The Gift of a Card (Ginger Man 8T)

“The guy, he’s all confused, doesn’t know what to do next, so he goes back to the fortune teller’s home. When he gets there, the front door’s open. He looks in, an’ he can see this woman, back turned to him, standing in the living room. Calls the fortune teller by name — ”

“This story would work better if these people actually had names.” Maggie stood, walked away from the sofa towards the kitchen area of the trailer.

Still sitting on the sofa, Charlie raised his bearded chin a moment, then looked back down. “Funny. Mike didn’t like to give his character’s names, in any of his stories. Mostly gave them descriptions, like nurse or cop — ”

“Or sleepwalker.”

“Yes, sleepwalker. Anyway, this guy — the sleepwalker — he calls the fortune teller by name, but when the woman turns around he can tell right away, it ain’t her. Looks like her, but the face isn’t quite right. She says to him, That was my sister, and she’s dead now. I’m here today to clean out her house. Guy feels bad, apologizes, turns to leave, but the sister stops him, asks if he was one of her customers. When the sleepwalker says yes, the sister asks him if he’d like to have anything from her. I know she was very close to many of her customers, she says, and many of them have come here, asked if they could have something to remember her by. She had all these tarot cards, I got no use for them, so I’ve been giving them out, as gifts. Would you like one? Guy’s about to say no, then stops himself, says sure, gimme one. She goes over to a table, picks up a card, gives it to him — he turns it over, and it’s The Tower.”

“That the one — ” Maggie had opened the refrigerator again — “that shows lighting strikin’ a castle or sumpin’, and there’s this guy fallin’ out?”

Charlie scratched his beard. “Think so. Mike didn’t say.”


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