The Fortune Teller
by Meghan Campbell
The fortune teller pushed the cloth curtains out of her way and stepped into the room, adjusting the oversized turban on her head.
“Good evening,” she said to the man sitting at her fortune telling table with a smile. “I’m sensing the presence of a J. Justin, is it?”
He stared blankly at her. “Hayden.”
She plopped onto her chair and held out her hands. “I’m just kidding, I don’t know. I’m not psychic. What I am, though, is an incredibly gifted palm reader.”
He reluctantly held out his hand, palm up. She grasped it and began to read. “Ah yes, here it is. Hayden Cartwright. Born January 28th. Likes the smell of honeydew but not honey or dew. Enjoys the musical talents of The B-52s and The Doors—ooh, good taste. Let’s see…raised by macaws after being abandoned by parents who were straw benders at the straw bending factory…wow…” She looked at him. “I’m pleasantly surprised. All the macaws I’ve met have terrible manners.”
“Yes I was very lucky. Mother and Father Cluck-Cluck were well behaved birds who rarely ate their young. They were also very good teachers, I learned to fly after only a week. Look, the reason I’m here is because I was just hoping to ask you something.”
“Yes of course. What is it?”
“Will my true love and I live happily ever after?”
“Hm…” she said, narrowing her eyes as she read further. “I see complications in your future. She’s having problems with her pregnancy…the baby’s born…it’s a human and macaw hybrid, a human head and a bird body, it’s too heavy to hold up so it just wobbles around on its little bird feet, its wings flapping but to no prevail…years later it struggles in math and has trouble tying its shoes—oh god, it’s so terrible!”
He looked at her questioningly as she covered her eyes, horrified. “What? No, Melissa, Melissa Peters. The human one.”
She lowered her hands and looked at his palm. “Oh. Yeah. You’re going to be fine.”
He watched her closely. “That’s it?”
She smiled. “That’s it. Oh, and seventy dollars please,” she said, holding out her hand.
He paid the fortune teller and left the tent, looking around nervously before crossing the street and reaching into a tree. He extracted a macaw from the branch and tucked it under his arm, scanning his surroundings before taking off down the road.
“Run, Janey! Run!”
Richard Edwards has a BFA in Creative Writing and Journalism from Bowling Green State University and an M.S. in Education from the University of Akron. Managing editor of Drunk Duck, poetry editor for Prairie Margins, reporter for Miscellany, Akron Journal, Lorain Journal, and The BG News. He has also worked as a professional writer and editor in the medical publishing industry for several years. For the last 15 years Richard has also taught literature and writing at the secondary and post-secondary levels. He works much of the time with at-risk students.