Thursday, April 14, 2011

Random Drive-By Tarot Reading

Several weeks ago, I was in the consider the name of this government agency redacted, CIA-style, getting my type of government document. Of course, where the U.S. government is concerned, you get nothing for free. Unfortunately charging citizens for drawing breath does not appear to create enough cash flow to keep our overpaid, underworked, soulless politicians from threatening a potential governmental shutdown because they are unable to agree on a budget.

Democracy is NOT synonymous with capitalism, and vice versa.

But I digress.

Beaten down by the system into a quivering jelly, I quickly whip out my card holder on command to pay my fee. The lady behind the desk, who up until this time has been a world class beeatch specializing in waging a subversive form of psychological warfare against all comers, makes a comment about the artwork on the cover of my card holder.

"Is that a..." she says, fumbling for the word.

"Tarot card," I say. "The Magician."

"Cool!" she says, her eyes lighting up. "My mom used to have a deck." I see an opening to perhaps enhance my experience, which up until this point has been like a barefoot stroll through the Nine Levels of Hell.

"I read them. Not much lately, but I used to read for people all the time. I have a deck with me most of the time." I take the cards out of my commodious handbag to show her.

She glances around, then leans across her large desk and asks in a whisper, "Can you give me a quick reading?"

I glance over my shoulder. There is a room packed with people all anticipating their turn at the desk. They sit in the hard plastic chairs facing away from us, their eyes focused hopelessly on an electronic board mounted to the wall displaying three red numbers that rarely change. Each desperately clutches a paper slip, waiting for their magic number to appear, a magic number that will mean an end to their personal hell.

I feel pity for these lost souls, but I see my chance and I take it. It's every woman for herself on this sinking ship and the lady behind the desk is dangling my lifevest in her hand.

"Sure," I say, vowing silently to the crowd of lost souls that I will be quick.

I shuffle the cards quietly, a couple of swift bridges with the worn cards that barely creates a whisper of sound. None of the people in the waiting room stir, or look toward us. Her co-workers are nowhere to be seen either, but that's standard in any government establishment; a waiting room full of people and four or five employee desks, only one of which is occupied by anyone doing any work.

Quickly, I lay out the top three cards: The Page of Cups, the Page of Swords, and the Six of Coins.

"A message," I tell her. "The Pages are often messengers. There's money involved. Are you expecting any money? Inheritance? Tax refund maybe? Pending lawsuit?"

She gives me an odd look, like she's having second thoughts about asking for a reading. Like I'm running a scam. Like she wasn't the one who asked for a reading in the first place. "No. Not expecting any. Why?"

I shrug and grin. Not a good idea to have this lady thinking I'm some sort of two-bit shyster. "Well, there's an unexpected windfall coming your way. If you don't get the actual money soon, you'll get a message about the money. Maybe a couple of messages, since there are two Pages represented. There's an emotional connection, the Cups, and a connection to the law, the Swords."

"How soon?" she asks.

"The next four to six weeks, by my reckoning." She's staring at the cards intently. I quickly scoop them up and stick them back in my bag. "Good news then."

She blinks a few times and then smiles. "Do you do parties? This would be so fun to do with my friends "

I give her my number and finish my business, never expecting to hear from her again.

On Tuesday, she called and asked about how much I would charge for a reading, or reading at a party for her and a few of her friends. We chatted a bit and just before we hung up she said, "You remember that reading that you gave me? Well, guess what?"

I could hear the suppressed excitement in her voice. She was dying to tell me and had intentionally saved the best for last. "It seems that my husband's ex-wife recently got a job. She called a couple of days ago to tell us she's going to start paying us all the back child support she owes. The first check for $XXXX will be arriving next week."

Didn't surprise me. Though it did seem to surprise her some.


  1. okay first of all sometimes when i read your blog, especially went your postings are written to tell a story, I get so mad at you for having not published anything yet. You are such a great writer! "...the worn cards that barely creates a whisper of sound." You give the absolute best descriptions ever, describing what is important and not EVERYTHING! Your sense of tone and humor, I would kill to write like that!

    Okay, now that I have sufficiently stroked your ego a bit (not un-sincerely mind you) would it be tactless or crass to ask you to do my reading!? I used to have a deck of cards but I was total crap at being able to read them. I think it is awesome that you do it!
    Please, please, please!!! Maybe tomorrow night when you come over?

  2. Awww! Thanks, Bittner. That's sweet of you to say. Don't worry. I WILL be published someday. As soon as I quit procrastinating and put the lead to paper with a little more frequency. I hope, when the day comes, you will agree to be my beta reader.

    No, it would not be crass to ask me to read your cards. I will offer my services, if that makes you feel better... "Hey Bittner, would you like me to read your cards on Saturday? Great! I'll be sure to bring them." :)