I am sitting here breathing deeply, fingers poised over the keys of my word processor, waiting for word from my mother, who is in the spirit world.
I was told by clairvoyant Ray Hayes that she was anxious to contact me, and that I either should buy a Ouija board or sit in a quiet room with a pen and paper and wait for her to move the pen.
"Close your eyes," he said, "and take a few deep breaths and you'll be surprised."
However, I am not about to go out and buy a Ouija board (nothing personal, mom), and since I am more at home with a keyboard than a pen, my Tandy 1200 is going to have to do.
I have always suspected that computers possess spiritual qualities, anyhow. If I can contact our bureau in Washington by striking a few keys, I should be able to reach someone beyond the grave. How far apart could they be?
The reason I am involved in all this nonsense is that I dropped by the ESP Psychic Fair in Santa Monica on Sunday to see what was going on among the people with summer homes on Venus.
The fair was held at the Miramar Sheraton hotel in a tiny downstairs room clouded with incense.
Tables were set up along each wall and in the center of the room, at which were seated the various clairvoyants, palmists, psychometrists, trance channelers, reincarnationists, faith healers, past lifeists, astrologers and Tarot card readers.
I was disappointed that none of them was levitating or engaged in out-of-body experiences, although a man in a far corner appeared to be in a trance.
He was dressed in white and held a black card over his closed eyes. He didn't answer when I said hello, so I kept on going.
I'm no prophet, but I predict that he's going to have be a little more responsive to paying customers if he expects to make it in the secular world.
I decided on a Tarot card reading by Ray Hayes because the poster above his table said he had been featured on television's "2 On the Town." I like a spiritualist who advertises.
Hayes said he was the hit of the show, making other psychics on the program look like amateurs, right down to the water-dowsing competition.
"My psychic energy was high that day," he confided.
Hayes read the cards and told me I was going to be very famous and have a long life.
It must be true because I was told the same thing about three months ago in Encino by a palmist named Dorothy Greene-Pepper.
I have never heard of a psychic who actually gave anyone bad news, but I suppose that stands to reason. A clairvoyant would have chaos on his hands if he looked a customer in the eye and said, "You're going to be dead in seven days."
Even if it weren't true it would sure screw up a person's week.
Hayes flipped the cards over one by one and then asked if I had any questions. I said I was interested in my health, since it was always at best borderline.
"Avoid surgery at any cost," he said solemnly.
The response was sudden and unexpected and startled me. Did he see surgery in my future? I am a terminal hypochondriac and even casual asides make me nervous.
"Will I have surgery?" I asked.
"No, no," he said. "It's just that I had a friend who had a simple operation that became infected and he died."
"So as a rule, avoid surgery at any cost."
"I intend to," I said, relieved.
He looked at the cards again and, as though reminded by our previous conversation, said, "Do you know anyone in the spirit world?"
I thought he was asking did I know any drunks and was about to reply "hundreds," but realized that he meant did I have any friends or relatives who were dead as we know it.
"Well," I said, "sure."
"Someone who passed on recently?"
Hayes nodded solemnly. "She wants you to know she's happy and cares about you. In fact," he added, peering closer at the cards, "she would like to contact you."
That's when he told me I ought to lock myself in a quiet room, breathe deeply and wait for a smoky finger to reach out from the Great Beyond, which is what I'm doing now.
Clean your . . .
I frankly doubt, however, that if my mother is happy and busy she will take the time out . . .
I said clean your . . .
. . . from her activities to contact me. She is probably playing the nickel slots and feeling lucky and is not about to leave the machines.
I said clean your room instantly, dodo!
So I think I'll just give the whole thing up and go on to other things. Sorry, Ray. No spiritual contact today.
But I do have a chore, as long as I am working at home. My room has not been cleaned since 1982 and it's about time I restored order to the chaos by taking some things to the dump and straightening up my bookshelves.
I'm surprised I haven't done this years ago.
What a nice boy.