By Brian Robinson.
Much to Troy’s annoyance, Anna stopped abruptly outside the antique shop. Her gaze locked onto a gypsy’s table displayed in the window. It had a bright red velvet top over three bobbin-turned and ebonised legs. It looked pretty, if you like that sort of thing.
“Let’s go inside,” Anna suggested. Troy knew better than to resist. The best way to avoid the rocks in the rapids is to go with the flow.
“The shop manager nudged his assistant and said, “Look! I think we’ve sold the gypsy’s table.”
Anna was wearing a bright paisley top over a long flowery skirt. Her long black curls drooped forward as she leaned over to smooth her hand on the bright red velvet top. “I see what you mean,” the assistant replied.
“How much is the table?” Anna asked.
“Two hundred and fifty pounds madam.”
“Does it come with a crystal ball?” Troy joked.
“Yes, it does as it happens. I’ve got it in my office,” said the manager.
“You should have displayed it on the table,” Troy said. “It would’ve looked better.”
“Yes, you’re right, but we were worried it might act as a magnifying glass and start a fire.”
“Does it have any history?” Anna asked.
“No idea,” the manager said. “We bought it at auction.”
“We’ll take it,” Anna said. Troy shrugged submissively.
When they got home, Troy suggested they take a look at the underside of the table because he thought one of the legs might be a bit loose. But when they upended it, they found something strange. Beneath the table, someone had embedded a brass plate. It was roughly below where the crystal ball might have sat. A copper strip then linked across the table with some sort of device on the other side. This also had all been inset into the wood. It all looked to have been very professionally done, and not like some afterthought undertaken in a shed. “What do you make of that?” Anna asked.
“It looks like some sort of conduction strip. It’s as if the energy of the sitter is being channelled towards the crystal and the fortune teller. But that’s crazy. Isn’t it?” Troy said.
“Let’s try it out,” Anna said. “I’ll be the fortune teller: you can be my client.”
“Come on then, what do you see,” Troy said. “Don’t keep us all in suspense.”
“Yes I really can see something. It’s you! You’re in a garden, playing with two children. It’s a lovely sunny day, you’re teasing them, and they’re laughing. There’s a woman there, but wait, it’s not me.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, she’s nothing like me. She’s much shorter and blond. I would never dye my hair blonde. You know that.”
Troy could see the disappointment in Anna’s face. “Right, you’ve had your go. Now it’s my turn.”
“What can you see?” Anna asked.
“Nothing, zilch, absolutely nothing!” Troy said. He was going to add, it looks like you haven’t got a future, but thought better of it.
For the next two weeks or so, Anna delighted her friends with the readings from her crystal ball. This was her to a tee. Unfortunately, it didn’t last. Soon after, the readings came to an abrupt end.
Troy found his wife lying dead on their lounge floor. She had been sitting at the gypsy’s table. The crystal was still sat there. She must have been looking into the ball when she suddenly pushed back on her chair. The chair toppled over and she fell backwards. Her neck was broken. A look of horror was frozen on her face.
Troy couldn’t understand it. She couldn’t have been doing a reading. There was no one else there. Only a globe of the world sat on the opposite side of the table.