Time: 8:15 PM, place: Bound & Battered on East Colfax, Ivywild, CO. It’s the Spring Equinox, the beginning of the astrological New Year, and the future is as seductive as a five dollar velvet leopard print bodysuit (which I bought today at Goodwill, btw).
Beckoning from across the glass counter are Deidre’s slightly aged cocoa colored hands. Her aging mitts moved with spider leg swiftness as she slip-stitched what looked like a small black hole. Her words, ‘divination’, ‘chronology’, and ‘celestial karma’ made me burn with anticipation. I know if I give my hands over to Deidre, there’s no turning back. As soon as my palms turn towards heaven, I will have all the answers.
“Nix the forecasting foreplay, and give me a hand job!” I slapped the glass counter which rattled a basket of badges atop it. This did nothing to my self-appointed guiding light, Deidre, who sat behind the counter.
“Can you please, for the sake of my business, not refer to my palm readings as hand jobs?” Deidre said this without looking up from the hat she was knitting. “The last thing I need is a Yelp review of that.”
She’s right: hands jobs– uh, I mean, palm readings are just one of the perks of this place.
Bound and Battered has become an asylum for people like me, mavericks with motley interests. It is the premier place in Ivywild to get preloved books, rare records, and guru-like wisdom from the mature but totally ageless Deidre. Legit book lovers and music freaks utilize the eccentric diamond in the rough for its cultural cache. Deidre also stocks the place with a cozy collection of hard-to-find astrology books. Good ones though, not self-help shit like, How to Eat for Your Sun Sign, or Birth Chart BellyDance – the Sacred Secret Hidden in Your Natal Navel.
I met my gal pal Vani (a Taurus) to assist with and soften the hand job hustling. She’s a great sweet talker, not at all pushy or plucky like me.
A little background on Vani: she’s two years my junior, has the wisdom of a woman twice my age, and is basically Delta Burke-gone boho. She’s an olive-skinned, green-eyed, raven-haired Taurus from LA whose favorite accessory is a sturdy pair of false eyelashes. One of the major reasons why she and I get along is because we both provide each other with the necessities for survival. I give her astrology advice, and she offers me endless support and lends me her wigs. (I may have also guilt-dragged Vani here as retribution for that awful rendition of community theatre Vagina Monologues she guilt-dragged me to last week — maybe.)
“Please, Deidre?” Vani said with a flutter of her lashes. “You know how Camille gets when she wants something.”
Deidre eyed us both, then put her knitting needles down, “You are a pain in the ass,” she said to me, then added, “Do you want some chocolate?”
“You are my chocolate,” I grinned.
“Yeah,” she sighed, placing her knitting needles down. Deidre took a deep breath, rolled her shoulders, and shook the tension and negative vibes out of her arms and hands. The silver bangles on her wrists clinked like bells. She beckoned for my palms. “Your fate is in your hands,” she said. It sounded part mantra, part warning.
I handed my so-called fate over to Deidre like I was getting a bohemian manicure. This feeling is furthered by her appearance. She wore a linen lilac poncho which accentuated the whiteness of her curly earth mother hair. She always kind of reminded me of Susan Sarandon, if Susan Sarandon listened to The Clash and was black.
Her long, thin hands held mine with surprising firmness. She examined my palms carefully. “A very pronounced Head Line, runs closely with your Line of Success.” She nodded as she got into character. “That’s good. Means your ideas and mind are going to lead to professional triumphs in –” She stopped. “What is your career path this week?”
“Everything,” I shrugged. “I’m a Jacqueline of all trades, but I prefer to be recognized for my unique contribution to astrology. Why else would I call myself the Cosmic Cannibal?”
Without answering my rhetorical question, Deidre went on, dialing up the seerness by lowering her voice.“Confidence, intuition, will power…these are strongly marked, as are your creativity and intelligence.”
“Tell me something I don’t know.” I smiled at Vani. “Being so confident, able, and sassy is a blessing and a curse. Let me tell you.”
Deidre looked up, her eyebrows furrowed. “I don’t see a Line of Heart,” she said.
“Well, I don’t care about that! I didn’t come here looking for love. Don’t let your glaucoma interfere with this pressing hand job.”
Deidre looked at me in a way that was reminiscent of the way my Mom looked at me when I misbehaved in church. For all her mystical interests, Sue Sarandon similarity, and apparent hang-looseness, Deidre held herself with a heavy amount of authority, like a parent or a News Editor. She was the Saturn astringent to my Mercurial playfulness, sapient and studious.
“Uh, I mean palm reading. It’s because you’re a Capricorn. You’re so unflappable. I can’t help but tease.” I motioned for her to resume, “Please continue.”
She did. Her honey eyes glowed in the lamplight. “Wait. There may be a hiding Line of Heart. Yes,” she looked up at me, “it was swathed in body shimmer.”
I shrugged, and turned to Vani, “I refuse to leave the house unglittered.” Vani nodded in agreement, for she too appreciated a glittering bod.
“Wait.” Deidre said, jerking my hands and attention closer to her. “I see a man…”
I laughed hard. “Just one? I usually rack up four or five admirers daily.”
“Is there really a guy?” Vani piped up, her large green eyes wide. “Who is he, what does he look like? How about me,” she thrust her hands towards Deidre and sighed sharply three times. “Is there anyone for me?”
“Ugh, Vani,” I said, throwing my hands into the air. “You are so boy crazy it’s gross.”
“I am not boy crazy!” She began fixing herself. “I was going to go flirt with one of the pharmacy technicians at Target today, but instead chose to come here with you. I don’t see how that makes me boy crazy.”
“Yeah, you’ve clearly got your priorities in order. Flirting with strangers at Target.”
“He’s not a stranger, I used to go to school with him.”
Deidre cleared her throat. Vani and I turned to her. “No, it’s ok,” she said, crossing her arms. “I’ll wait until you two are finished. It’s not like this is inconveniencing me or anything.”
“Vani, Deidre is right: you need to be quiet so the wise woman can finish her hand job and tell me what’s in store for this year. Unless,” I turned to Deidre, “This is another attempt to set me up with your nephew.”
Deidre pursed her lips and focused her eyes.
“Or is it referring to your husband, my landlord, ascending from the boiler room to tell me that my rent is due?”
“Hm. Now that you mention it…” Deidre abandoned her stony silence. The gleam of her pupils still held her parental stare. She leaned in, “He also told me to kindly remind you to dial down the disco music a few decibels. We are old, and like to sleep to sounds of rushing air, not thumping euro trash.”
“Yeah, whatever. Isn’t gonna happen. The day I listen to disco quietly would be a sad day indeed. Disco is not a genre that lends itself to earbuds.”
Deidre returned to searching the lines of my right palm, and brought it closer to my left. She pursed her lips, and tried to connect the map-like crinkles of my two palms. Her eyes darted back and forth before she focused on my left hand, and cleared her throat. “I see another man…”
“Wait, there’s more than one?” Vani asked.
“Mm-hmm,” Deidre confirmed without looking up.
“That’s more like it,” I said, jokingly. “One man for each half of myself. Do they have any relation to Barry Manilow? I love him. Not physically of course — He looks like he fell into a vat of melted peach crayons — but musically, ugh. He’s my disco pop crush. And he’s a Gemini!”
“Will the peanut gallery stop interrupting me with wisecracks?” Deidre’s regal voice had an edge of irritation. She waited for me to zip my lips before carrying on, “Now, let me show you what I see.” She concentrated on my left hand. “This,” she said, tracing a line in between my thumb and forefinger, “is your Life Line.”
I bit my lip to hold back a Who Wants to Be a Millionaire quip. It was a challenge, because I really wanted a reason to talk about Regis Philbin during a hand job.
Deidre went on, “It’s broken and forked, which means that your life will change suddenly. And then start again. There’s a thread of purpose, but it gets interrupted.”
“Ewgh. That’s lame. Can you please tell me something that involves me becoming a famous astrologer? Or at the very least lie to make me feel better about my lifestyle choices like a good New Age swindler?”
She ignored me, and continued. “Your Life Line forks 3 times, and that usually means change and distraction. These here,” she thrice traced the upper part of my palm, “Are the forks. They point upwards towards your Line of Heart. So the distractions have something to do with romance. Most likely men.”
“That doesn’t surprise me,” I said. “Men are nothing but frivolous distractions a girl calls on only when she needs a receptacle for her frustrations. I’m not interested in this crap. I need a mission, not a man.”
“Men – don’t forget she said M-E-N. That’s more than one,” Vani said encouragingly before switching to a tone of doubt. “How can you be sure these rumored men-forks aren’t just flecks of glitter anyway?”
“I can’t.” Deidre said, letting go of my hands. “She’ll have to wait and see for herself.”
“What?” Vani and I said in unison.
“You promised to deliver me my fate!”
“I never promised to deliver anything. Remember I said your fate is in your hands.”
“But this is the Spring Equinox! I need spiritual guidance.” I said. “Annnd this year is my Jupiter Return. I can feel the vibrations of change and opportunity raining down on me.” I paused. “Not to brag about my abundance, but I just so happen to have landed an interview at Space Barf magazine, the lead news source on Ivywild Colorado’s counterculture.”
“And what do they want you to do at Space Barf magazine?” Deidre asked.
“I don’t know, but I’m sure it’s something to do with dating and astrology.”
“Says the girl-woman who claims to not be interested in men.” Deidre folded her arms. “Tell me, will they be paying you at Space Barf?”
“My dear Deidre, not everything is measured in dollars and cents.”
“Money is,” she said, her voice recapturing its usual deadpan sarcasm.
“That statement is a testament to your materialistic value system, you earth sign.” I turned to Vani, “No offense,” then back to Deidre. “And yes, they do pay me. Oh! I forgot to tell you. I applied for a phone psychic job for Queen City Psychics too.”
“Well maybe that’s your mission.” Deidre rolled her eyes. “Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t you say psychics degrade the nature of your work as an astrologer with their, I believe you called them, telepathic fallacies?”
“Yes, but that was last week. That was before I watched Ghost and saw the similarities between me and Whoopi Goldberg. Picture it with me, will you: me in a gold lamé dashiki, hair teased, attitude sassy, a disco crystal ball in front of me, guiding lost souls to their personal paths with my witty and wry wisdom.”
“And what does that disco crystal ball say about your path?” Vani asked, smirking.
“Her half-hearted hand job was supposed to answer that question for me.” I turned to Vani. “Whose side are you on anyway?”
I went on, “And I know I’m meant to aid those in need. You know –Scorpios, Aquarians, the occasional stiff-necked Capricorn and treacherous Taurus.” I paused to mock-scowl at Deidre and Vani. “I just figured your sub-par palm reading would tell me how.”
We stared at one another in silence for a few seconds. I was trying to coerce Deidre to change her mind and tell me that this year is going to cascade good fortune, but the stalwart goat wouldn’t budge.
Finally she spoke. “Just remember, ankle-biter, a Jupiter Return brings change and challenge along with growth. There are no roses without thorns.” She paused to fluff the silver curls out of her face. “How’s that for a finale?”
“Thank you Brett Michaels. Do you have any more sound advice from other power ballads, or does your wisdom stem solely from Poison songs?”
“Sound advice. That’s cute. And no. You know deep down I’m a punk rocker.” She stood up and gestured for Vani and I to do the same. “I’m tired. It’s late. Go forth towards your future. And stop wasting your youth in this old woman’s secondhand bookstore.”
Vani had to leave (she claimed because she has to get up early the next morning, but I know she wants to get to Target before it closes), so I went upstairs to my apartment to drink, listen to “Copacabana (At the Copa)” by Barry Manilow, and paw around in my new leopard catsuit.
I turned Manilow up really loud, too, because I know Deidre can’t stand him and she’ll be able to feel these disco bumps in her arthritic bones.
Even though the bits about the life line stirred my interest somewhat (I’ve always known I was destined to make an impression on the world), I in no way feel that I received a satisfactory hand job (though one never does without the proper lubricant). Deidre read between my lines and told me nothing worthwhile.
After my second glass of vanilla vodka, I considered writing a Yelp review about these feelings. However, Deidre would know immediately that it was me who did it, so best not. Instead, I dabbled in more inebriated musing.
My ideas and mind are going to lead to professional triumphs. Well, duh. I could have told her that. How long has she known me? Long enough to know that such a cryptic generality was not going to satisfy my hunger for my fate.
How pray tell is my mind going to lead to these professional triumphs? Obviously, it’s going to be in a such a manner that drops the jaws of the entire world. But still, I’d like to know some specifics.
JC Chasez, is it so hard for the elderly to stop yanking the youths’ chains, and just pass the torch. Ugh, nobody understands me. I’m practically an astrological savant. I’m MENSA worthy like Geena Davis but with the cheekbones of Natalie Portman.
Still, was Deidre right about there being an interrupted thread of purpose? I mean, I know I’m a Gemini, and we have a reputation for changing and not finishing things that we start and getting distracted easily and splitting ourselves between two or more objectives and talking in circles and deviating.
But is this year — the year my Jupiter in Leo reawakens and good karma is supposed to flow like lava — going to be wasted on three forking dudes?
Godzilla I hope not.
This is a work of fiction. Unless otherwise indicated, all the names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents in this story are either the product of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
This is the story that inspired my book, Jupiter Trine Uranus.