“Roll right up Folks, roll up and play!”
Called out the short man with the very loud voice. His black hair was slicked back with oil and under his prominent hooked beak of a nose he had an oiled and curled moustache. He was wearing a black shirt and a gold and silver embroidered waistcoat over black and grey striped trousers and on his head, rather incongruously he wore a scarlet red fez with a long black tassel.
It was quite crowded at the fair, lots of young men with their ladies walking arm in arm. Even more children running in and out of the grown-ups usually holding some pink, fluffy candyfloss on a stick or carrying a helium balloon. Sometimes they were followed by a frantic parent trying to keep their little ones from getting over excited. The contest was lost already. Excitement had clearly taken over, judging from the screams of the youngsters on all the rides.
Not really knowing why he had come, Freddie wandered aimlessly around. He didn’t have a girl on his arm and he was too old for running in and out of grown-ups. He was a grown-up, at least he was supposed to be, but even though he was twenty one, he didn’t really feel like it. Of all the places to meet why did his cousin, Elliot, choose here?
Elliot seemed to like choosing places to meet which would cause him the greatest discomfort and presumably Elliot the greatest pleasure at seeing his cousin turn all awkward. It had to be said Elliot seem to find it very funny.
Spying Elliot standing over by the Coconut shy, he walked over. Elliot was dressed smartly in the typical style of the day and had an enormous grin on his face.
“Hiya Freddie. So nice of you to join me. Are you going to keep walking round with that grimace on your face or are you going to join in the fun?”
“What are you up to Elliot? You know I hate this sort of thing. Can’t we have met in a Café somewhere?”
“I find this far more exhilarating? Don’t you? This is the very spice of life. All the fun of the fair? Why don’t you unbutton your collar and partake in it a bit more?”
“Very funny. What do you have in mind?”
“How about a visit to Madame Zaritska and have your fortune told? I’d like to see what life has in store for you. Probably some dull office job, a Cat and a pair of slippers.”
They didn’t really look a like. After all their Mothers were only half sisters. Elliot had inherited his mothers red hair and freckles but Freddie had dark brown hair and the kind of complexion that was pale in winter but just a day or two in the sun and it would turn brown. They were both tall and slim, but Elliot had more muscle. They had been inseparable friends since birth, only three days separated their birthdays. Personality wise they could not have been more different. Elliot was gregarious and outgoing. He had a sunny personality and could make people life quite easily. He made friends easily and had lots of them. Freddie was quiet and bookish. He never really knew what to say, was terrible at making jokes and generally felt awkward and made others feel that way too.
“All right then, lets go and see your fortune teller then.”
In the dark smoky tent they both sat and waited for Madame Zaritska to appear from beyond a bead curtain. In front of them was a table covered in a red velvet cloth and a purple cushioned chair sat empty across from them. Then they heard the clacking of the beads and an elderly stooping figure came through. Madame Zaritska was draped in a black dress and had a fine black lace shawl that wrapped over her shoulders and over her white curly hair. How could she stand the August heat wearing that? The tent was stifling hot and the smelt of the incense burning made it seem even hotter.
The elderly lady slowly lowered herself into her chair with a jingling of charms.
“So my dearies what can I do for you? Come to have your fortunes told have you? I can do that for you. Which of you first?”
Elliot, ever the adventurous one, leaned forward and put out his hand eagerly awaiting her pronouncement.
Madame Zaritska chucked softly and spoke again
“Oh you’re a bold one, I can tell. I want to see your silver first and then I give you a foretelling.”
Elliot gave her some coins and then she grabbed his hand and held it vice like as she leaned over it and stared intently.
“Ah, I can see you are going to travel. You are going to have an adventurous life. I can see no wife or children in your hand nor can I see fortune or fame. You will have adventure though and there is a love of sorts. You will follow where someone else leads, despite your outgoing nature. There, that’s all I can see in your hand. Now You!”
She exclaimed turning her eye and attention over to Freddie. Freddie too, handed over a few coins and then she stared into his hand.
She started cackling again and looked into his eyes.
“I see everything now. You will lead and your friend here will follow. Despite not being so bold, fate will draw you ever onwards to new adventures. No ladies fair will come to you. You will have no children. You will have fame and fortune and adventure, but only one Love.”
Rather quietly Freddie and Elliot emerged from the tent. They looked at each other and both had a touch of colour in their cheeks. They knew each other so well. Better than anyone else.
“Oh well Freddie my boy. It sounds like life isn’t going to be dull and at least we’ll have each other.”
Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 22/April/2018