The Fortune Teller

[This story was written as a response to the Reddit Writing Prompt comment: “[WP] A time traveller interviews major historical figures at three points in their lives: Their 16th birthday, the day after they made their most important decision, and the day before they die.”]

“Don’t forget to ask her.”

“I won’t grandmother.”

Bobby loved his grandmother very much, but was a bit puzzled by his grandmother’s strange request. He thought, “why would grandmother want me to ask the fortune teller specifically what is the most important decision I will ever make and what is the date when I will die.”

Bobby opened the door to the fortune teller’s studio. It was a dark place with all the tawdry Gypsy touches that one would envision in a fortune teller’s lair.

“Come on in, Bobby. Please have a seat. You don’t mind if I call you Bobby, do you?” Bobby thought that the fortune teller was quite deliberate in her tone so moved quickly over to the velvet chair that looked like something from a cheap romance novel.

“No Ma’am, you can call me Bobby.”

Bobby sat up forward in the comfortable chair eager for his first exchange ever with a fortune teller.

“Bobby, how would you like your fortune to be told? Is there a question you would like me to address for you?” She leaned somewhat into the table towards Bobby who was already sitting forward in his chair, mesmerized by this force of nature he saw before him.

Stella, is a formidable woman in her early sixties. She has been telling fortunes for thirty-three years and, before her, her mother had the same occupation for fifty-seven years. In fact, fortune telling goes back in her family for a multitude of generations.

“Sure,” he started, “I do have a line of thinking in mind. I would like to know,” he hesitated for a moment, and continued, “I would like to know what will be the most important decision I will ever make, and what will be the date of my death?” He felt a little weird asking that last part. Seemed a little creepy.

Bobby noticed that the fortune teller’s attitude towards him changed but for a second, and then back, “Sure, Bobby, let’s do look into those things.”

The fortune teller pulled her crystal ball towards herself a bit and invited Bobby to lean even further into the table with a simple gesture of her hand and wrist.

In a whisper the fortune teller continued, “Bobby look into this crystal ball with me and let us seek what you wish to know. I, I see you sitting at a desk. You seem to be in deep thought, a tumbler of–”

The fortune teller leans into the crystal ball even further.

“brandy. It is brandy. Bobby, do you see the brandy bottle on the credenza in the office? You are a handsome man, Bobby. Can you see him? The nameplate on the desk says ‘Robert Bartholomew.’ I guess you go by Robert now. Do you see the nameplate, Bobby?”

“Yes, I see the nameplate. But I cannot see myself. Why can I not see myself?” Even without the ability to see himself, Bobby was quite astonished that he could see the vision in the crystal ball at all. He always thought fortune telling was a joke played on gullible people.

“That is because you are you. Sorry I cannot fix that.” Was her simple reply as the fortune teller moved on with the telling.

“You seem very sad, Bobby–I mean Robert seems very sad. I see moistened eyes and they seem red as if he, you, had been crying.”

At this point, Bobby and the fortune teller were both mesmerized with the scene unfolding before them in the crystal. Robert backed his chair away from the desk and turned towards a large credenza. Grabbed a drawer knob. Oh! It’s not a drawer, but a cabinet. And the knob didn’t pull out as one would expect, but glided along some type of rail to reveal a safe.

Robert slowly twirled the dial on the safe, first to the right, then to the left, and then back to the right again. Robert grabbed the handle, pulled downward, but the safe would not succumb.

Robert let out a slightly audible, “Fuck!,” and, while reaching towards his glasses, knocked his brandy glass off his desk. This time he didn’t remark about his misfortune. Quickly he got a towel from his bathroom, dabbed up the brandy from the carpet for a moment, and said “fuck it, what am I doing.” He throw the towel into the chair across from his desk. Picked up the glass and poured another brandy. Took a quick, long drink. Put the tumbler on the other side of his glasses and grabbed his glasses from the desk on the glide path to his handsome face.

Robert sat back down at this desk, turned around and again set to twirling the safe dial, but this time preceded by a brisk set of long, left twirls, looked like three, proceeded by the usual right twirl with a more deliberate stopping at the arrival point of 10, then to the left to 34, and then back to the right, but this time to the number 17.

Robert cranked the lever and this time it opened successfully. He reached into the safe, moved a folder with a good centimeter of paper inside, when the crystal ball went blank.

We all saw what he had uncovered and was about to remove from the safe.

When Bobby looked up, the fortune teller was looking towards Bobby’s eyes.

Bobby said, “What does this mean?”

“Remember, you do not believe in all of this fortune telling stuff. Remember, it is a game fortune tellers play to swindle people out of their money.”


This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 28th, 2016 at 2:00 pm and is filed under Short Stories, Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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