"Pick a card. Any card". Said V. to me, one fine morning, in a basement office in North London somewhere.
“And I .. “ said V, brusquely shoving my keyboard out of the way, placing three cards face down in front of me with a theatrical flourish,
“... will tell you your fortune”.
And after some preliminaries:
“Come on Vivienne. You know I don’t believe in fortune telling and all that stuff”.
“Well you scry. And have issues with mirrors. Also don’t use my full name. And anyway don’t be so miserable. And also I’m considering online fortune telling, What have you got to loose?”.
“ok. ok. ok"
Nothing to loose but that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t sigh. And so I did, ostentatiously, and I might even have rolled my eyes.
My hand hovered over the cards.
“Pick one and turn it over”.
I chose the card in the middle. Turned it over and it was the Queen of hearts. Maybe Cassandra would leave her over-achieving husband after all?
“No” said V seemingly horrified “Not the queen”.
“What do you mean no. Is it bad? How bad?”
It is a strange fact, that even if you don’t believe in something and someone else does, that you can get sucked in. Do you walk under ladders? I don’t. Do you salute magpies? I do. Are you superstitious? I’m not? Apparently.
“Quickly. Pick another”
I quickly picked another.
It was the Ace of Spades - there’s a song in their somewhere:) - and as I showed it to V, she voicelessly indicated I should turn the final card, which I did quickly.
It was the Joker.
She had one hand on her mouth and the other on the back of my chair to support herself.
“What do these mean?”
I hate admitting this, but I had been so intent at looking at cards, and wondering about my future that I hadn’t noticed, that her hand was covering her mouth, not through worry but to suppress her laughter.
And then to add insult to injury, V. put her hand to her forehead making an L shape - L for loser in case you didn’t know.
I glared at her.
“Don’t be cross. It doesn't suit you. I was making a serious point about fortune telling.”
“Which is?” I wondered. Miffed.
“That it is easy to fool people, and that many people are fooled by fake readings.”
“So you are not going to tell me my fortune after all?”
“Malintzin is going to do it. I can’t as you are now my apprentice”.
I sighed. To be fair I enjoy working for V, and can’t imagine every returning to straight employment, but I’m totally not cool with being considered an apprentice, and also Malintzin reading my fortune is just weird.
As I opened my mouth to protest, V continued:
“So the question I have for you is this. How difficult would it be too create some cool looking webpages with cards and stuff?“
I shut my mouth.
Now we were talking.
“There could be a lot of money here/ Who is our target market? Are we going to bang out fake fortunes like christmas crackers? We don’t need real fortune tellers. I can write some simple chat bots and add cool effects and ...”.
It was at this point that I was treated to one of V’s lectures that we were genuine, and that only genuine fortune tellers would be used, and that all she was wondering was whether it would be possible to connect clients (marks in my mind) to people who could help them.
You can see some of my earlier attempts at telling fortunes with cards on the right somewhere. They are in no way genuine, and rather like Marcella (my first attempt at on-line fortune telling).
The better versions are on a private (members only) website which is used to help clients choose the fortune teller that works best for them (something to do with psychic resonance according to V).
I wrote this a while ago, and Malintzin told me my fortune. It’s not as bad as I feared and better than I hoped, and an Aztec priestess features in there somewhere. Thanks M.