madame reverend: psychic junkie part 4

I am a firm believer that there are no coincidences in life. And I have plotted and planned more coincidences than I care to remember. Like my serendipitous ‘run in’ with a guy I had a mad puppy crush on: “Oh my god, can you believe that here we both are in an Appalachian village in rural Virginia at the same time? Is this not fate, is this not a sign?”

Yes, it was sign that I was cuckoo.

The Ansonia Hotel sits on a corner of 73rd street and Broadway. A massive gothic building that is known for its spook factor along with its famous and infamous residents. Everyone from Babe Ruth to Angelina Jolie has lived there. It was also known for both the Continental Baths, and Plato’s Retreat. And while nudity had absolutely nothing to do with why I was there, let’s just say when you’re visiting a clairvoyant there is a sense that they are in fact seeing right through you. This was in the 70’s, and along with the whole couple swapping, orgy, free love, Bette Midler/Barry Manilow gay baths scene, there was a whole other scene taking place: clairvoyant readings, psychics, tea leaf readings, séances, and astrologers. It was the place to go for any sort of spiritual craving.

My friend – who I dragged along – and I went to see Reverend Madame, a very tall, very large woman who wore a long white robe, and turban, and wore strands of heavy necklaces that would actually clank when she walked. She was very well known among the clairvoyant set, and very particular, and folks waited outside her apartment, in the hallway, where a take-a-check not unlike the one you find in a Bakery was standing, so that each of us would have a number when and if we were called, or plucked out of the line. Chosen. This was all a part of the scene, the mystique. She could only see  – read, intuit – twenty people in one session. That’s it. No more. More than twenty would ‘fog’ her energy field and she couldn’t read, or see, or intuit anyone or anything. Her whole pricing plan was based on ‘a donation,’ because when you are a true psychic intuit clairvoyant reader, it’s a calling, and therefore one should not charge for it. But if you are paying rent, or have a mortgage, or wear a lot of jewelry, you need a little bit of dough to get you through the lean months. The minimum donation was twenty dollars. I gave the minimum, as did my friend, who begrudgingly placed the twenty on the ‘donation’ plate. I would wager that a good many of us waiting to see her made the decision to give up eating for a few days so that we could catch a glimpse of her brilliance and insight.

So, there we are, standing on a long, long line, with a bunch of other hopefuls. I felt like I was auditioning for A Chorus Line. And then my friend and I get plucked out, along with another woman who looks awfully familiar to me, like I knew her, or had seen her, but couldn’t place her. But she had that familiarity of a person long lost. We gather in a room, a living room, and candles are lit everywhere, very seductive, very moody. We sit in a semi-circle. A chair, a huge wooden chair – a throne type chair – is placed up front, facing the semi-circle. We all take a seat, and wait. We’re asked, by a small thin guy with a bad haircut, to be very, very still, Reverend Madame likes quiet and still, she needs quiet, if there’s noise it will unsettle and unravel her and then she can’t and won’t be able to do a reading. Uh oh. I can’t help it. It’s very hard for me to just sit. I am trying to be quiet, to be still. My friend is fidgety. Crossing her legs, uncrossing her legs, trying to find a place for her hands, and arms, folded, to the side, on her lap.

A few moments pass. The woman from the line, the one I felt this connection to sits directly across from me. She is very pretty, really beautiful, and there is something, something, I can’t quite pinpoint, but it just seems awfully …like I know her, or have seen her. I’m trying to place her. I ask my friend, in a whisper, if she seems familiar, she shakes her head, no.

Oh, the big moment. The lights dim, the candles flicker, and Reverend Madame walks in, followed by two very young handsome and shirtless men. Her concuboys. She sits on her throne; they kneel on either side of her. See this is what I want, I want a throne, or at the very least a big comfy chair, with two men on either side of me and they don’t need to be shirtless, they just need to be able to kneel.  She says a prayer, a few things that are in tongues, and then the shaking of the head and a couple of body spasms, and then she says we can either write down one question on a piece of paper, and yes, a pad and a pen will be handed to each of us, or we can simply stand and ask our one question. I chose the pad and pen. I write my question. My question is:

Is my boyfriend Jonnie Brenner cheating on me? And does she see an Academy Award in my future, or any gold trophy?

I know, two questions. I was pushing my luck.

Here’s the money question: What do you think the chances are that two women in that room on that day ask the same exact question about the same exact guy? One of the women lives in New York City, the other woman lives on Long Island and their boyfriend; the cheating motherfucker lives out in Queens. What do you think the odds are that both of them are in the same building on the Upper West Side, in the same Clairvoyant’s living room, at the same exact hour, on the same exact date? Slim to none?

This is what happens: Reverend Madame closes her eyes, puts her hand in the fishbowl and pulls out a question. She reminds us to please stand up after she asks the question so that she can look directly at the person she is speaking to.

This is the question Reverend Madame reads from the piece of paper in her hand: “Is my boyfriend Jonnie Brenner cheating on me?”

I stand up, and the beautiful girl across from me, the one who looks so familiar, also stands up. We are looking right at each other. The Reverend asks which one of us asked the question. We both raise our hands. There is dead silence. Well, she says, I guess your question is now very clearly answered. Yes, he is cheating on you.

There are how many women in New York City? And how many of them have boyfriends that are cheating on them? Well, I guess that doesn’t narrow the field much, but what are the odds – like twelve million to one – that the two women who are being cheated on by the same motherfucker guy are in the same exact room, in the same exact place, asking the same exact question to the same exact woman named Reverend Madame?

And because this was not the era of cell-phones or text messaging, or caller ID, we – the two of us – go down to a payphone in the lobby of the Ansonia, standing nose to nose in a phone booth.  She dials his number, because she knows it by heart, and when he – Jonnie Brenner – answers his phone, we scream in unison:

“You cheating piece of shit.”

And then we – the two of us – part ways.  I mean, really, what do you say: Gee, you’re the one he was calling every fucking twenty minutes when we went to the movies and dinner, because he told me that his mother was very, very sick, and he was just so fucking worried about her? Nah. I don’t think so. You’re the one he was fucking when I was calling him and he wasn’t answering the phone for three fucking days, and he lied to me and told me that his frigging phone was broken and he was waiting for a repairman…  for three fucking days? Nah, I don’t think so. And then I wonder what kind of bullshit excuse was he giving her when she asked the same exact questions? Nah, I don’t want to go there.

I went back to my apartment, she went home to Manhasset, Jonnie ended up in rehab for drug and alcohol abuse, and my friend, the one who I dragged with me, stayed for the rest of the clairvoyant readings with Reverend Madame, ended up having a torrid love affair with one of the shirtless men, and moved to Colorado, where they have lived together for over 30 years.


Or not. Depending on how you feel about coincidences.

Category: Psychic Junkie, Relationships 3 comments »

3 Responses to “madame reverend: psychic junkie part 4”

  1. Char

    Fantastic story! Loved it. Loved it.

  2. andieeast

    This story is off the hook crazy…

  3. Heild

    About this i can say that To pull the chestnuts out of the fire for somebody.

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