“C’mon Corey it’ll be fun. What’s the harm?” Alice pouted her plump red lips. Fidgeting, Corey shuffled. Alice pulled at his arm. Polly laughed.
“Stop being a wuss, man,” Justin said and shoved Corey’s shoulder. The foursome walked out of the din of the carnival and stepped into the quiet glow of the fortune teller’s tent.
Incense, smoky and spicy, greeted them. Tall curtains cut the tent into smaller rooms and dark silky hallways. Corey clutched Alice’s warm fingers as they went in deeper and deeper. There were murky apothecary jars and hanging shrunken heads. The group rounded a darken corner. The curtains opened up to a gift shop. Justin pretended to be a zombie. Polly laughed. Alice picked through the sets of tarot cards as Corey sighed.
“Alice, Madame Calliope is ready for you.” A Goth teenaged boy who was playing Candy Crush on his phone directed them to another opening. Single file they walked in to a smaller curtained room. Behind a dark velvet enrobed table sat slight woman with lilac locs in a Mario Brothers tee shirt. Justin snorted. Polly laughed as the group settled around one side of the table. With a Mona Lisa smile, Madame Calliope scrutinized each person around the table.
“Buckle up babies let spin the future.”
The room drifted into a dark purple light. Suddenly, the candles around the room flickered alive. The fortune teller closed her eyes and her face grew slack.
“Alice, lay your hands palm up.” The medium studied Alice’s hands in complete silence. Slowly she traced each line. Madame Calliope inhaled sharply and pulled back.
“Why did you kill her?” The medium shouted. Alice whipped her hand away. Polly laughed.
“Shut the hell up, Pol. What is this shit?” Justin jumped up. The candles began to wan and splutter.
“I smell the gasoline. It was dark, so dark. You were there and you and you. The smoke—can you smell it—is choking me. All of you. I can hear laughing. When was it? When was it, Alice?” Madame Calliope’s voice pitched higher and higher. The heavy curtain of incense was cut with the sweet sting of gasoline.
“I didn’t, I didn’t it was Mischief Night. We were joking.” Alice sank to her knees and began wailing.
“You stupid cow, who did you tell,” Justin shouted and began shaking Alice like a rag doll. Corey pushed Justin away.
“Get off her, man. This is your fault. It was your idea to prank the Hasans. You bought the gasoline.” The men began shuffling and fighting. Polly tried to pull them apart.
“It was my fault. We soaped the windows and papered the trees. But I chained the doors. I didn’t think the fire in the leaf pile would spread. How could I know?” Alice screamed to the fortune teller’s empty chair.
Toeing off her boots Madame Calliope plopped into a chair. Outside her caravan the police where gathering up the quartet of friends into squad car.
“How was the recording, Spider?”
“Clear as a bell. But the way those marks fell on each other the D.A. will be smothered in confessions. I texted Mr. H that things went smoothly.”
Chatting about the next town, the two grifters shared a beer and the fortune teller tried not to think about the smell of gasoline on crisp leaves.