Beyond The Horizon Part II: The Need to Know Oct10


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Beyond The Horizon Part II: The Need to Know





It began as a party trick, a way to revive a slowing party of young adults.  It worked amazingly well.  Not because the Fortune Teller they put together was so good.  Two good friends dreamed it up and they were winging it themselves for the fun of it.

So no, a Gypsy outfit and lots of jewelry, and a turban or something to hide their  hair, which would have been a giveaway, did not make the chosen first woman a terrific Madam Marvel, Viewer of the Future.  There was much more to it than that.

After while the two young women decided that it was the guests themselves, regular neighborhood people, couples and singles just out to have a pleasant evening with friends that created the difference.

They saw the unusual, Madam Marvel take a seat behind a small table with a shining Crystal Ball in front of her and were caught up with a new feeling, something they did not even know they had, their own deep basic desire to know their own future.

Just dress up a passable Gypsy Madam Marvel, playing the part of a Fortune Teller, and the people who will quickly deny being believers in that sort of thing and a few willing to admit there might be something to it, will line up to let the fake Madam read their Palms, tea leaves or a hokey Crystal Ball to tell them something they have been secretly wondering about…  their future.

That was how it started in Daisy Dane’s household.  Her best friend, Roseanne Allen, with a little effort, was the first to be disguised deep in the Madam Marvel costume to read the guests fortunes that first evening at Daisy’s house and the party success they had invented caused her friend Daisy to be asked to do the same the next time, when Rose was the hostess at her own party a month later.

Daisy took her turn and tried to become the same mysterious Madam Marvel.  She carried it off just as Rose did, the way they had planned it. She gave the patrons each a happy future,  filled with good luck and possible new interesting events.

But this time was different.  The odd little Crystal Ball Roseanne had put together by placing her tiny key chain flashlight inside of a wad of cellophane and covering it with a clear glass upside down Candy Dish from her cupboard, had suddenly, without warning, begun to start giving Daisy, as Madam Marvel, the truth about each person who’s hand palm she held.

The odd part was that these various things she had passed on to the people were suddenly too real and often rather personal secrets.  She had shocked one lady into rushing from the house in anger.  Rose was curious why.

So Rose called the Madam away to ask about what had happened and Daisy only defended herself by telling Rose truthfully that her funny Crystal Ball had given her that personal secret.  She had no way to know that it was the truth.

Rose warned her that it was only a nice crystal upside down Candy Dish and to pay no attention to what she imagined it told her.  Get back to the Good luck stuff.  And she did.

However Daisy still heard those secrets that the Crystal Ball, fake or not, was telling her and as she looked at the patron, she knew instinctively that she was hearing the truth.

She gave the costume things back to Rose that evening when the other guests were gone.  Then she tried to convince her friend that all she heard in her head were facts and she wanted to prove it, but Rose was not convinced and some time went by before Daisy could talk Rose into taking out the costume, the dish, and the same little table and lamp one more time, just for the two of them, so they could find out once and for all if there was any mysterious magic there in that Crystal candy dish.

Rose and Daisy sat in the quiet empty house and set themselves up for the private test.  And what they learned was that no matter which item brought it there, most likely the Candy dish, the one who asked the question heard the truth in her own head… a truth they felt sure they did not have before.  It didn’t matter whether the facts were real, honest, truth or not, the magic must be real.

Of course Daisy already felt certain about that.  It was her goal now to make Rose realize what had happened to her on their last party evening was really due to that Crystal dish.

Now they both were believers.  But what should they do about it?

At the end of that evening they decided to end it.  There was to be no more messing with what they could not understand.  So they tossed out all of the pieces they had used and vowed to never again put them together.  Neither woman felt capable of dealing with other people’s quite honestly confusing futures.

The reason was a vague fear that somehow they had begun to believe their own success.  As Madam Marvel they felt they had received true information. At first it was passed on to the person involved, but some things were too private to admit you knew about them and you found yourself, as the Madam Marvel Fortune Teller, holding back…  yet wondering why.

How could we really be getting all of that real information about other people’s lives just by dressing up and pretending to know what we were doing?  How could an upside down candy dish with a tiny flashlight inside give out accurate truths?

So to keep from having it happen again they got rid of it all.  This gave them both a feeling of confidence.  They had no reason to holdback what they knew, if they did not receive it.  That should have been the end of it for good… should have been.

The most difficult question was.  Could the future be changed if you were fore warned? If you told someone that they would fall down stairs and break their bones. Could,  or would they avoid stairs to keep it from happening?

If it was in their future to fall and break their bones, might they trip over a curb and fall and break them anyway?

And of course you could not warn someone to not get cancer.  How do you not get a disease?  The true knowledge was of no use to them and neither of them wanted the responsibility of even knowing it.

Slowly though, the story began to change.  They both were getting phone calls about the simple good things they had predicted, like the one from Eve.

“Hi Rose.  This is Eve, I just called to let you know that your Fortune Teller last week told me I would win the lottery, so I bought a ticket and today I was a winner of two thousand dollars!  Isn’t that amazing?”

“Well congratulations.  What else could I say?”   Rose complained.  It was happening too often.

Daisy was getting the same kinds of calls.  Things, little happy surprises, that the crazy Madam Marvel made up were happening all over the place.  It seemed that everyone who had sat for their future was promised, not really promised, as they couldn’t lie and promise, both!  But it was remembered as a promise as soon as it happened, no matter what it was.

One lady was thrilled to get her Tax refund the day after hearing that big money was coming their way.  It seemed that it had a notice with it that they had made an error in the math so the large refund they were looking forward to was twice as big as expected.

“Hey that is lucky.”  Rose told her  “We got a note like that one year, but ours said  please send more money.  Come to think of it, the please was noticeably missing.”

Rose soon called Daisy and they compared notes.  Sure enough even after they were careful to not let the phony Crystal Ball tell them any truths, the  lies they did tell began to happen left and right.

However, both women had tried to tell little white lies about things that could easily happen.  Was that the problem? What is the old saying?

“If it can happen…  it will.”  They were both forecasting things that probably would happen and then they were surprised when they did. Daisy remarked,

“It’s kind of like saying, the sun will rise again tomorrow, then being surprised at the dawn.”

“I guess we will need to say good stuff that is more improbable.  Like your kid will get all A’s on his report card.” Rose suggested.

“I thought we had dumped the whole thing.” Daisy reminded her.   But Rose said,

“Yes, but I still get a call a day from someone wanting to hire that Fortune Telling Woman who is so accurate.”  Daisy told her.

“We did too. “  Rose admitted with a sigh. “So what do you tell those callers?” Rose asked,

“To call you!” Daisy laughed. “What do you say?”

“Sometimes I say she’s out of town.  Sometimes I say she charges $200. A party.”

“Does that work?”

“Not a bit.  Sometimes they want to know when she will return and they always think $200 is reasonable.”

“Maybe we need to raise the amount to $500. and begin to collect it in advance.”

“Good idea.  Less people will hire her, and the ones who see that someone has her at their party will be impressed.”

“And you and I will make it worth our while.  But only if we can figure out what to say that works and what doesn’t.”

“It really is hard to think up that many harmless lies.  How about if we use the Crystal Ball to tell us something we shouldn’t tell and change it to work.”

“That might do it.  Just remember what we have been saying is happening anyway.  But like we agreed, that might be our fault for choosing things that happen every day anyhow.”

“Okay but remember because of the way we started,  I can only make appointments for you and you for me.  So we must check and be sure the other is available.  And the price is now $500 a party, with a two hour limit and one ten minute bathroom break.”

“What are we going to do with all of that money?” Daisy wondered.

“Don’t worry about it.  She may not be worth that much… if we are lucky no one will hire us at that price.”

“We gave away Madam Marvel’s Gypsy clothes… to the Good Will, remember?”

“There are lots more where ours went.  We just can’t wear anything we already own.  I would really hate being found out being that Madam.”  Roseanne told Daisy. “Talk about humiliating!”

“We both have such low key personalities as ourselves.  No chance that anyone would suspect us.  Even if we are hiring her for them.” Daisy was convinced.

“Then we are going for it again?” Rose wanted confirmation.

“ I guess so.” Daisy shrugged,  “Let me know when you plan to take Madam Marvel shopping for a new wardrobe.  In case I want to give her some advice.” That brought a smile from Daisy as she recalled herself in that heavy costume. “Don’t you just love that fat feeling we get dressed as her.  I feel so nice and skinny for the rest of the whole next week afterwards.   Oh oh my cell phone is calling.  I hope nobody else has just won the lottery again.   Bye!”

Daisy paused at the doorway when Rose in a stage whisper. said,

“Just a moment!”  and covered the phone.

Someone wants next Friday night.  I said $500 in advance and they said fine if you can get her for us on Friday.”

“Okay.  I’ll go get the details.”  Rose was listening and writing. So Daisy knew she was working next Friday night once again as Madam Marvel Fortune Teller.

Amazed she arrived at the Mayoral House where public servants were busily putting everything in order for the expected guests.  Daisy altogether in her new persona as Madam Marvel got out of the Taxi and paid him with some of the $500 fee for her appearance,  which arrived in advance to Roseanne the day before.

This method was very different from the way the pair of them had prepared out of sight in a bedroom for a quick, short, act as the Fortune Teller that first time.

She took in the newness of arriving as a paid addition to this High Class Political Party by walking with all of the Pomp of the Madam Marvel, she seemed to be.

Certainly not like the timid Daisy hidden deep inside.  She had her coat removed by a butler and the purse allowed to stay as her valuable but simple Crystal Ball was inside,

The small table, with two chairs and a white cloth, was set into a deep shadowy corner as requested.  So Madam Marvel went directly to it and set upside down the same old candy dish and adjusted the little lamp standing behind her chair to focus on it.  Then she sat ready to attend to any guest who thought they wanted to know the Future.

Several appeared and stood in a line just as one of the maids arrived with a small pitcher of ice water and a little goblet for the Madam.

The guests were uncertain about whether one should sit or all should wait for directions from the Madam.  So they did nothing.

Madam Marvel took a quick sip from the goblet of ice water, then pointed to the first guest and said in her low husky voice.

“Do be seated,”  The first in the line moved in and sat softly down not looking at anyone else a bit self conscious.

“Please Place a coin on the Crystal Ball. “  The Madam requested and the guest did so very carefully so as to not touch the Crystal Ball with her fingers.

Then Madam reached for the guest’s hand and turned the palm up, lightly running her bejeweled fingers along the faint life lines.

This lady doesn’t do the housework either, she thought, as she noticed the perfectly manicured fingers.

The Madam took time to relate the happy Futures of the guests for an hour, then excused herself for ten minutes, before returning refreshed for the second hour.  At the end of that hour she was just about to put the Crystal Ball away for the night when the Hostess arrived in a flurry.

“Wait for me!”  she laughed, as she seated herself quickly before the Madam.  “I need to know my future, too!  That is really why I hired you.”

Daisy was startled but kept her cool wondering, what she could she possibility say to this woman who seemed to already have two of everything.

Everything stopped, as the Mayor’s wife fumbled in her pocket for a coin, until finally she accepted one offered by a guest and placed it on the Crystal Ball.  By that time  Daisy knew what she would say that might surprise and impress the Lady of this House.

After a few minutes of quietly consulting the Crystal Ball, she looked surprised and said aloud to the impatiently shifting in her seat, Lady of the Mayor.

“My Crystal Ball is never wrong, but this is so amazing, I checked twice.  It’s like nothing I have ever had the pleasure to report before.  It says that you will become the First Lady of the Land, when your husband is elected to be the President of the United States!”

Madam looked up to see how the hostess was taking that Future news!

But found her staring ahead seriously thinking.  Then the Lady asked a question.

“Did the Crystal Ball tell you when he would become the President?”

“No it did not.  As this is your Future and not your husband’s, when whoever your husband is at the time becomes President is not an issue. It did not say who or when.”   Daisy did not want to name the man or the time.  But as it stood the lady was confused for some reason.

Daisy peaked back at the Crystal Ball where she realized the problem.

The Mayor’s wife did not move. She stared straight ahead looking for an answer in her own head.

Daisy understood she had given her this unexpected problem and she suddenly understood why.

This Lady was having an affair with a man who could just as easily become the next President.  If she left her husband for him,  just… maybe, but careful… she certainly wanted to choose the one that would lead to the White House.  And the Madam could not tell her which man would take her there.

The lady was still sitting there as Madam Marvel wrapped the Crystal Ball into her linen scarf and packed it carefully into her bag and departed the room.  Thus leaving the Mayor’s house, with the Hostess still trying to figure it out for herself.

Did the Madam think she knew that answer?  She was quite sure she did, even though she did not know, when she first decided to thrill the Lady with what she thought would be important good news. But Daisy was the one who got the surprise at the Lady’s odd reaction.

If it was a problem now, it was hers alone. Daisy was happily out of there.

The next day she talked to Roseanne about it.  Rosy agreed that nothing in that Candy Dish was for certain.  The Lady was pretty well off being the Mayor’s wife.  If she wanted to throw it all away on the chance that the next man would do better by her, it was her call.  Daisy tried to not think about it.  It was clearly beyond her ability to help.

Several months passed before anyone was willing to pay the $500. For Madam Marvel again and this time it was Roseanne’s turn.

After learning the new arrangements from Daisy, Roseanne asked

“Did you see the picture of your Mayor’s Lady in today’s paper?”

“No. What was it about?”

“It was actually featuring the Mayor, saying that the happy couple pictured were celebrating their Silver Wedding Anniversary.”

“Well, good for her.  She decided to keep all of her eggs in his basket.  I hope this time you play Madam Marvel you get a less controversial client than that, or should I say victim?  I’m glad I didn’t tell her more though, it would have meant interfering too much beyond my duty as Madam Marvel.

“You did the right thing.  It was definitely up to her.”

“Thank you,  I was taking my Mother’s advice.  She was always telling me,

“If in doubt, don‘t! …  That’s why I didn’t.”

“Good advice.  Those wise, elderly Mothers are good at that.”

“She was young in those days.  It was usually said if I was having a hard time deciding if I wanted to buy something.  She hated all of that waffling back and forth .  Then she would say it… Really at the time I hated that. I wanted a firm,  “Sure buy it if you like it.”   But, If in doubt, don’t! stayed with me always. It is now what I do…   I mean, don’t do, if in doubt about almost anything.  Isn’t it strange the way some of your parent’s advice sticks for so long,”

“Or,  not at all.  I feel that my advice to the kids goes out the other ear.  I sure hope our sage advice from Madam Marvel  goes out that fast too.  I  really hate to think they take it all so very seriously.”

“I agree.  Thinking that my words are being taken as serious facts makes me very nervous even as I speak them.  I keep wanting to say, ‘Caution these words are for game playing only.  They may not be the truth.”

“Well good luck to you next Saturday.  This new client sent the money quickly and seemed more than just happy to get the great Madam Marvel.  More like very anxious.”

“I’ll do my best to make the Madam worth the cost… up to a point.”

“Don’t worry about it, just remain cautious with this one.  There was something about her urgency.”

About her what?”

“I wish I knew.  All I can say is this Lady was somewhat different.”

Saturday evening arrived and so did Roseanne, in a Taxi.  Roseanne did an excellent job of the Madam Marvel make-up and felt safe from discovery.   As she was welcomed enthusiastically, she wondered what the Lady would say if she knew she was getting a regular neighbor, not some… whatever she believed Madam Marvel was.. a genius or something.

Feeling like a fraud she went into the large, very neat, well organized, home and took the table with the white linen cloth, already perfectly prepared for her.

It was strange the way the guests almost seemed to bow before her as if she was some kind of Royalty.  She put the Crystal Ball in the center of the table and heard a gasp from someone as she did.  Her old glass candy dish made an impressive entrance, making her smile deep inside.

At this house the guests had drawn numbers as they arrived and number one held her card up to proudly take her place at the small table.  A red velvet rope, very much like those at the movie theater, was keeping the others beyond listening distance of the table.

What a good idea.  Roseanne wanted to remember to mention it to Daisy.  Even the numbers seemed to make the Fortune Telling table visits run smoother, just like everything else she could see.  The food table was a picture book version.  Was the food even real?  It was difficult to tell.  For being so full and busy the room was amazingly quiet.

With the Hostess having paved the way, Roseanne had a well run evening and just the same as Daisy had reported, this Hostess also dashed up last.  Without even sitting down, she leaned in to whisper her question to the Madam and Rose stopped in silence not knowing quite how to handle it.  The woman had told the Madam very firmly, with almost clenched teeth,

“It is very important that you just tell me one thing.  I must know if my husband is cheating on me with his Secretary.  He spends so much more time at the office than is necessary. Why?  Why does he come home so late all the time? That is all I need to know.”

Staring into the Crystal Ball did no good.  She only saw an upside down candy dish.  Finally Rose stood and leaned forward to whisper softly back at the tense woman.

“I can only speak to you of your own Future.  The Crystal Ball is looking at you alone.  It says that you are a true well meaning person who expects the same of all others.  Therefore you usually get it.  I can also see that you have a good marriage and a superbly, well run house.

Rose was thinking of the way this party had been run for the convenience of the servants and herself.  The guests, just like the numbers and the movie rope, the Picture book food, the Classical Music, the civil conversation… In fact, everything she saw was total perfection. If there was a single fault, Rose could not find it.

Then she looked at the Crystal Ball again and what she saw made her change her mind.  In her new mind set, she began to dish out Madam Marvel’s sage but probably most unwelcome advice.

“Orderly perfection, such as yours, can be a very good thing but… For the comfort of everyday living, random, carefree, even a “come what may” attitude can be more interesting.  Not knowing what may happen next is often rather exciting.  Start at once to put your private home life into that different mode while you still may.

Surprise your family by not letting them know what might happen next. A different kind of meal… that starts with desert!  The world is so full of variety.  Look for it! Wear it! Serve it for breakfast!  Seek out the smiles that come with others not knowing what you  might cause to happen next.  Be warm and carefree! Go barefoot on the grass!  Live it up.

That kind of joy is plainly in your future if you do make this important change.  Let it go freely to lead you out of the dull over organized past and into the wonderfully happy, if unexpected, good days you can create ahead.”

Roseanne looked at the Lady’s puzzled face.  Did she understand?  Would she follow herself out of all of this perfection damaging her family life?  Rose could only hope so, for her strange little Candy Dish had come through and told her why the Lady’s Husband preferred to relax in his cluttered office than to go to his tense, all perfect, home.

She carefully wrapped the tell tale dish up and put it into her bag and left.

That was the trouble with her job as Madam Marvel, she had no way of knowing if she made things better or worse.  Maybe her Candy Dish could tell her. Better yet, what would Daisy say?

They met at the Mall for lunch on Monday at Roses request.  The object was to compare notes on their mutual jobs as Madam Marvel.  True their clients were totally different, but in both cases they had fallen out of the agreed Madam mode and said things that they both had reservations about.  Roseanne began to explain her experience.

At first I was so impressed with that woman without even knowing her.  Everything around her ran like a Swiss Clock and I was thinking of trying to remember some of them for us to use.  Efficiency was her first name.  Then her guests began to take on the appearance of robots.  It was as if that atmosphere demanded nothing less of them or anyone.

So I was struck by the demand she made for me to only answer one question… about the loyalty of her husband.

I gave her Madam’s standard reply to that sort of thing just to get out of answering.

Then the answer came from the Crystal Ball that he just stayed away, not for a woman, but for relaxation from the high standard she required.  So then without giving it another thought, I gave it to her with both barrels.  I wish you could have heard me as I can hardly remember what I said.  It was more like what didn’t I say?

Basically I told her to relax and cool it, so the rest of her family could do the same.” Rose admitted.  Daisy understood and said so.

“In other words, Madam Marvel gave her the truth.  Now you, Roseanne, are worried about it.”

“Boiling my three thousand words down to five…She did and I am.”   Rose agreed again.

Daisy sighed, wondering how they could come to grips with this common situation.

“I know how you feel.  When we fall off of the script and turn our Madam loose in an effort to try to make our unsuspecting clients reform their terrible ways, we go home that evening remembering that such interference was never our calling or original hope.  Did we ever state a goal?  I mean really.”  Daisy finally asked, and Rose answered.

“No.  We simply fell into this with our eyes half closed.  It was party entertainment as I remember, fun and games.  How did we begin this habit of attempting to change people’s lives?”  Rose did not know, so Daisy tried again to find an answer.

“The people themselves are partly to blame.  We played the game as a game and they made our words too important.  They began to credit us, that is our Party Madam, with wisdom she never possessed.”

Rose wasn’t sure, she felt a little different.

“Don’t forget we suddenly found outside help.  I recall gaining and understanding some knowledge of the problems and their answers from somewhere we called the Crystal Ball.  But as that thing is a complete phony, where did that insight really come from?  Do you know?”

Both were silent wondering.  Then Daisy suggested,

“Maybe it didn’t.  Maybe we just thought it did, so we did not have to take the blame ourselves.”

“You mean…” Rose asked,  “It came from our own brains.  We dug deep to come up with workable answers and for no other reason than worry about the correctness of it, we had to think it was from elsewhere, someplace more intelligent?”

“Maybe.  Or it could have just been plain old good common sense.” Daisy decided.  “It was something the clients could have determined for themselves, but they preferred to believe this Psychic Woman Fortune Teller was that rare wise person who could be believed.  They needed to know these things from a greater power and she was chosen.”

“I think you have gotten to the real answer, Daisy. It comes down to the people’s need to know about the Future… real or not.”

“So if that is the answer, Roseanne, what are we going to do about it?  Keep on committing fraud to give it to them while feeling guilty or… what is another choice?”

Rose was trying to answer that difficult question in her own mind.  Her brain sifted through a selection of choices in seconds.  It quickly, whizzed past, Stop it, Carry-on, Change it, Don’t worry , Meet the Demand, Who Cares, Have fun, Fill the Need,  Pass it on,  and finally the best one,  so Rose said it right out loud to Daisy,

“Buy ourselves a real, Genuine, Crystal Ball… then we can asked It.” Rose was smugly smiling.

“But Rosy,” Daisy complained, “they cost a fortune!  And how can one of them give us better information than we are getting from your Candy Dish?”  Daisy was reluctant.“We charge a fortune.  So let’s try to get real.  I feel down-right silly, asking important questions of my cheap, little, Candy Dish.  Tell me… how much is a Fortune?”

Daisy had to laugh, but told Rose,

The Game Supply Stores and the Rock and Gem Stores carry the various polished Real Quartz Crystal Balls in several sizes for from $200. to $2000.

“But wait a minute.”  Daisy added, “They absolutely will not Guarantee them to give any kind of advice at all!”  Daisy smiled, remembering the salesman’s dismissive words, when she asked.  She reported them to Rose, as being  “Do you think we are stupid or something?”

But Rose only laughed also and suggested that, ‘’They probably received very high paid advice themselves,  from their Lawyers.

I say we should pay somewhere about what our recent profit was for two events. $1000.   And get ourselves a pretty good one… It would make us feel and even look more legitimate and we could say goodbye to that phony, upside down candy dish..”

“I saw a very nice one for that price and it had a classic carved black ebony stand, too.  I would feel like a real Psychic peering into that beautiful, expensive  Ball.”

“Then go buy it.   Wait, here’s my $500.”

“That means we carry on, right?”  Daisy remarked.  “And our goal is what? Again?”

“The same.”  Rose said firmly. “ We will have to wing it the same as always.  I see no other way, as the situations are different and we can’t help trying to assist when we sense a need.

It’s kind of like the Boy Scouts helping Old Ladies cross the street.  You don’t go looking for them, but you know a problem when you see it. “

“Okay, “  Daisy agreed.  “If all goes well there will be no problems, but the truth is we both know one when we are faced with it.  Madam Marvel can either stand the heat or get out from behind the Crystal Ball!”

“Let me know when we have a new Crystal Ball.”

“It’s in this Mall.  Let’s go choose it now.”  They left the lunch room to go forward with their invincible, Madam Marvel psychic, once again.  Only this time with a genuine Crystal Ball.

Will Madam Marvel, the Seer of the Future, honestly do a better job when the Candy Dish is retired?  Let’s hope so.  Because the vast public of real people actually do have that unexplained, deep seated, out of their control, need to know what the future has in store for them and Madam Marvel the Teller of Fortunes will still be there ready to tell them.