The Fortune (or not)

A man goes to a county fair for no reason in particular. It was a boring Tuesday and he found a $10 bill on the way home. He’s never been to a county fair and figured he wouldn’t really lose anything. He’s not the beacon of socializing most achieve to be. He’d have something new to complain about to his parrot, at least.

He reaches into a pocket as he approaches the entrance and leaves his hand inside with a smirk. “Tuesday is free,” a sign tells him. He rubs the cotton-fiber paper between his hidden fingers as cubes of humanity ignite his despair. “Hit the Bottles”, “Catch the Fish”, “Flip the Frog”, “Whack the Mole”. The demands for his dollar are almost as sad to him as the people clamoring for the carnie gospel.

He stifles a chuckle when he sees what only well-trained doctors would consider a woman sitting on what’s left of a bench. On this cool afternoon, “her” face is a flood of sweat and grease. And “she” has the nerve to wear a thong. He wonders how a “woman” so large could properly wash “herself”. As he stands downwind of “her” while a pleasant breeze passes by, he understands. Not well. The final straw is his realization of of what “she” has been eating all this time. He runs past the oblivious one as “she” takes another bite of “her” basket of fried butter.

He stops near a tree and isn’t sure whether to laugh or vomit at what he saw. He collects himself and looks around the area. “Fortunes Told: $10”. Why not? He goes into the tent and sees a middle-aged woman sitting on the floor. No bead curtains, no gypsy stylings, no crystal ball. Just a woman who still coddles her flower child. She thanks him for visiting and asks about his wife’s parrot. He gives her $10.

He sits in front of her and she holds his hands. She feels like warm velvet, and smells like peppermint. She closes her eyes and slowly tenses. She begins to mumble something… and is shocked into a seizure. Something’s wrong. She won’t let go of him as her eyes roll back, as she becomes pale, as she starts to bleed. She thrashes herself on the floor, still not letting go. In a panic, he bites her wrists and she finally releases him. Lifelessly she lays, until she stares at him with horror and a smile.

“You… you’re going to be loved by the world. You’re going to k… kill us all.”

If you liked this short story, you should read the first four chapters of my first novel, “Lie”, by me, Rathan Krueger. It’s about four women who go on a getaway to help one of their own through a tough time… but it’s really about something more. If you like what you’ve read, you can buy my eBook for only $1.99 wherever they’re sold. Thanks.

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