The Reading

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: March 03, 2018

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Submitted: March 03, 2018



I had just finished a reading from my latest novel, held in a quiet bookstore in a small college town, when a woman approaches me, a sardonic smile on her lips.
“You’re good with words.”
I grimace and tell her that I have to be, to talk myself out of suicide before doing these fucking readings.  The book isn’t selling well.  She goes on to explain something about herself and how my work has affected her but I am too busy considering whether it would be an appropriate time to make my exit.  Eventually she leaves me alone and I wander off in search of a pub.
The brined pork chop with swedes is surprisingly succulent with an appealing smoky char.  I clear my plate with a morsel of bread before ordering a second ale.  Settling my tab, I leave satisfied and slightly light headed, turning out onto the street in the general direction of my hotel.
A neon sign in a window catches my eye.  It reads: spiritual advisor.  Beneath it on a faux-faded board with an italicized font: past, present and future.  I chuckle to myself and venture inside, declaring to the empty room, “I’m here for a reading!”
A woman pulls back a beaded curtain and sits down at a table.  She looks as though I’ve disturbed her sleep, gesturing for me to sit with her.  I oblige.
“No crystal balls, no Tarot cards, no tea leaves?”
“You want a cuppa, go to a cafe.”
“It’s alright.”
“I’ve done away with those things over the years.  People see them as props and don’t take my reading seriously.”
“Yes, that is why,” I answer, dryly.
She presses her fingers against her temple, massaging gently.  “You are a writer.”
“Everybody knows that.”
“Hmph.  Once, maybe.  Your fame is in the past.”
“And the present has brought me here.”
“So you’ve come to know your future, then?”
“I reckon few come to a psychic to be told much else.”
She rubs her eyes.  She waves her hand, flicking dried mascara toward me.  “I know your books.  It’s very clear how your life ends.  I can tell you that for free.”
“Please do.”
“You will die old and alone, you miserable cunt!”
I holler in laughter and place a few quid on the table for her time.  She shakes her head, tightens her robe, and locks the door behind me, turning off the light.
I continue to laugh all the way back to the hotel, amused at the improbability she had actually been half right.  I slip on the do not disturb sign, remove my shoes and jacket, and ready the noose.  The tragic irony I never left a note on my 40th birthday is sure to propel me back into the limelight.

© Copyright 2018 Long Way to the Ground. All rights reserved.

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