Monday, August 16, 2010

Great Secrets

Mick pulled back the curtain, entered, and sat in a small camp chair across a TV table from a very pretty young woman. "Welcome," she said. "I'm Pam. What's your name?"

"You should probably be able to tell me, right?"

Pam sighed. If she had a buck for every time she'd heard that. "Doesn't work that way."

"Okay, if you say so. My name's Mick. Now you know everything about me." He smirked, trying to cover a slight nervousness. He'd never done this, got a reading or whatever it was supposed to be. And damn if she wasn't great looking.

"Hardly. Everyone has a great secret. Something they wouldn't tell anyone, no matter what."

"What's yours?" he asked.

"Are you kidding? That's way too personal. Besides, let's keep this about you." Pam dropped her eyes to her purse. Stuck her hand in it and rummaged. Pulled out a small tube of lip gloss and applied it. She looked back up into his eyes. "Want to tell me yours?"

Mick laughed. He didn't mean to. It just came out, a short bark. A split second later it occurred to him that, well, it was funny. He followed it with a wide grin. His best feature, he knew. "I don't have any great secret, I can tell you that. What you see is pretty much what you get."

"Right," Pam said with an ironic twist to her now glossy and very full lips. "So, it's five dollars. In advance."

Mick reached into his jeans and pulled out a wrinkled bill and handed it to her. She took it carefully between two perfectly manicured fingers and dropped it into her purse.

"Now give me your hand."

"Which one?"

"Either one. Your right one. You're right handed?"

Mick reached out his right hand, palm up. He felt the feather-soft touch of her fingertips cradling the back of his hand as she stared intently down at the lines and curves of his palm. He was suddenly aware of how long it had been since he had washed it. "Uh, so, can you really see stuff there? It mean anything to you?"

"Of course. Shhh. Let me look." A few seconds later, "You had an accident recently. A bad one." He tried to jerk his hand back but her fingers gripped his wrist and held it in position. She continued to look at his palm. "Oh my, you have a temper, don't you. That had something to do with it, I think." She never looked up at him for confirmation. "Lost something." She twisted her head a bit for a better look. "Something important."

This time Mick pulled his hand back hard and she let go. "Sign says you can tell my future. Didn't say anything about my past." Pam looked up at him with as neutral a look as she could manage. "Okay, sure, if you want me to."

Mick wasn't sure he did. He looked at her, his face a shifting map of anger, fear and confusion. He was from out of state, visiting cousins who for a lark had taken him to this county fair. She couldn't have known about the accident he'd had six months before. No one here did. The accident that resulted from chasing a buddy who had thrown beer on him. The attempt to follow him over a chain link fence, and the rip to his groin when he failed to jump over it. The surgery that followed resulting in the removal of his penis and testicles. Sexless and ashamed, that was his great secret.

He felt the bile of a challenge rise in him. No sex organs didn't mean he wasn't a man anymore. "Sure I want you to. Tell me my future."

Pam gazed at Mick's face carefully. She'd been doing this a long time, ever since her mother taught her as a kid. Something about this guy, though. She wasn't sure she wanted to tell him more.

"Your hand," she said, looking down without changing her expression. This time she held his wrist lightly with one hand and gently stroked his palm with the fingers of her other hand, following the splay of lines, letting the image and the feel of them create patterns in her mind. She closed her eyes.

Then, "Tell you what, Mick. I'll refund your money and we'll just call this one a nice try, okay?"

"Why?" His features hardened. "Just tell me what you see."

"Nothing. I'm getting nothing."

"I don't believe you," he snapped. "Okay, you were right about the accident thing. So tell me what else you see!"

Something in Pam rose and hardened in her throat in response to his belligerence. "Are you sure? You may not like what I see."

"Yes. Tell me!"

"Okay Mick. You're going to have a sex change operation. You're going to become a woman. Now go away." With that, she released his hand, rose, and left the tent from the back exit, feeling confused and annoyed with herself. What bothered her was the feeling that flooded her when she realized his fate. A feeling of overwhelming attraction for him, or her, or for who he might become.


  1. Oooooooooooooooo... that was GOOD!
    Start to finish, engrossing as hell.
    Way to go, Mike!

  2. Thanks much Cathy! So appreciated. I hadn't announced this one yet so I guess it must be that subscription thing or something?

  3. Wow. Poor guy. I feel for him. Nice job telling his story. :)

  4. Thanks Maria. I'm not sure I feel that sorry for the guy. There might be hope for her yet.

  5. I had no idea where this was going, which is rare for me. I like to be surprised.
    Good capture of both characters. Good pacing. Really nice work overall.
    Karen :0)

  6. Thanks much Karen! I didn't know where it was going until the last paragraph. It's fun when a story surprises the author.