She's a regular at the pub, petite, older lady, 75 to be precise, always fashionably dressed and with an axe to grind at some environmental policy or politician, she's taken a shine to me and invited me over to get my cards read. This is a tough thing, given my schedule, but eventually I make the time and get it done, it's less about the cards than returning some of the patronage she's so generously bestowed upon me, it's a small community and so you have to spread the wealth, keep it local...

She lives with her husband, a nice house on the other side of the lake, big, filled to the brim with tasteful knick-knacks, ornaments, artwork, jewelry, at 75 she's still fashionable and beautiful and lively as all out. She shows me photos - of her in her thirties, in her forties - "Here - I had it all, a girlfriend that was 17 years younger, a...", and another reference to the Kootenay lifestyle in a turquoise belt, returned by another ex lover, it's funny this, you can tell, she's still beautiful, but there's a whole very interesting life behind it all that she only hints at then moves on.

I said she lives with her husband, but not so much, there's a couple of outbuildings she's had built and furnished, retreats, temples where she sleeps, reads, meditates, does her own thing, and we abandon the house for one of her sheds, chat, she explains the reading she's going to do, odd decks I'm not so familiar with, my own preference is for the Rider-Waite or Crowley Deck of Thoth, but she has other plans, this is a "Card" reading, not a "Tarot" reading, and she gets out a couple of decks I'm unfamiliar with and bids me to shuffle them, cut them, restack and pick a card. These are the "OH Cards" by Ely Raman, I have no idea of what they're about. Meanwhile I'm to be thinking of my question, out loud or to myself, while she chatters on. She's offered me a joint - "The Cadillac of Pot" she calls it, but I don't smoke and have a big list of things to get done, she - well, less so. 

Shuffle, cut the cards, lay down the first large card I select on the table. The same is repeated with the smaller deck.

Finally - the one card reading (two - but they'll be combined) - the first card, flipped over - reads "GUILT". The second, smaller card has an image of a hand holding a mirror.

Now, this, I have to say, is a conspicuously bad reading. I mean, I don't know the cards at all, but I'm pretty sure this isn't one of those things where the "death" card just means transition, nope, this is pretty straighforward, I'm done for, I've had it, I might as well just confess, lead her to the bodies, dig the skeletons out of the closet...

She's laughing, she's convinced she has me, she's cackling with glee and rubbing her hands, "Very Telling....just look at that for a few minutes...", she's loving it, too much, she's not just the Procter Oracle she's now the judge and the jury and I'm done for, I've had it, you couldn't pair worse cards...

After a minute she notes my apparent confusion and indifference..."What was your question?...". And while I'd have preferred to keep it quiet, given the evidence there's no harm now in confessing...

"I was wondering where the diamonds are...."

- "What?"

"Well, I mean, I go prospecting on my days off and I was rather hoping to narrow my focus...I've a few possible locations but..."

- "Take me with you!!!" and then, seeing the look of horror on my face - "Forget I said that. Explain this to me..."

Conversation ensues, in which I explain that I most certainly am guilty, and of any number of offenses not credited me, this wasn't the question...

She thinks about it for a minute or two, then decides to extend my reading. 2 more cards.

This doesn't improve the situation any, although the last card sums things up pretty nicely...

She gets another deck, a Native American themed one, "The Sacred Path" and I do the one card reading from this...

 

AHA! This seems a little more relevant. Actually, it's not, not at all, but she begins to explain to me that Heyokah is a flute player that goes from town to town impregnating the local girls, and while it's not me it's a good story. But the "Cadillac of Pot" has addled her a bit, and she gets confused and digs through her book and corrects herself, nope, that's not Heyokah, that's another card, and in the end she just passes me the book to read for myself. 

The company's fine, and she's a character for sure - would be a great date for a rave, but - well, as psychics go I'm not even slightly persuaded. Another Kootenay Shaman, and I'd love to set her up in a booth at Shambala...

a dozen novels, a hundred paintings, sketches, easily, more even, all into the fire pit, it's a cool evening, a good night for a fire.

It's the bonfire of the vanities, of all unfinished projects, unrealized ambitions that were holding you back, time, now, to begin again and finish those projects that need completion...

 

Meanwhile, Chef has been fired, the owner is the new Chef and I know better, the lead server in my absence has quit and filed with WCB, only the dishwasher remains as a friendly face...

I've got to find diamonds, ensure this return is short lived, it's the happiest place in the world but there are better things to be doing.

And the list is growing, things to do before I go, need to organize clothes, toiletries, clean (hahahaha) flat, iron, bring current writing projects, a list of things to accomplish while out of body, out of mind, bills, it's back into the mundane ebb of life. But a damned sight friendlier than Calgary...

An old customer of the Italian Restaurant, used to run a newspaper in Calgary, made a fortune, never read a book in his life. When he sold the paper started a charity to promote literacy.

That's Calgary.

He had his own private room, was gracious in that way that people who get everything for free are gracious, he'd tell you that his business, he bought it, was lucky, the right combination of circumstance, then in the same breath would tell you how smart he was, how, because he had money, he was better than you, his opinions, they were worth more.

At the end, when the restaurant was closing, he didn't get the private room. He didn't tip. He was angry, I understood, his family, son, daughter, after he stormed out they apologized, didn't think to make up the tip. And the last few days he'd call in 5 minutes after his reservation and cancel it. It didn't matter, we had no end to the assholes filling the place up, he was just another one. It's easy to be gracious when your getting your way, when you don't - well, that's the test. And we all kind of liked him, and it was sad to see him go on that note - another entitled asshole, but - well, wasn't my call, and his flag went up.

Anyways, he lives not far from me now, older, in his 80's, and I see him in my rounds. At Beano, on the street. He doesn't see me, I'm careful to stay out of his direct line of sight, don't want to be lured into awkward pleasantries. But he knows. In the cafe, he doesn't see me, doesn't look at me, but you can tell by the way that he moves, looks - sniffs around - there's something - someone - he just can't put his finger on it...

I'm even more invisible in my street clothes than I was in my waiters uniform, it's fun to watch him, subconsciously I've registered, only he can't place me - doesn't even know it's me, just knows something's off, a memory that stings him ...