As I get older I find myself interested in things I’ve never considered before. I’ve decided to learn tarot reading. I’ve started to do some studying and found some fascinating things. A lot of people believe tarot is just fortune telling but I’ve found different. Each of the cards in the deck have meaning for the one being read for. Giving insight to the past, present and future they help one see how things have been, how they are, and with changes, how they could be better. I’ll write about it more when I know more. In the mean time, I’ve started a new Sam Barton Private Eye story. Enjoy!
Sam Barton in, The Tarot Card Mystery part One
As Sam entered the dimly lit shop the first thing he noticed was the incense. A dark smell that conveyed mystery and went well with the candle lit atmosphere. Pushing open the door triggered a bell somewhere in the further reaches of the store. The shop of Madame DuPree, a local psychic, had been in the neighborhood for as long as he could remember. Never having met her however, there was always talk. A mysterious woman, Madame DuPree was rumored to be very old and only half baked. She read fortunes with a crystal ball or tarot cards, sold incense and other esoteric things used for who knew what. No one could remember ever seeing her outside the shop. While waiting for someone to appear Sam looked around. Stepping up to a shelf along one wall he found plastic packages of dried chicken’s feet. He was about to turn and walk out when a man entered through a curtain on the back wall.
The man was large. About six feet four wearing a tight black shirt that showed a lot of rippling muscle underneath. With clean shaven large jowls and short stubby fingers, the man wore a bowler hat. He stood and stared at Sam. After about thirty seconds of this Sam finally said, “I’m here to see Madame DuPree.” The man turned slowly and went back through the curtain. After leaving Sam alone in the shop again he started to wonder what he was getting himself into. Sam wondered that a lot. Shortly the big man returned and held the curtain open. Pressing his arm to his left side Sam felt the reassuring pressure of his 45 in its shoulder holster. Ducking and walking through the curtain he found himself in a hallway. Mr. Bowler passed him and walked to a door a few steps along. Opening the door he gestured for Sam to enter. The big man did not seem menacing but his not speaking was unnerving. Sam entered the room.
It was small, about ten by ten, lit by candles with oriental carpets hanging from the walls. Opposite the door was a woman seated at a small table, presumably Madame DuPree. Between her teeth she held a stubby tobacco pipe which she puffed enthusiastically. In her hand was a pack of tarot cards with three of them on the table, face down. With her back to the wall there was an empty chair opposite her. “Sit,” she said. Uncomfortable with sitting with his back to the door, Sam hesitated. “You need not worry,” she said. “You are safe here. Michael will let no one enter.”
“What about Michael?” Sam asked.
“He will not enter unless I am in distress.”
“Your weapon is of little use here. As I said, you are safe.” She could have guessed about the 45 and about Sam’s unwillingness to sit with his back to the door or she could be psychic. Sam thought she guessed.
After sitting down Sam said, “I got your message. You wanted to see me about a problem?” He couldn’t tell how old she was. She seemed ancient and at the same time she appeared not so old. Her skin was very dark and her eyes shown with extreme clarity. She wore a loose fitting blouse gathered at the neckline and what appeared to be about twenty pounds of necklaces and bracelets on both arms. They jingled and flashed in the candle light. Long, red painted fingernails and thin bony fingers held the tarot deck. Her other hand played across the cards lying on the table.
Motioning to the cards on the table she asked, “Would you like a reading? These are for you after all. Just a simple three card read.”
“No offense Madame, but I really don’t believe in this.”
“Belief means nothing,” she quipped, her voice thin and ragged. “A man may choose to believe or disbelieve anything. It does not make a thing so or not so. Shall we start?”
Tapping the card to Sam’s right she flipped it over. “This card represents your past. It is the High Priestess. It can symbolize virginity, which by no means applies to you.” She looked at him over the rims of her wire framed glasses. “It can show a strong feminine influence for a man or represent a very important women in your life. Perhaps one you lost?” Sam’s thoughts drifted to Scarlet. He sometimes wished they had still been together. “It also shows that you should rely on your instincts.” Flipping over the middle card she smiled slightly. “This represents the present. The Three of Cups. Celebration, happiness. Chance meetings, love affairs and flirtations. Kind of follows the first card eh?”
Puffing strongly on her pipe and tapping the last card she said, “And the future.” Turning over card she said almost under her breath, “Death. I wasn’t expecting that.” Looking up at him she said, “Oh it can mean death, that is for certain. But in your case, hmm, I think not. Getting rid of the old, as in the death of bad habits or old ways making room for something new. It can mean a harsh fate, not necessarily death but something equally hard to deal with. Most certainly a major change.” Sam sat back in his chair. He didn’t believe in this mumbo jumbo but he wasn’t happy about the death card all the same.
“So, you are wondering why I sent you a message.” It was a statement, not a question. “I am in need of the services of a private investigator. I do not want police or media attention. Bad for business, you understand.” She hesitated. “I have a niece. A strong willed girl, my late brother’s daughter. He asked me to look after her when he passed. She is, how should I say, promiscuous. She likes the drink, she likes parties. Hollywood would suit her better but she is here, with me. She is missing. Three days now, I have not seen her. I am worried, you understand. With her, loose ways I am afraid she could be in trouble. I would like her to be found before something bad happens.”
“No offense Madame,” Sam said as he took out his pipe and began to fill it, “But you’re the psychic. Can’t you find her?”
“There are dark forces at work here,” she said gravely. “Even to one such as myself, not everything is revealed. Something is blocking my sight. This has never happened before. I am afraid.” Her hands fidgeted on the table and she suddenly dropped them into her lap. She hung her head and sobbed. Pulling a kerchief from her sleeve she wiped her eyes. “Will you help me? I can give you some assistance. There are some things I have seen. And Michael will be at your disposal.”
“Yeah, about Michael, does he talk?” Sam asked as he lit his pipe.
“When the need arises.”
Sam sighed. “Alright,” he said. “I’ll look around, see what I can find. There are people I can talk to. People that know things. Why don’t you tell me what you know and I’ll get started. And I don’t think I’ll be needing Michael.”
“You may be surprised at what you will need,” she said.
When Sam left the shop it was late. Walking back to his office his shoes were loud on the hard pavement. This was his world, the city at night. He’d always been the most comfortable at night and alone. And sometimes, with a little company. Before he left her, Madame DuPree told him that she had a vision of a ship in the harbor. An old ship, maybe painted red that could be connected with her niece. She warned him to be careful. There was something about the ship she said, that could be dangerous. As he was about to leave she said, “Take this with you.” She handed him the Death card. “To remind you to be careful, and for luck. My niece’s name is Christiana Maria DuPree. As I told you, she is, loose. And very beautiful. From your reading I gather what kind of man you must be. I do not disapprove but it would be most unfortunate if there were any how should I say, entanglements between Christiana and yourself. You understand? Unfortunate.”
The kind of man I am? he thought. What did she mean by that?
Stay tuned for part two of the exciting new Sam Barton mystery!