Monday, November 17, 2014

De-mystifying the Jargon Part I

"Knowledge is like underwear. 
It is useful to have it, but not necessary to show it off." 
~Nicky Gumbel 

We live in confusing times. Just when you're feeling confidently smug about the way your life is going, some cosmic force throws you a curve ball and you find yourself in conversation with a New Age enthusiast who is bouncing weird, unfamiliar lingo around at the dinner table or during your colonoscopy.

In order to provide you with greater understanding of what you may be hearing these days, I offer the following:

Definition of terms for the New Age novice

Age of Aquarius: astrological terminology referring to a blissful period of time when humanity will finally find the balance between cigarettes and tofu.

Alignment: hokey, overused word for being in agreement or alliance with the energy of others or unrealistic delusions of peaceful co-existence with All Beings. Example: "Dude, I was so in alignment with that pile of kale at the Farmer's Market, I began to weep as I felt myself being ripped from the ground."

Astral projection: your spirit leaves your body and travels to an all-inclusive Caribbean resort for the rest and cocktail-driven relaxation you can't seem to achieve while plodding through the drudgery of your waking life.

Astral sex: you direct your promiscuous, wanton spirit to the bedroom of George Clooney and/or Jennifer Lopez and demand that they do the bone dance with you. They must agree to it, otherwise it is classified as astral rape and you will be punished to the fullest extent of the Law of Attraction.

Astrology: the stars and planets had a meeting and decided that this is the lifetime where everything will be completely fucked up no matter what you do. Sorry.

Aura: energy field surrounding all living beings. Yours is probably full of holes and/or being drained by an energy vampire unless you are a victim of the zombie apocalypse and already dead.

Automatic writing: taking dictation from a ghost with an agenda. After writing session concludes, expect to have a sudden interest in overthrowing governments, jumping off of the Golden Gate bridge or making babies with Ashton Kutcher.

Bigfoot: gigantic, apelike creature who skulks around the Pacific Northwest fucking with bounty hunters and camera bugs hoping to capture evidence of his existence. Bigfoot recently posted on Twitter about his disappointment in the Animal Planet television series, Finding Bigfoot, stating, "I think the paparazzi might have chased me out of Los Angeles."

Chakra: the seven centers of spiritual power in the human body. Yours are most likely spinning in the wrong direction, jammed or completely defective, classifying you as the spiritual equivalent of a busted vending machine that appears to be full of Snickers and Funyuns but won't give up the goods when someone drops in a handful of quarters.

Channeling: a technique by which disembodied spirits use your voice to communicate opinions, predictions and directives while you are in an unconscious trance. When you awaken, you will discover that you spent two thousand dollars on a whole-house air filtration system and have volunteered to teach a group of effeminate young men to pole dance. Not to be confused with Ambien-induced insanity.

Clairvoyance: a form of extrasensory perception in which a psychic person "sees" (sometimes while appearing to watch a fascinating movie playing inside a crystal ball) terrible events that will be happening to you at some undetermined time in the future. There will be no way to avoid these tragedies, and you will live your entire life waiting for the other cosmic shoe to drop.

Crystals: pretty, overpriced rocks believed to have magical healing powers. Example: "Holding an amethyst in your mouth for a week will heal your abscess." You will choke on this crystal as the dentist is draining the puss-filled cyst you should have dealt with a week ago.

Déjà vu: the feeling that you've made this same stupid fucking mistake before.

Energy balancing: an alternative-care practitioner attempts to fix your energy field which has become severely damaged. Circumstances likely to cause mangled auras include:
~living with bitter, alcoholic parents in a mobile home in Florida after the age of 35
~the video of your drunken night with three frat boys and a horny Rottweiler named Toby goes viral
~your husband's new-found interest in moving to Utah and exploring polygamy with high school-age girls
~discovering that your elderly father has stolen your identity and opened a massive line of credit in order to help a sweet young lady by the name of Cherry through "beauty school"
~addiction to alcohol, Internet porn, ice cream, online shopping, stalking ex-boyfriends, opiates, masturbating in public places and/or gambling away your life savings at the casino while your spouse is out of town.

Energy vampire: someone you are required to interact with at family functions and office Christmas parties who drains you of your life force and diminishes your will to live. In addition to sucking your energy from you, may also want to "borrow" your money, car, clothing, jewelry and spouse. Will want to tag along on all-expense-paid vacations, shitting all over your good time and probably need to be bailed out of the pokey at least once.

Feng shui: harmonious placement of furniture and accessories in the home. Example: triangulating the vector between the recliner, refrigerator and television in order to optimize your sloth-like tendencies and eating disorders.

Intuition: that little voice in your head that tells you what a bad idea it is to do whatever it is you are thinking of doing (particularly Internet-related activities). Going against your intuition is likely to result in any or all of the following:

burning urination
insomnia or night terrors
fainting in Costco
painful or prolonged erection of the penis

dancing with wolves
sensation of spinning
spiders living in your ear canal
blurred vision
Oscar Meyer wiener

compulsion to wear a dashiki and join drumming circles even though you are white
projectile diarrhea
unplanned pregnancy
gasping for air

eye crabs
pounding or irregular heartbeat
jock itch
belief in a race of intelligent reptilian beings subliminally controlling planet earth through messages encoded in rerun episodes of The Golden Girls
large, hive-like swelling on the face, legs, feet or sex organs
oily discharge leaking from anus
sudden interest in arson
oozing sores in the mouth or on the lips
sweating onions
searing pain in the genital region
court-ordered community service at the Naples, Florida DMV
unusual tiredness or weakness

Karma: destiny resulting from your previous actions. Example: Mary has 18 fish in her fish tank. She transfers 12 of the fish to her brother's fish tank. How many fish are left in Mary's tank? Answer: None. Mary was the Captain of the Titanic in a previous life, so now everything that she loves will die a terrible, watery death right before her eyes.

Law of Attraction: metaphysical boomerang covered in Krazy Glue. Example: you talk shit about your ex to anyone who will listen and post obsessively on Facebook about what a gigantic pain in your ass he is...three days later you have a raging case of hemorrhoids.

Meditation: that thing you can't do no matter how hard you try even though you dropped eight hundred dollars on incense, hemp floor cushions, Buddha statues and elastic-waist harem pants in three different colors. And let's not even talk about that infected-looking "om" tattoo on your foot.

Medium: "I see dead people."

Namaste: Hindu greeting offered in conjunction with "praying hands" which is meant to convey peaceful wishes but winds up making you want to smack the patchouli stink off of the person saying it. When seen as a bumper sticker, is usually on a Prius driven by the biggest jackass on the road doing forty miles an hour in the fast lane admiring his dreadlocks in the rear-view mirror while listening to a CD of dolphin mating sounds.

Ouija Board: occult oracle magnet which attracts every single degenerate spook in the universe. Once they have gained entry into your home, these demons will wreak havoc with your electronics, steal your car keys and rape your dogs. Not to be confused with unemployed drug addict son living in your basement.

Palm reading: an excuse for a hermit with bad breath to hold your hands and pretend that the lines on your palms indicate your tragic daddy issues and that you will have a heart attack when you are 45, which you will probably live through. But try not to worry.

Past life regression: in which you hope to confirm your belief that you were Cleopatra or Mary Magdalene but learn that you were actually a hideous witch who was burned at the stake or Adolf Hitler's event coordinator.

Positive affirmation/mantra: short phrases used to shift thought patterns from negative to positive. Example: (during agonizing root canal) "I love myself too much to eat entire bags of Rolos and Smarties before bed."

Psychic: person with freakish ability to know many embarrassing details about you including sexual preferences and bathroom habits. You will pay cash money for this person to tell you all the things you are doing wrong in your life and how the situation will go from bad to worse unless you get your shit together now. This psychic person will likely go to extraordinary lengths to avoid you on the rare occasions they leave their house to gather supplies or try on harem pants at the mall.

Reincarnation: appallingly grim belief that your soul is reborn in different bodies throughout eternity. Thanks to that punishing bitch, karma, you will keep coming back to earth, trying to fix your idiotic mistakes until your soul finally gives up and moves on to a different galaxy to try its luck in a fresh venue.

Séance: when you and a few of your drunk friends decide to make contact with the spirit of Marilyn Monroe but instead conjure up the ghost of Mickey Rooney who won't shut up about the glory days at MGM. Always attracted to inebriated women while alive, the soul of Mickey will linger around the house long after the séance is over, rattling wine bottles and groping your breasts in the middle of the night.

Spirit guide: the entity in charge of watching over your dumb ass while you blunder your way through life, screwing up everything you touch. Similar to a guardian angel but bossier and judgmental in an annoying know-it-all way. May ride in the car with you and dick around with your radio.

Tarot card reading: someone wearing too many jangly bracelets pulls cards from a deck and tells you about your pathetic mommy issues and that you should eat more carrots to avoid colon cancer. She may assume a crestfallen look as she informs you that your spouse is having intercourse with a blonde he met at the gym.

Third eye: refers to the (hopefully) invisible eye in the middle of your forehead. Symbolizes an enlightened state of consciousness and the ability to "see" what your spouse is doing on the Internet at 2:00 a.m.

UFO: unidentified flying objects from outer space linked to conspiracy theories, government cover-ups and poorly-faked alien autopsies filmed in someone's garage with an 8mm camera found on eBay. Currently a trendy way to get national attention on the History Channel after being anally probed by a short, grey fellow with long fingers and dead eyes.

Vibes: the atmosphere created by someone's emotional state. Example: "Did you feel the bad vibes coming off of Dirk when he found out he has cancer in his nut sack?"

Yeti: large creature resembling a peevish albino Chewbacca residing in ice caves of the Himalayan mountains. Distant cousin of the reclusive Bigfoot, but more likely to make appearances at Disneyland on the Matterhorn bobsled ride.

Yurt: a glorified tent used by self-proclaimed gypsies and nomads who need to be able to pack up and leave town quickly when the "healing treatments" (comprised mostly of mushroom spores and cow poop) they are selling backfire and clients experience violent allergic reactions such as believing they can jump out of a fourth story window and fly to Paris naked.

Yoga: your downward facing dog pissed on my tree pose.

Zombie apocalypse: belief that zombies (a corpse brought back to life through witchcraft, voodoo or Black Friday sale at Walmart) will somehow band together to engage in an assault on humanity, feeding on the brains of the living and creating more zombies as they make their way from town to town. Possible metaphorical ties to the downfall of western civilization, voracious consumerism and the Bush administration. Discuss.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

De-mystifying the Jargon Part II

“It's funny. All you have to do is say something nobody understands 
 and they'll do practically anything you want them to.” 
~J.D. Salinger

More definitions for those who are seeking guidance during these puzzling days of the New Age:

Atlantis: a fanciful, utopian ideal, once smiled upon by the gods and blessed with prosperity and the love of all mankind, becomes morally bankrupt and attempts world domination through force (see: Justin Bieber).

Coffee enemas: highly-addictive practice of injecting espresso up your ass, ostensibly to clean out your large intestine. Side effects include a strong desire to cram biscotti into your rectum and shitting your pants every time you pass a Starbucks.

Conscious uncoupling: closure counseling for couples who can no longer stand the sight of one another and have enough extra cash lying around to work through a 5-week process of harmoniously slashing the zip ties of marital bondage. Works well with soul mates. Fails drastically with twin flames.

Crop circles: complex patterns mysteriously appearing in grain fields since the Nixon administration. Theories of their origins include the following:
1. Two drunk British dudes using a plank of wood and some rope have been traveling around the world for forty years, proudly defacing the crops of innocent farmers.
2. Psychic people who have grown bored with gazing into crystal balls are broadcasting their brain waves onto farmlands of the English countryside in an effort to demonstrate cerebral superiority.
3. Vigorous sexual activity of horny hedgehogs produces precise, mathematical designs, especially near Stonehenge where their passionate frolicking creates artful motifs of multi-cultural symbolism.
4. Bigfoot's preferred method of communication.
5. Random wind gusts can create the face of Elvis in less than 45 minutes.
6. Punk-ass extraterrestrial kids are doodling on our walls.
7. Team Satan.

Crystal skulls: controversial carved quartz artifacts believed to be imbued with mystical powers. Certain legends say that these skulls were created by prankster extraterrestrials (with access to a drill press) visiting planet earth in the pre-Columbian era. When all thirteen skulls have been found and are gathered in the Hyatt Regency conference room, it will be revealed that God is actually a Catskills comedian by the name of Morty who really loves dirty jokes, mindless groupies and one too many vodka martinis.

 heralded as the wise, interdimensional mascot of the New Age and generally thought of as compassionate, smiling, volunteer healers who want nothing more out of life than to help humans fix what ails us. Disturbing current research shows that dolphins are actually the gangsters of the sea, killing and maiming for pleasure when they are not involved in vicious gang-bangs, masturbating with decapitated fish and credit card theft.

Doomsday preppers: folks who are confident that the world is coming to an end are preparing for the arrival of the Antichrist by stocking up on firearms, duct tape and hard cheeses encased in wax. Oh, and sugar. Don't forget this essential item, because when the shit goes down and you are sequestered with your repulsive family in an underground bunker for a year, you are going to need some goddamn sugar. And nudie mags. And maybe a few gallons of morphine to distract you from the dismal reality of your new life.

Dream catcher: Native American crafty doodad that catches more dust than dreams. Large, enterprising spiders see it as a ready-made web (with bonus feathers and beads!) and move right in, happy to drop mosquito carcasses into your open mouth as you sleep.

Family bed: contentious issue also known as co-sleeping. You either believe in keeping the kids in your bed (and sneaking out to the tool shed to have awkward sex bent over earwig-infested bags of mulch) until they graduate from high school or insisting that they sleep in their own rooms (and sneaking in every twenty minutes to make sure they are still breathing). Whichever way you choose, there will be judgment from smug Earth Mothers, shame, fear that you've made the "wrong" choice and misery. Welcome to parenthood!

Global warming: ongoing cage match between Al Gore and Rush Limbaugh about the validity of climate change. Al states that too many decades of carelessly tooling around in our fossil fuel combustion machines while spraying Aqua Net and Glade into the atmosphere has produced a situation in which we are all slowly cooking to death in our own toxic waste. Rush disagrees and contends that global warming is a hoax manufactured by the Democrats, giving him carte blanche to pollute our environment even further with his own brand of noxious gas.

GMO: stands for genetically modified organism and is the current axis of evil/Death Star piloted by the Monsanto syndicate. Example: "What the fuck, dude! I knew that tomato was GMO when I cut into it and found a fish head."

Indigo children: refers to the deep blue color of certain children's energy fields. These are the obnoxiously precocious tykes who aren't afraid of consequences and refuse to follow your "rules", insisting that you think of them as magical superhumans who are encouraged to get away with murder. Indigo children gravitate towards starring roles in television sitcoms and/or tyrannical dictatorship of blended families and small countries.

Inner child therapy: your damaged, egomaniacal nine year old self is still calling the shots in your adult life as is evidenced by the way you eat like an unsupervised kid at a birthday party, shoplift nail polish from Walmart and fly into a tearful rage when you are even the slightest bit inconvenienced. You are likely to attract a similarly unstable partner who is emotionally frozen in a troubled childhood and unable to make rational decisions. Examples: Billy Bob and Angelina, Courtney and Kurt, Lindsay Lohan and anyone. Seek help now.

Justin Bieber: gender-confused Hobbit escapes Canadian Shire, visits fancy salon, attempts to take over world with catchy pop tunes, promptly implodes before a live audience. File under cliché.

Personal growth: the practice of spending most of your time examining what's going horribly wrong in your life and feeling pleasantly relieved when someone else is screwing up worse than you.

Quinoa: a gateway grain substitute used by trendy-disease-following glutenphobes and those who actually experience explosive diarrhea after ingesting wheat. It has been proven that consuming quinoa leads to experimenting with amaranth and buckwheat, escalates rapidly to bean flour and culminates tragically with the uncontrollable compulsion to score millet from overpriced health food stores and neighborhood bird feeders.

Soul mate: the Simon to your Garfunkel, the nut to your bolt, the binge to your purge. Basically a kindred spirit who shows up to make your life more interesting while annoying the shit out of you. Does not usually end in homicidal rages or theatrical suicide attempts (see: Twin Flame).

Space clearing: removing the negative energy imprints left on your home and work environments by ass-clowns, creeps and hostile shrews. You will need to gather a variety of tools to clear the contaminated space in question: bells, chimes, gongs, sage bundles, mirrors, essential oils, sea salt, brightly-colored fabrics, candles, incense and an assortment of crystals and stones. You should dress in loose clothing, wear way too much jewelry and try (at least for today) to be in a pleasant mood when you order the bad vibes to leave your space through the open windows. If you have acquired Jeffrey Dahmer's cardigan or the throw rug from Ted Bundy's house during your serial killer/eBay fascination phase, now would be a good time to let those items go.

Sweat lodge: a dome-shaped hut made from natural materials for the purpose of ceremonial group steam baths where you will eventually pray for your own death. Even though you join in the Native American ritual with a jovial sense of adventure, you will soon want to claw your way out of the oppressive, airless enclosure. Escape is not possible because there will be an obese white man calling himself Iron Snake wearing only a skimpy purple loincloth blocking the exit and reminding you of the "sacred commitment" you made to the sweat. You will become acutely aware of your level-ten Caucasian claustrophobia, but your sniveling requests to be excused will not be heard above the chanting.

Tantric sex: the ancient art of forcing yourself to be in the present moment so completely that you experience blissful, luminous sexual ecstasy and orgasms that last for three weeks. This will never actually happen to you because you are thinking about the past-due water bill, the busted hinge on your bathroom door or why the dog keeps humping the couch cushions as you are going through the motions of tedious, obligatory sex with someone who smells like a bean burrito smothered in ass sauce.

Tofurky: a symbiotic relationship between processed soy and wheat protein formed into a dense loaf and served as a vegetarian alternative to the delectable Thanksgiving turkey the rest of the family is enjoying. Devout vegans will gasp, cringe and perhaps shed distressed tears as the electric carving knife saws into juicy breast meat and crispy-skinned drumsticks and wings are ripped off of the bird. The vegans at your table will choke down their sad little meal of fabricated mock meat while glaring self-righteously at the carnivores.

Twin flame: best case scenario: "you complete me." Worst case scenario: "I will take great pleasure in murdering you while you sleep and burying your corpse in the desert." Erroneously believed to be the pinnacle of romantic relationships, but only if you enjoy living with an unrelenting, full-length mirror reflecting your broken, ludicrous self back to you every day of your miserable life.

Vegan: the arrogant buzzkill at your bacon-themed holiday party. This wet blanket will pull out his iPhone to display a ghastly slide show of slaughterhouse nightmares to your cornered guests making them lose all interest in the delicious pork goodness you have painstakingly prepared. Will make sure everyone sees him chomping on the homemade granola he brought with him in a burlap sack, explaining in sanctimonious tones that gorillas don't eat meat, but seem to be surviving just fine.

Wicca: neo-pagan nature-based religion which has nothing to do with summoning demons into your bedroom (unless you are also using Those who choose to join a coven should brace themselves for the following:
1. You will cease wearing undergarments and learn to speak elvish.
2. There will be no shaving or waxing of body hair. Plucking eyebrows to resemble a startled wood nymph is encouraged, however.
3. You will immediately invest your life savings into Stevie Nicks-inspired hooded capes and swirly skirts, pentacle tattoos the size of dinner plates, crystal wands and black eyeliner.
4. Once a month naked twirling under the full moon as someone plays an autoharp is mandatory.
5. You agree to engage in lively group discussions about your "moon blood".
6. It will be necessary to modify your uninteresting spelling of mundane words to include the telltale "k". Example: "I ckonstructed a magickal ckauldron for mystickal inckantations."
7. Trading in your PT Cruiser for an enchanted flying broom and ill-tempered black cat is a non-negotiable requirement.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Of Crystal Skulls and Ouija Boards Part III

“Hell is empty and all the devils are here.” 
~William Shakespeare

When you are in the psychic business, weird shit happens all the time. I am regularly spooked by myself and others, although I have trained my facial expressions to be calm and neutral. Clients often ask with a wink if I play poker, assuming that the supernatural combination of clairvoyant knowing and inscrutability would provide me with everything I need to win million-dollar tournaments. I suppose I could give it a try, but my aversion to card games has deep roots in early childhood when my insane grandmother, Alice would pull me to her side during Canasta marathons and attempt to teach me the rules from a cloud of cigarette smoke. My nervous attention was drawn more to the ash of her cigarette which would grow to incredible lengths before falling into her lap where it would burn little circles of melted polyester or onto the carpet where the dog would come to lick it up and then sneeze spasmodically. When it became clear that I had no aptitude for cards, she put me to work fetching cocktails and chocolate covered peanuts for everyone at the table.

Since that time, well-intentioned folks have tried without success to teach me various card games which hold no appeal for me. I have been to Las Vegas a few times and tried my luck at the slot machines, but to no avail. Except for dining at some questionable Mexican restaurants, I'm simply not a gambler.

Back to the weird shit.

Tales from the crypt

I'm rather neutral about the undead. The stories told by Stephen King, Anne Rice and Dean Koontz entertained me in my youth, I was undaunted by the zombie apocalypse craze and never pledged allegiance to either Team Edward or Team Jacob.

Perhaps it was my nonjudgmental attitude that made my service attractive to fringe dwellers and alternative lifestyle advocates; I truly do not harbor animosity about any group or belief system (of course I laugh at the outrageous antics I hear about in sessions the same way that I laugh at myself when I drop an open carton of eggs in the grocery store or choke on my own spit during a wedding ceremony). Maybe it was just a cosmic joke test to see how compassionate and accepting I am, but a few years ago, several new clients called for sessions and through the course of our discussions, revealed themselves to be practicing vampires, werewolves and witches.

Case #1
Client named Disturbia* begins our telephone session by informing me that she is a vampire/werewolf hybrid and that if I am afraid of those kinds of things, we should not work together. Boom. There it is. Out of the coffin in the first thirty seconds of our call. I assure Disturbia that I can handle whatever it is she wants to talk about and her defensive energy calms immediately. I learn that Disturbia is an assistant manager at an Applebee's restaurant in the Midwest and for the most part, leads a fairly ordinary life during daylight hours. We talk about her challenges with certain employees at work, an upcoming vacation to Disney World and the breast augmentation surgery she is considering. It's all very mundane, but forty minutes into our session, the conversation takes a weird turn when Disturbia tells me that she has been feeling uncontrollable urges during the full moon to prowl around the woods at night hunting and eating small animals. She feels as though she is "becoming" more of a werewolf and is wondering what the future looks like should she pursue this path. I ask about her childhood and she tells me that she was adopted from an orphanage by an older couple who are now both dead ("of natural causes", she is quick to add). The upshot of our session is that Disturbia is considering leaving her human life behind to join a community of hybrids who roam the backwoods, sleep in caves during the day and hunt forest animals at night. She is attracted to one fellow in particular who is more of a vampire, but she's certain that they can work out their cultural differences in time, and she can sway him towards the way of the werewolf. At this point, though, Disturbia is not quite ready to abandon her familiar routines, so we explore some less-exotic potentials and she seems confident about going ahead with the double D implants. 

Case #2
New client by the name of Leandro* arrives for his appointment dressed completely in black, sporting the arrogant goatee and fedora costume that is unfortunately popular these days. When combined with painfully snug jeggings and opaque gothic sunglasses, I realize that I am in for an...interesting...hour.  (Larry David once commented that blind people and assholes wear sunglasses inside. Leandro is definitely not blind, so that's a pretty good indicator of what awaits.) When he pulls a comically long black vapor cigarette out of his vest pocket, I draw the line on the pretentious affectations and ask him to refrain during our session. He says nothing, but slowly puts the cigarette back in his pocket and crosses his legs. I can't see his eyes because the stupid glasses are still on, but I get the distinct feeling that Leandro is already unhappy with me and my "rules".

With an exhausted sigh, the Grim Reaper begins talking about himself and how much he hates this world we live in. It's so fake. It's full of morons and liars. People are afraid of their dark side. The government is a joke and Obama is an animatronic replicant sent from the future to kill us all. When I attempt to speed up his peevish monologue by asking how I can be of help, Leandro discloses that he is the leader of a local vampire community and that he wishes to write a book about the "real vampires" in the world as opposed to "that Twilight shit" that most people believe. Warming to his subject, Leandro begins to share details of the rituals he and his cohorts enjoy, including the consumption of human blood (cutting, not biting, I learn) as part of the nightly group sexual frenzy over which he presides (I imagine sweaty, bloody bodies thrashing around on a black shag rug while Haunted Mansion organ music plays from someone's iPod).

As he drones on about the cutting and blood-letting protocols (I gather that a feeble human like me can only consume one ounce of pure blood before vomiting, but a Real Vampire such as Leandro has a much higher tolerance and is therefore a Superior Being), I am more than ready to ask him to leave. How the Prince of Darkness found me and why he would seek my counsel is a mystery, but here we are. Sensing the shift in my energy, he stops himself mid-sentence and a silence fills the room. As if on cue, Leandro begins crying and produces a black silk handkerchief from his pocket to wipe his tears and blow his nose.

What sort of fuckery is this?

Through his tears, Leandro confides that the responsibilities of community leadership are weighing heavily on him and that he simply cannot keep up with the demands (no elaboration, thank God) that are being placed on him by the clan. I attempt to shift the energy of the conversation by asking if he is writing about his experiences as a precursor to the book he has envisioned and the tears abruptly stop. And then this:

Leandro: "Do you think I'm fucking stupid?"
Me: "No...just wondering if you had an outlet for the emotions you're feeling."
Leandro (with withering contempt): "My 'outlet' is perfecting the art of black magic and genuine vampirism."

I now have a mental image of Leandro busying himself during daylight hours rigging up and refining an elaborate torture camp in a dank basement where hapless delivery people, innocent children walking home from school and Jehovah's Witness peddlers are lured to their doom. My next thoughts go something like this:

1. Get this miscreant out of my living room.
2. Fumigate house.
3. Establish a more rigid screening process.
3. Change my name and move out of state.

I have had root canals that were more pleasant than this half hour. I give Leandro my standard speech letting him know that I cannot be of help to him at this time and the upstairs smoke alarm starts screeching. Leandro touches his index finger to his cheek displaying a huge ruby-eyed devil ring while arching an eyebrow as if to say that I should proceed with caution or worse things will happen.

Oh, it's like that, motherfucker?

I can clearly see the outline of his cramped gonads through the skin tight jeggings and imagine myself delivering a well-placed kick to the nut sack if it comes down to it. Even a vampire can be temporarily disabled by excruciating pain, and seeing as how I probably outweigh the delicately-framed Leandro by seventy five pounds, I might have an opportunity to actually do some damage and prevent him from polluting the world with his future offspring.

But before I have a chance to cripple this jackass, there is a loud knock on the front door. It's the brawny neighbor from the adjoining townhouse checking in to see if everything's okay since he can distinctly hear my smoke alarm and is concerned that the entire complex is about to burst into flames.

Leandro chooses to exit the house after the neighbor, not bothering to say goodbye or wish me a good day. As he speeds away on his flashy black Ninja motorcycle I wonder who's been running Hell while he was here contaminating my couch.

Case #3
I can trace most of my decisions to participate in group events back to a toxic combination of being a compulsive people-pleaser and not having the mature self-confidence to just say no. It's certainly an indicator of mushy boundaries established in childhood when my mother would deliver passive-aggressive emotional punishment if I dared to challenge her or refuse to participate in the things she thought I should be doing. It was not unusual to find her weeping in her room after a disagreement, and when asked what was wrong, to hear that I had "disappointed" her and/or "broken her heart" which was dramatically out of proportion to the situation (not wanting to attend a birthday party for a snotty girl I hated or refusing to join a church group for teens who needed to know more about the sacrifices Our Lord made for the sins we may be thinking of committing in the back seat of someone's car). Then there were her epic silent treatments that would last for days, punctuated only by tears and murmuring to no one in particular, "to whom much is given, much will be expected" while trying to establish eye contact with the framed portrait of Jesus hanging in the dining room.

What horrific karmic injustice must I have committed to be doing hard time with Carrie's mother as a cellmate?

Here we go again. I have been invited to a gathering of women for a "Drawing Down the Moon" ceremony which is not fully explained to me initially, nor do I have the presence of mind to ask for details before agreeing to attend. I imagine that it must have something to do with menstrual cycles, and as I am driving to the event, I'm already cooking up an exit strategy and kicking myself for saying yes in the first place.

I arrive at the house where the moon magic is set to occur and calm my nerves by noticing the attractive landscaping and fountain in the front yard. Nothing bad could happen here! She even has a pretty heart wreath on the door! This is going to be just fine! (Note to self: invest in anxiety meds if group meetings are going to continue.)

The woman who invited me answers the door dressed in a black gown under a purple velvet hooded robe which I pretend to admire. "I got it on Etsy," she chirps as I am ushered into her home lit only by clusters of candles and resembling a Moroccan Pottery Barn. Other women are already here, and right away I see that I am woefully under dressed for this hoodoo extravaganza. Capes and robes in somber colors are worn by all but a few of us, and I observe pentagrams everywhere in the form of tattoos, jewelry and hair ornaments.

It turns out that these are serious Wicca practitioners and this is a solemn ritual in which the Goddess energy will be invoked through a High Priestess named Fortuna*. Gone are my notions about this being a silly slumber party with everyone telling period jokes and giggling at the penis-shaped ice cubes in our drinks. Nope. There is some legitimate sorcery happening here, and I begin to worry that Fortuna plans to summon a demon with essential oils and candle wax.

We are asked to remove our shoes and step outside onto the patio where we gather in a circle under the full moon. Most of the women are really into it, and I see that some are already crying, others are holding hands, swaying and om-ing various tones. Fortuna stands in the middle of the circle, raises her arms above her head (I note that she is not wasting any of her hard-earned cash on razors and shaving cream) and begins to invoke mystical entities I've never heard of, but everyone else is nodding and smiling about.

Some other weird shit gets chanted and repeated, but I'm not paying much attention because of three intense distractions:

1. The urgent need to pee
2. Next door neighbor looking over the fence and making the devil horn sign with his hands. Moments later, Black Sabbath is blasting from his stereo and a dog begins barking frantically
3. One of the women has taken off her robe and is standing naked in the moonlight while her friend (?) whirls around her waving a huge feather.

When the ceremony shifts gears into free-form dancing, stripping and singing, I seize the opportunity to slip back into the house to find the bathroom. While sitting on the toilet wondering how long I can hide, I glance around the room and notice a collection of sinister-looking gynecological instruments from the Victorian era displayed on a dusty glass shelf and surmise that no men will ever live here. With death metal blasting, dogs barking and twelve women singing in unison, I understand that I have blundered yet again into a place I don't belong.

Someone knocks on the bathroom door and I realize I must give up my hiding spot to mingle with the moonlight merrymakers who are now back in the house excitedly babbling about the powerful spirits who were part of tonight's ceremony. One of the women swears she saw an elf by the palm tree and another says that the neighbor's music actually gave her the courage to be naked in front of other women for the first time ever.

I casually saunter over to the refreshment table and begin chatting with a young woman who shares that this is her first Wiccan moon ceremony after being shunned by her vampire community three weeks ago. As she picks the nuts off of a vegan brownie, she tells me that her name is Thana* which means "death" in vampire clan-speak, but that she is waiting for Fortuna to bless her with her new Wicca name as soon as it comes to her in a dream. I nod and act as though this is all very ordinary while trying not to stare at the nipples of one of the naked women who went a little crazy with the piercing gun.

The woman who invited me comes over to ask what I thought about the ceremony. I tell her that it seemed to be a powerful experience for most of the women, but that I didn't think it was my cup of tea. She gives me a dreamy smile as I continue stuffing my face with bean dip and shooing the standard-issue black cat off the snack table.

When Fortuna strikes a large metal gong and announces that we will now be making magical dolls to ward off hexes and curses, I decide to thank the hostess for a lovely evening and take my leave. Nobody seems to care that I am bowing out of the second half of the full moon festivities, and I feel extreme relief as I walk to my car knowing that I escaped being jumped into a witch gang tonight. I am positive that the Daughters of the Night will get along just fine without me.

Session Smidgens

~Client believes that all ancient artifacts in Egypt are part of a movie set the aliens left behind after filming a documentary.

~Client's grandfather eats at Chinese buffet and dies of food poisoning, later communicates with her through the Ouija board about her boyfriends.

~Client believes Al Roker is the incarnation of Satan and is actually controlling the weather in the United States so he will have something dramatic to report.

~Client asks if I would babysit her enormous crystal collection at my house while she goes out of town. She instructs that I must talk and sing to the crystals every day, and if at all possible, refrain from scheduling sessions with unhappy people.

~Client brings new Ouija board to our session for me to "bless", asks that I receive messages and spell out names of spirit guides through the board only to "get it working".

*Not their real fake names

Monday, October 6, 2014

Stupid Cupid Part II

“Longed for him. Got him. Shit.” 
~Margaret Atwood

I never fail to be astounded when intelligent people make tragic decisions with their eyes wide open (and plenty of warning against it). "Lisa" is a psych tech at a state mental hospital on the east coast and begins our first telephone session by telling me that she has fallen deeply in love with one of the patients whom, she is convinced, has been misdiagnosed by the system and misunderstood by nearly everyone in his life. Yes, it's true that he is a gang kingpin, responsible for murders, rapes and drug trafficking, but he had such a terrible childhood, it really isn't his fault (and those teardrop tats on his face are a huge turn-on!). She assures me that "George" is different from the other inmates and her heart melts when he brushes against her in the hallway.

According to Lisa, George is a kind, soft-spoken gentleman who has promised to treat her like his queen once he is released from the psychiatric hospital. They plan their beautiful, carefree life together in bursts of whispered conversation as she takes his vital signs and mentors him in the Basic Living Skills class. He draws flattering pictures of her and woos her with cryptic poetry that she doesn't understand, but feels is a sign of their many lifetimes together as star-crossed lovers.

Sowing the seeds of her own destruction, Lisa masterminds an elaborate plan for his early release. She is flying high on her adrenalized dreams of idyllic togetherness: cooking wholesome, organic meals for George, reading Shakespearean love sonnets to each other by a roaring fire and riding horses through green meadows.

Fast-forward to our next session one year later. George is granted early release, Lisa quits her job at the hospital and walks out on her disabled husband and their three teenage kids. They move in to a ramshackle Airstream trailer on a rural property where pit bulls are trained to fight to the death in a dilapidated barn. George resumes his meth habit and thoughtfully delivers a raging case of herpes and a few black eyes to Lisa as thanks for her kindness and loyalty. Since she is now fully aware of the severity of the situation and is living in constant fear, she asks for guidance on how to escape the life she has devised for herself.

About a week later, I receive an email from Lisa telling me that George was snuffed out by one of the pit bull fight club goons in a drug deal squabble. Relieved to be free of the nightmare she created, Lisa informs me that she has sent her resume out to other psychiatric hospitals and is eager to work with patients again.

Burning Man: one woman’s search for the perfect sperm donor

The nature of my business attracts many clients from the fringes of society who tend to not only think outside the box, they are not even remotely aware that there is a box anywhere in the universe. While I am all for creative, intuitive problem solving, the harebrained schemes I often hear about in sessions seem to come from either bad acid trips or extraterrestrial abduction and brainwashing.

"Sally" is a returning client who has made some big changes in her life. When I first met her, she was a 35 year old psychologist from Newport Beach who seemed to have her shit together despite a stormy, competitive relationship with her mother (just fourteen years older than Sally).

It has been two years since our last session, and I barely recognize the woman standing at my door. Gone are the J. Crew loafers, pink Izod polo shirt and precise blonde salon cut; Sally now resembles a Godspell cast member/Woodstock survivor with long, ropy dreadlocks, mismatched gypsy fortuneteller clothing and shaggy armpit hair peeking out from her embroidered tank top. Also, she looks to be about twelve months pregnant and I nervously envision this bohemian poser birthing a purple unicorn in a patchouli-scented explosion right here on my couch.

(Semi-related side note: over the years, people have brought some curious items to sessions including used sex toys, a box of newborn kittens, a stack of legal contracts, cremated remains in a Mason jar, shockingly awful sugarless chocolate "candy", extensive collections of supplements, creams and suppositories, photo albums, artwork, suicide notes, a gallstone the size and color of an avocado pit in a zip-lock bag and a metal crucifix pendant which had mysteriously twisted itself into something resembling a Bavarian pretzel stick.)

Sally has prepared a PowerPoint presentation about her trip to Burning Man nine months ago, explaining that she would prefer that I see actual images of her adventure so that my intuitive guidance will be crystal clear. Since I was not prepared with a projection screen and laser pointer, we hunch over her tablet to view the spectacle she has cobbled together from hundreds of photos and hours of video footage set to a soundtrack of Weezer and the Dave Matthews Band.

I will say right up front that I'll never, under any circumstances or coercion, attend Burning Man. As delightful as it all looks in Sally's production, I know that I wilt into a grouchy mess when temperatures climb above seventy degrees. At one hundred and twenty degrees (average daily temperature on "the playa"), my brain stops functioning and I would no doubt expire in the orgy tent under a pile of writhing, Kombucha-swilling strangers. I do not relish the thought of daily sandstorms that will blast the paint off a Winnebago. I appreciate certain types of art, but mimes in wedding dresses and motorized Barcaloungers tooling across the furiously over-baked landscape of the Nevada desert do not enchant or inspire me.

Sally has not revealed the purpose of our session, so I watch the show and try to imagine the questions that are sure to follow.

The first images are of Sally arriving at Burning Man, clutching a pink parasol and modeling her suede bikini and some kind of furry caveman boots. She speaks directly to the camera and announces that she has come to this event to find the sperm donor for her as-yet-to-be-conceived child (a young man wearing a top hat, goggles and a g-string steps into the shot and announces that his baby batter is free to anyone who wants it. What a surprise.) and holds up her ovulation chart with the optimal days circled in red and smiley face stickers in the margins.

The video continues with snippets from the event:

~Sally opening the door to a porta-potty to reveal a dude in a dress blowing another dude in a horse head mask
~Naked people covered in glitter dancing to trance music on deep-pile shag carpet in a geodesic dome
~Re-birthing tent in which one can experience a kinder, gentler entrance into the world by pushing through a maze of heavily-oiled Slip 'N Slides and being doused with a bucket of flower petals and Tootsie Rolls by a naked woman wearing angel wings at the end of the ordeal.

At this point in the presentation, Sally explains that her offering to Burning Man is a "Divine Conception Tent" in which specific men (supposedly there was a qualification process) will be allowed to have a shot at impregnating her. What follows is a tag-team progression of guys in absurd costumes who are interviewed briefly on camera before they get down to business discharging their glurky man-sauce into Sally's wanton womb (copulation not shown on camera, thank you Jesus).

The thirty minute show concludes with Sally straddling a bicycle, wearing what was once a frilly red tutu but is now a grubby, tattered suggestion of a kicky fashion statement. In the background, the burning man is blazing away against the night sky and drunken people are cavorting in a ritual frenzy as she announces with a serene smile that she knows in her heart she is pregnant.

All of this leads (at last) to the point of our session. Sally wants me to intuit which of the seven dudes she had sex with that week is the father of her baby. I tell her which man I feel it is, and she begins to weep and nod her's the same one she had a dream about after she came home from Burning Man.

Three weeks later, I receive an email from Sally telling me that she gave birth to a ten pound baby girl. She contacted the fellow who spermatized her and he dropped everything to hitchhike from Idaho and move in with his new little family. She's not sure she can live with his habitual pot smoking, three a.m. Gregorian chanting or spastic colon issues, but the baby seems to like him.

In other session news:

~High School teacher marries freshman student with her parents' full consent. inadvertently unites long-lost brother and sister (not realized until they compare family photos after a month of round-the-clock screwing).

~Thirtyish woman marries rich old man on his deathbed. He rallies and goes on to live another five horrific years. When the will is read after he finally croaks, she learns that he's left all of his money to the Catholic church.

~Eighty year old female client gets scammed out of $500,000 by the "Prince of Ghana" whom she meets and falls in love with on Plenty of Fish.

Choices are the hinges of destiny. 
~Edwin Markham

Friday, October 3, 2014

De-mystifying the Mystic

"If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise, they'll kill you." 
~Oscar Wilde

It’s been said that if you do something fairly well, you will be expected to do that thing 10,000 times. At the beginning of the process, it doesn’t mean very much since the theory hasn’t actually gelled into a sobering reality. But imagine the astonishment 71-year-old Mick Jagger must feel as he conjures up the illusion of sexual urgency singing "Let's Spend the Night Together" for the zillionth time since 1967. If any of us knew how long something would last, would we still choose to do that thing?

The life of a psychic/spiritual guide


6:00 a.m. Awaken joyfully to the sound of chirping birds in trees. Begin morning meditation while watching a family of deer graze on organic alfalfa sprouts in back yard. Notice rainbow on horizon.

7:00 a.m. Brisk two-mile walk in ergonomic shoes to stimulate senses, clear mind and prepare for another glorious day of guiding receptive people through challenging-but-manageable emotional situations.

8:00 a.m. Prepare zen-like breakfast of organic green tea and raw buckwheat porridge. Bask in the glow of good choices and vibrant health.

9:00 a.m. Welcome first client of the day with warm smile and infinite compassion and patience. Resolve all past, present and future issues in exactly sixty minutes.

10:00 a.m. Peaceful meditation with saints, angels and ascended masters.

11:00 a.m. Light lunch of detoxifying smoothie made from local farmer's market ingredients while listening to classical music and envisioning my smiling liver.

12:00 p.m. Enthusiastically greet second client with open arms and astounding ability to see into her very soul. Bring comfort and light in appropriate amounts for exactly sixty minutes.

1:00 p.m. Water award-winning succulents in perfectly-landscaped garden. Smile as butterflies come to rest on my shoulders.

2:00 p.m. Delight in the presence of third and final client of the day. Rejoice together as we enlist the aid of Spirit Guides to locate grandmother's missing silver, long-lost birth parents and soul of departed cat communicating amusing messages.

3:00-5:00 p.m. Read from ancient biblical scrolls, intuitively connect with helpful Beings from other galaxies, calmly gaze out window while doing sweat-free yoga and ponder the perfection of life.

6:00 p.m. Welcome husband home from his hard day at work with tasty, nutritious meal prepared with utmost care and finest ingredients. Offer to massage his neck and feet with essential oils as a precursor to an evening of tantric lovemaking and luminous intertwining of our souls.

10:00 p.m. Catch glimpse of halo in mirror while spritzing face with Pope-blessed distilled rosewater.

10:30 p.m. Gently enter blissful slumber anticipating dreams of winning Lotto numbers and the perfect gluten-free brownie recipe to share with neighborhood.


4:00 a.m. Awaken to recurring annoyance of sweating through nightgown, urgent need to pee and barking neighborhood dogs. Briefly ponder staying awake to get a jump on daunting mountain of unanswered emails. Decide instead to go back to sleep, but toss and turn as mind churns on how to deal with another bounced check from long-time client who always "forgets" to bring cash to session.

5:00 a.m. Enough already. Give self a leisurely hour to cruise Internet, snicker at funny cat pictures on Pinterest and become embroiled in ironic Facebook skirmish about positive thinking. Jump over to Amazon to order more books that will languish unread on nightstand for years. Continue ongoing search for plus-sized clothing that doesn't resemble a floral bedspread from the Sears 1986 home collection. Wind up morning shopping spree by purchasing two pairs of shoes and an overpriced purse, all of which will likely need to be returned. Adrenaline now flowing sufficiently to begin work day.

6:00 a.m. Grudgingly click over to emails to assess damage. Seven messages from website requesting sessions. Twenty three urgent messages from people (clients as well as strangers) in various levels of physical, emotional and imaginary crisis.

6:05 a.m. Click back to Facebook to see if anyone has joined in on positive thinking scuffle. Remember that last bit of deodorant was used yesterday and click over to Vitacost to stock up on personal care items.

6:30-7:00 a.m. Force self to reply to emails.

7:00 a.m. Consider preparing healthy, low-fat breakfast. Decide instead to finish other half of massive chorizo burrito from last night's dinner. Watch part of Lifetime movie about a mother who is struggling with her son's addictions to Internet porn and energy drinks. Check weather channel and feel despondent about rising temperatures.

8:00 a.m. First telephone session of the day. Try to offer helpful guidance to hysterically-weeping woman as stomach revolts against breakfast burrito. Multiple texts coming through from someone who is wondering why I have not replied to her email from yesterday. Husband yelling at next door dog to "shut the fuck up!" Client asks if she is hearing the ghost of her abusive father. Am tempted to say yes for impressive shock value, but decide to chalk it up to rough neighborhood activities and move on with session.

9:15 a.m. Rushed shower including inevitable leg-shaving fiasco. Wrestle with uncooperative hair in growing-out phase from 40 years of bangs while sweating in hot bathroom. Compulsively check clock.

9:50 a.m. Early arrival of morning client. Ignore doorbell while mopping sweat from cleavage. Complain bitterly to self about heat and vow to find housing in a state where temperatures never get above sixty degrees.

10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Juggle sessions, phone calls, washing machine repairman, FedEx delivery requiring signature for out-of-town neighbor and addressing bounced check with client and bank.

12:30- 1:00 p.m. Hurried "lunch" of half a bag of potato chips and two pounds of watermelon. Imagine fat calories being cancelled out by tsunami of melon juice. Just enough time to floss chip debris out of teeth before next client arrives.

1:00 p.m. Dismal session with inconsolable client who refuses to listen to anything positive and explodes at the suggestion that we continue our discussion on a day that she is feeling more receptive. Session lasts two and a half hours as I explore creative ways of squelching her urge to drive her car into the ocean.

3:30 p.m. Eat a pint of Ben & Jerry's peanut butter fudge ice cream while watching new episode of Dr. Phil. Convince self that this is an "early dinner." Change into yoga pants that have never seen the inside of a yoga studio and begin dreading the all-too-frequent trip to the grocery store.

4:30 p.m. Wander through store with absolutely no clue about what to make for husband's dinner. Unsuccessfully avoid running into client in the meat aisle and notice curious look on her face as she assesses the contents of my shopping cart. Apparently someone in my line of work should not be purchasing tampons, frozen pizza or ant spray.

6:00 p.m. Not thrilled to see husband arrive home in foul mood. Husband not thrilled to see frozen pizza for dinner. With exhaustion levels at an all-time high, we argue about mysterious charges on the phone bill before falling into a heavy silence that lasts for hours.

9:00 p.m. Retreat to office to futz with scheduling and amuse self with Pinterest photos and articles about weight loss and brain tumors. Ponder possibility that family history of mental illness will take hold of my brain and force me to commit myself to a mental institution.

10:00 p.m. Lie awake imagining pithy retorts to the ongoing Facebook fracas. Finally fall into a headachy sleep wondering why I enjoy the movie Indecent Proposal so much (just up to the point when Demi Moore is about to ditch Robert Redford and go back to doofus Woody Harrelson. It is impossible to suspend disbelief in the face of such lunacy).

Stuff I've learned (about myself and others) plus bonus quotes:

1. People only hear what they want to hear and when they're hungry, they barely hear anything at all.

2. People don’t really want advice; they want to know that everything is going to be okay.
"Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it."
~Kahlil Gibran

3. People tend to identify with their unhappy stories and forget that they can make new choices to get different results in life (called the "precious golden wound").
“Like all angry men, he loved his grievance” ~Anthony Trollope

4. The known hell is better than the unknown heaven. 

5. People often fall in love with the potential of what could be rather than seeing situations and people as they truly are.
"Love is an exploding cigar we willingly smoke." ~Lynda Barry

6. Down deep, people already know the truth.
"The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable." ~James A. Garfield

7. If you fall in love with a bra, it will be discontinued. Guaranteed.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Dollar Store Douche

"A good scare is worth more to a person than good advice."
 ~Edgar Watson Howe

Most of the time, it seems that this job was made specifically for me. My fascination/amusement with bizarre human behavior coupled with my compulsive need to make all things right for the people around me led directly to a career in which I hear the outrageous stories and confessions of those who have gotten themselves into a pickle and then search the psychic landscape to find the "fix". It helps that I have developed massive reserves of patience and good humor as well as an understanding that frequently, people don't really want help, they just need someone to listen.

Sprinkled in with the legitimate concerns of folks struggling their way out of life's emotional sandpits are the incredible situations and questions that seem to defy the science of rational thought.

Go directly to fail: worst ideas ever

Drama #1
Client and her female roommate engage in three-way sex frolic with a shady stranger they pick up at a downtown San Diego bar. Afterwards, they offer him a ride home, but once he's in the car, he becomes threatening and demands that they take him across the border to Mexico so that he can "do business" with someone named Julio. In a moment of what can only be divine intervention, they manage to ditch this thug at a gas station when they go in for snacks.

Drama #2
Fiftyish married male client brings twenty-something chick he's having an affair with to our session (unannounced) in hopes that I will help him break up with her on the spot. 

Drama #3
Common sense takes yet another holiday when middle-aged idiot husband of client decides to add some spice to the old sex routine by hooking up a car battery to metal nipple clamps and jolting himself into a heart attack. Paramedics arriving on the scene seem unfazed as they load yet another jackass onto the gurney.

Drama #4
Forty year old client wants to know which man at the swingers party knocked her up. None of the men were using protection that night, and she really hopes it's not the overweight fellow in the Darth Vader t-shirt.

Drama #5
Florida client's fiancee incurs horrific injuries taking selfie with alligator who blunders into kitchen through the doggie door.

Drama #6 (a personal tale)
Where haircuts are concerned, red wine and enormous sewing scissors should never mix, as my elementary school photos clearly illustrate. Proud of her ability to save a few bucks on things that were better left to the professionals, my mother would get excited about trimming my bangs after a few glasses of wine (poured from a gallon jug over ice) and reach for whatever cutting implement was handy. The terrifying dressmaker shears and a black plastic comb with missing teeth were her go-to barber tools, neither of which could facilitate a decent trim once the wine was working its magic in her brain. When I miraculously survived until middle school, I took control of the situation and began cutting my own hair, leaning over the bathroom sink and washing the evidence down the drain before my mother got home from work. I can't say that the results were significantly better, but at least I felt as though the destiny of my appearance was in my own hands and not shaped by someone else's blurred vision and unrelenting determination that I resemble a mortifying hybrid of Shirley Temple and Beaver Cleaver.

We put the "no" in innovation

Somewhere along the line, people started engaging me as a one-woman focus group with the alleged ability to discern the success or failure rate of new products, ideas, businesses and and investment schemes. Some went on to have international success. Here are a few that didn't:

~Entree and dessert-flavored sex enhancers. Taking the old adage "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach" to a peculiar new place, innovative female client with an oral fixation envisions passionate romps with curious partners who wish to experience a buffet of taste sensations. Her feeling is that once he's gotten a taste of the bacon douche, he will want to come back to dine on the blueberry pie body paint and won't mind wearing a chocolate truffle condom.

~Foam board with which to hit others (and potentially self) "upside the head with a 2x4". Client imagines lively mock battles in which friends whack one another while viewing football games on t.v. or during rambunctious cocktail parties.

~Interactive spider farm (like an ant farm but with frightfully aggressive wolf spiders). Purchase price includes six months of live cricket shipments so you can be sure that your precious companions are getting adequate nutrition.

~Battery-operated "purring" cat carrier. Female client modifies a baby carrier in an effort to keep her elderly, disabled cat with her at all times. Bonus points when client discovers that the vibrating "purr" function can provide sexual stimulation (for her, not the cat) when worn in just the right position.

Good luck getting that visual out of your head.

~Disposable-yet-fashionable adult bibs in a plastic carrying case for those who tend to slop tomato sauce and gravy on themselves while dining out.

~Musical dog leash. No explanation on that one.

~Female client has a dream in which the Virgin Mary shows her an electric tablecloth which keeps food warm during the meal. Problems arise when the prototypes set fire to the dining room table and people continually trip over the cord. Client speculates that Mary was just messing with her and refuses to attend church after the fifth prototype fails and her husband leaves her for the receptionist at his urologist's office.

Social repulsion

I'm a world-class introverted recluse who does not enjoy wedding receptions, drumming circles, barbecues, Bible studies, clambakes or shindigs. I feel anxious at Pampered Chef/Mary Kay/Tupperware parties and make naughty, inappropriate comments in an effort to be the funny person everyone likes. I dread shopping at Costco. Crowds drain me. I'm the person who cheerfully agrees to attend your event and then finds a way to back out of it at the last minute. There. I've said it.

Against my better judgment, I occasionally consent to engage in group activities, telling myself that I'm turning a new leaf...opening myself up...fully participating in life and all of its glorious festivities.

And then shit happens.

Ladies who lunch

~ Invited to lunch with a client who claims she would like to connect with me as a friend. I arrive at the restaurant about five minutes early, but see that she is already sitting at a booth, eagerly waving to me. As I approach the table, I notice that she has a tape recorder set up and a yellow legal pad with a list of questions that she must have been working on as she waited for me to arrive. She quickly assures me that lunch is on her if she can just ask me "a few questions" while we eat.

~ Join four other women for lunch at a lovely new restaurant overlooking the ocean. As we wait for one of the women to arrive, we chat pleasantly while drinking iced tea and commenting on the view. It's all very civilized. About fifteen minutes later, "Pam" wobbles in completely drunk, her boozy breath wafting over the table like an incoming fog bank. Nearly falling off the chair as she sits down, Pam frantically signals to the waiter and orders a bottle of wine for herself. She asks if we would like to do some shots before lunch and we decline. The mood at the table is tense as Pam talks loudly about how shitty life at home is with her asshole husband. We all get it. Times are hard. Our lunch progresses with Pam tearfully disintegrating over her tuna salad. She keeps her phone on the table so that she can text various people to tell them what a cocksucker she's married to. We hurry to finish our meals, but Pam is using our gathering as a group therapy session. This is no longer a's a hostage situation.

Nightlife nightmares

~ After a lively meal and a few Margaritas at a local Mexican restaurant, eight of us make our way to our cars, assessing which of us is most able to drive the rest home (this usually turns out to be me). One of the women in our group thinks she sees a man she dated briefly who stopped returning her calls. There are few things more unsettling than hearing a 65 year old woman holler across a parking lot, “suck my dick, you asswipe!” Any idealistic preconceptions about senior citizen gentility fly right out the window and one is left with a vague sense of waiting for the other shoe to drop. I think back to my own limited experience with my grandmothers and try to recall a similar scene in which they cut loose in a public place. With the exception of my bipolar (called “manic-depressive” in those days, assuming that a medical exam and diagnosis had actually taken place) grandmother, Alice who was prone to over-the-top theatrical behavior at unpredictable moments, there was nothing much to draw from in terms of relatability. I do not believe that Alice ever called anyone an “asswipe”, or requested that someone pleasure her phantom phallus, but who knows? I only saw her twice a year.

~ While out of town attending a bachelorette party I couldn't get out of, we pay a visit to a popular local bar called The Caboose, but after three minutes inside, I mentally rename the place Whiskers and Tits. As I slowly suffocate on the stench of cigarettes, piss and desperation, it is obvious that I am out of my element and I begin imagining ways to abandon this putrid purgatory. Until I can come up with a convincing exit strategy, I observe my surroundings:

1. Hairy, dwarf-height dude with a “Bunghole” t-shirt making the rounds asking women if they would like a mustache ride…and then quoting prices based on attractiveness.
2. Lead singer of 80s cover band botches the lyrics to Beast of Burden and heated argument ensues among those on the dance floor attempting to sing along. Someone hurls her Lemon Drop at the drummer, which does not seem to impede the band’s laborious march through the Rolling Stones catalog of hits.
3. Sixtyish woman wearing a cowboy hat giving a vigorous hand job to a man barely able to keep his eyes open in a shabby vinyl corner booth.

It seems as though the entire population of the local trailer park had agreed to converge upon The Caboose tonight, and I am the self-conscious interloper completely at odds with my surroundings. I pull out my phone, pretending to text a nonexistent friend and successfully avoid the advances of Mr. Bunghole who is shouting encouragement to the classy dame pleasuring her drowsy date in the corner.

A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma
Bewildering questions and statements:

~ Client who has apparently relinquished all ability to think for herself calling from the produce department of the grocery store: "should I get the red or the green apples? And while I have you on the phone, which brand of tampons is most in harmony with my chakras?"

~ “There’s a horsefly in your bathroom. I know it’s the ghost of my father because he liked horses and worked for United Airlines.”

~ "Is it wrong that I keep my mother's ashes in a root beer bottle?"

~ "I'm worried that my dead father is watching me have sex with my husband."

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Cowgirl and Mr. Pickle: In which we are presented with far too much information Part II

“I couldn't possibly have sex with someone with such a slender grasp on grammar!” 
~Russell Brand

With sex issues and bodily functions being the number one topic during sessions, it seems only natural that at some point I would attract clients who work in the adult entertainment industry. Like a giant nooky magnet, the more I talked about sex, the more people wanted to talk about sex with me, and nobody seemed to care that I was not licensed, credentialed, certified or in possession of astounding first-hand knowledge.

As the demand (?) for guidance on sex-related issues grew, it seemed wise to read up on physiology, disease, anatomy and psychology in order to acquaint myself with the geography in question. I haunted online forums where people were candidly discussing everything from torture bondage to the pros and cons of anal penetration to intercourse with silicone love dolls. No topic was off limits and by the end of my "research", I was up to speed on a variety of things I once thought of as bogus antics: having sex while dressed in furry costumes (called "yiffing"), boinking balloons, cake farts (look it up), people who enjoyed being locked in tight places while wearing a diaper, fecal fantasies and folks who were aroused by amputees.

Following are a few of the noteworthy sex workers I've spoken with over the years:

Kitty Hart* (star of Saturday Night Beaver and Romancing the Bone)
Main focus of medical intuitive sessions centers around the physical damage she fears she's incurring with preposterous sex positions such as "the piledriver" or anal sex with a certain well-endowed cast member's member. Also needs to address the possibility of leaving porn to explore an edgy new "intimacy therapy" called Orgasmic Mediation. Kitty explains that for $15,000 she can become a certified coach, helping paying customers learn how to precisely stroke a clitoris (while wearing surgical gloves) for fifteen minutes in a classroom setting. She is quick to add that this is a therapeutic practice but she's worried that people will recognize her from her porn films and won't take her seriously.

Lucy Lewd aka Lucy Lipps* (phone sex operator)
Lucy prefers to be called an "adult conversation specialist" and asks me to "tune in" to why she repeatedly agrees to meet her phone clients in person (believing that each one is her potential soul mate), but then being disappointed when they all turn out to be married and/or skeezy. She tells me about setting up a special Amazon wish list so her clients can send her gifts and then desperately falling in love with anyone who does. When I suggest that she take down her wish list to avoid some of the drama, she becomes an eight year old girl who really, really wants that pony and I'm the stingy mom who won't give it to her (it seems that we have unwittingly begun role playing at this point). As we wrap up our session, Lucy wants me to analyze a recurring dream in which she has three-way phone sex with George Bush and Jesus.

Ginger Wood* (freelance Vegas escort)
Telephone session begins with Ginger requesting past life information, wanting to know if she has been a prostitute previously because she's "super good at it." We discuss centuries worth of sexual exploits and mishaps, much to her obvious delight. Ginger asks if her dead Grandfather will be angry if she writes a book about the information discovered in our session, but before we can delve into that compelling topic, her noon client arrives early. As we are ending our call, Ginger provides one of the most excellent doorknob confessions of all time by asking, "do you think I became a prostitute because I was molested by my art teacher in middle school?"

Rocky Wilder* (Miami male stripper/gay escort)
Rocky has issues. Deeply embedded issues that are not going to be resolved during a one hour telephone consultation. For starters, 28 year old Rocky wants confirmation about George Clooney being his biological father. There is absolutely no evidence of this except that Rocky's mother owns all of George's movies on DVD which she plays on a continuous loop and only smiles mysteriously whenever Rocky asks her who his birth father is. I ask if he resembles anyone in the Clooney clan and Rocky says that he really looks more like Eddie Murphy but his mother owns none of Eddie's movies, so (according to Rocky's logic) it can't be him. Since I cannot confirm that either of these men are his biological father, we move on to other pressing concerns such as Rocky's addiction to plastic surgery and if his upcoming testicle implant procedure will deliver the results he wants.

But the icing on the cake (see previous cake fart reference) is when a male sex therapist from Sedona contacts me for a series of readings so that he can get some fresh perspective on his life and career path. His "professional" name is Himeros* which he borrowed from the mythological Greek god of sexual desire. I learn that his birth name is Emmet (hence the need for an alias) and that he was born in the year of the rabbit which he considered to be a sign from the gods that he was meant to pursue a career as a "Sexual Healer". I can actually hear the emphatic italics over the phone as he makes certain that I understand he has been doing "Serious Work" with the women who seek him out.

You know. Just in case I was thinking he was a man-whore who was banging anyone with a credit card.

Himeros is not particularly concerned with psychic forecasts or messages from his spirit guides, but prefers to use our session time to bounce business ideas around and see what I (as a member of his target demographic) respond to.

Most of our first conversation is taken up by a well-rehearsed explanation of how his service works while proudly reporting that he has trained himself to shout out his intentions in the throes of orgasm, and that it is perfectly acceptable for him to manifest a new BMW or a cabin in the Berkshires this way. His sexual partners, I learn, are quite eager to assist him with his manifestation magic while getting pounded doggy-style on an organic straw bale bed. It is good to note, however, that from a therapy standpoint, Himeros prefers the woman to be on top in "reverse cowgirl" position since he feels that it empowers her to simultaneously be in control and not have to look at the face of her sexual partner.

As Himeros continues to share his philosophies with me, I become acutely aware that he is a world-class manipulator who has tapped into a gold mine by selling his services to lonely, well-to-do women of a certain age and calling it Sexual Wizardry (cheesy tagline: casting spells of love). A one hour "copulation encounter" costs $500, more if you want Himeros to escort you to a restaurant or night club before or after your sex session (you drive AND pay for all meals, cocktails and incidentals because it empowers you and is part of the "therapy").

When I make the mistake of asking if he is willing to minister to women who are morbidly obese, disfigured or disabled, Himeros becomes hostile, stating that he prefers to use his magical healing gifts on women who are alluring enough to go forward from his "treatment" to attract a loving, attentive partner. Thankfully, since this is a telephone session, Himeros cannot see the expression on my face, nor is he aware that I am furiously scribbling notes about his arrogant remarks. As he continues his defensive harangue, I wonder if this is a prank being pulled by a diabolical friend. But sadly, as our session continues, I come to understand that this is the real deal, and Himeros is living in a universe all his own in which I am but a visitor, being paid to help him reorganize his practice in order to attract new victims clientele.

I feel like a mafia consigliere; the Tom Hagen to Vito and Michael Corleone, assisting this emotional sinkhole with his rotten strategies and promotions of fictitious sexual sorcery. I decide to pull the plug on Himeros' original request for once a week sessions which is all the incentive he needs to turn his charm on me by asking if I would like to trade with him for ongoing spiritual support and business consultations. In exchange, he says, I am welcome to come to Sedona and experience the bewitching gift of his sexual prowess. Himeros is certain that I would benefit from a little Sexual Wizardry ("what woman wouldn't", he chortles) and I consider telling him that I would sooner juggle rabid weasels in front of Caesar's Palace than partake of his overworked clam hammer.

I choose, instead to keep it professional and say that it feels as though I cannot be of any further assistance to him at this time. Himeros is disappointed and asks if I know of any other female intuitives who are taking on new clients. I give him the toll-free number to California Psychics and wish him well on his honey wagon hayride.

*Not their real fake names.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Walk-ins Welcome

"All a skeptic is is someone who hasn't had an experience yet." 
~Jason Hawes

When I first began conducting sessions, I imagined that I would be doing a LOT of spooky stuff involving disgruntled demons in basements, extraterrestrial abductions and visits to cemeteries in the middle of the night. Turns out that some of those situations do come up on occasion, but not nearly as often as the mundane issues surrounding relationships, money and health. My initial fantasies of being a famous ghost hunter starring in her own wildly popular television show were dashed a long time ago mostly because of two significant issues:

1. Fear of being possessed by hobgoblins looking to hitch a ride around town in my body
2. Horrible on-camera presence due to the unfortunate tendency for stress-related blotchy redness on my face and throat and appearing to be roughly the size of a silverback gorilla.

There have been some fascinating paranormal events and eerie encounters over the past ten years. Of the times I have been contacted to deal with unruly entities roaming around various houses and places of business, about ninety percent of situations turn out to be nothing more than electromagnetic fields (EMF), air in the pipes, faulty construction, noisy neighbors and/or overactive imaginations. But the other ten percent truly defy all logical explanation.


Case #1~
Evidence: Client is awakened frequently between 3:00-3:30 a.m. by loud thudding sound coming from undetermined location in the house. Assuming it is a restless ghoul meandering the halls, she lies awake for hours with the light on so that no entity can assault her in bed (it's a common belief that ghosts only wreak havoc in the dark and mostly in bedrooms. Turn on the lights while brandishing a Bible and they flee like cockroaches, supposedly).
Debunk: Morbidly obese Labradoodle named Scotty prefers early morning hours to lick his balls on the wooden floor of the dining room, his hefty tail thumping in such a way as to resemble footsteps.

Case #2~
Evidence: Client arrives for session dressed in Civil War-era attire. She has been watching Somewhere in Time repeatedly for the past month and has convinced herself that, with my help, she can transport herself back to 1863 to meet up with a certain Lieutenant in South Carolina with whom she feels she has unfinished karmic/romantic business. When I question her about her expectations, she tearfully divulges that she had a reading with another psychic who told her that she needed to reunite with her One True Love...who exists inconveniently in another time/place/dimension.
Debunk: Never having launched anyone through an interdimensional wormhole before (but thoroughly impressed by her costume), I go along with her request and do some light hypnosis and past life regression as she reclines on the couch. At the end of the hour, she sits up looking at first disoriented and then shocked at the realization that she is still in 21st century California. As she stands up to leave, she realizes that she is wearing shoes from Macy's which (of course!) makes time travel back to the 1800s impossible.

Case #3~
Evidence: Client living in rural area sheepishly reports that she has had two recent encounters with extraterrestrials while walking her dog at midnight. According to her, the aliens have somehow altered her libido which was pretty much dead before the first event but now has come roaring back to life, much to her elderly husband's surprise. She notes that there are strange markings on her inner thighs and she is craving fried okra which must surely mean she has been probed and/or implanted with foreign DNA by creatures from another galaxy.
Debunk: Paranoid doomsday-prepper neighbor has invested in a flying drone camera which he uses to survey neighborhood activities after dark. Drone has an exceptionally bright light and hovers over moving objects as it transmits images to neighbor's computer. No explanation for libido surge or desire for fried foods, but "markings" on inner thighs turn out to be mosquito bites.

Case #4~
Evidence: Client is convinced that her house is being haunted by a malicious spirit. She details highly unusual events such as coming into her kitchen first thing in the morning to discover all of the cabinet doors standing open. Another morning she finds that the stove burners are on and the refrigerator door is ajar. Personal belongings, food and cash are going missing even though she lives alone. Her first panicky thought is that her dead father is terrorizing her as payback for not coming to see him before he died (she can smell cigarette smoke in the house occasionally and for sure that must be his ghostly calling card). She wants to know if an exorcism should be performed on the house and if that will prevent dear old Dad from murdering her in her sleep.
Debunk: Neighbor observes young man sneaking into basement window late one night. Turns out that methy homeless dude has been systematically ransacking various houses in the area for months. Police take care of the exorcism for free.


Case #1~
I receive a message from a very distressed woman asking me to call her back as soon as possible. I return her call that evening and she asks me why I keep calling her cell phone and hanging up. I have never met this woman before and have been in sessions all day, so I assure her that I was not playing games with her phone. She asks me my name and I tell her. She asks if I know her sister "Sandy", and I tell her that I have many clients, and am not sure if I know her or not.

We do this wary back-and-forth thing for another few minutes and just as I'm getting annoyed and ready to be done with the conversation, she tells me that the cell phone number my land line is calling repeatedly belongs to her sister who passed away the day before from unknown causes.

Now I'm interested.

I tell her that I provide sessions of intuitive guidance and frequently speak with people about their loved ones who have passed over. We make an appointment for a session the next day. That night, I dream that a young woman is sitting across the table from me showing me hypodermic needles and looking very sad. Even though clients frequently ask me to alert them if I should dream about them, I don't usually receive information this way. My dreams are more along the lines of me being the only waitress in a restaurant full of angry people yelling their orders at me, but I don't have any way to write it all down. Plus I'm wearing the hideous yellow satin dress I made for my senior prom and the zipper has busted out of the back so my underwear is showing.

"Ann" arrives for her session looking very skeptical, as though I planned this elaborate charade in order to capture a new client against her will. She shows me the cell phone in question and indeed, my land line was busy making frenzied calls to Sandy's phone the day after her death. I show her my appointment book and she sees that I was in sessions the entire time, but is still not understanding why all of this is happening. I tell Ann about my dream, but she shakes her head and says that her sister was a preschool teacher who loved life and never did drugs of any kind.

Not knowing where to go from there, we chat for a bit longer and Ann leaves, promising to call me when the results from the autopsy and toxicology report come in. A few weeks later, Ann sends me an email detailing the findings of her sister's death due to heroin overdose.

There really is no explanation for that bizarre series of events, and I wonder frequently why any of it was necessary if the reason for Sandy's death would have come out eventually, anyway.

About a year after this incident, I have another dream in which Sandy tells me adamantly that Ann needs to meet one of my male clients. I try like hell to shake the dream and ignore the request because it sounds so ridiculous to cheerfully call both of these people out of the blue and try to explain that a dead sister is pulling matchmaking strings from the spirit world.

I finally worked up the courage to introduce them to one another at a local coffee shop by the name of "Sandy's" (seemed appropriate given the circumstances). They got married about six months later.

Case #2~
As a rule, most people like to know what to expect. There is something comforting in the unchanging routine of our daily lives as we pretend that we have everything under tight control. If we want excitement, we leave our safe environments to bungee jump off of skyscrapers or have affairs with married Senators or sell off all of our belongings, grow some dreadlocks and join Greenpeace in the ongoing war with the Japanese whaling industry.

When spine-tingling events begin happening on our home turf, we tend to get a bit skittish.

In the very early days of conducting sessions (back when I was still entertaining fantasies about starring in my own television show), a new client asks if I would come to her condo to investigate the paranormal events which have been taking place for over a year. She reports that she and her mother are being greatly affected by the "dark energy" and negative forces she feels are conspiring against them. My first thought is that I am about to assume the role of the hapless priest who gets swarmed by flies in The Amityville Horror. Should I pack some holy water and a rosary? Should I bring some assistance or at the very least, a camera crew? Nah. Let's just step into a stranger's haunted house with absolutely zero knowledge of how to deal with demonic forces and see what happens!

I am greeted at the door by a disheveled woman who looks like she's been on a rough two-week cocaine bender. I instantly regret my jaunty, self-assured agreement to take part in this nightmare, and for a brief moment, I consider pretending to be a Jehovah's Witness, force-feeding copies of The Watchtower to people unlucky enough to be home during the day.

"Rosalee" invites me in to a living room which looks about as welcoming as Saddam Hussein's spider hole and smells like a nauseating stew of old bacon grease, Vanilla Febreeze and dirty ass cracks. I am introduced to a depressed Pit Bull named Mother Teresa curled up on a plaid couch. She barely raises her head to acknowledge me; the look in her sunken eyes conveying that there is no longer any hope for her, but I should leave while I still can, and by the way, what the fuck do I think I'm going to accomplish here?

From a shadowy corner of the room a voice growls, "" and my insides turn to liquid at the notion that the apocalypse has officially begun. It turns out to be Rosalee's ancient mother hunched over in a wicker rocking chair looking a lot like the Crypt Keeper but by now I am so spooked, her appearance is not as amusing to me as it normally would be.

Rosalee and I converse for a moment and she tells me about the back bedroom where strange things happen. Indeed, the atmosphere in the condo is one of sustained menace and I feel as though I am being suffocated by a tar-soaked blanket as we walk down the short hallway to the room in question. Every so often, Rosalee's mother eerily intones from the rocking chair, "" which adds plenty of extra spice to the ordeal.

Shit gets real in the Doom Room:

~Greeted by stench of rotting meat upon entering room. As we stand just inside the door, the curtains begin to blow around, even though the window is closed.
~Rosalee dissolves into tears which does nothing for the growing sense of panic I'm feeling. As I reach out to hold her hand, the closet door begins to rattle as though someone is trying to get out. Rosalee bolts from the room and I resist the urge to do the same.
~Now that it's just me and Satan's little helper squaring off, the energy in the room seems to stand still and observe me, speculating about my intentions (the DVR in my mind pulls up the scene in Ghostbusters when Gozer orders the guys to "choose the form of the Destructor" and Ray thinks of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man). From the other room, I hear Mother Crypt Keeper continuing her declaration, "" and I envision myself forcefully stuffing a filthy sock in her mouth and sealing it with duct tape. Now where did that thought come from? I do have a mischievous streak, but binding and gagging senile old ladies is not usually at the top of my to-do list.
~I look to the left and catch a reflection of myself in a floor-length mirror. I stifle a scream, not because of anything paranormal, but because my sweater makes me look like a pastel walrus. As I'm making a vow to throw the sweater away if I get home, I see a reflection of a man standing behind me and nearly lose my shit right there on the spot. Whirling around with heart pounding, of course there is nothing there. When I turn back to the mirror the man is gone.
~Not knowing what else to do, I close my eyes and call in every angel and saint I can think of in a loud, trembling voice. Seconds later, the mirror crashes to the floor and I hear Rosalee shriek from the other room.
~My heart is hammering louder and faster than I've ever experienced, but I manage to hear the name "Donald" in my right ear. Assuming that this is the name of the ghostly dude in the mirror, I shout his name into the room, commanding him to leave. Moments later, I receive a firm push on my right shoulder and that's it for me. Twyla Tharp would have been impressed by the new interpretive dance steps I invent in my terrified haste to exit the room. I let Rosalee know that this thing is way out of my league and offer to help her find someone else to take care of this stubborn spook.
~Mother Teresa looks up from the couch with an expression that says, "see? I told you it was fucked up" and we all jump as the bedroom door slams shut.
~Quite a bit older and unfortunately wiser, I never offer to do house clearings of this nature again. When I call Rosalee a week later to check in with her, the recording tells me that the number is out of order.

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
~Shakespeare Hamlet Act 1