Tuck Your Tail And Run! (chapter 1) by Christopher Reel


1. When the old man finished telling Tabitha and I our future he stood, bowed, and then sat back down into his worn leather chair. Quietly he sat with an eerie calmness. His cap, midnight blue with yellow stars and moons, was tilted lazily over thin and unruly peppered gray hair. His face, pale, stubble, and wrinkled, ruined by age. Clear tape, at its bridge held together a pair of wire framed spectacles that enlarged his dark and quiet eyes. His mouth, a pair of thin lips over toothless gums, appeared to posses a half smirk that seem to say ‘Thanks for wasting your money and time with me, you dummies.’ which provoked me to ask ‘Are we suppose to believe that shit?’

‘Why not?’ asked the old man.

I did not respond, instead I turned to Tabitha who sat beside me. Her face was quiet, except for a disapproving flickering in her eyes.

‘Why do you have to be so cynical?’ She asked.

‘I inherited it from moneys.’ I said.

She rose and gave me a look that I thought only irritated Pit bulls were capable of. She then dug into her handbag and said ‘Besides, isn’t it good to hear good news about our future?’ She looked up from the handbag to the old man. ‘Even though he doesn’t believe it.’ She handed him a $20 bill in which he placed onto the desk.

‘There’s no truth, only skepticism in the mind of non believers.’ He said.

‘He got that from a fortune cookie.’ I said.

The old man smiled and nodded towards the $20 dollars on the desk and said. ‘Thank you.’ to Tabitha who smiled back and said ‘You’re welcome.’ and then asked ‘Do you have a restroom.’ The old man pointed to a door in the back.

‘You know you’re the only fortune teller claiming to be a witch.’ I said once Tabitha went into the restroom.

‘I’m a warlock.’ He said.

‘Witch, warlock, same thing, right?’

‘If warlocks had tits, I’d suppose.’ He laughed.

His laughter sounded like a choking puppy. I wasn’t sure rather I should run or give him the Heimlich. He was scaring me and all I wanted him to do was stop. ‘Tell me why anyone should believe you.’

‘Because I’m a warlock, one of the last ones left.’ He said after his laughter crawled to a cough and a smile.

‘I could never make myself believe you fortune tellers or Tarot card . . .’

‘I’m a warlock.’ He cut in.

‘Whatever.’ I said. ‘What I’m trying to say is, I don’t believe in none of that shit. Come on now, isn’t it normally thought of as crazy for a person to believe in something that doesn’t have concrete evidence that it exist?’

‘Well warlocks exist. I’m a warlock.’

‘Look,’ I said leaning towards the desk. ‘Tabby believes in fortunetellers, horoscopes, and all that other bullshit. She’s a wonderful person and I love her so much. But I must admit she’s a little bit gullible at times. And, you telling her how happy our future together will be and that I’m the perfect man for her will make her . . .’

‘Believe in you?’

‘Exactly, and I don’t need the pressure.’

‘Pressure?’

‘Yeah pressure.’ I said. ‘I’m a fuck up. I bet you, the all knowing wizard, didn’t know that I was laid off today.’

‘I only know what I have to know.’

‘I think you don’t know shit!’

He pulled out a pen from his shirt pocket, drew a happy face on the $20 bill, and then slid it to me.

‘What’s that for?’ I asked.

‘Take it,’ he replied. ‘I’ll make you a believer.’

The front door opened behind me, a woman, attractive but aged, came inside. ‘Are you ready, Mulligan?’ she asked.

I stood as the restroom door opened. The woman sat onto the sofa against the wall. ‘I bet you believe that he’s a wizard, too, huh?’

‘I’m a warlock.’ The old man stated again.

The woman nodded and smiled.

‘It figures.’ I said as Tabitha joined us. I followed behind her as she headed to the front door saying her good byes.

‘You’re going to make him a believer, aren’t you?’ I heard the woman ask.

‘Sure.’ The old man replied.

I turned back to them and said. ‘A believer?’

‘Come on, the movie’s about to start.’ Tabitha said as the door was shutting between us.

‘Didn’t they use to kill people for witch back in the day?’ I smiled.

‘Do you believe in God?’ The woman asked.

‘Sometimes.’ I shrugged.

And then she asked. ‘Do you believe in magic?’

I shook my head.

‘How do you believe in God and not magic? What do you think Jesus was doing to create miracles? How do you think he turned water into wine?’

‘Jesus was a magician?’ I responded.

The woman sighed and said ‘No.’

The old man suddenly stood, raising his arms out in front of him with his hands back side up and fingers pointing towards me. ‘May the heavens and the earth be there to comfort and protect you.’ He said and then flopped back down into his chair, breaking into his choking laughter. The woman laughed as well.

I stood quiet in their laughter for a brief moment before I left out of the door into the soft breeze of the mid-summer evening. Tabitha was waiting for me across the street in front of the movie theater. She asked ‘What took you so long?’ as I approached her. I pulled out the $20 bill and said ‘Refund.’ She shook her head pushing my hand away. ‘What?’ I asked. She just stared at me. Her brown eyes sparkled from the glow of the street lamp directly above. It always amazed me how she could look so beautiful at any given moment.

‘Alex, you know that I love you with all my heart, right?’ She said. ‘But sometimes . . . I don’t know . . .’ She shook her head as she turned and begun walking towards the theater.

When I grabbed her hand she stopped and turned to me. ‘But sometimes you don’t know what?’ I asked.

‘Nothing.’

‘Bullshit boop, you wanted to say sometimes you don’t know if you love me, or why you married me, or if your mom was right and you should had . . .’

She raised a finger to my lips, smiled and said ‘Shut boy. Don’t be stupid. I love you and I married you because I love you. And if I listened to my mom I’d probably married to a couple of bi-sexual midgets as long as they had good jobs and got along with her.’ She laughed, I smiled, and then she leaned in and kissed me. ‘Anyway I was going to say that sometimes I think you’re crazy. She turned, leading me by the hand.

‘Everybody’s crazy.’ I said. ‘That’s just a side effect of life.’

About thebabbler

The Babbler is social commentary and literature by Christopher Reel

One comment

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