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"Hi," I said in that sweet little girl voice I take on the phone. "I was wondering if a Mr. Max Rilborn was present?"
My mouth dropped. He was alive! This man, whose death I predicted several days prior was alive and speaking on the other end of the phone line. I stammered, and desperately searched for something more to say, but he interrupted me before I could begin.
"Can I help you with something?"
"I..." The gears of my mind were running at a furious pace. I had to think of something quick. "Yes, I work for Hanover Technical Positive Beliefs, which is a division of the Puritan Church of God's Hand. We have agents watching all fortune-teller booths, and one of them saw you recently at one, and we would like to ask you a few questions regarding the booth you were at."
Good! I had been afraid he would become mildly defensive about any inquiries regarding his visit, but his casual acceptance of this lie reassured me that I could get whatever I needed form him. "Did the Fortune teller give you any news?"
"Well, she did tell me that I was going to die later that day, but since I am talking to you now, her prediction was wrong."
"Did you encounter anything out of the ordinary?"
"I got a bad case of indigestion after lunch, but that was all."
"I see. Thank you for your time."
I hung up the receiver in disgust. How did he do it? How did he live longer than I predicted he would? My ESP had never before erred. Julius Englacias had ruptured his spleen no longer than half an hour after I told him of his fate. Kathy Greunwald's cancer flared. Iman Oris was shot in her apartment. How did Max endure? Seeking a reprieve from my thoughts, I decided the only thing that could help me relax was an aromatherapy bath with some Enya and weed.
Normally a bath solves all my problems, but today I could not push Max from my head. He was alive! I had told him specifically what was to occur to him but it did not happen. What had gone wrong? Was my ability faulty? After thirty-three years, have I lost my gift? My mind was diving down its rampant spiral faster than I could control it, and I could not even smell the salts nor feel them soaking into my pores. I wasn't even high after the three bowls of weed! The bath was proving fruitless and I was on the verge of releasing a roar of frustration, but then my mother's voice swam in my ears.
"Suzanne, a lady never shows her frustration. She adopts an air of gentility and then gets even."
When she told me this, my mother was furious. I could tell by the look in her eye. She loathed having her social hour at the beauty parlor interrupted and when the interruption comes from her daughter fighting in school, her rage smolders. I was six at the time and had just been mortally insulted so justice needed serving. It was not my fault that Carrie Mathers had a glass jaw. Seated at a desk before the principal, it was all I could do to stay focused.