Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Separation.

“This guy’s been bugging me to go out with him,” Laurie tells  me over a cup of hot chocolate at lunch a couple of weeks ago. “He says he’s a psychic and he can tell I want to date him.”

The Long-Awaited Honest-to-God Secret to Being Happy

“Cheesy line. And he’s not psychic.”

“How can you say that? You don’t know anything about

“Don’t have to. And if you want to date him, date him.

But my own intuition tells me he’s not a psychic.”

She rolls her eyes. “No, really. He makes his living as a full-time psychic.”

I smile. I don’t know of anyone personally who makes his or her living as a full-time psychic, though I do know some very good psychics, enough so that I’ve been spoiled. I some- times think of the guy who wanted to practice on me over a year ago and got every single question wrong, except maybe for one, and even that one’s a stretch. But the ones I  talk to most are deadly accurate.

“Yeah,” she continues, “he’s got a website and everything. You just email him a question and send him 25 bucks by Paypal and he emails a reading to you. Or you can call him and it’s a dollar a minute. All he needs is your birthdate.”

I don’t remember real psychics asking for my birthdate before a reading, but okay. “He’s not for real,” I tell her. “I don’t care how much money he makes at this. He’s not the real deal.”

She sets her hot chocolate down too hard and it sloshes on her fingers. She licks them as though she were licking her wounds. “How can you say that?” Then she wipes her fingers on a paper napkin and leans in close. “Look, I need to know for certain if this guy is for real. If he’s real,  then I’m not sure I want to be dating a psychic and have him guessing how I feel about him or things from my past I don’t want known.”

“And if he’s not for real, are you sure you want to be dating a con man?”

“Well, that’s, um, that’s what I need you for. You’ve been around a lot of good psychics, you’ve said. So I got him to agree to give you one of his readings, free of charge.”

I’m already shaking my head.

“Please? You can tell. I know you can. Please, Lorna? For me? Okay, just for kicks then?”

“I don’t need to talk to him. I don’t have anything to ask him that’s of any consequence.”

“That’s okay.” She knows I’m relenting, curious about her latest  non-freak of nature. “I’ve already told him we’d call him today and that  you want to know about your next marriage.”

“Laurie! What marriage?” She knows about my divorce from a banker and all the turmoil and my refusal to get emotion- ally involved with anyone I’m not compatible with. “Don’t you think you’re jumping the gun a little bit?”

“All right, well, I said upcoming-romance-slash- marriage-slash-your-children. How’s that? Does that cover every possible base? New men in your life and your daughters. Okay? And I hope you don’t mind that I gave him your birthdate.”

Ten minutes later, we’d huddled over a speaker phone in somebody’s office, and we’re talking to Gus. We say hi to each other and if he’s intuitive at all, he knows I’m skeptical. Not be- cause I don’t believe in psychics but because I do.

“Okay,” he says, “Laurie told me your question. Normally, I get paid, but I’m doing this as a favor to her, okay?”

“And I’m doing this as a favor to her—” Laurie elbows me before the words leave my lips.

“Okay, Lorna,  I  focused  on  your  question  for  quite some time. It is very easy for me to sense that you are an attractive, intelligent  woman, and that you have much to offer in terms of romance and relationships.”

I make a finger down my throat gesture at Laurie, but she waves me off.

“You ask about marriage and pregnancy, but I sense that you are currently not married.”

I make a round-belly gesture at Laurie and shrug. She mouths back, “I said your children, not pregnancy.”

Gus continues over the speaker phone, but unlike with most psychics, I don’t notice a change in his voice as he “tunes in.” It’s a noticeable thing with real psychics and sometimes the only way you can tell they’re getting messages from the Ether as opposed to preaching their own opinions.

“I  feel  that  you  will  meet  someone  in  about  three months, and you will definitely have the opportunity to develop a relationship with him. He is not wealthy, but he is successful and he is looking to meet a nice partner. He is in his mid-40s.”

Laurie gestures and mouths, “See? See?”

“Lorna, it is quite clear to me that you want to have a child, and I sense that you are still able to have children.”

Ah, so Laurie didn’t tell him I already have kids. Well, at least she didn’t spoil this little test.

“I feel that you and this man will develop a relationship, and within about a year of meeting, the two of you will be planning marriage. All of this is a choice, of course, but I sense that it is a very real opportunity for you.”

“How’s she going to meet Mr. Wonderful?” Laurie asks, grinning. “Does she know him already?”

Gus directs his attention to me. “I feel that you will meet this man socially, like while out with friends. It will not be at a bar or club, and you will not meet him on the Internet. Rather, it will be in a casual social setting—like a dinner party. I feel that you have never met this man, but you will recognize the compatibility instantly.”

“What does he look like?” Laurie asks.

Gus pauses, then continues. “He has no facial hair and a clean cut appearance. He is average height and build. I feel that dating will be very easy, and the compatibility will be strong. I feel that the issue of having children will be easy to talk about. I sense that he is open to the idea. I don’t want to say that pregnancy is definite, as you would need to meet  this man first. However, as a clairvoyant, I don’t sense anything standing in the way. Overall your future is very, very bright.”

“Yes, I know,” I say with a smile, though my knowing has nothing to do with him or any of the crap that’s issued from his mouth.  Laurie nods excitedly, obviously expecting me to give him the Lorna Stamp of Approval. For some reason, I’m compelled to ask one more question. “So, Gus, is there anything else you can tell me about Mr. Wonderful so I don’t tell him to get lost when I meet him?”

Gus pauses. “Yes. I sense that his first name begins J and that he is some type of accountant or financial planner.” Glumly, Laurie reaches over and punches off the phone.

She stares at the floor, twisting her lips from side to side. “He’s not the real deal.”

“No. He’s not. What finally convinced you?”

“Because there ain’t no way in hell you’ll ever again convince yourself that you’re compatible with an accountant.”


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