I stand on the road and inhale deeply the woods, the damp earth. Home…well not technically but I spend a great deal of time here in the elsewhere so it just could be part of that word.As I begin walking toward the ramshackle bar, I hear the lively music, laughter and salivate at the thought of that delectable drink that always feeds the fire within.
“Welcome Amoreaux”, a familiar voice says behind me as I sit down at my usual table in the back. I don’t even question why it remains empty, but accept that it is. I turn and look at the speaker and smile. I don’t even question that he is here or knows when I’ll walk in. Just another acceptance. “Thanks”, I say and take the glass of rum from him. “Might want to keep those coming”, I say. he laughs. “When have I ever skimped on nectar”? he asks. We both laugh at that. We both sit quietly sipping our drinks, chatting, catching up, watching those who’ve come to visit the bar. I am finally relaxing.
“It’s you!”, says an excited woman. “It’s really you! I told you it was her” she yells back at her party. I’m a bit startled since few venture near or dare break the boundary of space that is implicit when I visit. My host begins to speak, and as I see his face darken in anger, I slightly touch his sleeve. “Whom do you believe me to be?” I ask the still overly excited woman. I glance at the embarrassed faces of her party and see those who are waiting for the other shoe to drop stand and watch. “The swamp witch”, she almost yells it. “you are famous and are one of the best readers I’ve heard of.” “I want a reading”. My host is becoming angrier by the minute. “I am without cards atm”, I tell her, trying to push her off kindly. “Conjure them” she says. Wow. That is more than a little rude. That thought must have shown on my face because one of her companions caught her arm.”C’mon Dora, we are interrupting and I’m sure she doesn’t want to read for anyone right now”. I smile at her companion. “I just came to relax. Perhaps another time”. “Look”, says the pain named Dora. “I came here specifically to find you or Weaver to get a reading. You’re here, so I want it now”. “Oh a reading. Well, why didn’t you say so! For the love of Efalba! Where in the hell do you think you are? You aren’t in Oz where some great wizard comes from behind his curtain to give your heart’s desire. Nor are you in Kansas anymore Dorothy so be careful what you demand and from whom. You may think you know me, but in reality you only see what was presented. ” I take a breath and see smirks from some in the crowd and fear from others. “However”, I look directly at the pain in my ass , “since you came here specifically for a reading, allow me to oblige”. I wave my hands and the music changes, the candles glow and incense flows like a wave, caressing the room. Cards appear to my right and I chuckle seeing the raven deck, gifted to me from a friend. I begin to order the cards, shuffling as I speak. “Your friends that are with you are afraid for you Cher”, I say softly as the cards run through my fingers. “They may already know what the cards will speak non?”Dora’s face blanches slightly. “I don’t know what you mean. They don’t read cards”. “Non, they do not”, I say, keeping my voice soft, allowing my drawl to play out in familiar cadence to those who know me well. “But they do know you and who you are, so they really have no need”. At that, I stop shuffling and begin to deal the cards. The woman watches closely as if to check for sleight of hand. I chuckle to myself. There is no need for sleight of hand for this woman knows well what her personal card is and what it means to her. I watch her face, “You see yourself there Cher?” I ask softly. “I…I can’t read”, she begins. “Ah, but there you are wrong Cher”, I say. “There is within us all something that tells us who we are and our place even if we choose to not acknowledge it.” I point out her card. “You seem drawn to this one. You know it to be yourself. It’s one you claim time and again but refuse to tell others because you know the depth of that meaning. So tonight because you asked, I will reveal its colors. The you, you show others is a mask. You draw energy from those around you, siphoning it at will because hey, who’s it going to hurt? Within you are needy, whiney and have the desire to be center of attention to those closest to you and get bent out of shape when anyone dares to call bullshit to your charade. You complain that nobody will listen to you and yet what are you saying that is newsworthy? Are you reaching out to lift others with your gifts or blowing them off as is your usual game? Did you ask those you call kindred if they were well or need help? When you hear of those on the edge, will you give them a nudge or ignore them? I think either one is a viable outcome given your inner character. You tend to surround yourself with “yes men”, those you can con into thinking your knowledge is long but in reality is short on talent since you gain your information from others who earned that shit with blood and sweat, and sometimes deaths. In general, maybe you are like the wizard since he was nothing more than a charlatan, lost in his journey but convinced others he was more than he was. You Dora, are like Dorothy..you have what it takes within but since you make no real effort, it stays locked within. I am not like the sappy Glinda…I don’t toss glitter and tell you what to do. You want to gain real knowledge, I suggest you work harder, treat people better and develop some damn manners”. with that, I gathered the cards, dismissed the ambiance with a sharp wave and sat back anger flashing in my eyes. Dora swallowed hard, “Thank you for your time”, she said quietly. She turned away with her friends and they all made their way to the door.
“Come Amoreaux”, says my friend. “We will go in the back where you can rest”. I nod, feeling drained as I allow myself to be led to the back room to lie on the couch and sip coffee laced with rum. The bar goes back to its usual level of energy and all is as usual.
Readings take a lot of energy and demanding one is more than rude. Good thing I have others to rely on to help me feel better afterwards. “Sleep”, he says. “noone will disturb you”. I close my eyes, feeling soft covering encase me, shutting out the cold. I know this is a safe place to do so, unlike other places I’ve traveled. Yep..time to sleep…without dreams.