Another novel feature of that time was that Juno got tired. Proceedings at The Depression never ended before 2 am. She could run spells that would make her look fresh at school and could catch up on sleep in the early evening, but that had used to be when she’d done most of her witching concerning academic and social achievement. Her efforts at this soon got sloppy. Obviously her grades and popularity with staff and female fellow students nose-dived accordingly. But by that stage Juno didn’t care anymore. What did it matter what her reports were like or what a bunch of kids thought of her? She started bunking off for whole days. And then something happened that would make her decide to quit school for good.

 

The afternoon of November 22 Juno was having an urgent nap when she heard grandma cry out downstairs. Seconds later she cried out again. It didn’t sound like she was calling for help or anything, but something made Juno think that it wasn’t just a stain on the carpet. She reckoned she’d better skip the crystal ball and check in person. Since she was supposed to be at school she had to come in through the front door.

Grandma didn’t even ask what Juno was doing home early. She was on her feet in front of the TV and agitatedly pointed at the newsreader with one hand while waving Juno over with the other. Her face was flushed. ‘They shot him!’ she cried.

‘What?’ said Juno. ‘Who?’

‘John F. Kennedy! He’s dead! Somebody shot him! In Dallas! Oh God, and his wife right beside him!’ howled grandma when the newsreader’s face was replaced by a convoy of cars crawling along a packed city street. She’d clearly seen this footage before. Juno drew closer.

Then it happened. Juno jerked back.