Story Time With Hank | The Aural Augur
Lady at the bar told me she could hear the future. And when a lady at the bar tells you she can hear the future, you roll with it—that’s what I believe.
So I took a moment to consider the implications of such an ability, but I was a little tipsy and it was an uphill battle.
“Like…for gambling?” I said.
“Can you hear, like, sports results before—or wait. How about lottery numbers? Can you hear lottery numbers?”
“No, dummy. I can’t hear lottery numbers. That’s not how it works.”
“I hear people’s futures. I hear what they will hear. And I don’t get to pick the day or nothing. If someone were to come to me and say, ‘Hey, listen to my future,’ and it turned out they were gonna win the lottery, then maybe—maybe—I could hear them hearing the numbers on TV. Probably not, though. That’s two minutes out of a whole life. I’d probably just hear them being rich and all after the fact. Popping bottles of champagne and doing blow off the hind-parts of an underage actress.”
“How would you know it was an underage actress?”
“I was being colorful.”
“Unless he was like, ‘Boy, I’m sure glad I won that lottery so I can comfortably afford this cocaine-orgy with the Mickey Mouse Club.’”
“I regret ever coming in here.”
“Should have listened to your own future.”
“Can’t do that either.”
“You must hate people who can actually see the future, huh?” I said. “Like what’s-her-name. Miss Cleo.”
“Ain’t nobody can see the future. That’s all bullshit. Miss Cleo just wants stupid people’s money.”
“Sounds like sour grapes to me.”
“Listen, anybody ever sits you down in front of a crystal ball or takes your hand in theirs and says they’re gonna,” (she shifted into a spooky carnival voice), “’Read you your future,’ you better look and make sure their other hand ain’t on your wallet. That’s all I’m saying.” She took a swig of beer. “Thieving gypsy bitches.”
“I think I read they prefer ‘Romani.’”
“Fuck what they prefer.”
“Okay. Hey. Can you hear my future?”
“For four dollars I can.”
“You’d charge me? But we’re friends now.”
“Four dollars. That’s four dollars less than my friend-rate. Cause I’m drunk. And I might fuck it up.”
I held strong for about six seconds before caving. “ Fine, fine, take your money.”
She did, then she closed her eyes, hard, and cocked her head. She started to sway. She stopped swaying and took a drink of her beer and started swaying again. Her lips moved but produced no sound. Then her eyes opened and she sat still in her seat.
“I got nothing.”
“Silence. In fact, I believe what I’m hearing…” She leaned forward. “…is your death.”
She leaned back again and shrugged. “Or maybe you’re sleeping.”
“I think I want my money back.”
“No refunds. You know how much time the average person spends sleeping? A lot of time. Not my fault that’s what I happen to overhear. I told you I don’t get to pick my moment.”
“I’m beginning to think this ability of yours isn’t very useful.”
“Like to see you hear the future, asshole.”
“I’d like to see you hear the future.”
She grinned at me. “Okay. That’s fine. You paid your four dollars, you want something to show for it. Fair enough. I’ll try again.”
She tensed in her seat. She was going to sway again. Then she relaxed.
“You sure you want to go through with this?”
“Pretty sure, yeah.”
“You sure you’re sure?”
“I’m gonna need two more dollars.”
“That’s half-off the drunk rate. It’s a steal. You’re literally robbing me. I’ve a mind to call the cops.”
Well how could I say no to that? I couldn’t.
“Fine. But if future-me is sleeping again, I’m not paying.”
She just smiled and closed her eyes and started to sway.
“Oh yeah,” she said. “I’m getting something this time. I’m getting…hang on…it’s…there’s a man. You’re talking to a man. He’s saying…” Her brow creased. “He’s saying…” A vein in her temple started to throb. “Something about angles…” She gripped the edge of the table with both hands until her knuckles turned white. “Something about technique, about a device…He’s saying…” She opened her eyes. “He’s saying you poop wrong. You have for years. You never knew.”
She held her hand out to me, palm up.
I looked at her, I looked at her hand. I put two dollars in it.
“Thank you,” I said. “Have a good night.”
I rose and turned to leave and had my hand on the door when she yelled at me from across the room, “Hey! Hey, don’t worry. Some day that nice man is going to fix you right up.”
I went home and the rest of my night trawling through some pretty dark parts of the internet. The search was inconclusive. Whenever I sit down to a bowel movement, I can’t help but wonder.
Like a child in traffic, Hank Henry is playing with forces he doesn’t understand. But you can bet there will be consequences. There are always consequences. Send your stories and your questions, your mad ramblings and especially your boner-pill coupon offers to [email protected]. But you better do it fast.