Woodcarvers sometimes get strange requests. But they are usually the sentimental type of thing, specialty designs of various sorts. Well, I know one carver who has a kind of specialty in erotic sorts of things, but this story is not about her designs.
I tried to break into the occult carving market by doing runes sets for people telling fortunes, only to be priced out by Chinese mass-produced junk. However, the shop owner in Salem did save my card and referred to me unique clients with special needs.
This was how I received a small series of annual commissions for boxes of a particular type. While dimensions varied yearly, they always needed to be made from hand split, hand sawn, and planed ash. In addition, the ash had to be fastened with wooden pegs. The hinges and lining were of a hide they provided for this purpose. Finally, each box was carved with specific runes on each surface. I received the orders in September; delivery was always the final week of October. The commissioners were pleased because the orders were repeated for several years.
Then one year, a new order came in from another group for oak sticks of a certain length, taper, and thickness. Each was inscribed with an old word in Glagolitic that I found impossible to translate. I felt odd about this order, and after completing it, I told them that I would not accept future orders of that kind. That was OK, they said, and the following year it was a specific type of crucifix they wanted. Crucifixes and stakes? The next year they sent along some small bottles with a design for a wooden holder. The text was something in Latin, and I suspected that the bottles were for Holy Water. They said they were so pleased with my work that they would mention it to their friends.
And oh, did their friends contact me; there were particular orders for Samhain and special orders for Beltane. And then came the orders from cults, sects, and rites from Africa, India, and Micronesia. It got so turning them down was difficult. There’d be pressure, a sort of do it, or misfortune might befall you. “Oh, Mr. Carreras, you over billed us on our last order. We took the liberty of reducing your payment. We hope you are satisfied.”
It was the damned Ouija boards that tore it. Having had a terrible experience with one in the sixties, I put my foot down and flat-out said no. As of three years ago, I refused all orders of the occult. Yes, they paid well and on time, but they were much more demanding than my nautical customers.
Then the little box with the doll arrived by FedEx. It was then I knew that I had to take action.
It pays to keep up your dues in specific organizations. Working in boatyards, carving eagles, and other significant work associated with the deeps stood me in good stead. A trip to the harbor, a few poured libations to Davy, Neptunas Rex, and the other deities of the port, seas, and oceans took care of things. Those powers of the depths resented flatlanders horning in on a dues-paying member. So cease and desist notices were sent.
I know this hasn’t turned out well. And I know that science refuses to believe that it’s a war of natural orders, But Ian, yep, the Santeria, Voodoo, and a few other groups found out that you don’t mess with the sea. That town in Idaho that became a ghost town, I feel awful about that.
I am very sorry now that I have started it. Evidently, the Olympians are trying to get everyone to the peace table. And I hear rumblings that some think It was all my fault for trying to do what I shouldn’t have.
But while the big guys are duking it out, most people think it’s just Climate Change.
I guess that’s good for me; I’d hate to change my name and move at this stage of my life.