CAGE OF LIFE PART THREE
SETTING: SAN FRANCISCO 1982
SYNOPSIS: PROFESSOR DAVID WILKES ENCOUNTERS AN EXPERIENCE HE NEVER EXPECTED.
WORDS PART THREE: 856
FROM PART TWO
Doubt pounded David’s mind. Feeling uncomfortable, he stood. “I don’t know how you did it, but I will find out.” He took fifty-dollar bill from his wallet and laid it on the table. “This should cover it.”
“No, Mr. Wilkes, this is too much,” Genea protested.
David gave her a cold, hard look. “Please keep the change, fortune teller.” He looked at his wife. Let’s get the hell out of here.”
Four days later, alone, David stood in front of Genea’s stall. “You knew I’d be back, didn’t you?”
WORDS PART THREE: 856
Genea nodded, smiled. “Yes, I did. I know you wish me to come with you to Princeton to study my abilities. But I feel even more that you want to hear about your future, do you not, Mr. Wilkes?”
“You tell me, you’re the fortune teller. I sense you are far more complex than the simple façade you project.” He narrowed his eyes, his voice firm, plying; “What are you really? No simple palm reader could have known that much about my life and family.”
Genea smiled. Can you hear him? What do you wish done, Master?
The voice touched her mind. Accommodate for now. We will provide further guidance based on his behavior.
Genea felt trapped. Smiling coyly, she looked at David. “I am a simple reader of palms, Mr. Wilkes, nothing more. Your question suggests answers I cannot provide.”
David’s stare was unrelenting. “I must politely disagree with you. Your intuitions, your knowledge of my family are answers begging questions. I believe there is much more to you than meets the eye. Am I wrong?”
“You don’t wear suspicion well, Mr. Wilkes. I feel part of you wishes I was something much more, but I am no more than what I am. I sense you are here due to your innate curiosity, or could there be another reason?”
Her intuition is uncanny. She’s playing mind games with me. “I am a highly trained psychiatrist and psychologist whose main focus is the study of psychological aberrations, nothing more. Your extraordinary mental abilities led me here, but you probably know that, don’t you?”
Genea nodded. “If that’s what you want to believe, Mr. Wilkes, then who am I to argue with a man as esteemed as you?”
David’s facial expression hardened. “Yes, this is what I believe, fortune teller.”
She studied David’s face. “Am I one of these aberrations . . . Mr. Wilkes?”
David’s expression remained unchanged. “No. Not you specifically, but the power I sensed in you as you read my palm tells me you are different, but in what manner I’m not sure.”
He guesses. Do not be alarmed, old one. Play with him if you wish, but do not lose him. A sanguine smile spread across Genea’s lips. “And what would you have my powers be, Mr. Wilkes? A witch, a clairvoyant, or something more sinister, a necromancer?”
“No. None of those. You’re what we call at Princeton University a RM; a Retrospect Mainliner.”
A puzzled look covered Genea’s face. “I know not this term, Mr. Wilkes.”
David frowned, his frustration evident. “You’re a goddamned memory addict, fortune teller, somehow getting a dopamine rush when you fixate on another’s memories. The question begs; how do you do this? Is my assumption correct concerning this or not?”
A disarming smile covered Genea’s face. “Please, Mr. Wilkes called me Genea.”
David gave a short, cursory nod. “Okay, Genea.”
“Thank you, Mr. Wilkes. I don’t wish to appear stupid nor offend, but I do not understand what you mean.”
David cleared his throat. “It’s quite simple. You crave another’s experiences, or more accurately, you derive stimulation from it, in a word a feeling of rapture. Am I close, or do you wish to pretend I’m not?”
Genea listened to the voices. Mere speculation. He knows nothing. Bring him tonight. “I wish no argument with you, Mr. Wilkes.” She looked into David’s eyes. “If I understand your words, then only a small part of what you said is true. I do feel another’s experiences, but I derive nothing from it. I do attain a certain level of personal satisfaction when I reveal insights to others, but nothing more. This is the truth, Mr. Wilkes.”
“Maybe, maybe not, but my instincts tell me you haven’t told me everything.” David studied Genea’s face. “You are hiding something, something I can’t put my finger on. But I will find out. I always do.”
“Mr. Wilkes, would you care to sit again, to prove, if for no other reason than your own satisfaction, I am simply a middle-aged woman who uses her minimal skills to sustain a meager existence?”
David hadn’t expected this. A look of confused interest covered his face.
Genea didn’t give him a chance to reply. “You may bring whomever you wish, Mr. Wilkes, your wife, your friends to make you feel comfortable while I read your palm.”
“You’re serious, aren’t you?”
Genea smiled. “Would tonight,” she pointed to the ramshackle building down the street, “be suitable, Mr. Wilkes? We could meet in my apartment.”
David turned, stared at the building, but said nothing.
“If the arrangement is not convenient, then please give me a time and place that is, Mr. Wilkes.”
David continued to stare at the building. “No, no. Your apartment will be fine.” He looked at Genea. “You don’t object to company?”
“No. I wish you relaxed and secure as possible so no doubts will linger concerning my abilities. At what time may I expect you, Mr. Wilkes?”
David rubbed his chin. “Would seven tonight be convenient?”
Yes. “My apartment is on the third floor. Address Three A. Until this evening, Mr. Wilkes.”
© 2017, Raymond Tobaygo. All rights reserved.
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