Bronck's Mystery Shows and Midway EZ Read
The sky above the Baltimore Fair Grounds was brightly lit tonight by the thousands of electric light bulbs glowing, displaying a myriad of games and rides. A mother and father walked with their young girl between them as they moved along with the crowd. The little one's head swung wildly to and fro; everywhere she looked could be seen Barkers in their booths calling out to passersby to spend a nickel on their games, Performers and curiosities displaying great feats of talent and charisma, and Roustabouts bringing life to another round of the amusement machines.
The family drifted to a brightly lit booth next to a performer's tent, filled with bottles arranged in a delta with signs of "One throw- one penny" posted on the counter. The girl wandered a few paces off while her father received five rings for a nickle, intent to win his sweetheart one of the teddy bears hanging on the wall. A giant of a man in polished black boots stepped in front her, laughing and catching a towel that was thrown to him. She peeped in surprise of almost being stepped on. The man bent down and raised his furry eyebrows. "Small little devochka! You must be careful and pay attention where you wander, or you may be crushed by a boot!" Her eyes grew wide and smile grew even bigger. "But there are lights and colors everywhere Mr. Goliath! I've never seen anything like this- not even at school!"
The large man began laughing again, "I am no Goliath devochka, I am Durdek the Mighty! And you won't see so many colored flags at school, or games or that Ferris-wheel over there." He pointed further down the alley. "That is because you are at the Midway!"
The girl turned back to her father as he threw his last ring at the bottles, and the large man began walking away, whistling and singing in a deep baritone."I'm going to stay
where you sleep all day
where they hung the Turk
that invented work
in the Big Rock Candy Mountains."
Frank pulled on his ragged jacket sleeve. It was wormer then hell in the summer and wet in the winter but his grandmother had given him the jacket off the back of a dead man in Dublin. When Frank Salmon first wore this coat the sleeves were much too long and gave his childlike staure a comedic quality. Now his elbows poked from the worn sleeves. At this point the jacket had become a tent, a house, a raincoat, a blanket, a seat and a trusted friend.
"Baltimore is supposed to be warm, Godamn it", he grumbled under his breath. Salmon reared back and arched a long loogie into the way, too near the giant standing or rather leaning against the outside lodge pole of the 10 and one tent.
"Errrrrrgh," grunted Durdek. "You are lucky that landed near me, not on me", grumbled the man mountain. Salmon thought quickly about how to avoid a giant faux paus and a possible beating. He had already drained the last of the rotgut but he still had a Chester Arthur cigar to offer.
"Take it easy, Big Man," growled Salmon from the back of his throat. "Why don't ya just enjoy this nice smoke here?"
Satisfied the big man accepted the gift.
Sitting on a stool in front of a mirror, the gypsy woman clipped a pair of dangling silver earrings onto her lobes and took a swig of vodka from a small flask. A knock came from the trailer door.
"I am open if sign says - Open!" She called in her thick accent. "Twenty minutes, come back."
"It's me, Charlie, Miss Milenka," came the reply.
"Ah, Charlie. Come, Yonosha."
The shabby young lad stepped into the trailer and took off his hat. "Ma'am, you got a line a folks already."
Milenka gave a -hmf- of acknowledgement as she returned to prepping herself in the mirror.
The boy continued, "A lady with feathers in 'er hat just found out she's got a baby comin'."
"Yeh? How you know that?"
"She was sayin' that she told her sister 'the rabbit died'."
"Yonosha! How you know these things? How can you be enough years old?" She was amused, but teasingly sounded appalled,
"I'm nearly 13 ma'am." Another -hmf- signaled him to continue. "Three girls are hopin' to find out who's their future husbands."
"Please, Charlie. I know this already. It is same for all girls. If you vwant a nickel you must do better."
"There's a woman in a real nice blue spotted dress," he said. "Her fella's in some kinda election comin'. And when she said somethin' to him bout a wanted sign, he got real unhappy, and mean lookin."
"Ah, more like it, Yonosha."
The boy rattled off a few more stories for the fortune teller, then she gave him a nickel and sent him on his way. She took a final gulp of alcohol, lit her small kerosene lamps to replace the less mystical glow of electric bulbs, and stepped outside to put up her 'Open' sign.
Every morning at the Carnival started the same way. The troupe slowly gathered together as the Cooks prepared breakfast. Most days this meant Oatmeal and a piece of bread, served with a giant lump of butter. When there had been a week of good draws, the Cooks would sometime serve up burnt bacon and there was plenty of strong black coffee to go around. Salmon preferred his breakfast solitary, he would grab his tin plate and make out for the edge of the camp. If there was a river nearby he'd make for the water. Once when he was a young lad he learned the value of keeping your food well hidden, being nearly kicked to death by a group of Hooligans tends to make for neat life lessons.
Frank whistled for the camp dog to follow. The brown shaggy terrier perked his ears and rose to the familiar greeting. "C'mon boyo. let's have us a morning stroll shall we?" asked Salmon to the mutt. Off they shuffled to the river.
Frank sat on the banks of the Patapsco River for a bit, then shuffled back to camp. It was nearly time to start tuning up for the 12:00 p.m. parade that Salmon led every day through the heart of the compound. He traveled to the back of a 32 Ford, already starting to rust and chip from brutal conditions and overuse.
Frank lifted a tarp up and found his golden goose, the contraption that allowed Frank to survive. It consisted of a kick drum, a brass trumpet, several bells and various whistles. The drum was strapped around Salmon's midsection, allowing the deep boom of the giant tom to echo across the still lethargic camp.
"Boom, Boom, Boom, wizeeeeeeeeeeeeee" clanked the Bandman. He called in his trademark gruff voice, " Don't Miss Da Greatest Show on Earth!".
The Mighty White Russian poked his head from around the bed of an old truck down the line. His boots kicked up dust in the hot, early morning sun as he strolled to his associate, Frank the Bandman. His hand enveloped a tin cup of coffee, and he gulped it down in one Mighty shot as he stopped before the raggedy player testing his rhythm section. Cleaning black coffee from his crinkled morning moustache, Durdek's voice boomed as he began to speak. "I keep telling you friend Irish, your act needs more 'Oom-pah!', 'Oom-pah!'" Durdek made a motion with his hands, somewhere between how you would hold a tuba and how you would hold a child. "Oom-pah!" The strongman laughed. "I saw new form for Pimlico race. Night last, you talk all about Lawrin. Lawrin, Lawrin. Well this race, Bandman, my dollar goes on the Dauber horse." The russian's moustache poked into the air as he smiled wide. "If smart one, you're dollar goes on dauber too. Say? Have you heard of any 'work' while we're in town?" He said this last with a subtle nudge of the elbow, and an un-subtle raising of eyebrows. "The better to bet the horses with! Ha ha!"
They made quite a pair, sitting on the back of a truck bed, picked up hitching into town. The giant man took up nearly three quarters of the trunk, with little Frank squashed in what ever space there was left. The kindly farmer let the duo off at some fruit and veg stand on the cobblestone pavements of downtown Baltimore. Noise and motion all around, surrounded by smells both good and bad, Salmon lit a Chester Cigar and handed it up to the giant. "Boyo, let's have a wee bit of fun before we got to get back to the joint for the show tonight! I heard there's plenty of tail and the right kind of action in this Southern metropolis and I got you at my back, sure as you're born. You're a regular Giant and I'm Fin Macoul."
~the previous evening~
The lady with the spotted blue dress sat across the table from the gypsy with a deck of cards stacked neatly between them. The lady smiled nervously and twisted her hands in her lap as the first card was turned over and placed face up on the table with a snap.
"Knight of Clubs.” Milenka announced. She actually pronounced the K in knight; she usually did. “A man who is ambitious and can influence people is very important right now.” The querent smiled. “But this man, he has temper.”
“Oh, no, he just needs things to be done proper, he’s really under so much pressure,” the lady said defensively.
“You certain know who this is?” Mila asked, pointing to the knight. She drew another card and placed it crossways over the first. It was the seven of swords. “This man is driven by feeling of betrayal.” Mila looked at the woman directly and said, “It make a dangerous situation.” The woman pressed her lips tightly and shook her head a little.
The next card depicted a woman sitting blindfolded holding two swords crossed before her like a shield. The lady in the blue dress pointed and asked, “Why is she blindfolded?”
With emphasis and flourishing accent Milenka replied, “Because she is trying to ignore her problems.”
The woman sighed, almost a whimper, and her shoulders sagged. Mila went in for the shakedown. Taking the woman’s hand comfortingly, she said, “It may be past time for playing with cards.”
LadyMVarla - Location: Race Track in Baltimore
“Go War Admiral! Go…go…go!” And then the race was over. War Admiral had lost—all of her money—gone on a tip from a junkie friend. “Last time I listen to Jackie. Fuck, what next?” She looked around the track for a target.
RagnarDurdek the Mighty
Location: Pimlico Track
"I'm not sure I would ever grow tire of it." Durdek stepped down into the street and stopped his bulk just inches from the path of a tall rattling Buick right before it turned a corner. Salmon looked on at this from the safety of the side walk, jaw agape but careful not to lose his Chester. "Wee bit fun? Then we head for the races today! Nothing more fun than making money." Durdek stepped out into the street, in the path of a wheezing egg truck. Salmon negotiated a ride and climbed in the cab as the larger man climbed into a nook between hen-cages. They bounced along down the street.
The driver of the old egg truck looked hard with his hand out, the disapproving look of someone who had a deal. Durdek stood with his hands in his pockets mouthing 'I don't- No rubbie.' His companion had already been heading toward the entrance, but managed to flick a dime piece into the palm of the helpful driver. They entered through the turnstyles and made their way into stands, under a canopy held up by tall sticks. Opening up before them lay Pimlico track, a dirt oval bounded on the inside with a white wooden fence. A new race was starting up, so the concrete slab in front of the bookie boxes was empty and littered with discarded racing forms from prior in the day. Durdek checked a few as they might give clues to how the day was going, but his mind was made up. "I tell you once more time Salmon, this horse Dauber is one to race." The big man grinned once again and put in a bet for his horse's next race, and they both were soon on their way down into a sea of spectators in stadium stands.
"See, what'd I tell ya lad- dame with a racing form, that's my kind of trouble." Salmon nudged his companion with his elbow. Durdek squinted his small eyes further. "She is of unusual look-" He chuckled to himself, which was still very loud- "I wonder if she ever work carnival?" He said this last with a flush of pride.
Salmon appreciated the finer things in life and found himself drooling over a different kind of legs then the ones propelling the horses around the track. He reached into his shabby coat pocket, produced a mint candy and threw the wrapper to the ground and he popped it into his mouth. "Time to go to work my son," he said quietly to himself. He left the Big man standing watching the horses, never losing sight of Durdek as the giants head protruded above the rest of the audience.
"I see you're not having a very good time," said Salmon to the lovely woman looking forlorn at the track. "Mind if i show you the way to a better one?" He smiled his best toothy smile and produced a flask. "My name is Frank and I'm pleased to meet ya."
'I'm Varla," said the woman. "Yea, this track his been total bollacks for me." She accepted the flask and took a swing. Her face contorted and she grimaced but managed to swallow. "Rutgot huh? You could have warned me," she said in a stern tone.
Frank looked slightly ashamed until he saw the smile that broke across his new friends face. "Would you like to meet the strongest man in the wooooorld? he said. "I think he's looming right over here. Come along and shake one down with us my lady friend."
Varla smiled at Frank and followed him to meet the strongest man in the world. Once she was standing next to him she sized herself up alongside him and replied with a lilt in her voice, "I do believe you just might be the strongest man in the world." She smiled warmly and extended her hand, "I'm Varla, Varla Galatea and it's nice to meet you Mr. Strong." She looked over to Frank and winked, "My you are both interesting men. Tell me, what do you do for a living?"
Location: Midway - Gypsy Trailer
Milenka gave her client the premium package - palm reading, pendulum dowsing, somber Romani gibberish, some rattling of Gramma Daki’s beads, a well timed dash of secret flammable powder upon a candle flame - the spirits revealed many things.
The Mistress of Mysteries told the nervous patron that she was caught in the middle of a struggle between two men, both very important to her, but only one would be the victor. Most of this of course was already known to the querent, no matter how hard she had tried to deceive herself. Often times the fortune teller’s job is simply to coerce a person to open their own eyes.
The lady in the blue spotted dress, whose name was revealed to be Susie, was tight lipped about most details, but did confirm Mila’s description of the man who was in a position of public recognition. “That’s Davy, my fiancee,” Susie said, quickly correcting herself, “David.”
“And the other man,” said Milenka, “A relative? A brother?” This was mostly deductive guessing. Mila sensed that the tension was not a lovers’ triangle, but perhaps a game of chicken between dishonest, power-hungry parties. The first man was a lover, so the second, although close to Susie, likely was not.
Susie paled and nodded, then clasped her hand over her mouth fearing to reveal anything that would upset Davy. Mila saw the concern in the young woman’s eyes, “Even one who do not vwish the battle, can be vwounded by it. I sink you know is too late to protect them both.” More deduction: the wanted sign Charlie had mentioned meant the law was involved and someone was going to be prosecuted for something.
Mila really didn’t care about the details. The show was for the client, and the theatrics were for the cash in her pocket. As genuine tears welled up in Susie’s eyes, however, the immigrant couldn’t help but feel a little bit of sympathy for her, and chose not to send her away empty handed. Mila gave the woman a sprig of sage and one of verbena, instructing her to place a leaf of each in the shoe or jacket of the person she wished to protect. She also told her, “It is cruel that we must make such choices with loyalty.” As Susie stood to leave the gypsy’s trailer, Mila lit a cigarette and added, “We must always remember to protect ourselves in these battles of men.”
Frank smiled his toothy grin and tipped his ever present black hat back revealing his wrinkled and slight features, covered with at least a weeks worth of dirt and dust. "Well now, my chere," he said as he bowed to the new lady friend standing at his side. "I present to you Durdek, the White Russian, the strongest man in the world. And I am, Frank "Bandman" Salmon he said and then drew a mouth harp and played a bit of an old jig , "We both work for the Crowley brothers Carnival out of Ipswitch, Massachusetts. We've been aboard since I met up with this lug and he saved me from a beating in Jersey City."
The Russian smiled and looked down, way down at the lady. "That was a gud night my friend, wary wary good."
"Would you you like to participate in some possible financial repossessions with us?" Salmon said to Varla. "By that I mean, we'll be repossessing some of these here rich bastards wallets into the needy wants O' a poor Irish lad in need of a supper and a new bottle of Whiskey. Whadda ya say/"
"Pleased to meet you Lady. Perhaps you've heard of our carnival? Either case, you should come see it tonight- the lights will blinding!" Durdek scanned the close-by crowd for unsuspecting donors. He noticed a middle-aged man in a tweed coat and fedora, checking his race form and back to the race, but remaining unemotional. "Bandman- I think that one has more money in his pocket than to be screaming for his horse. We should give more want to the gambling maybe?"
Shooting fish in a barrel would be the phrase that comes to mind as the tiny Irish drunkard made a gesture for his friends to sally forth. At the sight of a giant, eclipsing the light of the sun in front of the target, the victim was startled. "Would you please excuse me and my lady friend," said Durdek. As he said this, Varla readjusted her ample bosom, further taking the would be poorer mans attentions. Frank's hand dived in and out of the mans back pocket, smooth as the tranquil sea.
He rejoined his friends down the track away, fishing out a five dollar bill and tossing the wallet into the bush. The leather wallet landed right side up in a pile of horse shit, exposing the I.D. inside which read " Norville Patenson, assistant chief prosecuter, city of Baltimore."
"Well pleased with this bit of fish my friends," said Salmon. "Let's find us a horse to make a bet on and a bottle before we head back to the show for the evening. Would be our pleasure if you'd wish to accompany us back to Crowley's Carnivale, my lady." He pocketed the small silver ring he had also stolen for a better look later on.
As dusk began to fall, the now trio made their way back to the Carnival. "We gotta get our act together," Salmon said. He hit his ever present bottle and passed it around. The big man took a big swig and made an "oooooooog" sound. "Das Vedana!" he exclaimed. "Whut I wouldn't give for some wodka instead of your swill, Bandman."
The lot was coming to life and the midway lights started to flicker on. Bandman grabbed his musical gear and started tuning up. The big man started to stretch his muscular frame in preparation. Varla sat watching the pre-show antics.
"We gotta find the lady a job," Salmon said.
"I got no problem making cash when I need it," Varla purred. "I can always shake my moneymaker."
LadyMPerhaps you've heard of our carnival?
"I have not heard of your carnival but with a couple of fine men such as yourselves, what would it hurt? I have a class act of my own, world renown as a matter of fact and I can follow along on any job you might think of, so yes, consider me part of your troupe, it's more fun to travel with handsome men than it is alone. Although I do keep myself well entertained." Varla winked at the smaller man and slunk back into the shadows as the 'bandman' performed one of the oldest tricks in the book, pickpocketing. She smiled to herself and said softly aloud, "These bright boys can use someone like me, let's see the rest of the troupe."
RagnarDurdek The Mighty
Location: Midway- Ferris Wheel
Durdek made his way along a row of tents pitched into the ground. The sun was going down and lights were turning on. He noticed that the Gypsy trailer had had a line out front of it for hours already, some were folks he'd seen at least once already. "Good to see the business remains." He made his way to the Ferris Wheel, where he was sure to find the Foreman. Durdek craned his neck to find the man at the hub of the wheel, tehtered by rope to one of the girder-spokes. "Catch, Jack!"
Without further warning a grease-gun fell from the sky into Durdek's quick hands. "Throw me that three-quarter!" Large arms flung a wrench into the sky, a high lob that was easily caught byt the Foreman. Durdek hollared into the air "New worker, boss. Think she wants to run hoochie-coochie show, with the big cans." He made a motion like he was carrying two pumpkins close to his chest.
"Find Charlie and tell him to show her to the notheast tent, the one with that pine stage. It's empty tonight. If she can get an act together, she can work. Now you get going big guy, you gotta act to work to tonight, you don' get no break!" Durdek made his way through the carnival to find the small running boy smoking a cigarette behind the latreens with the pinhead. Durdek plucked it from his fingers and crushed it between his palms. "No Smoke for you, working time now." Durdek walked with the boy while explaining the instructions for Varla. Durdek spied the tall head of dark hair in the distance and brought Charlie up to her. The giant gave a quick explanation of the terms of employment (not much) and the cut (not much) and left Charlie with her to take her out to her northeast tent. The boy looked at the giant as he walked away, eyes as wide as saucers, somewhere between a kid in a candystore, and a deer in headlights. Durdek chuckled, "Perhaps, he thinks he has found the young love. Be careful Charlie- ha ha, she may eat you up like the wolf."
The big man bumped his head as he entered his own trailer, hunched and proceeded in to sit on his sofa for a few minutes before he needed to change for his act. From under a blanket tumbled two balls of grey fuzz, batting at each others ears and making sqwauking mewes. "Little karotkys always fighting, with the bellies full of fire. One day you will want only the pillow, and to be fed." He picked them up by the scruffs and pulled them apart. He lifted them in each of his hands and dropped them onto the floor. "Now go find your brother and build a sand castle, not the punching."
The tent was meager but there were no holes and it was fairly large and it was home. Once her heart stopped pounding, Varla decided to grab a bite to eat. While she sat at a table in the makeshift eating area, she spotted a large young man, he might have been a roustabout and he was exactly what Varla needed—to help her get her things to her tent. She smiled in his direction and crooked her finger at him, inviting him to sit down and he obliged.
“Howdy ma’am. You new here?”
“I am and I need some help. I have a few things stored at a friend’s house but I have been hired today and I need my outfits and the rest of my possessions. Mind helping a lonely woman out? What’s your name?”
“Ralph, ma’am and sure I have some spare time. Let’s go.”
The two left the carnival and hurried to a nearby home. She packed quickly and between her and Ralph they carried everything she owned in a few boxes and satchels back to her tent. She gave Ralph a few coins, “Thanks big boy, if you ever want to stop by for a visit, I’m around.” She had lost some time with the move but now she was home and could concentrate on dressing for her show.
It was easy to find the hooch tent; there was a line of men waiting to get in. As Varla approached she put on her best smiled and heaved on her large breasts to perk them up. “Howdy men, ready for a REAL show? Step right up and prepare yourself to be amazed and enlightened for I am Varla Galatea—Queen of Hell because I’m going to suck your souls right out of you! Follow me boys!”
As she entered the tent there were two very young, very thin girls attempting to swing what little hips they had in a sensuous manner and only made Varla laugh. She smiled at the girls and joined them onstage. She stood between them and slapped both of their fannies, “Come on girls—let’s give these guys a show!”
Location: Gypsy Trailer
The sky over Baltimore was deepening from a hazy red to a murky black as the sun set over vast acres of dry farmland stretching out west of the city. Bright carbon-arc lamp lights began to switch on high over the city’s street corners. At the edge of the urban sprawl, however, the county fairgrounds were lit with an incandescent brilliance to rival the harsh industrial glow. Along the Midway, a blaze of colorful electric lights flashed and shimmered, like a magical beacon of wonder against the otherwise doldrum landscape.
Dazzled cityfolk of all ages and various social classes wandered the dirt paths amongst colorful booths, wondering how to spend their precious pennies. Deceptively simple games tempted one to test his luck, barkers described the world’s most unimaginable marvels to witness, entertainers previewed unforgettably, amazing acts to applaud, and exhilarating, mechanized rides lured even the most reserved toward adventure.
Perhaps the options were a bit overwhelming for tonight’s crowds. The line outside Milenka’s trailer had not been as consistent this evening as on previous nights, so she had been trying harder to weasel a bit more coinage out of deeper pockets. There were a few deep pockets at her disposal presently, in the form of well dressed, giggling young ladies. One girl, clearly the ringleader, was seated at the small round table in front of the gypsy, haughty and impudent with her nose in the air, waiting for her glorious future to be told.
Mila waited for quiet and laid down the first card. “Seven of Cups,” she said. Mila wanted to tell the girl that her foolish little head belonged in the clouds instead of wasting space down here among honest hard working folk. Instead she told her, “You are one of free-spirit. You dream of grand adventures and for fame and romance.”
“Yes,” said the girl, clasping her hands together and swishing perfectly curled chestnut locks over her shoulders. “Tell me more about the romance.” She said it breathily, teasing, to provoke a giggle from her friends standing beside her.
Mila pulled another card, eight of coins, which really had nothing to do with romance, but she was skilled at spinning. “A craftsman?” She asked.
The girl raised her eyebrows and said “Perhaps.”
“Lanie,” One of the friends scolded, nudging her arm. “Ask about Marcus.”
Milenka seized the opportunity. “So there is a craftsman, yes? You would like to know more about this Marcus? I can tell you, but is not easy telling future of someone who is not here, requires extra. Cost only a little more.”
Lanie lifted her chin and nodded approval nonchalantly, not afraid to show off a casual disregard for her daddy’s money.
After collecting the additional fee, Mila placed a crystal ball in the middle of the table and lit a large pillar candle. Waving her hands over the flame she said solemnly, “Honored mother, grace us. Bless this light, show us truth.” Whether she addressed the sacred Virgin Mother or her own Romani parent in the spirit realm, she enjoyed leaving to the client’s interpretation.
The fortune teller extended her arms, bedecked with clanging bracelets, across the table toward the the girl and instructed, “Take my hands, close your eyes, and concentrate on this boy, Marcus.” She waited a moment, then continued, “He is handsome boy.” This would be a given. The girl was vain.
“I know that already.” Said the girl impatiently. “Tell me something new. Will he be my husband?”
Mila released Lanie’s hands and waved her fingers over the crystal ball. The candle sparked and crackled. It was one of her special, homemade candles with dusted flecks of steel wool blended into the wax surrounding the wick. As the girls gasped, Mila held up a finger to quiet them and said, “The spirits bring a message.” Looking back down at the glass orb, she could clearly see the reflection of one of the girls. It was the more timid of the three, who had been standing silently to one side during the entire exchange, twisting a plain handkerchief in her hands.
Milenka commonly resorted to tricks and elaboration to satisfy her clients, but she was not a stranger to moments of true clairvoyant visions. The instant her eyes focused on the reflected image of the quiet, anxious girl, a barrage of revealing scenes played out in her mind.
Location: Gypsy Trailer
The images that flashed through Mila’s head were accompanied by a sense of knowing which she had learned to trust. Some of what she saw was past and some future. Frustratingly, these insights were often a confused tangle of varying perspectives and uncertain outcomes.
Mila saw her pretentious young querent, Lanie, vying for the attention of an attractive young man, Marcus, who tolerated the girl politely, but his true affections lie elsewhere. In the vision, she sees him wrapped in a lover’s embrace with Lanie’s shy and modest friend whom he calls Jenny. She sees that Lanie is blind to the boy’s disinterest in her, and is indeed blind to anything but her own whims and desires.
This is where the possibilities start to become muddled. Lanie’s selfishness turns to vindictiveness when she learns of the affair, the betrayal. Jenny’s belly grows large with child. In one future Milenka sees a vision of Lanie spinning a web of lies, traps and manipulation. She forces Marcus into a marriage destined for unhappiness, leaving Jenny shunned by family and friends, struggling to care for a baby alone. In another, Lanie rejects Marcus and shames Jenny into rejecting him as well, convincing her to hide the pregnancy from him. She gives up the baby for adoption and the young couple is robbed of a chance at happiness together.
Mere seconds passed as this all became known to the fortune teller, but it took a minute longer for her to determine what she should do with the knowledge. She surmised telling the girl outright would yield no positive effect. Even if her words were believed, they may simply fall on deaf ears or lead to even more unpleasant consequences. Furthermore, Mila did not feel it was her right to reveal Jenny’s secrets.
Milenka had been staring at the crystal ball as if in a trance and Lanie leaned forward tentatively, to say, “Ma’am? Are you still with us?” She made an attempt to lighten the heavy atmosphere with an awkward little laugh.
As Mila blinked and lifted her gaze. Her pupils contracted sharply to focus on Lanie’s face, and the girl shrank back, hugging her arms to herself, trying to warm away sudden goosebumps.
“You could marry him.” Mila said abruptly. “You have way for getting what you vwant.” Her tone did not portray this as good news, however, and Lanie remained silent. “You could have him, but you vwould not be happy.”
Lanie scowled slightly at this prediction, and the gypsy challenged the girl’s disdain. “Yes, he is handsome. Yes, he is hardworker,” She said. “But is not for you. You will always be vwishing for different. For better.” Mila sat back and nodded, showing confidence with her assessment. She made a casual open handed gesture and said indifferently, “There are others. For you, there will always be others. But,” she added, tapping the table with a single, slender finger, “If you marry for wrong reasons, you will regret it.”
With these final words, the girl stood up rigidly and commanded to her friends, “Let’s go.” She led the way out the door and down the steps. Jenny was the last in line and just at the moment she, too, was about to step out the door, Milenka spoke. “Genevieve, when will you tell him?”
Jenny froze. Still poised to take her next step, one hand bracing the trailer door open, she turned her head just enough to speak over her shoulder. “How did you...?” Turning further to look at the fortune teller she said, “Nobody ever uses my full name.”
“You should tell Marcus you are pregnant.”
Jenny hurried out the door and down the steps.
Mila sighed heavily and stood from her seat. These sort of emotional readings could take a toll on her.