I Ching Jukebox


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Notice of Copyright consists of these parts: Copyright 2010 by Genève Blue

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

Hardcover Edition Published 2010 Printed by Lulu.com in the United States of America under ISBN 978-0-557-01382-1

Ebook version published by Tablo, July 2015

Text copyright 2008 by Genève Blue

Cover design and I Ching Coin design is ©Catherine M. Harris | Talerocker Dreamcat Creations

‘Jukebox On White’ image is ©Wolfgang Amri | Dreamstime.com





While writing is by its very nature a solitary task, I cannot forget those who support me and my latest endeavours. A book is a labour of love certainly, but it is none-the-less a laborious thing and in the many hours it takes to write and edit then edit again, format, etc., it means that there is stuff that isn’t done. Dishes lurk in the sink unwashed, laundry loads stay in mid-process, floors are left unswept, the dog whines cross-legged at the door waiting for me to end my paragraph…you get the idea. At the end of it all is a book which because it is self-published means that there isn’t any expert telling me this is great, what else have you got? As a Canadian, there just aren’t that many places willing to publish these midnight feats of folly. Oh well.

First off, I’d like to thank the reader for taking the time out of their busy day to read this. And then I’d like to say that the ideas and beliefs in this work of fiction aren’t necessarily my own. Fiction is exactly that, product of pure imagination and it is not my intent to offend anyone. That being said, though, please consider this novel one of an adult subject nature and if you find swearing or violence or occult topics not your cup of tea, then this isn’t the book for you. I make no apologies, all of my stories write themselves and these particular characters simply aren’t the most polite ones around, yet they do speak in a manner that is common to people of my and the subsequent generation. We hear it on t.v., in movies, at bus stops, that’s just the way people are. For those who do like this kind of thing (as I do), I hope you find it an enjoyable experience.

Getting back to the gratitude I’d like to thank my soul mate and partner who likes to hear me read what I have written and is a very good writer himself; my children who have to put up with my creative stints, and of course my family and friends both with us and departed because it takes all of you to help me have to the courage and desire to fulfill my dreams. Bless you.


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Chapter 1



He couldn't hold her hand. In chilling retrospective he sees her fingers slipping from his, her mouth a large O in a silent scream. Of all the things in the world he could have done or should have done, this one simple thing was the most achingly haunting. He couldn't hold her hand.

Days and nights go by after events that blow your world apart, yet sometimes, where it is said that time heals all wounds, it doesn't. For David the simplest of events of one day gone wrong just didn't let go of his synapses; every breath he takes, every time he closes his eyes, every fearsome sleep full of nightmares it is repeated.

And so it was with great anger he greeted this idiot's question: "What would you say David, if I were to take you back, back so you could save her?"

On the tip of his tongue was, "Are you out of your fucking mind???" but he didn't say that. He couldn't. What if there were an off chance that this fool did actually have something that could do that. He listened to Coast to Coast Radio. He knew there were people out there, scientists, who honestly believe that the time space continuum is actually more of an ocean, everything swirling around. Hell, he had even read Stephen Hawking's book A Brief History of Time and when he did he believed that time travel might just be possible. That parallel universes perhaps weren't just the stuff of science fiction writers.

That was before all of this though, and before reality broke through his very pleasant glass house life. So why should some shyster have the answer to his greatest wish? Sounded like some movie starring Ashton Kurstner or something. No, he'd just have to keep walking.

"Sandra wants you to. She told me."

David stopped, turned slowly to face the man, staring down into his pale blue eyes. "What did you just say?" He asked, in a deep quiet voice.

"Her name was, IS, Sandra and she would like you to help her if you can. She's still here. If I take you back, she can still be here. Some things are not predestined. This I know."

"If you know so damned much, Mister," David said, "then tell me this. What does she look like? What is her nickname? How old is she?" And then quietly, "Where is she?"

The old man laughed. "So many questions! So will you sit down and talk with me? I am Toduko the Seer. Here is my card."

He handed David a business card, printed from one of those freebie business card sites (and a mental note, he must have an American address, these cards aren't available to Canadians), on it was a pentagram, and oddly, a yellow happy face with a hand holding a crystal ball.

"You know, Mister," - Toduko, the man corrected him - "you know, Toduko, this is all very interesting and I'm sure you're just great but I came to this Psychic Fair with my mother. She's the one interested in this hobledygobble stuff. Now I don't know where you got the name Sandra from, though it is common enough to guess and I suppose if you guess it enough somebody is going to respond, either that or my mother said something, but I don't have any money on me, I wouldn't spend it on this if I did, this is worse than wasting it on lottery tickets. Go bother somebody else." He flipped the business card back at him.

Toduko nodded and smiled. As David turned away, he slipped the business card into his back pocket, and he said, "She was 5 feet 6 inches tall. She had light brown hair, long, was very thin, smoked sometimes and her nickname was Sandie."

David kept walking.

"She liked to say that it was Sandie with a 'T' to see the reaction!" Toduko called out.

"What?" David gasped slightly, and as he was about to turn and go back his mother grabbed his arm.

"David, come here, you have to see this!" She said and pulled him away.

She led him through a series of stands, some more crowded than others, past incense burning and light bulbs flashing and printers shusht-shushting astrology charts and stuff like that until they arrived at a booth where a woman was seated at a table. She was dressed up in a long purple robe and wore ribbons in her long black hair. At first glance he thought she might be pretty if she weren't so fucking weird. She waved him to sit down with long blood red fingernails.

"She reads auras!" His mother exclaimed happily. She had been hoping to find someone that did kirulean photographs, but the people here charged $35 a photo so she was happy indeed to have someone who could just tell her what was going on with her aura.

"Mom," he said, "you know I don't like this stuff, I'm only here for you. You do it."

"No, no you must have yours done!"

"Mom, I have enough for parking and a cup of coffee and that's it.

Tomorrow is payday. You do it."

"Just because I'm cheap," she said, "doesn't mean I'm broke. This is my treat. It's interesting. Honestly. I even brought a blank tape for you just in case I found somebody good. I think she's good. Give her a chance." And with that she handed the woman a cassette tape to record the session.

He thought about how much this reading must be costing, and how that would probably be paying a bill if he had it. The woman put the cassette tape in her tape recorder, pressed the record button, then lit some leaves in a bowl.

"It's sage," she said, "it clears the air."

"Smells nice," David told her. He was lying. He hated the smell of sage, it reminded him of too many dry turkeys on Thanksgiving and Christmas. On the other hand, burning it wasn't quite so bad as sage permeated with grease and yams and other assorted foods intermingled.

She smiled at him. He thought she had the most beautiful sapphire blue eyes he'd ever seen, and when he looked in them it seemed for a moment like he could drown in their depths.

She picked up his left hand and very gently turned it over, studying the lines. Then she did the same with the right hand. When she laid it back down she gave him just the barest hint of a squeeze. She knew. She knew what he was thinking. That couldn't be good.

She gave a slight giggle and said, "So, your name is David? What is your birth date and place and time if you know it - please just write it down here on this piece of paper." She tore off a piece of notepaper that was a give away from some company that handles freight. Looking at the slogan he wondered how a girl like her got a pad of paper like that. It just seemed so incongruous.

She took the slip of paper. "Ah, Mr. Gemini. You have a Pisces moon and an Aries Venus. You like your women beautiful and fiery." Again she giggled.

His mother gripped his shoulder as she stood behind him. The psychic noticed this, looked at David, then said to his mother, "Joan dear you must go sit down. When you are in his aura, I cannot read him very well, it is clouded."

It was as though his mother had put her hand on a hot stove. She quickly retreated to a chair in the corner of the psychic's area. David asked her what her name is.

"My name is Donna," she replied.

He considered this for a moment while she flipped through a well-worn book and glanced at his hands a couple more times. Donna. A little bit of a let down, that. She should have been something exotic, or ethnic or something. But no. Just plain Donna.

Without looking up, she smiled shyly and whispered to him, "Donna means 'lady' that's all. Nothing more, just lady."

Okay, that could have been a bit creepy right there. But he thought, no, it is not impossible that her train of thought would have followed his. Besides, these so-called psychic people are basically trained observers. He must have flinched an eyebrow or something.

He watched people go by as she flipped through the book and shuffled some cards, then she lit a white candle and tossed some more dried sage into the bowl. It flared up a bit.

He wondered about the people walking by. Some seemed so sad, others, visibly ill. Still others like they were searching for somebody to tell them that everything is going to be alright someday soon. That their old dog won't die, that they will actually get a promotion, that the perfect lover is just waiting breathlessly around the next corner, and in his gut he felt a tightening because this parade of humanity was both sad and pathetic and silly, all at once.

Donna cleared her throat. "So tell me David," she said, "have you never bought a lottery ticket?"

He looked at her quizzically. "Of course. Who hasn't at least once?"

"These people here, they are playing life's lottery. Granted, many are losing and it is their only hope, but others, you know, they just want to hear a kind word. Is that what you want David? Do you want a kind word?"

"No, I," he was at a loss for words. "I think you better give me whatever my mother paid you for."

"Yes sir!" she said with one corner of her mouth in a smile.

Her crooked smile angered him. "You're making fun of me, this whole thing is a crock of shit. You know it, I know it, why don't you tell my mother that and she can keep her money. She's 60 you know and she's still working and will be 'till 65. You, you just take people's money and feed them bullroar and expect us to believe you and you know what I don't like? I don't like that little old ladies, and lonely people, and sick people, they come to you and just sit there and say whatever and you don't care, but they, they hang on your every word for eff's sake and some people really do believe it and then what happens when it doesn't come true? Then what? Do you care?"

Her eyes darkened a little but she didn't flinch. She just sighed. "I will do what your mother paid me for. My words will be on tape. You can keep the tape, you can burn it, you can mail it to starving kids in Timbuktu, I don't bloody well care. But I will do what I promised. Heck, you may even listen to the tape.

Keep it and I'll bet you in a few months you'll be surprised."

"Here's a thing. I'm saying the date right now. September 23rd, 2005. It is 3:15 p.m. and we are at a Psychic Fair. This lady is Donna. If Donna is the real thing she will give me her card and I will keep this tape and in some period of time I will listen to it and if it is bullcrap I will copy it, mail it back to Donna and write an article for the newspaper. How about that?"

"Which newspaper, I'll be curious to read it. Especially since I don't think you are a writer."

"Oh, the Trumpet. They'd publish something like this."

"I'll bet they would. So David, we're wasting time here but since you are so sceptical and I don't have appointments for another hour, how about we just keep going until there's nothing more to say. No extra charge."

"Sure. How about for free?"

"David, as I am sure you must understand, this is my vocation. I have to eat too. I may be able to see things you cannot, but I am a living thing and I do need to sustain myself. So, if you are quite ready to listen, I will be happy to talk to you now."

He shrugged. "Go ahead. Shoot."

She passed her hands from the top of his head down by his ears, his shoulders, his arms, about six inches from his skin. It felt oddly electric, tingly almost. Static electricy, he surmised.

"Do you have a question you need answered David?" She asked him. He shook his head.

"Alright then. I'll tell you. Your aura right now is green and red with some yellow. You are healing, but you are angry. I can see that there is some blue trying to bubble up but there is so much red. You have been deeply hurt not too long ago and your spirit is struggling for solace, to heal and move on."

"Well, yes but you were talking to my mother just now. You'll have to do better than that."

She carried on as though he had said nothing. "There is a tear in your aura. When there is damage to a person's aura, sometimes they become what is known as Energy Vampires. Have you ever heard of that?"

"So now you're calling me a vampire?"

She laughed. "No, no, not like that. It means that you have energy that is leaking and some negative energy is finding this hole and is filling you and to balance out the negative you spit it out and take good energy. I'm making you angry because you can't do this to me. I am shielded. Say what you like, you won't upset me."

"That's fine, insult me. I'm sure that's what my mother had in mind when she gave you the money for this. Anything else?"

She took his hands. "I have much else, and it is not my intention to wound you. You are wounded enough. Please for a moment, imagine yourself surrounded by the light of this beautiful candle here. Please, close your eyes, breathe in sage and take a cleansing breath, breathe out harm and sadness and anger - these are dark things, you can imagine breathing out coal black fumes and expelling it into the atmosphere. At the same time, with your feet on the ground, imagine a beautiful silver cord coming from each foot and going deep deep into the earth. Can you do that?"

Her voice was soothing, hypnotic, and almost against his will he felt his eyes closing. He could see white light going in and darkness coming out, he could feel roots going from his feet into the floor. He nodded yes.

She closed her eyes, stayed very still for a moment, gently holding his hands in hers. After about a minute she exhaled, and when she did it felt like he was infused with light. He felt warm, almost weightless.

"I'd like you to open your eyes now."

He did. She looked deeply into them, and it seemed as though she were reaching into his very soul and it was not unpleasant, though a little unnerving. Her eyes sparkled in that wonderful sapphire colour again. There was something decidedly erotic about this whole thing even though he wasn't happy with what this person was.

"Oh David. You are no longer crying outside but you are crying all the time inside. I am very sorry for you. No one should be so sad! If I say to you, none of this is your fault, you won't believe me, so I won't say it, though it is true. And I won't also tell you that some things are meant to be because that is not what a grieving soul wants to hear, even though this is also true. I have hope for you though. You are a man who has lived a great love, and has given that back in kind, and still, though the object of your love is not physically here, she is and she grieves with you. She doesn't grieve for her loss though. She grieves for your loss. Understand that when you feel her sadness, because you do sometimes, I know you do."

He wanted to cry. Damn, he didn't like this feeling. These shysters, they just poke and poke where it hurts. He felt a slight breeze blow across his cheek and ruffle his hair. He took his right hand away from Donna, smoothed out his hair and put it back in hers without thinking. He felt a sudden swell of warmth and caring surging through him. He looked back in Donna's eyes. There was the hint of tear in the corner of her left eye. She blinked and it disappeared.

He was speechless. "Did you feel that? That breeze? That was your sweetheart. She does that to you often but you don't always notice."

He felt angry when she said that and asked her, clasping her hands firmly, "You are so good? What was her name? I want to hear you say her name! Say it!"

"You're hurting me," she said but she didn't remove her hands. "Her name was Sandie and she died falling and she asked me to hold onto your hands while we talk because she said you must have your hands held to know you are not a bad person. I don't know what this means, she's not telling me."

He tried to pull away, to stand up, to run away from this. Donna held tighter. "No. You were worried about wasting your mother's money? Well you listen to me then. I'm not done talking to you." She was stern, but not loud or indignant.

"Look, just let me go. Forget what I said, keep the damn tape, just let me go."

"No. You need to hear some things and I'm going to tell you them. Now sit back down." He did. "Good. Sandie's worried for you. So am I. There is too much anger, too much negative. That just isn't good. The hole in your aura needs to be repaired, and you must not be blasting your energy at people in order to get their energy. If you believe in anything, believe in karma, all this will come back to you in spades if you don't, and David, honey, inside, you are so good. Do you even remember the man you were before you lost Sandie?"

He nodded his head. "It was a lifetime ago."

"In a sense, yes it was. You need to look at this life now. There are lessons in everything, even something so harsh as the loss of your love. But you must go beyond that loss, and look at what was good about Sandie, and you, and the both of you together and cling to that memory. Please tell the image of the hand reaching to go into the ether. It is something that is draining your energy. My thought would be that something else is perpetuating it, not letting you let it go, and yet you know, there is a certain pleasure in pain. Do you see that? So many people they hold onto things that hurt, because for some reason, it feels good to feel that. You know what though? If you don't let that go, you can't fill that empty space with good things, pleasurable things, because it is full of anger and sadness and you are full. The universe sees this full up person and then whatever good energy should be there just goes on. So you must find ways to let it go. Meditate. Do sports. Breathe, always always breathe, imagine happiness and goodness coming in, pain going out when you exhale. Don't worry about where the bad energy goes; it's all energy, and the universe knows what to do with it. Just breathe."

Again he felt like crying. "How do you do that when feeling this at least is feeling something? I let it go and there's nothing, nothing at all. I hate this." He swallowed hard, took some deep breaths of air.

"You must. In nature, there can be no vacuums. You let go of the dark, there will be something. Hopefully, light. Think about that dear, and don't be afraid to cry now and then, that is the rain washing you inside."

He nodded, blinking back tears. His throat burned from the effort of not crying, so much so he really couldn't speak. "Now I will tell you what I see. There will be good things for you. Really. Another love, not the same as the one you had with Sandie, but different. Special in its own way. You will be a dad, someday, not tomorrow," she laughed," in perhaps 5, 10 years. You may have a child who is special, who needs a little more from you. But that is fine, that is his karma, and yours. But you must heal yourself first. If you don't your future is very dark and all lessons not learned this time around must be learned the next. You do understand that?"

He said yes.

"Do you have any questions? Any at all? If you want I can give you my card, you can call me, make an appointment if necessary."

"Yes. I do. My question is, this new love, who is she? What does she look like? The colour of her hair? Her skin?"

Donna smiled. "Some things I'm not allowed to say. They must reveal themselves to you in their own way, I can't influence it. So, my answer is, pretty but not runway model pretty, smart but not PhD stuff, dark hair, and yes, she has skin."

He laughed. "Okay, I'll hold you to the 'listen to the tape later' thing. I mean it."

"I hope you do," she said.

They shook hands and she gave him the tape and her card. As he walked away down the hall past the other vendors, just out of earshot she whispered to him, "I really hope you do."

After psychic Donna had pretty much shoed Joan away, she spent the next while wandering around, overhearing tarot card readings and sniffing bundles of incense (in both stick and cone form), trying essential oils until the entire mixture on her skin started her sneezing. She wound up in a New Age bookstore section where they had copies of Indigo - The Movie, which she had wanted to see and so bought a copy.

She also bought a book on remote viewing though quite frankly she knew she had no psychic abilities whatsoever. She just loved the idea of all this hidden knowledge. Who wouldn't want to know that there is in fact more out there than one would expect, and that some of us can tap into that.

She liked using Ouija boards, and doing automatic writing, and tarot cards, I Ching coin tossing, astrology, runes, you name it. If it was anything of this nature, she was into it. She had an entire bookcase full of things related to the occult and spirituality.

One thing she didn't own was a Bible. Once upon a time she did, when she had young children and a happy marriage and they trotted themselves off to church every Sunday in their Sunday finest, she loved how cute David was in his little suit and tie, and how adorable Karen was in her little dress and hat and gloves (though she did stop putting her in gloves when it occurred to her that little girls had stopped wearing gloves in the mid-60s and people were making fun of Karen). The bible got burned in the fireplace after her husband fell in love with a lady in the choir and made a mockery of her; and if that weren't bad enough, her Priest counselled her to swallow her pride, love her husband and trust that this is what God wanted and be good a wife anyway. "What God wanted, my arse", she thought, and turfed her cheating husband out on his fat ass to go make his beautiful music without her. No loving God would condone that nonsense and expect her to just take it. It just didn't make sense so she burned the bible while she was at it.

Since then the void that church had left was filled with all manner of interesting spiritual journeys. She spent hours talking to Jehovah's Witnesses, 7th Day Adventists, Moonies, you name it, just to understand what it was that was so appealing to people in these religions.

Her priest called her a few years ago trying to get her to come back to the church. He told her true faith was not found on a shopping list. She told him to kiss her butt and hung up.

Toss another coin in the I Ching jukebox, my dear, the dance continues on. Or, so she thought anyway.

David found her still staring at the books, trying to decide if there wasn't something else she should be reading. Spirit Totems? Dowsing? Maybe not today.

"So David, was it worth it?" she asked.

He shrugged his shoulders and said, "I'm keeping the tape and will listen to it in a few months." She patted his arm. "Oh that's good! Never hurts to be a little bit open minded about things. Honestly. Oh hey, here's a spirit candle. It is to attract love. If nothing else it smells nice," she said, sniffing it. "Would you like it? I bought myself a treat, I can buy you one."

"I don't want you spending all your money on me, mom, I don't need it."

"Everybody needs a little bit of something to hang a hope on. Even if it is probably just a pretty candle. My treat." She paid the lady behind the cash; the lady didn't even look up, just took the money, dit-dit-dit on a hand calculator, made change in a money tray and handed the candle and change back to her.

Joan gave it to him. He hugged her, saying, "Thanks mom."

"Want to come back to my place for a coffee?" He asked her.

"No, I've got some shopping to do yet. Let's go to Timmie's and get one on the way home, how about that?"

Sure, he said, and after confirming they'd both seen quite enough of the Fair they went to his car, then drove to the Tim Horton's that was on the way to his mother's apartment.

They both ordered a large, and sat in a window seat, a little bit away from the old folks holding court at the big round table near the back of the restaurant. They had the look of permanent fixture type customers and neither wanted to get too close to that. "So David," his mom said to him once they were settled in their seats, "what did you think of that psychic? I left when you started giving her a hard time, I thought, oh boy, just what she needs. You seem happy now though. So, anything?"

"Well," he said, turning his cup around in this hand, "I don't know. There were things that kind of made me wonder, but then you know these people are experts in reading body language and most people have some version of the same questions, don't they?"

Joan thought for a moment about that. "Well, yes and no," she said. "I think it depends on how much information you give them, and also what information they can get from you. Me, I don't volunteer information, I wait for them to say something and then I confirm it."

"But mom, all these psychics you've been to and the books you've bought and all that time you've taken doing this stuff and has any of it helped? At all? I mean are you any better than you would have been had you not done any of this?"

She pushed back a cuticle on one of her nails then chewed on her coffee stir stick. "That's hard to say because I don't know what life would have been like if I hadn't done any of this. All I can honestly say is that if I had listened to the priest years ago I'd probably still be married to your dad, weigh a thousand pounds, smoke three packs of cigarettes a day and be a roaring drunk. I think that's the only behaviour that priest didn't mind seeing in a woman." David laughed. "Mom, you know I've always agreed with you. But I don't think you'd ever be any of those things, even if you had listened to the priest. You wanna know honestly what I think? I think dad would have left anyway."

"Me too," she said, smiling. "You ever hear from him these days?"

"Nope. Haven't talked to him in about a year now. No idea what's going on there."

"Ah, I'm sure you'll hear if there's anything." She took a sip of her coffee. "I want to ask you something."

"Sure, what?" He said.

"How are you these days? I mean, really how are you? You seem a little angry to me. Please tell me you're not still spending your free time at the cemetery."

David stared out the window, trying to think of how to answer that without creating further questions. "I'm doing the best I can, mom, and no, not every day at the cemetery any more." He said then drained the last of his coffee.

"That's a start, that's good." She said and left it at that. She looked at her watch. "Oh my, I have to run. I promised Carol I'd try to make it to the movies with her." "Sure, I'm done." With that they walked back to the car.

As he drove her home he thought about what he should have said to her, but didn't because it would have sounded like, "No, I don't go to the cemetery when it's raining, and I've stopped buying flowers so much because they just take them away anyway; I still sleep with her favourite sweater in my arms though and sometimes it seems like she's right there beside me when I'm almost awake but when I open my eyes and she's not there it's like a dagger in my heart and I just don't know why I just don't want it to be this way, I want yesterday back."

Joan understood these silences from him. Even as a toddler he would have the dark moods and she knew that there was a lot going on behind that quiet face, and most of the time it was better not to ask what was going on in there but to just accept that that was how it was and how he is.

He dropped her off at her door, she kissed him goodbye, he thanked her for the treat today, and then after she left, he watched her walk up to the front door. From the back she didn't look like a sixty year old woman, there was something much more youthful than that in her. Once again he wondered why on earth his dad would find that old cow from the choir more interesting than his mom. Some things he'd never know he guessed.

He drove home listening to inane chatter on the radio, contemplating what to have for dinner. That, and whether or not he should light the candle like his mom said he should. Ah, why not he thought. Atmosphere. That's what the remains of this day needed. Atmosphere.

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Chapter 2



When Donna was small she liked to lie on her back in the middle of the floor on that ratty old braided rug, right where the moonlight shone through the window and left a cool open door of light in the middle of the rug. Now some people would tell her that there is no difference between moonlight and sunlight and the light from filament lamps, but she knew better. She knew that there are qualities of energy that are not measured in wavelengths or ohms or some such thing. She could just feel it, and it wasn't until she realized nobody else could feel this that she stopped arguing and accepted what for her, is.

But when she was a little girl and all was dark in the world except for the square of light on the rug - and if it was still earlyish the light was a band of yellow beneath the door - she liked that the dark felt soft and silky on her skin, and she liked that if she surrounded herself with the lovely white moonlight she could block out the sounds of the world around her and just go off somewhere else in her mind. It started with her feeling like she was rocking back and forth from head to toe, like she was in a boat with her head pointing into the waves, and if she let go of her thoughts, she could imagine standing in the street, or sitting in a tree, or flying off to some faraway place like Australia or Africa or under the ocean. Sometimes her parents would yell

at each other, sometimes things would be broken or stuff would go bang on the floor, but unless somebody actually entered her room, she didn't hear anything.

That was good. She grew so very tired of hearing the shouting and crying and smashing of glasses against the sink; by the time she was five she knew every swear word there was and even a few not invented yet, and while lying on the floor she would try to send her parents the moonlight with her mind, hoping that maybe what calmed her would calm them too, but that rarely if ever worked.

She had an imaginary friend back in those days. He was an Irish imp of a friend, short with wiry blond hair and sparkling green eyes with a twinkle of mischievous laughter in the corner of an eye and he would show himself to her by floating in the corner near the bedroom ceiling. First she would smell pipe smoke, a very pleasant scent, and then she would hear him laugh; she'd look up and there he'd be, bobbing like he was sitting on a flying carpet up in his corner and she could almost hear him say, "Top of the evenin' to ya darlin'". She'd giggle and whisper a quiet hi, because if her parents heard her talking they would know she was still awake and there'd be hell to pay.

He taught her a little trick. She didn't need to open her mouth to talk to him, all she needed was to think it at him. Not just thinking, but thinking like she was talking to him. That would work, and he would think back at her, though she discovered that it didn't really matter if he spoke out loud, nobody heard him anyway. Just her. At first, when she was small, he would tell her stories of Ireland and of times long ago and of planets and worlds far far away, and how she loved to listen. It was his voice that sang her to sleep at night, and his stories that were the ones that rang in her ears. So what if they weren't the latest best selling kid's stories. Did she really need to know about what happens where the sidewalk ends? Not really. She much preferred his fables of princesses lost in the forest, of time travellers riding on dinosaurs, of people turning into tigers and roaming the savannah, all those magical things.

He also told her things she needed to watch out for, like men who stand around the street and try to talk to little girls, or of friends who are not really friends at all, they just want to get close for some other reason. He made her see why having money and beautiful things isn't the key to happiness, he made her forget her parents and most of all, to believe in herself if nothing else because when it came down to it, the only thing real in her life was herself. As she got older she took to reading books and stories on her own, and sometimes she would paint paintings of what she saw in her dreams, and quietly she would listen to an AM radio tucked under a pillow and drift off to sleep hearing her favourite music. Less and less she would call on her friend until one day as an adult and living on her own, she realized Seamus wasn't there any more.

It would be a while more than that before she realized what many mediums do, that a child's imaginary friend could well be their guardian

angel. Just the thought of that made her smile. What a world this would be, she often pondered, if all children knew and acknowledged and dared to keep and believe in their imaginary friend, enough that when it disappeared they too would know the comfort that there is always someone watching over them. She truly believed there would be far fewer suicides, far fewer suspicious accidents and murders if they did.

It wasn't hard to go from a disappointment of a daughter born to disappointed parents, to nearly losing herself in drugs and the street, to realising that perhaps those things that had been haunting her (imagine the touch of an "old" man for money, knowing down inside his intestines were riddled with cancer) were best shared and not kept to herself. So she told people stuff. Now men out looking for a pipe cleaning aren't likely to want to hear that their wives have already left their cheating asses in spirit and were now working on it in life and most of them were quite vocal about her shutting up and not saying crap like that that's not what she's paid for...except there was one guy.

In his 30's he liked a toke and a cuddle (as he put it, she called it missionary position) and mostly to spend the night talking with her. She didn't know how often he did this, she didn't want to know really, but he was a welcome sight because she knew if he chose her, there would be a decent meal, a hotel or motel room with a shower, and he did pay for the entire night. He was also somewhat disfigured and basically ugly though she could tell that prior to whatever caused him to be this way, he probably was or could have been handsome, and he did have a wonderful voice. Deep baritone that was kind of laughable given he was a fairly short (5'8" to her was short) and almost skinny man. He called himself Ham, for some strange reason certainly because she sincerely doubted that was his real name. He was astute enough not to have on him anything truly important except his driver's licence (she never looked at it close enough to read it), a bit of cash, his keys, some "rain coats" as he called them, a cell phone, and things to smoke. What he was smoking depended on his mood. Most often it was just cigarettes, but occasionally it was pot or hash or whatever struck his fancy.

The way he spoke he was definitely well read and most likely quite educated; when she asked about that he just shrugged it off and said papers don't matter it's what you really know that's important. She had an inkling that maybe he was a teacher of some sort but again, he wasn't volunteering that sort of information. He was concerned enough that even her gifts were blocked from seeing, as most people can do. Whether he did it consciously or unconsciously she wasn't sure, but her guess was it was conscious.

She liked him most of all because he treated her like a person, a real woman not a thing, and it made her feel good. At one point, she felt so close to him she almost let him kiss her on the lips but she knew she couldn't break that code of the streetwalker unless she planned to make him her true boyfriend and a part of her just wasn't ready for that. She thought he'd be happy if she offered, but there was equally the risk that he would freak and say no way, he doesn't want that, or that he had a wife and five kids, or even more scary, say yes.

He gave her hope that maybe someday somebody would love her for herself. So far, it hadn't happened yet.

Tonight as she packed up her things and locked up her section of the show area - not that there was much to lock up - she wondered about David and his mother. He was right of course, to take her to task for taking money from his mother. But, she wasn't that much of an old lady that she was on a meagre pension, and she wasn't so gullible as to offer her money to fix her life, and she truly did seem to appreciate what Donna did, not just be there grasping at straws like most people.

David though, she could see was mired in sadness and self- pity and anger, the last of which was starting to dangerously take over. She had tried to emphasize to him that being negative normally was not conducive to

getting over anything or attracting anybody happy so that isn't a state one wants to foster, especially if it is not his normal propensity, which it certainly wasn't.

She doubted she would ever see him again. The show would end on Sunday, and then she would have a week's break before she was off to ... Orillia? She forgot. These towns and cities become a blur over time. At least tonight she would be in her own home area so it would be her own bed surrounded by her own things. In her case, very much alone.

She giggled to herself. The way she was feeling lately, she wondered if she could find Ham and pay him to pay attention to her for a change, ha ha. She stopped being on the street ten years ago and it was quite likely that he no longer frequented anything, she did worry about his health.

She wondered if he ever thought of her at all, and how he felt when he found out she'd stopped being out there available for a price, she never told him she was stopping that because she couldn't bear what the expression would be on his face, and yet, being a man, did he ever think of her, dream of her, desire her again? She giggled to herself again. Probably. She was good after all.

Maybe she should just drive by the old place, see who’s out there, if anyone she knows is still there, and what if she saw Ham? She could ask him to go for a cup of coffee. That would be all right.

She smiled. That's just what she'd do. And if she did see him, she would tell him what she really is and maybe give him a free reading, and if he asked nicely, maybe even a roll in the hay. With a kiss. As normal people do. The night was young.

She drove down by the old streets; she had tried to stay away from them for some time as it was just painful and shameful. Memories. The streets were remarkably quiet, but in street terms it was really rather early, it was only 10 p.m. and not a terribly busy place. She didn't see any of her friends out there which could be a good or a bad thing, depending, and the energy she was getting just driving down the street was quite strong and a little dangerous so she drove on to the Donut shop two blocks down for a cup of coffee. As fate would have it, down the street was parked a familiar car. When she entered the donut shop, there in line was Ham, his arm around a woman with whom he was chatting animatedly. She left to go to the bathroom, he watched her walk to the ladies room and as he turned back towards the cash he saw Donna. He blushed all the way up to the top of his ears.

"How are you?!" Donna said cheerfully, "it's been so long! I'm not doing my old job anymore but, would you like a cup of coffee with me? Catch up on old times?"

He cleared his throat and spoke quietly next to her ear. "Hi. I'm fine, I was sorry you left. That is my girlfriend I'm with, for real, we were at the movies. I can't talk to you now, but if you need anything, I suggest you join a church. A good pastor is a great person to talk to about things.

"I, um, I'm glad to hear that," she said quietly, "I'm very happy for you. I just wanted to say I don't do um, what I used to anymore, I'm just a regular person now." She looked at her watch, "Oh my, look at the time! You know what? I have to run. Nice talking to you."

She turned around and walked out, and as she did she heard a woman's voice say, "Honey, who was that?" very sweetly.

Donna went back to her car, started it up, tears sliding down her face. Ham, or whoever he was, would never know that that night she was going to ask him to go out with her. And now she never would. She took a couple of deep breaths, in with fresh air, out with sad, and drove home.

Does anyone ever ask the psychic how they're feeling? She wondered, key in the door. Probably not she thought, and, why don't I have a cat?

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