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She made clucking noises: “Hashem yishmor! (“Heaven forfend!”) You have the biggest ayin-hores against you I ever saw!”
In my gut I felt terror.
Then I rolled my eyes. Come on, an evil eye remover is predisposed to see those little buggers everywhere, just like homeopaths see parasites lurking in everyone’s intestines. To a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
“How can you tell?” I asked.
She responded: “The bubbles in the lead. They’re like eyes.” She stirred some more. “Huge,” she exclaimed.
I nodded — sure, sure. She probably said that to all her customers. Still, I felt scared, and a little proud, too, as if having the largest ayin-hore were something to brag about.
“I’m doing it all over again, until the eyes disappear,” she let me know.
Maybe she should use Shout, I thought.
“They won’t disappear so fast,” she said in a worried voice.
Now I fretted: Why weren’t they going down so fast? Then I shook myself. I was worried, as if this were real, had validity, as if it weren’t sheer nonsense.
Finally, she announced she was done. She talked about my ayin-hore situation. I don’t recall everything she said about me, but she ended with, “There are people who are talking about you, who are jealous of you, begrudge your success.” What success? I thought. “Very, very jealous. They try to pull you down. I have never seen anyone who has so many people giving her an ayin-hore. Oy, oy, so many bubbles in the lead. And so big. But don’t worry,” she said with satisfaction, “I got them all.”
Good, I thought grimly. Stomp them all. Obliterate every last one. Kill the little buggers.
Because who could know what forces were out there in the universe? After all, if germs and bacteria and electrons and protons existed way before anyone discovered their reality, why was it inconceivable that invisible demons — ayin-hores — existed, even if we couldn’t yet prove they were there? I thought of all those imps, dybbuks and demons in Isaac Bashevis Singer’s fiction. I thought of the phrase “Looks can kill.” Well, maybe jealousy can kill, too.