Tag Archives: witch



The group of vendors I sometimes sell with on the side of the highway is a varied bunch. Some are serious business people with huge selections of merchandise displayed on multiple tables. Others are just passing through, trying to sell a few things in hopes of earning enough gas money or beer money to make it down the road. Some vendors hand-make everything they sell, while others buy mass produced items and sell them at a big markup. Some vendors are honest about their products and others, not so much. Common lies involve saying a stone is turquoise when it isn’t and telling a potential customer an item was made by the vendor (or a member of the vendor’s family) when the item was actually imported from a developing country.

I don’t believe in lying to customers, but I don’t narc out other vendors when I hear them doing it. Do I think lying to customers is wrong? Yes. Do I think it’s my place to police other? No.

Loyalties are ever-changing among vendors. Two people may be friends today and enemies next week. Folks get mad at each other over parking and (real or imagined) lying and taking up too much space.

I try to stay on friendly terms with everyone, although there are certainly some vendors I don’t like much. I have no use for bossy or nosey behavior, and many vendors act in those ways. The most common nosey question is How are you doing?/How did you do today? What people really mean is, Are you making/did you make any money? When I’m asked how I’m doing or how I did, I start rambling about the beautiful weather or seeing my friends or meeting nice people. Only the boldest of people (or those with no capacity to pick up on my social cues) go on to actually verbalize the word money. (The last time another vendor actually asked me if I was making money, customers approached my table in the nick of time, and I was able to ignore Nosey Nelly until she got bored and wandered away.)

Some of the vendor grudges are old. One woman has been despised for years, long before I crawled out of the sage and joined the community. Part of the reason she’s despised is because she makes a lot of money. She’s a good business woman who knows what merchandise is going to sell and how to talk to customers to get them to buy. She also exhibits unpredictable behavior. One day she’ll be someone’s bosom buddy and the next she’ll scream curses at the same person. The only thing she loves more than being the bearer of bad news is getting other vendors all riled up with negativity and too upset to sell.

This woman has gotten a little nicer since her husband died and she’s all alone in the world, but we’ve all seen her turn against a friend with little provocation. Anyone with any sense treads lightly around her.

The funniest altercation I’ve seen her involved in happened a few summers ago. I don’t remember why people were mad at each other or who was taking what side. I do remember the despised woman was pissed at one of the vendors who drives in from out of state.

This guy allegedly sells pain pills along with his glass pipes, chile powder, osha root, and the baskets and purses he says his wife makes (despite the “Made in Mexico” tags still attached to them). I’ve never bought pain pills from him. (For the record, I’ve never bought pain pills from anyone, even a pharmacist.) I’ve never caught him in the middle of a pain pill transaction. I’ve never heard him offer to sell anyone pain pills, but I’ve heard the word on the street, and the word is he sells pain pills.

It was a hot summer day, and there weren’t many customers. Trouble tends to start when there aren’t many customers. Customers keep vendors busy, and when there aren’t enough of them, some vendors get bored and start picking fights.

The despised woman looked over at the out-of-state vendor and out of nowhere started yelling, Drug dealer! Drug dealer!

Without missing a beat, the out-of-state vendor yelled right back at her with his gravely, Spanish accented voice, Weetch! Weetch!

She had no response, just sat back down behind her table and waited for a potential customer to come along.



She showed up at the Bridge late one afternoon, after the heat had broken. There were just a few of us vendors still there, trying to make a few dollars more before night fell. Mateo was still there. So was Eddie.

The woman was not in the least interested in me. She was interested in Eddie, and she was very interested in Mateo. She talked directly to him, although Eddie and I listened too.

She said she was an artist. She said she made really large dream catchers. She said she’d be back to the Bridge in the morning to sell her wares. She also said she was a bruja.

I was new to Northern New Mexico, and I didn’t know this word “bruja.” After the woman left, I asked Mateo about it, and he said it meant “witch.” The woman had said she was a witch! Was she bragging or warning?

Before the woman left, she’d said Mateo and Eddie and I were her friends. She said she would set up near us the next day.

I’d recently learned aventurine is believed to protect a person’s heart chakra so his or her energy can’t be stolen. This woman, this bruja, seemed to want our energy, especially Mateo’s. (I don’t think energy is all she wanted from Mateo.) I had small beads of aventurine I’d recently been given by a bead angel (Read that story here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/01/02/bead-angel/.) I took three of the beads and put one each on bracelets for me, Eddie, and Mateo. We were still wearing our bracelets the next day.

By the time the bruja arrived at the Bridge late the next morning, there was no room for her to set up anywhere near me or Eddie or Mateo. Vendors were packed in close together, and there was no place for anyone else to squeeze in. She was trying to figure out how to get in next to us when the self-proclaimed “president of the Bridge” came along and told her she could set up and sell across the street in the parking lot that also served as a sort of overflow vending area.

As soon as she’d been whisked away, Eddie, Mateo and I were talking about her, telling other vendors about her, laughing about how weird she’d been. We were not being kind.

While I was away from my table, the wind picked up momentarily as it often does out there. The wind strengthened, just briefly, just long enough to flip a lovely rainbow obsidian stone off my table and into the dirt.

The piece of rainbow obsidian had come from the bead angel too. I’d been told the stone was valuable, and I should be able to get at least $20 for it.

But now it was in the dirt, which is not a good place for a piece of obsidian to be. Obsidian is volcanic glass, and we all know glass is fragile. It’s not good for obsidian to fly off a table and hit the ground.

When I picked up the piece of obsidian, I saw it had broken. I was very sad. Eddie and Mateo–both rock guys–were sad for me.

Do I think the bruja knew I was talking about her behind her back and sent a gust of wind to throw the beautiful stone off the table? No. Do I think the Universe knew I was being unkind and sent a wind to teach me a lesson? Maybe. Maybe I do believe that. Do I think I should have stayed at my own table and paid attention to my own business instead of saying unkind things about another person? Yes. I definitely believe that.

Mateo, Eddie, and I saw the bruja drive away early in the afternoon. The heat and the sun must have gotten to her. We saw she had the remains of a bag of ice balanced on her head as she drove. As far as I know, she never returned to sell at the Bridge.