Beatrix took the right hand of the middle aged man who sat across the table from her. She caught the aroma of stale tobacco as she studied him; his face, his eyes. He was tall and thin. She took note of the clean but worn clothes he wore under his light jacket, and the high buff shine on his boots. He took pride in his appearance but he did not look like a wealthy man.
This had been initially suggested when she had watched through the small window as he parked his beat-up old muscle car in the postage stamp sized lot that lay in front of her shop. The car was at least 25 years old and had seen better days. She noticed his shaggy haircut and the fact that he was left handed. She spotted the narrow white band of skin around his left ring finger. He was either recently widowed, recently separated or running around on a wife he kept somewhere else; not here.
She slipped her fingers under the “twist-o-flex” watchband that clamped a cheap Timex to his wrist and pulled it over his scarred knuckles. She glanced absently at it before she handed it back to him. A little after eight pm.
She turned his palm up and began moving her thumb in counter-clockwise circles across the calluses on his palm. He was a working man, a rough man. The closed piercing on his ear lobe and the white tracings of an old scar across his wrist told her that he had endured a wild and troubled past.
She figured he was not a heavy drinker. He did not exhibit the pallid skin or rosacea that she would normally associate with drink in a man of his age.
“What’s your name?” he asked.
“It works better if you don’t know.” Beatrix replied.
“What do I call you?”
“Most people call me ‘The Oracle’ like it says on the sign out front but, if that doesn’t work for you; you can simply call me ‘Miss’.” She already knew what she was going to tell him. She already knew what he wanted to hear. She’d been watching him, and you always tell them what they want to hear.
“Well, what do you see?” he asked, grinning.
She hushed him and continued what she was doing. He was too wound up. She needed him to relax. She fanned herself and unbuttoned the top button on her blouse. Watched his eyes. She unbuttoned one more. A bit of cleavage would help calm him down. Listening to him breathe she smiled as she heard the change. His breathing pattern slowed as he settled into the scene she was creating. He was more at ease now. She could start telling him about how he was going to come into some money, mention his wife, and how his future would be nowhere near as tumultuous as his past. Not too much money but enough to take some of the pressure off, give him some breathing room. He would give her more as she worked, they always do. She took the index finger of her left hand and began tracing the lines on his palm, preparing her patter. She frowned, his life line was short.
She opened her mouth to begin weaving the story of his impending good fortune, “Your wife is angry,” she said, and immediately thought – where the fuck did that come from? “She doesn’t like where she is, but she can make your life miserable from there.” Surprised by the words coming from her mouth Beatrix dropped his hand and stood.
She slapped him hard across the face with her right hand. “You shouldn’t a done that Jimmy.” She said, “You shouldn’t a killed me. But guess what, I can reach back from here. I can reach back and torment you Jimmy. I can have you killed or convince you to kill yourself. You’ll get it right this time too. No more mistakes, I promise. You don’t have long for that world Jimmy. We can rot in hell together. Fitting, what?” Beatrix clapped her hand across her mouth.
“What the hell are you doing, Miss?” the man asked with fire in his eyes. He rubbed his jaw where she had slapped him.
Beatrix shook her head, “I don’t know! I don’t know what’s happening!”
“Hey, Jimmy,” Beatrix said, “do you hear the sirens yet? The cops are coming. I convinced a homeless guy, under the 14th Street Bridge to call in an anonymous tip. He told them you were visiting ‘The Oracle’. You surprised me Jimmy; I thought you’d go to her. I thought you’d go to your good time girl. What happened? She kick your sorry ass out too? I’m starting to like her. I might let her live.”
Beatrix had been slowly backing up to the wall. She hit it now and caught the sound of sirens. Sirens growing louder by the second. Her eyes grew wide as the man reached behind his back with both hands. When he brought them back to the front his left hand clutched the knurled grip of a chrome pistol.
“Where’s the back door?” he demanded.
A wide eyed Beatrix pointed towards the arched doorway with the beaded curtain, “there,” was all she could manage.
“Do you have a car back there?” he asked. He grabbed her arm and pulled her with him towards the back exit.
“You’re never gonna make it Jimmy,” she said and again clamped her free hand over her mouth.
“Shut up bitch, I’ll kill you again.”
“Go ahead Jimmy, I’m already dead. Makes no difference to me.”
He put the gun up to the side of her head and slowly began to squeeze the trigger. From the corner of her eye Beatrix watched the hammer move back. She cried when her bladder let go.
“Damn,” he said and pushed her across the room. He put the gun barrel in his own mouth and Beatrix must have fainted.
When the cops broke down the front door Jimmy lay dead on the floor. The wall behind him was covered with gore. Beatrix was laughing and pointing at the corpse. As they led her away she stopped, looked back at Jimmy and whispered, “Got ya. You bastard, no mistakes this time.”
Her shoulders slumped and she allowed herself to be lead out the front door to the waiting EMT’s. A channel 7 van pulled up and one of the talking heads came over and stuck a microphone in Beatrix’ face.
“What happened in there?” The blonde ‘On-the-Scene’ reporter asked.
Beatrix looked at the camera, “Someone once said that the world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes. I think this is true, but 0n the other hand, observation is my business.”
This one is a little outside my comfort zone. Don’t judge me too harshly, please.