Hails of the Unexpected…

So… a week ago, I found myself returning to read at a venue that I’d been to two years prior… If you’d asked me two weeks ago, then I’d probably have cited this as being my favourite place that I’ve read in… If you ask me today, then I may laugh and say that it was the best of gigs and it was the worst of gigs…

Two years ago, I was busy but even so, the pace still felt gentle… This year, reading began to feel like some kind of extreme sport, though not one of those high adrenalin junky type jaunts… more like that strange activity where people jump out of an aeroplane and press their clothes on an ironing board as they head to the ground… I didn’t feel that I was going out of my comfort zone or pushing any real barriers, more that I was doing my everyday routine work in an odd environment… not that I really have much of a problem with that…

I was booked for 6 hours and under contract to hit a reading rate of 20 people an hour… within half an hour of arriving, the crowd was 10 deep and there was an acute awareness of time as every time I glanced up the crowd had gotten bigger and bigger… and there was a low-level rowdiness, which was not how I had remembered the place…Before it had been fast-paced but polite and somewhat genteel… Now it was somewhat fractious… There was an element of pushing and shoving and the occasional angry outburst as someone would try to cut the line… I heard a girl’s voice shout out – EXCUSE ME! There’s a queue don’t you know?! A while later the same voice – ER! HELLO!!! You need to go the back of the queue! People are waiting! Then even later, her voice soared above the noise of the crowd… I’M MENSTRUATING!!! Now is not a good time to push in front of me!!! I’m bleeding like a motherfucker!!!

The four hooray Henries in kilts plomped themselves in front of me regardless of the angry protests and seemed to be somewhere on the spectrum between indifference to the berating and being slightly pleased with themselves…

I said – boys… that’s not cool… people have been waiting and you just walked up to the front…

The dark haired one on the right, leaned back in his chair, folded his arms as smugness spread across his face and in a quite tone that suggested that he was someone who always got his own way, he said – well, we’re here now and we’re not moving… what are you going to do?

I smiled… clenched my teeth as I remembered that I was also under contract to be positive and polite… and I glanced at the crowd glowering behind him and I said… well I’m not being paid as a bouncer, so I’m going to whizz you through and get you out of here as quickly as possible, so buckle up because I read fast…

The guy sat opposite me, who looked like a poster boy for the Aryan Nation, piped up… Hey! Tell me my chums’s names… Use your telepathy! Show us what you do! Smug face chipped in again – yah… do your job!

I said ok my lovelies… let me educate you… First off… I’m not a mind reader, secondly … if you don’t know your chums’s names then you need more help than I can give you… Thirdly… my job? Ha! I’m the cleaner! I’m just filling in because the tarot reader was a no show…

Smug face leaned forwards… seriously yah? You’re the cleaner?

Yes, love… you walk past me every single day… do you not recognise me?

He leaned in further to examine my expression and I’m not blessed with a poker face… he let forth a ripple of laughter…ah! You’re dicking with me! He turned to his chums, waved a hand in my general direction as he declared – I like her! She’s terribly funny!

I said, yes, I’m hilarious and I’m on the clock so pull 3 cards now or leave… The four of them swooped into my deck and Blondie in front of me starts again… Hey! If you’re any good Miss Mind Reader – you can tell me what card I’m holding! And he holds one aloft in a challenge…

Ace of Pentacles honey bunny!

By Jesus?! It bloody well is!!! What? How? How? What? What? Errrrr???!!!

Now it’s my turn to smirk and this time I don’t give my game away and the tipsy fool is none the wiser that I’ve seen all three of his cards because he waved them around as he pulled them and I know those cards like the back of my hand and a quick flash and a glimpse of colour and I know what you’re holding… Silence descends on the table and I whizz these four yahoos through without another peep out of them… they sit and quietly nod… Ah! You guys are quiet? Nothing more to say? Smug face who has very much warmed to me by now says – yes… I have something to say… Thank you! You’ve just given me a lot to absorb…I’m hoping that I’ll remember it all…

You’re welcome! NEXT!

The crowd is much more settled now and things run in a run of the mill kind of way… until three guys come and sit down… I think to myself – ok… there’s something odd going off here, these are not faces that look as though they have come for a reading…

The guy to the right is quietly spoken… he tells me that he’s just started receiving messages from Jesus and asks if it’s ok for him to pass on the message that he has for me…

I scan the faces of the other two and they are both serene and look deadly earnest and I’m a little suspicious as I wonder if I’m being pranked… But I’m a curious creature, so I say – sure… give me what you’ve got… He tells me that he’s been stood in the queue for quite some time as he’s been told to come over and give me some energy as I give out a lot to others… A part of me thinks – oh! FFS! This sounds like the worst kind of cold reading medium… I can feel the skepticism seeping across my face… he carries on undeterred… it’s hard to catch all that he says as his voice is lost a little in the background babble… I look at the queue and wonder if I should just cut them short and shoo them off but I figure they’ve waited their turn and if they want to talk rather than listen then this is about as close to a break as I’m going to get tonight so let them talk… The guy in the middle asks to hold my hands… He places his in front of him supine and shoulder width apart, I place my hands palm upwards into his… Now he is also talking and it’s even harder to hear… Both of them chatter away and I catch the odd word every so often and they are bestowing me with blessings and healings… It’s an odd situation but by far not the oddest I’ve ever been in and I’m not entirely sure what their views and beliefs are…I’m fairly certain I don’t share them… I’m still wondering if I’m being pranked… The first guy who spoke suddenly becomes louder – You bring the gift of joy and laughter! I smile as it’s not the first time that I’ve had such an accusation thrown at me…

The guy to the left who had been silent up to this point, speaks up… excuse me… may I add something? The other two fall silent… They all look at me… I say – sure, why not… He says to me – I’ve been given a series of images and I don’t know what they mean but I’ve been told that you know… he rattles off descriptions that fill my mind’s eye with tarot card after tarot card and in my head a full reading has come into view… I stare at him… He stares back… You know what they mean?

Yes…I do… Why are you telling me this?

He said because it’s a validation for the work you do and you are under divine protection…

It’s a rare occasion in that for once, I’m lost for words… This was not what I expected him to say… I don’t know what I did expect him to say… Words came back to me…ok… that’s interesting… last time somebody went all Jesus on me they told me I was going to burn in hell and then they tried to bin all my things…

That’s too funny! he said and all four of us belly laughed, shook hands, did the nice to meet you pleasantries and with that they were off into the night…

Hmm… divinely protected… A couple of hours later and a girl knocks her prosecco all over my cards… there’s an explosion of expletives cascading through my head and somehow or another I manage to control and contain them… My mind flashes to the clause in my contract about staying below a certain decibel level… I’d thought it hilarious at the time of signing but now there was a very real danger that I could exceed the limit if I opened my mouth… Ah! Divine Protection my arse! Look at my chuffin’deck… it’s effin jeffin bolloxedly buggered! Noooooooooooooooooooo!!!! BREATHE!!!! SMILE!!! BREATHE!!! Don’t be mean to the girl, she’s dying of embarrassment and it was just an accident… No… You’re ok my lovely, don’t worry about it… No harm done…

I gather my composure and bring the girl down to a relaxed level… Ok… let’s have a look at your cards…

I laugh a little and it builds and builds…

The crowd all gather and wonder what’s so funny…

I flip the cards for all to see… OK… The Fool and the Ace of Cups! Well! We hardly needed any cards to tell us that you can’t handle your drinks!!!

See turns a spectacular shade of scarlet and tries to bury her face under my cloth… seriously? is that what that means?

Well yes, on one level it does… I start to feel a little guilty that I’ve made her squirm… Ok… I’m joking with you! Pass me that third card and let me tell you what it really means…

I inwardly grimace at the sticky cards and have a heavy heart as I visualise tossing them all into the bin later… they’re old friends and have been on many travels… but as it happens, I think a tiny miracle occurred as they ended up drying out nicely and there’s been a couple of strategic dabs of glue put into place but to an eye that is none the wiser, you’d never know they’d had a near death experience… Hmmm… it’s almost like they were divinely protected… 😉

 

 

 

 

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