Place a coin in the fortune teller’s hand
so that you may part the mists of tomorrow
(we can all imagine even if we’ve never been).
Behind some cloth -the “made in Bangladesh” label
not obvious in the drapery, and the dim interior
carefully accentuated by glowing orbs
or flickering candles (LED of course – OH&S –
the ignominy of modern magic).
The woman sits, her face obscured by frayed ropes
of greasy hair and heavily made-up wrinkles
(or are they real?) and her eyes glint
blacker than obsidian. Her lips almost disappear
into her toothless visage. Whatever she tells you,
with her rolling tongue and smoky voice,
she already has your money. “You will die tomorrow”
The coin is safe. Her future is secured.
Not so elsewhere. They take your blood
keep your cat overnight, dig bits from your body
and come back later with the verdict
and the bill. “Your cat is dead, scientifically speaking.
Now pay us $5000 for our failure to please”
Nobody wants to pay for bad news –
magic or scientific; before or after.
What happened to service guarantees?