Feeling uneasy about the universe, I went to see a palm reader in a wagon under the Fremont Street canopy. Twice. The first time, I burned up my session interrogating the psychic about her palm: “So what does your palm say you’re supposed to do with your life?” I needled.
“I’m supposed to be a psychic,” she said, followed by a smoker’s hack that may have camouflaged the words, “you dumbsh*t.” I liked her. She was about a hundred years old and didn’t smile. It seemed like the right response to a century culminating in Kardashians.
“How’d you end up here?” I asked.
“I drove,” she said, touching the lines on my hand with a thick, yellow fingernail. Then she looked up from my palm and told me I was supposed to be a detective.
Some months later, still feeling detectivey, I read a Yelp review that deemed my psychic a con artist. P’shaw. How could that be? In America? 2015? Here? So I gumshoed back to that completely con-free section of Las Vegas to pay for more psychic advice. I walked by slot machines, past the entire donation-seeking Justice League and two Michael Jacksons, around the old guy in a neon green, V-strap, over-the-shoulder swimsuit. I steered clear of several breakdancers and a dirty Hello Kitty and the sturdy-gluted nearly naked guy in a headdress, and finally got to the little trailer that looks like a detached train car, where someone could make sense of our existence in the palm of my hand.
Inside, I met a new psychic, a woman with a slightly softer aura. Once again, I began my interrogation. She told me she only works a couple of days a week, but she’s been doing this for 40 years and “know[s] [her] sh*t.” She took my $10 and asked me to put both hands on the table.
She silently traced my life, heart and head lines with a long, manicured finger. She stretched my right hand open, scrutinized the fine lines, and scowled. “You’ve overextended yourself financially,” she said. “You haven’t made good financial decisions.”
Having just paid to have my palm read in a trailer on Fremont Street, I found that hard to dispute. But I also found it comforting to have someone other than my accountant confirm that for me. Sometimes, in a world layered in illusions, you want to know someone sees the real you, however reprobate. Dear Yelper: You’re wrong. These psychics have game.
“But things will get better,” she continued. Not just game, but a gift. She’s got a psychic gift.
“You have a lot of skills, but you just can’t decide which ones to reveal,” she said, her aura now glowing whatever color means smart.
“You’re very analytical and you shouldn’t date stupid people. You know? Like you’d never get along with Gomer Pyle. Do you remember Gomer Pyle from The Andy Griffith Show? He always said, ‘Golllllly’—you know, dumb. That’s not for you.”
Fair enough. Not for me. I’m a lesbian in a relationship with a smart woman.
She squeezed the fleshy mound of muscle beneath by thumb.
“Your heart is big—see?” Well, that’s not my heart, but whatever.
“Now, on a man’s hand, this mound beneath the thumb indicates whether he can perform sexually. So next time you meet a guy you’re interested in, check his mound. Grab it like this—” she pinched my lower palm—“make sure it’s meaty.”
Golly. I have no plans to date a man, despite the tantalizing leather-skinned dude in a lime-green thong standing outside the trailer. But I promise you I will never look at a man’s, um, mound the same way.
I wanted to interject something in my reading, maybe lead her back to talking about the wide assortment of my enviable if unspecific skills, but she was on a roll now. The muse had given, and the psychic advice was flowing: “You need to have some fun. Later tonight, this whole street will be a big party,” she said, neglecting the part of my palm that indicated I’m a longtime local. “But here’s the thing. Don’t pay $40 for one of those tall souvenir drinks.”
At this, she tapped my life line, which, to my surprise, carried some important information about consuming alcohol on Fremont.
“So here’s how you do it. Go in a casino and put a few dollars in a slot machine, and wait for a cocktail waitress to offer you a free drink. Order a double and tip her well. It’s more alcohol than one of those souvenir drinks. And cheaper.”
So what if I already knew that bit of advice? The fact that my palm reader was doing her part to balance the yawing universe made me happy. It made sense.