Wednesday December 7th, 2011

The exercise:

Today we write about: the fortune teller.

This one fits into the 'I can't believe I haven't used this prompt before' category.


Theresa eyed her client with undisguised curiosity as she guided him into her inner sanctum. He was the polar opposite of her typical marks: he gave every appearance of being calm, he was male, and he couldn't have been more than nine years old.

She found it all rather unnerving.

"Please, have a seat," she murmured, drawing the curtains so that her crystal ball was now the only source of light in the cramped space. Unbeknownst to her clients a low wattage bulb under the table, which could be easily covered with a thin piece of red paper for a wonderfully effective parlor trick, was the actual source.

The boy sat on the edge of his chair, his dangling legs swinging back and forth. The legs of his dress pants hitched up slightly, revealing striped socks.

"What great secrets of the universe are you interested in unlocking?" Theresa asked as she sat across from him. She used the distraction of arranging her skirt to sneak a hand under the table. Turning the dimmer switch with her fingertips caused the crystal ball to fade, heightening the anticipation in the room.

"I simply wish to know but one secret," he replied solemnly in a posh accent. "I am not greedy."

"No, of course not," Theresa said, moving her free hand over the surface of the glowing globe. "Speak it and the answer shall be yours and yours alone."

"Tell me how I shall make my first fortune."

"Your first...?"

"Yes. Then I can tell Daddy so he will finally get off my back about it."


Greg said...

I was also a little surprised that you'd not used it before, as I know Madame Sosotris first appeared (in my hands) on these pages!
Why is it that charlatans are almost more interesting that real psychics? Maybe it's because they have to be more inventive and work harder? Theresa seems like a hard-working one, I like the dimmer switch for her crystal ball to add to the effect! And I like the twist ending you gave us :)

The fortune teller
"Your sign says you tell the future?"
Madame Sosotris had a sinus headache and was fed up of sniffing every minute. Her wastepaper bin was starting to leak thanks to all the soggy tissues, and she had a feeling that four bottles of cold-medicine might have been a little over the recommended daily allowance. She removed the dandelion-and-burdock compress from over her eyes and peered at her questioner.
She looked like a woman, though Madame Sosotris had learned not to jump to conclusions based solely on people's appearances, and had a sharp, vinegar-edged voice. She sounded like the kind of person who complains about everything in life.
"Yes," said Madame Sosotris, "I saw that you would be arriving–" she ignored the snort from the woman, "and was warned by the spirits not to reveal your future." She sniffed.
"And are you going to listen to them? They're dead! They don't get an opinion, this is life, only the living count!"
Madame Sosotris laid the compress back over her eyes. "They disagree," she said. "They're not very pleased with you."
"Look," said the woman in a slightly less aggressive tone, the sound of which probably only started small wars. "Look, I just want my future read, it's probably really easy for you. I've even brought the cat."
Madame Sosotris lifted the compress again and squinted; the headache made the woman seem needle-thin and slightly pointy.
"You tell fortunes!" snapped the woman. "Ailuromancy!"
Madame Sosotris sneezed, coughed, and farted simultaneously, lauching a gobbet of phlegm into the air.
"You need lots of cats for that," she said weakly. "You let them loose and watch where they go."
"No! You open them up and inspect their guts!"
"That's chickens," said Madame Sosotris. "You want a haruspex. And the spirits don't like people who kill cats. Good day."

Anonymous said...

greg, nice one, even if i did need a dictionary :) btw, real psychics are always more interesting than fakes.
marc, so close to home with this one! i thought i would borrow your character...

Theresa's next clients entered the tent.
Little did she know this one would blow away all illusions and test even her beliefs.
A young woman and her father sat opposite.
"I have my mother's jewllery here" and she handed it over to Theresa. Within seconds she felt hot all over and it wasn't just due to her cold. The room went dark, like a void, then filled with a spinning rainbow vortex of energy that grew and sharpened like and arrow, aiming straight for her heart.
Pow! It pierced Theresa's heart, filling her with strange vibrations. When Theresa next spoke, it wasn't in her own voice...
"Hello my loves. I left too soon, it was not what I had planned for myself but here I am. I am making new friends across here. You should go on a cruise, husband, you will meet someone who has gone through this too and talk. Daughter, tell your little sister she has the gift of healing, she should stop being so angry with the world and use it. Tell your bigger sister her daughter will have a baby girl one day whom I have met. The book shop she wants will be fun but won't make much money. And you should save your money and travel to South America. A blond man will be helpful to you in this."
The energy receded as the spirit vacated Theresa's body.
Theresa felt energised and much better after the reading, and vowed never to fake anything again.
She knew by the look on her clients' faces she' d just delivered the real thing!

Later, as time passed, everything came true. Theresa reworked her shingle, changing the wording to 'fortune teller AND medium'.

Marc said...

Greg - I appreciate the extra efforts as well :D

Poor Madame Sosotris, she seems to be having a rather difficult day.

Writebite - I like what you did with Theresa, giving her a dose of her true potential :)