Sunday, August 23, 2009

It's in the cards

I wasn't punished often as a child. No, I wasn't a particularly good kid; rather, I was very clever. I knew what to say or do, instinctively, to avoid getting into trouble or getting out of punishment. My siblings thought I was spoiled because I 'got away with' things. I suppose it's all in one's perspective but my recollection of events played out due to being clever.
One time, I was not so lucky.
There were two Air Force bases in town resulting in lots of families who moved in, stayed a few months or years, then moved away. One such family, and I cannot recall their names, had moved into the neighborhood in the Summer. They had some children that were the same ages as we, my siblings and I. The family, I'll call them the Smiths, had some industrious kids. As soon as they moved in they put up a lemonade stand (similar to what Linus and Lucy in the Peanuts Gang had), as much to make some spare change as to meet the neighbors. The kids were very accustomed to moving in, making friends fast, and ready to move out again in about a year if and when duty called.
In October, the Smiths had a Halloween Carnival in their garage and play room. Classic things like putting your hand into a bowl only to discover that it's something horrible: spaghetti doubled as rat intestines, grapes for eyeballs, etc. They also had some games like bean bag toss and bobbing for apples.
The one thing that I found most curious: the lemonade stand had been transformed into Madame X's Fortune stand. I sat down and the girl began to shuffle regular playing cards. She asked what I wanted to know? I didn't have a question in mind so I replied, "what the future holds?" She weaved a yarn about the future always being in flux, changing something now could forever alter the future, and then she began to deal the cards: Queen of Hearts, 10 of spades, Ace of clubs. She interpreted the cards for me but when I asked for more details she just smiled and told me the future should be somewhat uncertain.
I ran home and told my mom. I was so excited! The girl down the street could tell us our futures!! Mom turned to me and scolded me for participating in such an event. She immediately went outside and called my siblings home using her ear-piercing whistle that could be heard a mile away, if one were outside. When we were all home, she forbade us from going to the Smith's home again. And we were not to associate with them. She also called some neighbors to discuss this with them.
I felt horrible. I wasn't trying to get anyone into trouble. I thought this would be a good thing? Our futures dealt before us, we could avoid the bad things and steer out paths towards the good. I went and got a deck of cards and began to shuffle. I turned and loaded the deck so that I would get the same read as before. When I laid them in front of me... I just saw cards. How did the Smith girl see the future? While I was staring at the cards, Mom walked in and caught me.
No amount of cleverness could get me out of this one. Mom was furious and it was one of the few times I was spanked. I wasn't even allowed to play with cards for weeks afterwards, at least not alone. I'm certain she went and called her friends and neighbors again. All I know was I wasn't allowed near the Smiths again and I didn't even want to look at a deck of cards for a very long time.


  1. Evil Child. Nosferatu. Horrible. Horrible. Next thing you'll be telling me you like to hang out in graveyards which is just....sick.

  2. Leper. Outcast. Unclean. Get thee to a nunnery.