had hugged like that.


“Oh, my dear, there’s so much to tell, so much for you to learn. Now, you must call me Emmy, and we’ll be on with it.” As Eliza listened, Emmy began to tell an unsettling tale. “This battle began in the very beginning, you know. From the very first man and the very first woman. Throughout time, women have carried out the work of Good…and of Evil,” Miss Emmy began.

“Women? Good and Evil?” said Eliza, trying hard not to roll her eyes. How had Isadora fallen for this? She was a scientist, for goodness sake. “But women have been so powerless in history! Still are in so many ways. What you’re saying doesn’t make any sense at all.”

“Oh, my dear girl, you are so young…so much to learn. Do you think, do you really think that the ability to design and enforce arbritrary sets of rules for random groups of people equals power? No, no, no…that’s what they would like you to think, maybe. But there are those of us who know the truth.”

Eliza stared blankly at Miss Emmy. “Um, what?”

Emmy laughed delicately. “Laws, Sins, Regulations, Policies — Right and Wrong cannot be written on pieces of paper. The truth is bigger than you could ever dream, and more simple than you could imagine. The truth, my dear, is that woman have always possessed power — tremendous power — power of the heart, of the spirit, of the mind and of course the body. Most have one special gift, but some, some blessed women have the power of all four. You, Eliza, are one of those women.”


Eliza jumped to her feet. “Now I really don’t know what you mean,” she screamed. “My cousin’s missing and I thought you could help. But you just come at me with a women’s studies lesson and throw in some weird voodoo talk! I have no powers! I came to this stupid dirt town, where I can barely pay my rent, I can’t find my cousin, I can’t find a man…” 

“Ah. Men,” said Miss Emmy. “We’ll get to that in a bit. Open your mind, open your heart, and you will find the power I speak of. Isadora found it and cherished her gifts…”

“Right. And look where it got her.”

“Oh Eliza,” said Miss Emmy, “there’s a bigger picture at stake here. Within you lies a power you cannot yet imagine. You only have to learn how to tap into it. That, before all else. I want you to think of something you need, and wish for it very strongly, and sincerely.

“That’s easy, Miss Emmy. I live on my lawn…what I need is money.”

“Okay, then,” said Emmy, pointing toward a potted plant. “I want you to tend to this plant. Water it, nuture it, care for it, but most of all, love it. Do these things and you will see the magic happen.”

“You want me to love a plant?” Now Eliza had really heard it all.

“Oh, yes. Love is the catalyst of good. Hatred, jealousy, greed…those are the forces of evil.”

“But isn’t it greedy to want money?” Eliza said, sarcasm dripping from every word.

“To want money, yes…to need money, no,” said Miss Emmy, smiling. “That is the difference. You need a house dear, that’s not greed, it’s survival. Tend your tree, and watch what grows. Tomorrow, I’ll return.”


Though she doubted this woman’s storyline with every bone in her body, Eliza did as instructed. If, by some chance, this helped her find Isadora, she had to do it. No matter how stupid. Eliza tried to shower the little plant with as much love as she could muster, all the while trying to imagine money coming into her life. She watered the plant, and gently cleaned it’s leaves. And, of course, nothing happened.

Eliza didn’t know whether to be disappointed or relieved. It was easier to keep believing Emmy Straight was some kind of high-functioning crazy person. She must have convinced Isadora that all her crazy talk was real. A witch, Isadora had called her in the letter, and she had said Emmy would mail the letter for her — should she disappear. Maybe the search for Isadora was not going to be as difficult as Eliza thought. Maybe Miss Emmy Straight had been hiding her all along.

Go on to Chapter Four

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 23, 2009 5:17 pm

    Hmmmmm, you’ve got me already! I’m hooked!

  2. pieridae permalink*
    October 23, 2010 9:12 pm

    I’ve been re-reading some of my early posts, and – man, oh, man – please forgive the craptastic pictures!!

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