Nanci never liked working 9-5, her father, a legendary con-artist in her eyes, picked apart the system so he wouldn’t see a hard’s day work in this lifetime. When Nanci was eighteen, her father passed away and had nothing to show for it. Not a dime to his name, or a property to prop her stuff in. Nanci was working at a convenience store at the time and her coworker, Lin, let her crash at their place until Nanci found a place of her own.
One afternoon, when Nanci was lounging on Lin’s couch, a package arrived for her. Nanci realized it came from her dad’s sister. She wasn’t entirely sure how her aunt found her updated address, but it excited her, nevertheless. When Nanci opened it, she found a batch of miscellaneous items her dad owned. It was filled with loose bolts, a random screwdriver, an ID from when her father was twenty, a photo of her when she was in kindergarten, and a pack of playing cards, alongside a tarot deck.
Nanci picked up the deck, she removed it from its box and shuffled. She wasn’t aware her dad was familiar with the occult. Nanci rummaged through the rest of the box and kept the tarot deck to the side. After several hours of trying to understand her father better, Nanci pushed the box aside and picked up the tarot deck. She delved into several sites to solicit information on the card’s meaning. Nanci’s brain was bubbling with ideas. She figured she could start doing readings at the park near her job. If these “psychic medium” shops can pop up and pour bullshit into people, why can’t I? Nanci thought.
She ordered a galactic-theme tapestry online and in a week, she was sitting out on a park bench pulling tarot cards to unsuspecting patrons. Nanci was pulling in a few extra bucks a week with her new scheme. She didn’t realize how many people were looking for guidance. She couldn’t fathom why one would seek out a psychic for advice. A thought that came just as quickly as it left. She prayed she wouldn’t run into a patron with knowledge on tarot.
Nanci was a psychic by day and a cashier (sometimes) by moonlight. She was feeling a bit more fatigued than usual and brushed it off to her extended hours, now that she was waking up earlier to do readings at the park. Her energy was significantly lower, but assumed she just needed a good night’s rest.
That night, when Nanci laid her head down to close her eyes, she took a deep breath and was ready for her slumber. When she closed her eyes, a woman appeared. She was crying and holding a cat. Nanci opened her eyes immediately, a wave of sorrow washed over her and she began to weep. She couldn’t tell if she was weeping from the image she just saw or mourning the death of her father.
The next morning, Nanci was washing her face, she couldn’t shake the feeling she experienced last night. It gave her goosebumps reminiscing in it. She splashed water over her puffy eyes and left for her morning readings.
Nanci sat in the park for an hour before her first client. This morning she didn’t particularly feel like reading, but she needed money if she was going to afford first and last month’s rent plus a security deposit. The woman sat down to greet her and Nanci froze when they made eye contact. The woman repeatedly said hello before Nanci awoke from her trance. Nanci didn’t reveal to the woman that she had seen her in her dream last night. She felt it would be another cheesy psychic medium line. Nanci had pulled cards for the woman. She had been doing readings long enough she began to learn the cards more than she expected to, it was as though the cards were emitting energies she could feel from just looking at them.
Nanci saw the tower card, the three of pentacles, death and the lovers. There are going to be endings, Nanci said. She proceeded to apologize to the woman and stated her cat was going to die. The woman was visibly annoyed, she told Nanci she was a fraud and a ripoff and she didn’t own a cat. Nanci was tired. She felt like packing up her set and going for a drink. And that’s exactly what she did. She called out of work at the store and went to a local bar where her father was a regular. When Nanci walked in, the bartender, Ralph, greeted her. Ralph poured Nanci a beer and a shot. In the past, she’d have a few beers with her dad. So when she entered she recognized a few of her father’s cronies.
When Nanci closed her eyes that night, she saw a group of people in an office, gathered around a cake with candles on it, there was a gentlman in the group who walked up to Nanci, almost like she was sitting in that office with them. He was holding a box, she could see a picture frame but the picture was blurry. The gentleman looked nervous. He gave Nanci a slight smile and walked over to the cake.
Nanci was exhausted when she woke up. She washed her face, ordered a double espresso and pulled out her tarot deck. When she sat at the park bench that morning, a gentleman approached asking for a career reading. Nanci recognized him from her dream. He asked if he was going to get a promotion at his current job. Nanci pulled the ten of wands, death, and six of pentacles. She told the man she didn’t see him getting the promotion. The man became enraged. He stood up and started yelling at Nanci. She was tired and moody and decided to take on the challenge. She told the man all about her dream and how she saw him with a box full of items from his office. Maybe I’m moving offices from the promotion, he shouted. Nanci didn’t think of that. The man had embarrassed her, she was at the point of exhaustion where she could either laugh or cry and when she thought of her father, she bursted into a fit of laugher. The man looked concerned, he concluded he was scammed by someone who wasn’t mentally sane.
Nanci’s laugh was uncontrollable, she laughed until the man walked away. She laughed as other patrons passed her. She laughed until she sighed and her face went cold. Nanci sat still long enough to notice she was still grieving her father. She had embodied her father so much so, she was ignoring problems and pushing her health to the side for a scheme. Nanci called in sick at the convenience store.
Three shots and two beers later, Nanci was buzzed. She was picking out singles from her bag when her tarot deck fell onto the floor. Nanci let out a loud sigh and assembled the deck back together. She stared at her deck a while and drunkenly daydreamed about her recent events. Nanci wasted her afternoon getting wasted, the liquor allowed her to drown out the dreams and that night, she slept.
The next morning, Nanci washed her face. She was relieved no one came to visit her in her dreams that night and decided she would head to the park to get some sun. She wasn’t going to do readings but something told her to take her cards anyway. Nanci sat in the park to breathe in the sun. She felt like she was splitting herself. A tiny tear leaked from her and she wiped it just as fast as it fell. Nanci dug into her bag and took out her tarot deck, she was shuffling her cards when someone approached. It was that woman she had seen a few weeks ago, the one with the cat.
The woman sat down next to Nanci and told her about her recent break-up. She informed Nanci about the cat her partner adopted in order to save their relationship. Now Tangerine lives with me, the woman said, showing Nanci a photo of her orange and brown striped kitten. Nanci was confused, her reading was right but her interpretation was wrong. Nanci could still make out that the woman was talking but what she was saying was muffled and far away. Nanci was brought back to her dream, she recalled the visual of the woman sobbing with her cat. The woman interrupted Nanci’s trance to thank her.
Nanci left the park in a high, a thrill took over her. She couldn’t believe one of her reading’s were correct. The woman left her a twenty dollar bill as a thank you and she took it to the bar for a beer and a shot. When she drunkenly made her way home, Lin was sitting in the kitchen eating. She told Nanci that she wouldn’t be able to host her much longer, especially if she’s not showing up for shifts. That’s when Nanci remembered she had a closing shift tonight at the store, she hurried to her phone and saw several missed calls from her boss. Nanci pleaded to Lin that she’d have money so, she told her all about the woman at the park tonight and how her reading was right. Lin started cleaning the kitchen and told Nanci she had a month to send her some money or find a new place to crash.
The next morning, Nanci washed her puffy face and got ready to head to the park. She was sitting there for about an hour and a half when a gentleman approached her, it was the man she gave a reading to several weeks ago, the one asking about a promotion. He told her he had been searching for her at the park to tell her about his job. How they did offer him the promotion. Nanci apologized to him for such a faulty reading and was prepared to pepper spray him if she had to. He interrupted her and told her she was partly right. He didnt get the promotion, because he chose not to accept it. He did indeed pack up his office and left the company due to a salary dispute. Nanci shook her head in disbelief.