Thursday, May 07, 2009
The Ten of Swords
It rained hard all day, so I knocked off early. I went home and read a detective novel, Echo Park by Michael Connelly.
But I was restless. I kept thinking about old business, especially my ex-wife. How come I was thinking about her after five years? How did she know I had money?
She had her voodoo working against me. She lives in Pennsylvania now, but she can still tell when I have money. That's when she calls, acting nice.
I'm glad she's so far away because I still love her and I would give her the money.
But I'm here in Skagit County, which is 2,000 miles, mountain ranges, great rivers, and vast plains away -- it's a long drive to Scranton, up there in the Poconos where she lives, in eastern Pennsylvania. The Poconos have great hunting for deer and bear in the fall. Fat bears and silky deer. I'm glad she lives there and not here.
I decided to have my cards read about this. Just this once. I went over to Sheila's house on Beaver Marsh Road. It's twenty dollars. What's the harm?
Sheila had me sit down, handle the cards, shuffle them, cut them, and hand them back to her. She spread them out on the table and said, "Draw three."
First, I got the King of Pentacles. Second, I got the Queen of Pentacles.
"Oh, that's very good," she said. "That's the money. You're prosperous now. You have the King and Queen working together. This is your inner spirit, your male part and your female part in harmony, working for the money."
I smiled, "Yes, there has been a little abundance. I'm not as poor as I was anyway."
"The Pentacles are called Coins in the old decks," she explained. "This is a good thing to have the King and Queen of Coins. It's better to have money, you know. But draw another card now."
I did. It was the Ten of Swords.
"Oooh," she said. "This is so interesting."
The Ten of Swords shows a man lying on the ground, with ten swords stuck in his back, and you start with the obvious, like who is stabbing you in the back.
"So who is it?" Sheila asked.
"My ex-wife," I said. "Maybe this is a joke. Stabbed in the back. Ten Times. Kind of overdoing it, don't you think?
I laughed. "This doesn't make me feel bad. It's like I got killed ten times over so I can finally get some rest now. It's better to be dead because you don't have to do anything, and you don't care."
"You're ex-wife did this. She was the African woman, right?" she said.
"Oh, you knew her, but she had too much witchcraft going for her. She used all these powders and charms. She would tell me to put this powder in my shoe, it will make me stronger, or put this piece of bark in my mouth and keep it there when I go to the office, and then everyone will believe me.
"She used all that voodoo -- the things she wore under her western clothes, beads and charms. And that was only the stuff I knew about. I didn't worry about that. It was the stuff I didn't know about, like what she buried in those holes in the back yard.
"So, yeah, she stabbed me in the back. Got all my money. Wrecked my house. Chased my children away. Left me with nothing," I said.
"But your soul," Sheila said, sitting up right, staring now.
"My soul?" I asked.
"Yes, she took everything but your soul," Sheila explained. "That's why you said you were glad to be dead. The Ten of Swords can be a good card, you know. You wanted to get out of your old self, but you were afraid to let go. So the African woman killed you with ten swords. She was doing you a favor. You said so your self -- that you got some peace after you died. You said it like it was a joke. But it isn't a joke. You have a beautiful new soul now."
"Yeah," I interrupted, "And no money, and no house, plus a lot of debts I can't pay."
"And a beautiful new soul," she said with a big smile. "What else you gonna do? It's all over now anyway. You have the King and Queen of Pentacles going for you now. All that money will be coming back to you. You can buy another house pretty soon."
I thought that was pretty good, the way she read the cards. It's not the kind of thing I do too often, but the African woman was too mysterious and I couldn't find the answer in books, so I asked Sheila to read for me about this.
I left and I gave her some extra money besides the twenty.
Now I'm sitting here in the bookstore, sipping a latte, sitting by the gas fireplace. It's been raining hard and steady all day.
I'm watching time slip away like the tide, wondering what will happen next.