In the stars: A November astromance |

In the stars: A November astromance

Benjamin Welch
The Aspen Times

I had just taken my driving pants off when a knock came from the patio door of my Airbnb.

“Hi! It’s Roy!” my host shouted from the other side, though he gave it the French pronunciation “Wah.” I flung the door open and greeted the 70-something former vaudevillian.

“Welcome,” Roy said. “You should have everything you need.

“But a word of warning, that far wall doesn’t have any soundproofing, if you’re going to” — he glanced at the bed — “share any top-secret info.” I nodded and thanked him.

“Would you happen to smoke pot?” he asked. I wasn’t sure if he was accusing or inviting me. “It’s been known to happen,” I replied.

“Come up to the main house,” he winked, as if I were staying at a Southern plantation and not some rando’s garage in Santa Fe, New Mexico. “I have a friend over, and we’re going to have a glass of wine and listen to some music.”

The hits of the Silent Generation? I knew some Glenn Miller. I obliged.

I walked into his living room to find 15 empty chairs in a circle, religious leaders’ pictures of every sect on the bookshelves and bejeweled talismans hanging from the ceiling. A soft, earthy wail emanated from the speakers.

A woman sat at a table with tarot cards spread across it. They offered me a seat and poured wine into ceramic cups. I made sure to watch them drink before daring to take a sip.

“We drew these,” Elise said. I had never seen tarot cards in person before.

“By hand?” I asked. They laughed. Guess not.

She introduced herself as a witch, and Roy a clairvoyant. He nodded at her assessment and rest his hands on his belly.

Roy held the deck in front of me like David Blaine and asked me to pick one. I selected a card and handed it to him upside down and solemnly as if he were Bob Barker. The word “understanding” was at the bottom, with an image of a caged bird trying to reach his friends above it. “Which one are you?”

For someone whom the occult just indicated was blessed with the gift of understanding, I had no idea how the hell to interpret this message. I stared at the dove and they stared at me until I was no longer looking at the card, or anything, but going cross-eyed and feeling the judgement from their gaze.

“I think I used to be the jail bird, but now I’m the one who is outside,” I mustered.

“Ahh!” Roy and Elise looked at each other wisely. Maybe I had this figured out, after all.

“I’m sensing Libra energy,” Roy said.

“A hint of Capricorn,” Elise added. “When is your birthday?”

“Today,” I said, trying not to make the annual date when I think you’re allowed to break laws both municipal and federal sound like a big deal. “I’m a Scorpio.”

At this awkward opportunity I posed a question, rarely finding myself in company attuned to these theological devotions.

“Sometimes I’ll feel a great weight, as if a devastating thing has happened to a version of me in an alternate universe. What could that mean?”

“First, you have to determine how many of you there are,” Roy grinned, reaching for his pipe.

When a man entered in a suit about three X’s too big and claiming to be a pilot, throwing one-liners like Kirk Cousins throws slant passes to Adam Thielen on 3rd-and-long, I made my gracious exit.

Roy received a glowing 5-star review.​

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