23rd December 2021

When I was in my thirties and forties I used to tell fortunes, quite recklessly, to anyone who had the time and the face to ask me, as if I was some genuine delver in the supernatural and beyond. I took the practice seriously, did my research, learned the ways of the tarot and the regular suited deck, the tea cup, in fact any drinking vessel that had been mostly drained by the mark, from hand palms naturally, and as a special personal trick from the contours of peoples anatomy.

I had a small establishment selling snowboards and skateboards in the fashionable part of stepney at the time, providing a regular stream of gullible visitors for me to utilize my mysterious abilities upon.

My clavoyamce, my oracular powers were as deep as the puddles that formed on the uneven pavement outside the shop, but a fraction of a millimeter. I had learned to con volunteering summer weekends at the fairs and carnivals that would set up on Hampton Court Palace green when I was an adolescent, and in the process had become fascinated by all things shady and slightly of color.

The carneys were kind enough to accept me open handedly, as I was at that time a bit of a charmer, able to finagle my way in to almost any billfold with the sweetest of spiels. I soon learned that there is no fool like a happy fool, offer the average Bill or Betty what they think they want to consume, and they will swallow your most outlandish ridiculousness like the purest honey.

A little in my defense I must add that I never used my svelte tongue for anything untoward, indeed ensured my suggested possibilities, prognostications, were aligned explicitly with the general bent of the clients character, which I would read from careful observation, a few well shaped questions and the empathy I had acquired through both a natural gift and considerable practice. My aim was ever to do no harm, to empower, open eyes, remove embarrassment and shyness, to be the little voice in their head that whispered the dreams and aspiration that they dare not say aloud.

Generally, I have the utmost respect for good fortune tellers, those whom understand the practice is a gift of intellect rather than wizardry. Sayers have existed for as long as humanity has sought answers to unanswerable questions, looked into glinting embers for inspiration, divination for purpose. Soothsayer is to my mind a misnomer, for the truths the sage dispenses are from their own understanding and experience, not from some vast font of unchangeability.

Occasionally I still dabble, but for my own amusement, simply as a kind of wager, to see if the runners and riders will finish in the order I pronounce, utterly silently now, in the echoey hallways of my mind. Sometimes I am wrong, extraordinarily wrong, but more often than not kind of right, as precise as approximate prognostication can be. Truthfully, being inaccurate gives me much more pleasure that being correct, age has taught me that predictability is not necessarily a good thing, surprises are best enjoyed as they happen, like delicious apples falling from a tree as you casually pass by, a gift from heaven, fit for a sovereign.

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