I didn’t make it to the office on Monday.
Between the stress, booze, late nights, and jet lag, I was worthless. And by worthless, I meant, after a weekend celebrating a friend’s wedding on the East Coast, I didn’t feel like dealing with my boss on a Monday after traveling all weekend.
I called out of work.
With a free day to do whatever I wanted, I figured I’d try to get some help.
Things weren’t going at all how I imagined in California.
In fact, they were going about as bad as possible.
Terrible job with a terrible boss?
Living paycheck to paycheck?
Does the older woman working the graveyard shift at the 7-11 down the street count?
No booze, drugs, or women.
Well, a morning joint is fine.
I needed something more tangible.
I didn’t need that.
That’s what I needed.
A Buddhist Temple?
I always fell asleep while meditating.
A Catholic Church?
I was a big fan of JC, but not what the Catholic Church turned into. The whole tax evasion thing while protecting priests who were attracted to little boys a little too much really tarnishes a religion.
I knew a little here and there about some other religions, but not enough to visit a place of worship and ask a God that I didn’t believe in for divine intervention.
A licensed medical professional could help me.
But with no health insurance, I couldn’t afford the hundreds of dollars it would cost to tell my problems to someone who would only half-listen, which always happens when the mental health professional realizes our interaction is only a onetime thing.
My mental health is as good as I can pay for.
Which isn’t much.
What about a psychic?
My California coworkers always talked about astrology and the planets. They visited mediums and psychics. They were true believers. Why not give it a try?
Like any other religion, belief, or cult, I loved learning about the things people followed. That, and I was desperate for some positive reinforcement. If I learned this world, it was delivering good news always leads to better tips. Which meant at the very least, I’d leave a psychic feeling better about myself and my spiraling life.
I looked up some fortune tellers on my phone.
Psychic Reading & Tarot Cards by Renee.
It was highly recommended.
The joint had perfect ratings and reviews.
Hundreds of them.
It was only fifteen minutes from my apartment.
I got dressed and headed out for my car.
When I arrived at Psychic Readings & Tarot Cards by Renee, the joint looked closed. Inside, it was dark. I called the number listed online. A woman answered the phone.
“Hey, I’m at your place in Ocean Beach,” I said.
“Oh no, no honey,” the not-at-her-business psychic said. “I’m not there. I go back and forth between the shops.”
“Where’s your other shop?”
“I’m at home.”
I’m trying to give her business and she’s not working.
At either location.
It should have been a red flag.
But I was desperate.
“You’re not at either shop today?”
“I do readings out of my home. Right in La Jolla. Forty for a half-hour palm reading.”
I didn’t have anything better to do.
And I had forty dollars.
I figured I’d stimulate the economy.
While trying to find some peace of mind.
“What’s the address?” I asked.
I punched Renee’s address into my phone.
Twenty minutes later, I pulled up to Renee’s mansion in La Jolla.
A rich psychic.
Then again, shouldn’t all psychics be rich?
Or do psychics not use their powers for material gains?
Maybe Renee married into money.
Or maybe she could really see the future.
And used her knowledge to get rich.
I got out of my car and rang the doorbell.
An older woman in a revealing bathrobe and no makeup opened the door.
“Welcome,” Renee said. “Sorry I wasn’t at the office today.”
“All good,” I said.
“It’s forty for a palm reading. We can discuss whatever else you’re interested in once we’re in my reading room. Here, follow me.”
She worked fast.
Renee led me to a closet.
It was her reading room.
There were two chairs and some psychic trinkets.
Weird statues and pendants.
This was a mistake.
I was about to blow forty bucks.
Renee motioned for me to sit.
I took out my cash from my wallet before I did.
She sat down across from me.
“First time living in a city for you, huh?” Renee asked. “How do you like it?”
“It’s been incredible,” I lied.
“But not always. At least not lately.”
My face betrayed my lie.
Renee motioned for my cash.
I handed it over.
It’s only forty bucks.
Renee grabbed my wrists.
She glanced over my palms.
“Have you been married?”
I shook my head.
“Have you ever lived with someone? A romantic partner?”
The woman I broke up with for California.
“In what I’ve been taught, a marriage is when a man and woman share a house together. I see two marriages in your life. True love is on the horizon for you. You just can’t give up on San Diego. Not yet.” Okay, fortune teller, you have my attention. “There’s someone special in your life,” Renee continued. “Maybe not a girlfriend. Yet. A friend, perhaps?”
My mind went to Leah.
The California girl I chased to the West Coast.
“She has another man pulling her away,” Renee said. “She doesn’t love him, but she talks about him a lot. She doesn’t see you as a fit. Yet. She will.”
The gypsy hit a weak spot.
Tears swelled in my eyes.
The craziness of my life was making sense.
I felt a sense of hope for the first time in months.
It was calming and reaffirming.
Exactly what I needed.
It could have been the weed, though.
I did smoke a large joint to start the day.
For the dopamine.
Renee babbled on about some other things, but I wasn’t paying attention.
I knew it.
You can always tell by the way someone looks at you.
And Leah looked at me like forever.
Things were going to work out for me in California.
I interrupted Renee’s fortune that I wasn’t listening to. “Thank you.”
Renee smiled. “Be careful. You have a legal issue coming up.”
I couldn’t even afford to think about a legal issue.
“Don’t worry,” Renee said. “You’ll win.”
I sighed in relief. “This is amazing. Thank you so much.”
“Pursue your dreams and open up to new friendships. You’ve been betrayed by friends and family. Let the bad ones go. You always take three steps forward… followed by three steps back. It’s because your third eye chakra is out of alignment.”
“Thank you,” I repeated.
“You’re welcome.” Renee pointed at my forehead. “You’re compassionate, quick witted and smart. People have been an issue for you. We need to fix it.”
I awoke from her fortune teller trance.
Coming to my senses.
Did she try to hypnotize me?
“You have a good heart and a sharp mind, but your issues have been spiritual.”
Of course, they have.
“You need to heal souls for fulfillment.”
Here it comes.
The buttering up before the upsell.
“Your Third-Eye Chakra is totally out of alignment. Its why people are an issue for you. If you have a couple hours, I could help that get aligned. It’ll really change your life.”
I bet it would.
“How does one get a Third-Eye Chakra back in alignment?”
“I do it,” Renee said. “It takes a few hours. And a few sessions.”
It’s too much.
“It’s only $400 for four hours.”
God dammit, Renee.
I really thought we were having a moment.
“I appreciate everything,” I said. “I will certainly leave you a great review online. It’s just a lot. That was emotional for me. I’m not ready for any more revelations. Or shadow work.”
Renee pressed on. “I’m glad I could help, Wyatt. I could help even more by aligning your Third Eye.”
She kept repeating my name.
It’s a sales trick.
We naturally respond positively to hearing our names.
Well, most of us.
“I don’t have the cash, perhaps send me more information and I’ll let you know.”
Renee made uncomfortable eye contact. “I promise this will be life changing.”
“You know, I have that legal issue upcoming and have to be smart with my money.”
Renee leaned in. “This will help you win more and be better … positioned.” She rubbed my thighs. “What’s a small fee today for a hunk of cash in the future, Wyatt?”
Was the Third-Eye Charka opening code for sex?
Was I getting sex and the Third-Eye Chakra opening?
Was it just sex?
Maybe the sex would open my Third-Eye Chakra?
Suddenly, all the positive reviews online made sense.
Renee looked down at her chest.
She used her eyes to encourage me to take a peek.
I hesitated but worked my eyes down.
Sure enough, her two big sagging boobs escaped from her robe.
“You know what?” I asked. “Where’s the bank? I’ll run there, get the cash and come back. Is it close?”
Renee gave me detailed directions to the bank.
Like I couldn’t just plug the bank’s name and address into my phone and find it easily.
I nodded, along with each explanation of a turn.
I wasn’t going to the bank.
She wouldn’t accept no for an answer, so I lied.
Renee walked me to the door.
She rubbed my arm.
I popped into my car and backed out of the driveway.
Renee ran towards me.
She screamed and pointed down the road.
My stereo was cranked too loud to hear what she was saying.
From what I could gather, I was headed in the wrong direction.
Renee flailed her arms and made circles with her hands.
She wanted me to turn around.
I sped down the road in the opposite direction that Renee pointed.