Chapter 30 ~ The Psychic Bares Her Soul
Madam Li Pul looked past Sam and said, “I am not Gloria. What do you want? Please leave me alone.” Her body sagged as if the air had been let out of her. Her eyes sharpened, It was as if she were looking for a way to flee or fight and not able to decide.
Joe tugged on Sam’s shirt sleeve, “Let’s go, Sam. It’s not Gloria. Leave her alone.”
Sam stood his ground. “I kin spot a game a mile away. Your feel sorry for me look is not gonna change my mind. You’re Gloria Fallon. You kin call the cops and have me arrested for trespass, I don’t care. I got a mission to help this poor fool out and your lying isn’t helping me.”
Joe said, “Sam, I’m leaving. You’re on your own.”
“Leave then. I’m staying until Gloria tells me the truth,” Sam said in a low growling tone that sounded like an angry dog.
“I’m going to call the police. You’re forcing my hand,” said Madam Li Pul.
“Go ahead and call them and I’ll tell them you been defrauding people by saying your Madam Li Pul. I bet they’ll close you up tighter than a clam shell.”
Joe’s hand was on the door nob when he heard Madam Li Pul say, “I’m not Gloria. I don’t want trouble. Come in back and we’ll talk. Turn the open sign around.” Joe saw a metal sign hanging from a wire. The sign said closed. He flipped it around so the word OPEN faced him. The closed sign swayed back and forth coming to a rest against the door window.
Madam Li Pul swept the beaded curtain aside and walked through. Sam followed her and Joe followed Sam. The room was lit by one candle sitting in a six-inch tall purple glass cylinder in the center of round table. It gave off a fragrance of lavender. The candle’s flame flicked brightly causing shadows to dance on the walls. Four wooden chairs, each with a small purple cushion surrounded the table. A small cot pressed against the wall. On top of the cot was a well fed tabby. The tabby opened it eyes, glanced at Joe and Sam and then Madam Li Pul, then closed its eyes and went to sleep. A small refrigerator was next to the cot.
Madam Li Pul motioned Joe and Sam to sit in one of the chairs. She sat opposite them. Madam Li Pul said, “Gloria Fallon died ten years ago.”
Joe glared at Madam Li Pul. The only sound in the room was the rumbling noise from the traffic on nearby Route 36 and Baseline Road. He heard an obstinance in Madam Li Pul’s voice. Joe thought Sam figured it out. If it weren’t for Sam, they’d be on the road to Texas. He decided to sit there and let Madam Li Pul or whatever her name is make the first move.
Sam cocked his head to the side, “You used to be beautiful. Now you look like one of them zombies. You don’t have no color in your face. Your eyes look like there’s nobody home. What happened to you? I’m gonna give it to you straight, I’d say you look like hell, but you look worse than that. This whole thing you got going is a waste of your talent. I kin only think of one or two other female singers as good as you. You tossed singing away for this?” Sam swept his arm in front of him. He said, “You’re pulling on people’s feelings and making a buck to get by. It’s about the lowest form of a human being, only drug dealers are below you. Joe let’s get out of here. The stink is too much for me.” Sam pushed his chair back and stood up.
“Stop. I’m Gloria Fallon.” She looked at Joe and said, “I thought you were Joe Ritchie coming back into my life. What are you twenty-eight or nine? Look in the mirror if you want to know how Joe Ritchie looked at your age. I only hope someone taught you how to be a decent human being because Joe Ritchie never learned.”
Sam sat back in his chair. Joe and Sam fixed their eyes on Gloria. Her breasts rose and fell with the deep breaths she consumed. For a moment, she closed her eyes looking for a starting place. Her forearms rested on the table. Her clenched fists look ready to strike Joe or Sam if they came too close.
She opened her eyes and said, “I hate Joe Ritchie. I’ve never purposely hurt anyone or anything. If I find a cockroach in my apartment or this place, I trap it and carry it outside. I don’t believe in violence, but I’d make an exception for him. The death penalty is too good. He needs to suffer. Wherever he goes, he leaves a trail of pain. I was stupid I thought he was worth saving. If you want to get into the saving business, make sure there is something worth saving before you jump in with two feet. He fooled me like he fooled your mother and Max. To think, I took the songs he stole from Max. I listened to him when he told me he gave Max the ideas for the songs. It was a lie like all his other lies. If lies were bricks, he could build a brick wall a mile high and a mile wide.”
Gloria paused collecting her thoughts the way a small child collects dandelions in the spring. Joe and Sam watched. Gloria said, “I don’t know what good it will do you. I’m going to tell you my story. The only other person who knows is Harry Lamont. He’s Chief Living Waters.”