Short Story Sunday: Fortunes Told

The large box in the corner of Cameron’s living room contained a life size automaton of a dark haired woman, with a red and blue turban on her head, adorned with two large peacock feathers, with her shoulders covered by a red and blue paisley shawl. Her hands held a crystal ball. 

A jar of pennies sat on a small table next to the antique Fortune Teller. If one put a penny in the slot on the side of the box the woman’s golden brown eyes would blink, her hands would rub the crystal ball, and a thin slip of paper would eject from a hole in the front of the box. On the paper would contain a fortune written in a thin old fashioned script, as if done by a delicate antique pen dipped in thin black ink. 

That night at his housewarming party he’d told his friends, “My mom and her boyfriend got it at an estate auction. It was a mess but they restored it and got it working. I still can’t believe they gave it to me.” 

The first fortune came out. Cameron’s friend River read the slip of paper.

You’re no Jack Kennedy.

River looked puzzled. “Who is Jack Kennedy?”

“John F. Kennedy. The 35th president of the United States,” said a pretty young woman named Madison.

“Oh, ok,” said River. “But what does that mean?”

Everyone laughed. 

The group of twenty something guests put in pennies and received their fortunes.

All of those failed romances are your fault.

You will receive live ducks. Be prepared.

Stop wearing those red pants.

Your boss is a jerk. Apply for his job.

Love is there if you just listen.

Throw out all of your preconceived notions. You are doing it all wrong. 

You’ll meet “the one” tonight.

Heartbreak is imminent.

Your parents will stop judging you if you stop judging them.

Aliens exist. Watch not only the night sky, but homes in your neighborhood. They are watching you. Studying you. Wanting you. They drive the blue van. The one that is always parked wonky.

Be prepared for a bumper crop of zucchini squash.

Kittens are in your future. Check all mysterious cardboard boxes showing up on your front porch or by your car.

Beware of demons.

There were more fortunes. Each was unique.

Some of Cameron’s friends laughed at their fortunes. Some were reflective and almost embarrassed. 

Over the next few days Cameron started to hear from his friends. Jason found a duck on the deck of his apartment. It was tame. He decided to keep it and named it Dave. Kara was in tears realizing why her romances always failed. Alex and Maggie hooked up after the party and realized they’d loved each other since college. Then Alex looked in the mirror and realized how red pants made him look like a toddler. Gracie and Jake noticed a blue van parked crooked on the curb in front of their house. They went out and purchased a telescope. Britt went to work Monday morning and was told that she’d been promoted and was now taking over from her horrible boss. River said he’d stop acting so stupid, especially since the girl he’d started to see had just been hired as an assistant professor in US History at the local university.

That evening Cameron called his mom. “Tell me about the Fortune Teller. Mom the fortunes were on spot. It is almost creepy. Is there something about that machine I should know?”

His mom laughed. “I wrote the fortunes. They were all just random. I was just being funny. You should have known that sweetie. Andy helped too.” Andy was her sort of weird but adorable boyfriend. 

They talked for a bit more about the fortunes, wishful thinking, and coincident. Then someone rang the doorbell. “Someone is here mom. I’ll call you later. Love you,” he told her, then went to the front door.

When Cameron opened the door nobody was there. But there was a box on the front porch. When he picked it up he could hear scratching noises. Then he carefully opened it up he found two tiny kittens. One was solid black with white paws. The other was a gray tabby. They looked like they might have been 8 or 10 weeks old. 

“Holy shit. Who left you here? Hey babies,” he whispered to the kittens and brought them inside.

On the kitchen counter was his fortune. 

Kittens are in your future. Check all mysterious cardboard boxes showing up on your front porch or by your car.

Cameron smiled, thinking about how weird and fun it all had been. His phone vibrated from a text. It was from Josh. Hey, Cameron, remember the fortune I got about demons?

~ end

Thank you for reading this tangled tale, written over a half cup of luke warm coffee this morning. Based on true life events. Well, kind of, sort of. Thanks Brian for the idea.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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