The Fortune Teller
Jacob welcomed the first costumer with a private chuckle at his luck: it was a middle aged woman, perhaps in her early forties, overweight, obviously humble to the point of stupidity, complete with tacky make-up and desperate eyes. He collected the fee and began.
"What is your full name, Mandy?" he asked.
"Mandy Lynn Mosley," she said nervously.
"I don't have to tell you this," he smiled, "but Amanda is a powerful Latin name. It means "She must be loved. Did you catch that? She MUST be loved. There is no choice or kindness in the love that is owed to an Amanda. It is the Latin gerundive, like the word "Agenda" means "what MUST be done."
"Oh I had no idea," Mandy laughed.
"You must have made your siblings jealous," Jacob added. "What is your birth order?"
"Oh they weren't jealous of me. I was jealous of my older sister. She was always the perfect one and everybody believes everything she says. Even now after dad died he left everything to her. He believed every lie she said about me and my brother Johnny."
"So John and Elizabeth were your older siblings? That makes you the third?" He asked while he began shuffling an ordinary deck of playing cards.
The woman started. "How did you know her name was Lizzy?"
"I see all and know all," smirked Jacob. "Now you might be surprised that I use an ordinary deck of playing cards. That is because these cards are your cards. I can use them on no other person. Once I am done with them, you may keep them."
He set the cards up Solitaire-style so that there were two rows of five piles of cards, each with one card facing up except for the last pile, in which all the cards were facing down.
"This first card represents how you started this decade and how you started this life and how you started your last zero year life cycle. You notice the first two cards are 3 and 5. Does that mean you are 35?"
Mandy laughed, "I wish. I'm forty five. But how did you know my age had a five in it?"
"Don't flatter me Mandy--I am only reading the cards. These are your cards. Now the 3 of clubs means you began as the third child, and your youth was violent. Did you fight with your siblings?"
"Yes!" exclaimed Mandy. "I was the tom-boy. I was so strong that I would defend my older brother from this bully named Geoff."
"Now these next two numbers are the 5 of hearts, and the 5 of diamonds. They are the color of blood so they represent your life. They are the numbers fifty five. At that age you will find a rebirth and a new life. But don't despair, for this new life began when you were 41 with five things you loved, and loved with all your power (for 5 is the the sign of the pentagram or the pentagon). Those hearts turned into diamonds, the diamond being the the number of four, or the number of death, which is the number of rebirth. You planted those five diamonds in the soil of life, and the next year they grew up as the next card, the king of diamonds, who is the master of treasure. Tell me, did you meet this man when you were 43?"
"I did! That's the year I met my husband. He is the biggest treasure in my life! Tell me, does the marriage survive? He has a horrible gambling problem and it has made him an alcoholic. I can hardly take it anymore."
"Hold in there," Jacob smiled. "The next card is the 7 of spades. 7 is a number of completion, being one complete week. It is also the number of Sabbath. Your first year with your husband was restlful and a Sabbath of bliss."
"Well, more or less--yeah! It was pretty good."
"The spades represents that you were digging up the foundations for a long and happy marriage. But unfortunately, when we dig, we sometimes dig up things we wanted hidden. And the next year is this year, the 10 of spades. You kept digging and digging and found 10 fingers or problems. That means you have found enough rotten things to keep your hands full."
Mandy was obviously dizzy at this point, so he kept it up. "But the next card is next year. It is the 10 of diamonds. You realized that you could bury those rotten things and use them as fertilizer for more treasure to grow. Those ten diamonds are ten acorns or ten foundations for a palace. This means that next year will be a joyful labor for you. Perhaps you will have a child who will have ten fingers and ten toes, which means the child will be in perfect health, and that child will be the treasure of your marriage."
Jacob paused for dramatic effect. Mandy was speechless.
"But the next card is the queen of spades. This card represents your sister. Something dramatic happens to her. Perhaps she falls ill or tries to threaten something important to you. Here the spade represents a leech. Your sister has a leech for a tongue, and her kiss costs you blood. Beware her kindness. The child you have, whether a real child or something you and your husband have built together will be threatened by this leech-tongued woman. Do you see how the spade looks like a heart upside down? That is because she is going to turn your love upside down. Don't let her. For the next card is the Ace of spades. That means you have become the master gardener. You know how to plant food, you know how to plant flowers. You also know how to dig up and how to hide secrets. And since you have the ace of spades, you have the right to dig up the last deck and look at your distant future. Do you wish you use the ace of spades to do this?"
Mandy stared at the cards. After a moment she jumped upright as if coming out of a spell.
"Yes, let me see."
"I cannot interpret these for you. You have the 6 of spades, the ace of clubs, the queen of hearts, the 8 of spades, the 10 of clubs, the Jack of clubs, the 6 of hearts, the 3 of hearts, the 2 of hearts, and the Joker with a horse. Do these mean anything to you.?"
"Yes. Yes they do. The mean a whole lot. Thank you so much."
"Keep the cards, and come see me again."
"I surely will," she said. And looking right in his eyes pulled a 20 dollar bill and a 10 dollar bill and gave it to him. "Here is your tip. Thank you so much. I will tell all my friends about you."
Jacob put the tip in his robe pocket. Jacob opened up another deck of cards, and shuffling them, whistled the song "the Joker." He opened a cola, and invited the next guest in.
"Hello, Gypsy-King," smiled a cool-eyed and ironical young man with orange hair and freckles.
Jacob matched his expressions and manners to a tee, cool-eyed, ironical smile, nonchalant pose.
"Hello, Gypsy-Client, what can I do for you today?"
"I came here on a dare. Now we both know that this is just for fun and there is nothing to it, so I'm not going to tell about myself at all and I will make you just guess whether you are telling me the truth or not."
"Sure thing, Chris." And when Chris startled, he chuckled.
"I use a regular deck of playing cards, for the numbers can be as instructive as the tarot cards, which are the cards with persons on them. This is your deck." He shuffled out the deck.
The shuffle came out 3 of clubs, 5 of hearts, 5 of diamonds, King of diamonds, 7 of spades, 10 of spades, 10 of diamonds, Queen of spades, Ace of Spades, and hidden pile.
"So do you have any friends who have visited me lately," asked Jacob as he casually looked under the five of hearts, the second pile, and saw that it was the other Joker.
"No. Why, did somebody tell you that I was coming?" Asked Chris.
"Nope," he smiled. "Now tell me, since the first cards are 35, are you 35 years old?"
"Yes," said Chris. "Now look, who did it? Who told you I was coming?"
"Whoever told me probably didn't know that you when you were thirty, you were attracted to another man. Isn't that right?"
Chris looked with coldness at Jacob. "How did you know that?" He said quietly.
"I am just reading the cards," Jacob smiled kindle. The three is above the 10, which when multiplied (as in sex) makes thirty. But the ten was the ten of spades, which is a phallic shape, like a penis. I only read the cards. These are the cards you payed for and can keep. Don't worry, the next card is the ten of diamonds, which is red. Within ten years you will find a red-headed woman who will be more then two handfuls, but will be all the treasure you need."
Chris relaxed. "Too late, I've already found her. Her name is Missy. So why don't you tell me about the future?"
"Well after you find your ten treasured beauty, you will have to tace a temptation. It is another woman. She is the queen of spades. She will dig up things you don't want her to dig up, but you will find her irresistable. I am telling you now to resist her, because by resisting her you will realize that you yourself have the power of digging planting and hiding. Being the ace of spades, you will have the ultimate manly power to choose who your woman is. You will be a great father. And since you become the ace of spades, you have earned the right to use the ace of wands to uncover your far future."
Jacob uncovered the remaining cards. "As you see, the very last card is the Joker. It is your sense of humor that will preserve you and in fact is your salvation. Never forget that."
"You either!" said Chris, and left him a thirty dollar tip. He put the tip in his robe pocket.
Something about thirty sheckels of silver passed through Jacobs mind, but he had to prepare for his next client. He took off his robe, which made him hot, and tossed it in the corner. He opened up the deck of cards, flipped through it until he found the five of diamonds. He ripped it in two and put it in his breast pocket.
The next client showed up on time, as they all did. He paid and sat down.
"Hi my name is Mario," he said, "And I'm having problems with my wife. Could you tell me how it turns out."
His accent was broken and his preamble was obviously rehearsed. Jacob shrugged.
"Okay, Mario. You know marriage, marvels, Mars, and martial are all derived from your name. Your name means simultaneosly one who is married, one who is marred, and one who fights. It is a very violent name, but also a lovers name. Remember, it is not that you are either a fighter or a lover. You are either both or you are neither."
Mario checked his watch.
"Okay, I am going to use a regular deck of playing cards to take your fortune. You will find they are more honest then a deck of tarot cards."
He delt, getting nervous as first the 3 of clubs, then the 5 of hearts, then--how? Was this the same deck? The 5 of diamonds came up next, unripped, unrumpled. He casually lifted the five of diamonds and found the club of kings. Well what was in his pocket then?
Just as he reached for his breast pocket, Mario grabbed the table and threw it over. Two other dark looking men ran in the door, shouting as Mario threw him up against the wall.
They ransacked his tent, Mario with his hand over Jacobs mouth. They only found the money he had made from his first two clients, which was twenty dollars.
Mario struck him in the gut 3 times. His heart seemed to stop. 5 beats later, he choked. "I have nothing of value."
"Bullshit," said Mario. "I've heard all sorts of rumors about you. You are a rich man. Now where's your money.
"I am the king-gypsy: that is my treasure and nothing else. You may threaten or beat me but it won't matter. God gave me a gift which no man may take. Your wife would know this. But if you want a treasure, keep your card. It is in my breast pocket."
Mario spit to the side, unhanded him, and grabbed from his pocket two halves of a playing card. It was a ripped Joker with a horse on it.
The men growled at each other. Jacomb brushed himself off. They left the thirty dollars they had stolen. Mario was the last to leave. He pulled a 20 dollar bill and a 10 dollar bill out of his pocket and set it delicately on the table. He said, "My wife used to call me Stallion."
Jacob waited three minutes, then laughed and cleaned up his tent to make ready for the next client.