I sit before the carnival fortune teller and watch as she snuffs her latest cigarette, grinding the smoldering carcass into the sandpit cemetery.

There must be at least twelve tobaccoed souls haunting that ashtray.

She coughs.

How can a soothsayer not predict lung cancer on a pack a day habit?

She coughs again, this gypsy caricature, festooned in fabric and jangling with bangles.

It’s not bronchitis.

She’s just anxious and sending me the signal that she wishes to hand out the rote answers to predictable questions about health, wealth, and amor.

She wants me to hurry up with my questions.

Will I get a promotion?  Where IS my soulmate?  How long before the swelling goes down?

I lean forward, my lips twitching, my mind itching, my eyes locked on to her bored vacant stare.

The five dollar bill scoots across the table and disappears down her bodice.  “Your three questions?”

She wants to move on to the next customer.

The timber of her voice has been pushed down a decibel by the strangulation of nicotine.

I am SO getting my money’s worth now.

Little does she know that she has just encountered the kokepelli of customers.

“Well…”  I drag my absurdity to new heights. 

“What IS the purpose of the platypus?”  Zing!

“Can dogs hear the sound of one master’s hand clapping?”  Bam!

“And,” I offer up a pause so pregnant that it is three weeks past due, “what kind of dance WOULD one thousand angels perform on the head of a pin?” Ta-da!

The fortune teller lights up another cigarette and starts mumbling foreign words coated with heavy consonants as the five dollar bill comes home.

My job here is done.

Some information is best left a mystery.

Copyright 2009

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