Fat Angie has one last mini cupcake and closes the package.
She is troubled as she looks out of her second floor window--
troubled by the bare-branched silver maple,
surrounded by edges of frost that form a ring around it,
and what bothers her most
are the five hundred red-wing blackbirds squabbling
on the bare branches
of the silver maple
ringed by frost
that frames the scene outside in the cold.
Many have felt like this,
Fat Angie supposes;
many have felt the future and trembled.
She pushes away the plastic package of mini cupcakes,
throws on her favorite maroon and white scarf
(her old school colors),
shrugs into her mail-order knock-off designer winter coat,
and hurries out the door and down the stairs.
One cannot wait,
thinks Fat Angie with a fierce resolve,
for the slings and arrows of cruel fortune to show right up at the door like Jehovah's Witnesses.
Passing beneath the silver maple filled with
red winged blackbirds,
Fat Angie sets her course as determinedly as Magellan,
if Magellan had been a size 16 unemployed typist living in Eau Claire
like a big blueberry inside a pancake.
She walks east two slushy blocks, then north for one, and through a doorway to a tea room called Mystic Krystal's.
There she is, Krystal the Gypsy herself,
listening to an old Dave Brubeck cd on a portable machine.
She uses a tiny blue remote to turn off the tiny blue player
the minute she gets a look at Fat Angie.
As smoothly competent and focused as any ER nurse,
Mystic Krystal knows
that this will not be the usual whiny plea for lottery numbers.
"Cut the cards three times and ask a question," she says,
and without even removing her heavy coat, Fat Angie is on it like white on rice,
as if they were both sitting in the situation room with the rockets coming in.
"The birds are just a parlor trick,"
says Mystic Krystal as she turns over cards in neat rows.
"They're just a distraction,
and disturbing, but
"Your girlfriend is sick. "
It's a statement, not one of those phony baloney shots in the dark
that fake seers use to try to get a clue.
Fat Angie allows as to how this is, sadly, true.
"Lemme ask you a question," says Mystic Krystal,
tilting her head to the side as she looks at the cards.
"Suppose that you,
and her crazy-ass dog
were all aboard theTitanic, and there was only room in the crap-ass lifeboat for two of you.
Fat Angie answers promptly that she would volunteer to suck salt water
so that the other two could bob in the boat upon the ocean blue,
until they got rescued by handsome sailors
Mystic Krystal ponders this.
"Don't you think,
that this girlfriend of yours would stick Fido in her lap,
or shove some salesman overboard
in order to make room for you?"
"She would. She would."
"Everything's gonna be fine.
You got twenty dollars, honey?"
Fat Angie only has eighteen dollars and fifteen cents,
on account of having bought the mini cupcakes
in a fit of emotional eating.
Mystic Krystal says, "Gimme fifteen and we'll call it catnip."
(Mystic Krystal sometimes says odd things like this.)
When Fat Angie gets home, the blackbirds are gone,
and there is a message on her machine from the girlfriend.
"Hey baby. Whatcha doin'?"
Fat Angie is as pretty as a pony in a daisy field when she smiles,
and for the first time all day,
she isn't hungry,
and feels easy with the world, and satisfied.
I shamelessly stole the title from my BFF Hedgewitch, who used it to hilarious effect in fellow Real Toad Kay's post HERE, in the comments.