The Fortune-Teller (flash fiction)

Here’s a piece of flash fiction about a fortune-teller and a naïve young man. It’s about 460 words and has an estimated reading time of about 2 minutes. Let me know what you think!

The old woman sat across from me, staring into my eyes like she was staring into my soul. “Sure, I’ll tell you your future,” she said. “But first, you must tell me mine.” She smiled, revealing her cavernous, toothless mouth.

I wasn’t sure what she meant. She was a fortune-teller down here in New Orleans, one of the many who lined the square I came across.

New Orleans had bounced back from the hurricane, but the streets were still sparse with tourists compared to how it usually was. The square where we sat was dark except for the shadowy lights from the streetlights.

“Well, I guess I can try to tell you your future,” I replied. “I don’t know how good I’ll be at it, but I’ll try.”

I gripped her old, wrinkled hands and held them palm up. I’ve had my palms read many times before, so I figured I could fake it. But, of course, she’d probably see right through my attempt and call bullshit on me.

I ran my fingers down the creases of her palms.

“It appears you’ll live to see one hundred,” I told her. “Yes, twenty more years … there will be another hurricane, and you’ll barely survive it.”

“Baloney!” she shouted.

“What?”

“I said it’s bullshit. The deal’s off. Besides, I already know my future. And you, sonny, are getting it all wrong.”

She leaned back and laughed loudly, but it was more like a cackle. She was like an old witch, really, and she was beginning to scare me.

“Go ahead, then,” I said defensively. “If you’re so damn smart, tell me your future. I have nowhere to be tonight. So, tell me the story.”

“The story begins with the deception of a young man …”

It was at that moment I began to choke. Had I been poisoned? The soda bottle I was drinking from was left open the whole time I was with her.

I fell to the concrete, coughing up a lung. The old crone slowly waddled over me and took my wallet, my keys, everything.

It seemed like the dose she gave me wasn’t enough to kill – it only knocked me unconscious temporarily. When I awoke, it was the middle of the night, and not a soul was in sight in the lonely French Quarter.

The old witchy woman had robbed me blind.

I thought I was a veteran of New Orleans and would never fall for such a trick. But I was just as naïve as everyone else, a real sucker.

So, if you’re ever in New Orleans and an old palm reader says she’ll tell you’ll future if you tell her yours, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The End

(Photo by mana5280 on Unsplash)

4 thoughts on “The Fortune-Teller (flash fiction)

  1. Dave Williams September 14, 2021 / 12:05 pm

    This is a neat setup, how you expanded the fortune telling to go both ways. And a tough lesson to learn for that guy!

  2. Terveen Gill September 15, 2021 / 8:34 am

    I love this story. The way you wind the reader through the narrative is simply perfect.
    Had no idea what was coming.
    And those who don’t heed your warning definitely deserve to be scammed. 🙂

    • Nick Pipitone September 15, 2021 / 8:41 am

      Haha, yep! Gotta watch out for those scammers out there … 🙂

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