He looks right at me intently, and a tingle runs down my body in a soft wave. “You’ve met the man you’re going to marry.” My sisters look at me like alligators hunting prey with open wide, long mouths; their jaws no longer attached to their faces.
“What do you mean?” I ask, already knowing where this is going.
“This new boyfriend of yours… you’re going to marry him.”
I’m suddenly sucked into a black hole. I’m no longer at Venice Beach listening to the man wearing a neon thong bathing suit, holding out a money bucket and singing in a low-pitched tone, “Jingle bell, jingle bell, time to get drunk,” over and over again on repeat. I’ve been shifted into an alternate reality. The golden sun is fiery and it’s warming my shoulders like peppery lava slowly sliding down a volcano. I can’t hear or see anything other than Dino, the Arabian fortune-teller inspecting the palm of my hand under the burgundy canopy held up by sticks.
My little sister passes me her cigarette underneath the table. I smoke it. I can’t hide my grin that’s stretching from ear to ear. I’ve become the Cheshire cat.
The gypsy then leans in, causing the colored rings he wears to sparkle in the sunlight. His beard touches the table and he scratches it fixedly, calculated.
“He loves his mother — he respects her. She raised him well. He’s a good man. And he loves you.”
My sister nudges my knee. I hand her back the cigarette.
“And, the book you’re writing will get published.” He removes my hand from his and leans back. Everything returns: the jingle bell song, the beach, the mob of tourists and pretty hippies strolling around barefoot with painted toenails.
“What about acting?” I blurt out.
“You’ll act. Just be a little more patient.” He moves on to my sister, pointing out details from her life she never told him — making me believe this man is for real.
My sisters step into a jewelry shop while I wait outside and check the voicemail I have waiting for me on my phone.
It’s my manager. He informs me that I’m no longer doing this Western movie. I feel relieved; it’s been back and forth all week. I went from the leading role to only having one scene that required nudity. As hard as it was to turn down a role while waiting tables… I couldn’t do it.
I’ll take Dino’s advice and be patient… From what he said it looks like I have a lot to look forward to…
Alice can be reached at AliceActress@yahoo.com