Carnival – SHORT STORY

palm_reading_shop_sign

~Palm Reading & Fortune Telling~

   ARTISTICALLY PAINTED, THE sign was perched against a white tent, on the perimeter of the carnival.

“Come on! It’ll be fun!” said my girlfriend.

“There’s no price”. Three words meant to signify I had zero interest.

“Come onnn! I’ll pay!”

The cost wasn’t really the issue. I wondered at that moment, surrounded by people, why I had stayed with her so long. Her very first question was about my starsign. We were a match apparently. Anyone who believed in that bullshit, would believe in more. In a strange way, it was perfect.

Her fingers slipped out of mine, the engagement ring catching, and she dissapeared into the shrouded entrance, forcing me to reconsider. I fumbled in my pocket. A few notes and some heavy change.

“Daddy!”

I looked down. A distraught brown haired kid in a red and white t-shirt had latched onto my leg. I severely doubted his statement. I resisted the urge to shake him off like a dog.

“Maximillian! Come back to Mummy!” His mother waddled over, bun in the oven, roughly clothed. “Sorry about that!”

“No bother.” Her son continued to make eye contact as he was wrenched away.

For the next ten minutes I waited, entirely wary of small children, taking in the atmosphere filled with chatter and excitement.

“Your turn!” She caught me by surprise, launching into a hug, big brown eyes looking up at me adoringly. I pecked her lips, rolled my eyes and made that expression that let her know she’d persuaded me.

“Fine! See you back out here?”

“Yeah. If I’m not here I’ll be at the jewelery stand over there,” she said, indicating.

How much of the tent was there? After twenty feet I still hadn’t made it inside.

Ah, finally!

A swami like figure sat on a throne surrounded by candles, dressed in outlandish white garb from his pointy shoes to Arabian style head dress.

“Welcome!” he said quietly, smiling a little underneath the exhuberant moustache. A small velvet covered table and matching chair were positioned off to the side. He arose from his seat and arranged them closer to his throne, sitting down and indicating for me to do the same.

“I am the masterful Qiko, may I have your palm?” He stared at me, sensing my reluctance.

I acquiesced.

He held my hand gently, mine almost twice the size of his. Focusing, he dramatically raised his right hand, and lowered it, index poised, and began to trace over my palm. He froze suddenly, his dark eyes widened.

“Never before have I seen such a long life line…”

Boring

Finally, he produced his tarot cards, and soon I would be just another sucker, back outside in the sunshine.

***

“How was it?” squealed Lila, immediately noticing my exit from the tent, pawing at me for my reaction.

Usually I’d placate her, but I couldn’t hide my disappointment. “Tragic..” What fortune teller worth their salt, couldn’t predict their own demise, from the very hand they’d just read? Unbelievable.

“Let’s go. Now!”

***

Shortly after they left a mother shouted at her child in the thinning carnival.

“Maximillian! You can’t go in there, Daddy’s still working!” But Maximillian, in a blur of red and white, could not be stopped from entering the tent. Something was terribly wrong.

This didn’t get many looks last time:  Jan 2016 repost.

lion around 2

33 Comments

      1. I’ve gone back and redone old stories…from a distance, I always see what I could have done better.
        I think you’re doing a wise thing, putting short stories here, a sort of resume for potential agents.

      2. That distance is important. I can instantly tell within a few paragraphs if a story still holds up.
        You read my mind, although it is unlikely but not improbable an agent will ever visit this site.
        But it’s nice to have an outlet for the stories, a sort of curation.

      3. When you send out queries, I hope you’re adding a link to your blog in your contact info. Like me, I think you have bought your domain name, so it is just as much a website as a blog. A friend of mine who has been published told me that if agents are interested, they look at an author’s website, see if they have a Twitter account and FB page also because publishers will expect authors to help in promoting their work. All I want to do is write, but that’s not going to happen for authors anymore.

      4. Yeah I have, and when I tell people about my website it’s a website not a blog 😉
        And true enough, we are expected to network and self promote as standard. I wonder what it would be like for a lot of 70’s/80’s authors if they were in today’s connected world.

      5. Some may not have survived. Most writers are somewhat introverted and like to stay in the shadows. I would prefer that, but I’m a realist and know if I manage to secure an agent and publisher someday, I’ll be dragged out in the sunlight, like it or not. My friend was expected to set up book signings at various bookstores, along with other things. I’ve noticed the last few years that even Stephen King makes television appearances to promote his newest book.

      6. Yep, it’s the reality of the ages. I feel introverts are almost becoming unacceptable, seems everythings about promo promo, look at me, people talking incessantly etc.
        And that’s an interesting observation, and in a Grisham King interview they both said since the 2000’s their book sales have steadily declined, so regardless of stature I think that need to be present is needed by everyone.

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