Who is Chuck and why does he like to travel?

I was born to be a writer and when I wrote my novel Wild Point Island, Chuck, my orange and white recently rescued feral tabby, got it in his head that he wanted to travel to the island and see the place for himself. Well, of course, Wild Point Island, can only be seen by revenants (you'll have to read the book to find out who they are) and Chuck is no revenant so instead, I concocted a plan to take Chuck with me when I travel around the world, which I do frequently. Not an easy task. First, I have to deflate the poor kid of all air, stuff him in my carry-on bag, remember to bring my portable pump, and when I arrive, I pump him back up. Ouch. But he's used to it by now and given the choice to either stay home in his comfy cat bed or get deflated, he pulls out his passport, ready to travel, every time.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Chuck Walks the Boards and Visits a Fortune Teller




And that is one thing I have grown accustomed to--as the official guardian of a rascal cat--Chuck always has another idea.

The kid is full of ideas.

Good ideas and bad ideas.

Now, as we were making our way back to our hotel room--ensconced in the escalator--after Chuck had squandered every penny of my twenty bucks playing the slots--he pushed a card out of my smart bag and it tumbled to the floor.

A calling card advertising a certain madame on the boardwalk. No, not that kind of madame. A tarot-card-reading-fortune-telling madame by the name of Sylvia. Sylvia?

Was the kid for real?

“Why?” We had this conversation the next early afternoon after we finally woke up. “Why do you need to have your fortune told? What is it you need to know?”

But, as usual, Chuck pretended not to hear me. He was too busy gazing out the large window that overlooked the ocean, fascinated by the waves that swept into shore. He had never seen the Jersey shore before. Or the ocean.

“We can spend the day on the beach,” I promised.

Chuck remained firm.

I know Chuck when he gets into one of his moods. He gets an idea in his head and he just won’t budge. Like hardened cement.

So, yeah, you guessed it. The next thing I knew, after lunch -- because the kid never misses a meal -- we were trekking down the Jersey boardwalk in search of Sylvia.

I half prayed that, perhaps, she had gone out of business. Or that we wouldn’t find her. But, unfortunately, she had a little storefront not too far from where we were staying with her name prominently displayed in front.

“SYLVIA. PSYCHIC READINGS. TAROT CARDS”

We were doomed, I thought. But then I had another thought. Maybe she would have some objection to doing a reading for a CAT. Oooh, things were looking brighter. After all, who could ever tell what a cat was thinking?

So, in I marched through the door, into the darkened hallway -- why are they always so dark -- and up to the counter. A woman stood there.

“Yes? Can I help you?” she asked.

“I’m not sure. I--”

“You want your fortune read?”

“I want a fortune read, but it isn’t for me. You see . . .” and I paused for dramatic effect. “It’s for . . . my CAT.”

I don’t know what I expected. But this woman -- Sylvia -- didn’t blink an eye. “Whatever. That will be ten dollars.”

And why should she care? After all, my fortune. Chuck’s fortune. It was the same ten dollars for two minutes worth of work.

“You can do a reading on a CAT?”

She shrugged her shoulders. “Follow me.”

I was caught. Now I had to go through with it.

“I hope you’re happy,” I whispered to Chuck as I walked around the counter and into a corner room on the right.

“Put Chuck there,” she said.

Now that was spooky, because I hadn’t said his name at all, but I did what she wanted.

She pulled out a deck of cards, tarot cards, and like in the movies, began placing them down on the table in front of us.

“For this reading,” she said looking directly at Chuck, “The cards tell me three things.” Then she proceeded to stare at the cards. Touch one in particular. “Ah. You will live a long life. For a cat.” She almost smiled.

Then she fingered another card, and it was as if she was receiving special information through her fingertips. “You are lucky. You will be very healthy in your life. No major illnesses that I can see.”

She closed her eyes then and waved her hands over the cards that remained on the table. Settled on a third card. Her eyes popped open. “Ah. Now this is very interesting. A stranger will come into your life. A mysterious stranger. This is not always good news, my furry friend. But, luckily, in this situation, this stranger will bring you much happiness.”

I heaved a sigh of relief. At least from all this mumbo jumbo we had gotten good news.

After we left, as we walked back to our hotel room, I wondered if Chuck believed the fortune teller or not.

Personally, I was on the fence.

It didn’t seem possible that anyone could tell the future and yet, Sylvia had known Chuck’s name. And that freaked me out.

I hadn’t said his name. He wasn’t wearing his name anywhere on him.

And, literally, we had just shown up on her doorstep.

I reached the only obvious conclusion I could make -
Sylvia was either a real psychic or she was an incredibly good guesser.

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