A little bell signaled his arrival in the cramped little basement under the Funky Vapors recreational marijuana cafe. New age spiritual chanting drifted in the smoke filled air from an unseen speaker. A little old lady, Madam Vadoma he assumed, sat in the center of the room at a small round table covered with a smiling sun tapestry. The pungent odor of frankincense only slightly masked the aroma of the joint she snuffed out as he walked through the door.
With a colorful scarf covering her hair, tied firmly under her chin, and her patchwork dress, Madam Vadoma reminded Matt of the gypsy woman in Lon Chaney Jr.’s The Wolf-Man. She motioned to the empty chair across from her and uttered in a Romanian accent that wouldn’t have convinced moviegoers even in the 30s. “Vhelcome. Please, sit.”
He did and then, with a long boney finger, she pointed to a mason jar on the table. “Five dollars… please.” Matt pulled a wadded bill from his jacket and dropped it into the jar with the few already there. She watched it, making sure it was safe maybe, and then handed him a deck of cards. “Shuffle and zhink of vhat it is you vhant to know.”
Feeling as though he were doing half the work for her now, Matt took them and shuffled while concentrating on vhat the future held for him. He handed them back and waited while Madam Vadoma placed them on the table face down. She let her eyes close and took a deep breath of the frankincense and pot scented air. The better to see you future with. Now, apparently more composed… or possibly more stoned… she opened her eyes and flipped over the first card between them.
“Zhe lovers. Zhis card tells me zhat you are in love and are vhondering if she is zhe vhon.”
For a moment, Matt was taken aback. He was seeing someone. However, everyone wonders if the person they are dating will be zhe vhon. Matt wasn’t sure that he was in love with his current girlfriend either. Still, she had gotten that he was dating someone. His mind filled with anticipation as the gypsy flipped the next card.
“Zhe Chariot. Zihs vhoman vhill not marry vhithout a fight. You vhill have to vhork hard to convince her.”
That brief spark of wonder died into a black and crumbling coal of skepticism. Way off! He’d known the vhoman he was dating for all of two months and she was already talking rings and babies. Epiphany raised it’s hand in Matt’s mind. There is no way in hell I’m going to marry that chick! Even if the tarot reading was way off, Matt figured that epiphany was worth the five he’d dropped into the jar. Madam Vadoma turned over a third card.
“Death.” She glanced up at Matt for dramatic effect he assumed. “Do not fear zhis card.” Her voice was melodramatically filled with mysticism. “Here it is telling you zhat if you do pursue zhis vhoman and fight for her you vhill change your life in ways… unimaginable! Zhis is your fate upon zhe matter. Zhe cards… never lie.”
As Madam 30s-Movie-Gypsy gathered up the cards, Matt debated asking Madam Vadoma for a refund. He thought it unlikely she’d give him one though. Chances were she’d be taking what was in the jar to buy more Glaucoma medicine upstairs. He opted not to, anxious to get back to his hotel room and get to the recreational purchase he’d made himself before wondering into the basement.
Climbing the little concrete stairs outside the door, he came to the sign that had caught his curiousity. Madam Vadoma’s Tarot Readings. Know Your Future Before It’s Too Late. Only Five Dollars. For a second he thought about hiding the sign and saving some other sucker from marrying a desperate crazy bitch. Before he could make up his mind on the matter though, his cell started ringing in his back pocket.
Speaking of crazy bitches… He accepted the call and started walking across the street to his car. “Hey… You on lunch… Oh, just a smoke break… You know you don’t have to call every time y…
Blinding pain shot through his entire body. Somehow, he was flying. His body twisted in ways no human body should and slammed into the asphalt. Broken bones jutted from his flesh like thorns. Blood pooled around him and soaked through his clothing.
Nothing made sense. He went over what had happened. He’d left Madam Vadoma’s. Crazy bitch called as he walked across the street. Then what? Straining every muscle he still could, Matt managed to get his head to roll to the side, blood trickling from the corner of his mouth.
Break lights. Someone running toward him shouting. Irony.
The Lovers. The Chariot. Death. Zhe cards… never lie.
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