As we have learned, Wednesday is occult night at Stenny’s. Joanna’s encounters with self-styled seers have ranged from the blandly unimpressive (“I sense that you are relaxed tonight”) to the downright frightening (“Your dead mother is standing behind you, and she’s sorry”). But tonight it’s Stan the Nut who decides to find out what one of them has to say.
In case you need a reminder, Stan has shown his nuttiness in a variety of ways, including coming to Stenny’s dressed as a Civil War rebel, claiming he has incontrovertible proof that Tom Hanks is the antichrist, limiting his diet in certain months to foods of a certain color, and (of course) his virtual kill system at work, for colleagues who annoy him.
Tonight’s psychic is new to Stenny’s, but not new to the world. She appears to be at least a thousand years old, with furrows in her face deep enough to plant sod. She’s dressed in a style popular at the time of her birth, that being a knee-length gown with flared sleeves. She is inhabiting a small booth by the bar, and has taped a piece of paper to the adjacent wall. Written in what looks to be crayon, it says, MY NAME IS ALICE AND I WILL REVEAL YOUR FUTURE. $25.
Stan approaches Alice, and says, “You’re wearing what used be called a super-tunic.” We’ve established that Stan, while nutty, is not dumb. He knows stuff.
“It’s still called that,” Alice says.
“Touché,” Stan says.
“Would you like me reveal your future?” Alice asks.
“That’s what your sign says, and I’m here, so yes.”
“Touché,” Alice says. “I like your directness. Sit.”
Stan sits and waits while Alice goes through what he can only assume are her usual machinations, which involve random hand movements, intermittent grunts, and rolling up the sleeves of her super-tunic. At one point, she received and responded to a text message, but Stan is not clear on how, if at all, that fits into the ritual.
“Ready?” Alice asks.
“Have been,” Stan responds.
“Put your hands on the table,” she says. “Palms up.”
Stan does, and Alice places her hands on his.
“Your future will be determined by a trip to the past.”
“Twenty-five dollars, please,” Alice says.
Stan is pissed. “For that?”
“When a revelation is profound, it does not need to be wordy.”
“But that’s the extent of it? Nothing more specific?”
Alice is quiet for ten seconds, and then says, “Be on the lookout for relics.”
Stan sighs; he knows he’s not going to get anything more from Alice. He puts two tens and a five on the table, and says, “Can’t say I’m not disappointed.”
“Now, maybe, but not then,” Alice says.
Stan gives no sign of hearing this; he is already heading back to the bar.
If you like this story, please check out my completed book, “Butts in the Seat”; one reviewer said it was “amusing, entertaining, and provides therapeutic value.”