I saw an ad in the paper for Arnold Jimmers, the man who predicts the past. Looking on Yelp, I read one five-star review after another. The man was loved and was hailed as the greatest palm reader of all time in the Tri-state area. On a Friday night, I made the decision I would give it a shot. I’m a very superstitious person, but I am also very suspicious of these things, especially when they receive auspicious reviews. I set my alarm for five o’clock in the morning so I could guarantee to be the first in line. Dr. Jimmers opens shop at nine o’clock. I pulled my Star Wars sheets over me, and I fell right to sleep.
When an alarm wakes me up, I wake up angry. This morning was no different. I grabbed my alarm clock and hurled it across the room, straight into my lava lamp. Both objects exploded, so I jotted down in my to do list to make a trip to Kmart to replace these items later. I put on my cargo shorts, my loafers, and my bucket hat, and stepped out the door. I was so angry that I forgot to eat breakfast, so when I felt my stomach rumble, I let out a scream on Third Avenue.
When I arrived at Dr Jimmers’ “Predictions for Winners,” I found that I was just slightly too late. I was third in line. The first guy in line was a loser. He was picking his nose, and he wasn’t even doing it right. The woman between us was hideous. She was wearing makeup but it was more like she drew on her face with crayons.
We had to wait for hours before the place opened, but there was no chance I was going to start a conversation with these two dweebs. To pass the time I thought about this Ted Talk I watched the other day on YouTube. I thought about it because I’m pretty sure the man who delivered the speech was also named Arnold. He talked about how you can calm your mind and control it. He said that if you wanted to never feel angry, you don’t have to. You can channel your awareness where you want it. So if you’d rather be happy, switch your mind away from anger to something pleasant. I thought about this for a while, and I thought it made sense. But I like my anger. It gives me something to do. If I didn’t get angry and shatter my alarm clock every morning, then I wouldn’t go to Kmart every day. What would I do with all that time?
When I finally turned around, there were hundreds of people behind me, all lined up to see Dr. Jimmers predict their past. People were wearing pants, dresses, swim trunks, everything you could imagine. All to see what Jimmers had to say.
At 9:15am, it was my turn. I was excited, but I was still suspicious. Jimmers was a slender man, about 6 foot 4. He had a confident look on his face. I think he’s Cuban.
I put out my hand, and he started rubbing it with oils. I could be wrong, but it smelled just like the Aveeno hand lotion I have back home. He coughed four times on my hand, which I felt must be unsanitary, but I went along with it. He then sneezed on my hand, and that’s where I drew the line.
“What was that!” I yelled. I wish I said something better than that.
“It’s part of the process,” Jimmers said. His eyes glimmered, but I really think this was all a hoax.
“You’re a pathetic slime nut!” I really had him there.
“Just ask me a question, son.”
“Fine. Why did Carol leave me?”
He stared at me for a moment.
“You know why.” He had a soft smile, and he motioned for me to leave.
I looked at him for a solid four seconds, and then I walked toward the door. Then, I remembered Carol telling me she was going to leave me if I broke one of her alarm clocks ever again. And boy, did I do just that.
“You really are the real thing Dr. Jimmers,” I said. “You really are.”
©2019 Jake Schick