Monday, February 13, 2012

The Manitou 1 - Graham Masterton

"If you think it's an easy life being a mystic, you ought to try telling fifteen fortunes a day, at $25 a time, and then see whether you're quite so keen on it.

At the same moment that Karen Tandy was consulting Dr. Hughes and Dr. McEvoy at the Sisters of Jerusalem Hospital, I was giving old Mrs. Winconis a quick tour of her immediate prospects with the help of the Tarot cards.

We were sitting around the green baize table in my Tenth Avenue flat, with the drapes drawn tight and the incense smoldering suggestively in the corner, and my genuine simulated antique oil lamp casting pretty mysterious shadows. Mrs. Winconis was wrinkled and old and smelled of musty perfume and fox-fur coats, and she came around every Friday evening for a detailed rundown of the seven days ahead.

As I laid out the cards in the Celtic cross, she fidgeted and sniffed and peered across at me like a moth-eaten ermine scenting its prey. I knew she was dying to ask me what I saw, but I never gave any hints until the whole thing was set out on the table. The more suspense, the better. I had to go through the whole performance of frowning and sighing, and biting my lips, and making out that I was in communication with the powers from beyond. After all, that's what she paid her $25 for."

3 out of 5