The Bad Psychic

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Ronald MacDonald was a bad psychic.

Growing up on the hardscrabble streets of Punta Gorda, his childhood dream was simple: to help people understand that there is more to life than just the physical world.

And also — no, he’s not friends with the Hamburgler, so just shut the hell up about it.

Ronald’s first reading was brutally honest.

He sat down with a young woman who needed validation that her deceased loved ones were still around–but not watching her take a shower or have sex, because that would just be uber-creepy.

To begin the reading, Ronald lit some patchouli incense and gazed into his crystal skull of Sylvia Browne.

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“Okay,” he inhaled deeply. “I’m getting a sense that there is a father figure near you…”

“Yes! My dad! He died when I was 16!” the woman sobbed, wiping away tears.

“He’s showing me a sign for…..huh. That’s weird. He’s showing me thumbs down. Yeah. He’s got both thumbs down. Oh…and now he’s jumping up and down. He’s holding a sign that reads…”

“What? What does it say?”

“Disappointed.”

“Disappointed? What?” the woman yelled.

“Now he’s underlining the word disappointed with a red sharpie. And adding exclamation points. Yep, he’s not proud of you and never was.”

Ronald didn’t let his first reading fiasco stop him from crushing yet another person’s hopes about the afterlife. He read for his elderly neighbor, Ethel, who had recently lost her husband of 70 years.

Ronald began the session. Sylvia Browne’s skull glowed a fiery orange. “Ah, your husband Stan is here! He’s standing right behind you!”

“He is?” Ethel sat straight up in her chair. “How does he look? Is he okay?”

“He’s very excited about something. He’s pointing at you and shaking his head.”

“What does he mean? That it’s not my time yet? That we’ll be together again someday?” asked Ethel.

“Well… now he’s showing me a huge plate of pot roast. He said that’s what killed him. Your leathery, disgusting pot roast that he had to pretend to like for decades.”

“He didn’t like my pot roast?” Ethel’s voice quivered.

“Now he’s opening and closing his hand rapidly to indicate talking…now he’s showing me the sign for choking someone…” Ronald closed his eyes and drew a deep breath.  “Oh! Okay! He’s saying your nonstop bitching slowly killed his soul and he would have rather died than to listen to another second!”

Ronald slowly exhaled as the incense swirled around him. “Oh!” he continued. “And now he’s saying the only thing that scares the crap out of him in the afterlife is the thought of you dying and your soul finding him on the other side so that you can continue your relentless blabbing on and on about politics and that godawful show, The View. And he says that by the way, all of the women on The View end up in hell. Especially Joy Behar.”

Sadly, Ronald MacDonald’s psychic career pretty much tanked when it was discovered he really couldn’t read anyone and basically made everything up as he went along. Yet curiously, he delighted in causing others needless pain and suffering.

He now has a successful career as a politician in Boca Raton.

 

 

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Einstein and the Theory of Slurpees (Part 2)

THE BIG EVERYTHING

After the man in white whisked me away from the Past Lives Viewing Theater (he never did tell me his name, so I decided to call him Mike), I noticed an odd sound. It was a buzzing of sorts, pulsing in waves.

Buzzzzzz…..buzzzzz….buzzzzz….

Or maybe it was more of a whumm….whummmmm….whummmm….

I imagined a giant generator floating off in the distance, plugged into a monstrous power strip. I knew it. The universe is powered by Home Depot! I chuckled to myself, stopping to hover in the sky right above the gardens while John Lennon sang on the stage below, “There are places I’ll remember….”

“We must move quickly now. The Light is waiting for us,” said Mike.

“But first, tell me this, does John imagine there’s a heaven now?”

“Ha. Ha. Yes. Good one. We have to go. Right now.”

“Wait…is He or She, I mean… the God and/or Goddess of Everything, giving off that loud buzzing sound?”

“Sort of.”

“You should really try to be more vague.”

I never realized a spirit was capable of eye-rolling with his entire body until that moment. Tiny specks of bright red flared up like sparks, rippling in waves across his energy cloud.

I sensed he was growing tired of my jokes.

“Hey!” I yelled as I felt a zap of heat where my wrist used to be. Suddenly, Mike and I were zooming straight up into darkness, closer to the big generator in the sky.

Although the spirit dimension is just above the living, the place The Light resides is well, light-years away, straight up in an immense oval-shaped black space surrounded by blindingly bright stars. Kind of like a giant football stadium.

“Well, here we are. I will leave you now. Oh, and good luck, although I’m certain you won’t need it,” Mike snickered. At least I thought he’d snickered. Another thing you’ll learn up here–even spirits in a perfect world can be a bit snarky.

“Wait! What? You’re leaving?”

“Yes. Piece of advice…” Bursts of pale red streaked through Mike’s aura as he leaned in to whisper. “Do not ask if they serve chili dogs. Do not ask for a beer. Do not ask if Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix will be the halftime show. This may very well be the place of The Big Everything, but you need to warm up to God a little before you start with the one-liners, okay? Got it?”

Man, this Mike sure is a buzz-kill! I thought.

“I can heeeear you, remember? And my name’s not Miiiiiiiike….” Mike said, his voice trailing away as he dropped straight down through the clouds below.

So I waited.  I floated.  The Big Everything, huh? I thought, glancing around. Sounded  promising. Huh. So far it looks like The Big Fat Nothing.  I tapped my vapor cloud foot and hummed the theme to Greatest American Hero. “Believe it or not…I’m walking on air…I never thought I could feel so freeee….” I looked around some more.  Hmm.  Still nothing but stars and that infernal buzzing.  I checked my watch. Dang it. No watch. Or wrist. I sighed. Is God coming? Is He held up somewhere? Did He have an emergency? I thought He was everywhere all at once. If so, why isn’t He here now? 

Right on cue, the buzzing changed.  Now it sounded musical, like a gentle harp was playing, along with some violins and a little new-age synthesizer mixed in. Soon I heard a haunting angelic voice singing. Not bad, not bad. Very soothing.  Had a nice beat. I wondered if this was the waiting room.  Or the pre-waiting waiting room? In any case, the music was quite nice….

YOU LIKE ENYA?

A swoosh of heat and light blazed overhead like an enormous fireball, only to disappear on the other side of the star stadium, sparkles of white light dancing in its wake.

Now that’s the way to make an entrance! I let out a snort. Then I started to giggle. I couldn’t help it.

Get a grip. I need to maintain. Maintain! Be cool.

“Uh…God….? Is that You? Was that You?” I asked the darkness.

Nothing.  I glanced around and noticed the stars changing colors from purple to gold to deep blue, all twinkling in time to the music, which was now growing louder. “Who can say where the road goes….where the day goes…only time….” Enya continued to sing. Her voice was pretty dang calming, I had to admit.

“Sure! Sure, I like Enya. Love it! Yeah! Good stuff!” my voice cracked as I started to panic. When The Light had blown past, I’d felt the most incredible sense of peace envelope my entire soul. Peace that was so strong, so all-encompassing, it made me like Enya.

I FIND HER MUSIC TO BE QUITE RELAXING. REALLY HELPS TAKE THE EDGE OFF.

God’s voice was coming from close behind me now, my entire energy-cloud body shivering and crackling in response. His voice wasn’t a mere voice. It was an entity all its own. It took hold of all my senses and seeped into my soul, radiating pure peace and love. If His voice is that big, I thought,  I can’t wait to see what this dude looks like.

I turned around.

“Whoa,” I said. “You are….I mean…wow. Just wow. You are incredible. Astounding even. I’m in awe. Pure awe. You are. Awesome. I really mean that.”

YEAH, I KNOW. I GET THAT A LOT.

I know you’re dying right now to know what I saw, what The Light looks like and all. But trust me, words will never be enough. I suppose if you can imagine a light so bright, so vivid and bursting with the biggest, most exquisite love ever felt on Earth, then multiple that by a gazillion, you still won’t even come close to what I saw and felt.

“So how…uh…how can I help You? Is there anything? A-anything at all?” I sputtered.  It was hard to talk to God without lapsing into a catatonic state of bliss. As you know, when I get spacey, I tend to ramble.

“Not that You need any help.  I mean, I’m sure You don’t need any help at all. You’re God. You’re perfect. You never make mistakes. Well, there’s the Honey Boo Boo show….but I’ll let that one slide…heh… I’m sure You had nothing to do with that….I mean…what I’m trying to say is…can I help You? Or is it may I help You? Does grammar exist up here? Please tell me it doesn’t!   Anyway….if I can help, in any way…just let me know…don’t be shy…” I gulped and continued to stare, transfixed with the gorgeous rays of gold light bursting out of what I could only assume was His head. Does He even have a head? The glaring light made it hard for me to make out any distinguishing features. If only I hadn’t left my sunglasses on the kitchen counter that morning!

I THINK YOU’RE VERY FUNNY. YOU MAKE ME LAUGH.

“Oh! Thank You! Thank you, er… Your Highness! Can I call you God? Or is it The Light?” I squinted up at Him. “Or….something…else….?” Once again I felt hopelessly mesmerized.

YOU CAN CALL ME WHATEVER YOU WISH.

God paused.

JUST DON’T CALL ME MIKE.

The Light let out a thunderous roar. Millions of rainbows shot out of the sky and stars were rearranged. It blew my mind across the universe and back again.

“Was that your laugh?”

YES. I LAUGH ALL THE TIME. I APPRECIATE HUMOR. DON’T LET OL’ PHIL GET TO YOU. HE’S NEVER BEEN THE SAME SINCE THE INCIDENT.

“Incident? Phil? Ha! I knew it! Phil!”

SO I NEED YOU TO DO A FEW THINGS…

“You’ve got it.”

As God moved closer to me, the warmth and love was so overwhelming, I started to cry.

“Sorry, “I sniffed. “You’re just so…so nice to hang out with.”

IT’S OKAY, REALLY. THERE, THERE.

God gave me a squeeze and in a flash, I suddenly knew everything there was to know about everything.

“Whoa,” I said.

OKAY—SO, WE GOOD? I NEED YOU TO HELP HIM. HE’S IN REAL DANGER.

God scooped me up and we zipped straight down to Earth within a millisecond of a nanosecond. He parted the clouds with a flick of his massive hand to reveal the glittering skyline of a city below: Portland, Maine.

“Maine? Really? Seriously? Not someplace warmer? Like Hawaii?” I asked. He chuckled, careful not to scare me again with a real laugh. He showed me a two story brick house at the end of a cul de sac dotted with the soft glow of lampposts. Floating high above, I watched as a dark minivan pulled into the driveway. A woman with a worn Red Sox baseball cap got out, sipping on a grande half-caf vanilla latte with skim milk from Starbucks. (I told you, I knew everything about everything now.) She slid the backseat car door open, juggling her coffee in one hand while hefting a chubby, curly-haired toddler onto one hip. As the woman walked to the front door, the baby turned to look up into the night sky, letting out a loud squeal that pierced the cool quiet air.

“Baba?” the baby asked, pointing directly at me with his little hand. I felt my aura prickle with electricity.

“Shhh….” his mom soothed into his ear.

Locking my gaze onto his hazel eyes, entire lifetimes spun, weaving circles around and around–death, birth, sadness, longing, pain, wisdom, hope and love. All of it there, meshed together in some bizarre cosmic tapestry, floating within the green and brown specks of his eyes. “Baba,” the baby giggled and plugged his thumb into his mouth, still watching me as they vanished inside the house.

I had finally found you again.

But this time around, in this lifetime, I knew I would have to make things right.

*************************************************************************************************

*This is a fictional short story. It didn’t really happen. I swear.
You can read part 1: Einstein and the Theory of Slurpees, so that this part will make much more sense. Hopefully.

Einstein and the Theory of Slurpees

It’s not easy being here. It takes time to adjust.

At first it was pretty cool. I loved zipping around, flying from place to place. After all, I had no body anymore, so there was that.

When I first arrived, everyone was there to greet me, kind of like a big high school reunion, but without the anxiety or bad ’80s music. It was great seeing my family and friends. But, holy shit! There were just so many of them! I was told I had already lived 52 lives back down on Earth. Fifty-two! You’d think with all that knowledge, some of it would have sunk in with my last life, but no. If only I had backed away from the bridge after the guy hitched me onto the bungee cord, I’d still be down there right now, eating Doritos and watching Roseanne reruns.

But I wasn’t. So I made do.

The first thing I noticed about the other side– it’s not ‘over there’ or ‘up there’. It’s right here. Right where you still exist. We are all milling around just a few frequencies above the living. Not far at all. Sometimes one of you might catch a glimpse of us if the dimensions accidentally leak into one another. But we’re not up on some cloud playing harps with the angels. (The angels have more important things to do, trust me.) We have buildings. We have mountains and lakes. But no Walmarts or McDonalds. It’s just like Earth.

Only infinitely better.

So after I crossed over, my next stop was the Past Lives Viewing Theater. A few of my friends dragged me there that first day. I say ‘day’ but really, time doesn’t exist over here. I won’t go into specifics, but let’s just say even Einstein’s mind was blown after he crossed over.

After I arrived at the theater, I was led by a man dressed in white down a long white hall to a large white room with a white chair. One thing you’ll notice after you get here, everything seems to be bathed in white. A glowing, almost blinding white. “How do you not bump into anything?” I asked my friends and they all laughed.

I sat down to face this gigantic silver screen, better than any HDTV at Best Buy. You’re probably familiar with surround sound? Well, this sucker had the fourth dimension built in. Not only could I see any of my past lives in full technicolor, but I could interact with any moment in any of those lives firsthand, like I was reliving it with all my senses intact.

Next time you do something really stupid or embarrassing, just remember this–it’s being recorded.

Makes you think twice about dancing naked while singing songs from Glee into your hairbrush, huh.

Oh, and the refreshments were killer. I was only on the other side mere moments and already I started to miss food. I wanted a big bucket of popcorn with melted butter. Boom. It was there beside me. I wanted a jumbo-sized blue-raspberry Slurpee. Bam. It appeared out of nowhere.

“Don’t worry,” said the man in white. “There are no such things as calories here. Dig in.”

I was loving this place already.

A few things I discovered while at the movies: I was once a housewife living in a log cabin on the prairie with eleven children in the 1800s, I was once a chambermaid for a filthy rich English family in the late 1700s, and I was once eaten by a black bear in Siberia in the year 1502.

Explained my lifelong aversion to kids, bears and cleaning.

While the Viewing Theater was a riot, and a few mysteries were finally solved, I was already wondering what would happen next. I mean, what did people do up here all day long?

So I’m dead. Now what?

“I think it’s time you meet with the Light,” the man in white said.

“Huh? How did you read my thoughts?”

“Remember, that’s how we communicate up here. No need for spoken language.”

“So you know everything I’m thinking.”

“Yes.”

“Bummer.”

“It can be quite handy.”

“What am I thinking right now?”

“Doritos.”

“And now?”

“You’re singing that you like big butts and you can’t deny…can we proceed, please?”

“You are good.”

“I know.”

“So who’s this light person?”

The Light. The Being. God. Y’know….the god/goddess of Everything…?”

“Sure. I’m game. Is he expecting me?”

“There is no ‘he’. Or ‘she’. The Light is both she and he. Or neither.”

“Right. Just like today is not today, tomorrow or yesterday?”

“Exactly.”

“Okay, if you say so,” I downed another Slurpee, watched it disappear into the ether that used to be my stomach and laughed. Whoa–no brain freeze! Makes sense, I have no actual brain anymore. Chuckling to myself, I turned to float back down the hall. Which to me was ridiculous, as I probably could have zipped straight through the walls since they–like everything else here–seemed transparent and buzzing with a crackling energy. It was all too much. My head felt dizzy. Well, if I still had a head. Now my body was more like a murky ball of vapor with fuzzy outlines. For a second, I caught myself wondering where I would put my cell phone.

Getting used to being dead is a process.

“I’m ready,” I sighed. “Just one thing–does this shapeless, formless, swirling vapor cloud of energy make my butt look big?”

“Ha ha. Very funny.”

“Man! I am so relieved humor exists up here! And where is that music coming from? Is that John Lennon I hear singing?”

“Yes.  From time to time, you can hear him jamming with George Harrison down in the gardens.”

“I think I’m going to like it here.”

“You won’t be staying for long, I’m afraid.”

“Bummer.”