A short story by Michael R. Lockridge
“Hello?” Inquired Adriana Loomis, as she opened the door of the little shop. “Hello? Anyone here?”
The room was dark, and draped with tapestries. Mystical. Medieval. Exciting.
She stood near the center of the small room. It contained two chairs, neither of which looked capable of carrying her substantial personage. She had passed petit in her youth, dallied with curvaceous for a season, and spent many years as big boned. At this point in her life she was corpulent, on a good day. On bad days she was as big as a house.
“Hello? I am here about the diet.” Adriana said, waving around a piece she had torn out of a newspaper. There seemed to be nobody to see it as she waved it about, so she stopped. It drooped in her hand.
“One moment.” Said a voice from behind one of the tapestries.
The tapestry was pushed aside, and a surprisingly young man stepped into the room.
“Are you really a Gypsy fortune teller?” Adriana asked. He seemed so young.
“Romani.” He said. “I am of the Romani people. I tell fortunes. I read cards. I read palms. You mentioned the diet?”
“Yes. Your advertisement says, ‘Lose a pound a day for the rest of your life.’ You can do this?” She asked.
“I can, if you are sure it is what you want.” Said the young man.
“I have tried everything. Oh, please. Can you help?” Cried Adriana.
“You have the money?” He asked.
Adriana extracted a large roll of bills from her purse. She handed it to the young man. He glanced at it, and put it in his pocket.
“You didn’t count it.” She said.
“I am a fortune teller. It is correct.” He said. “You are very sure of this?”
“Yes.” She moaned. “Please.”
The young man reached up and brushed her face with the back of his hand. He leaned close to Adriana’s ear.
“Thinner.” He whispered.
He stepped back. “It is done. A pound a day, for the rest of your life.”
Adriana was incredulous. “That’s it?” She asked.
“It will work.” He said. “I learned it from my grandfather. It worked for him, and his fathers before him.”
“I…..believe you.” Said Adriana. She turned to go.
“One more thing.” He said.
She turned back. He was holding out a business card. She took it, and looked at it.
“My sister’s bakery.” He said. “If you change your mind, talk to her. Ask for the strawberry pie. It was my grandfather’s favorite.”