Tetris Hold'em

By Katherine Tylevich

Friday 1:37 P.M. The lone licensed small-town psychic was surprised to see Lyle, one of several certified city-slicker loners, walk inside her small-town business doors for the third time in five days. “I see you’re here again,” the sharp, forty-something clairvoyant whispered affectedly.

“Well gourds, I hope you see so!” early-twenties Lyle, voice high-pitched as ever, searched nervously for the right words. “You are a fortune teller, ain’t ya?”

“We prefer psychic.”

“Sorry.”

“Apology accepted. In the near future.”

Lyle sulked awkwardly for a few silent second before mumbling: “Well, nevertheless, the joke remains both timely and prudent, no?”

“I may have a gift for vision, but not for hearing your cheeky gripes. Speak up, youth.”

“Pardon? I was simply making a joke, ma’am.”

“I was born with Humor Deficiency Syndrome,” the psychic, dressed as always in the “gypsy” costume she bought at a post-Halloween discount sale four years ago, said. “I would appreciate it if you respected my condition.”

“I’m–I’m sorry, I didn’t–“

“What do you want, anyway?”

“Honestly?” Lyle looked down at his black converse shoes, be-laced with neon green string. “I want some of your sugar.”

“Well, I have a few packets of Splenda I could give you, but I’m not a grocery store, son.”

“I, I–” Lyle stuttered. “I meant sugar as a euphemism.”

“Obviously. I struggle with Double Entendre Perception every day of my life, boy.” The psychic shot Lyle a mean look. “It’s been an arduous journey; one of the many challenges of living with HDS.”

“Well, if I may, arduous journey' is, in and of itself, a euphem--"<br /><br /> "Quiet, you! Respect your elders!"<br /><br /> "I didn't mean to salt your wounds."<br /><br /> She stared at him severely.<br /><br /> "Again, my apologies. Would you like to have dinner with me tomorrow night?"<br /><br /> "Yes. Would you like to have your future predicted?"<br /><br /> "Of course," Lyle nodded, bewildered. "Did you just sayyes’?”

“Pipe down!” The psychic lit some candles around the small table at which she was seated. “Sit.” She instructed Lyle.

“Very well,” Lyle did as he was told. “When should I pick you up?”

“Silence!” The psychic closed her eyes. “In the near future, you will experience tremendous heartbreak at Uncle Tony’s Italian Restaurant on Victory Boulevard when you finally discover that the woman you have been courting for the past five days is simply using you for a free antipasto appetizer, chicken Alfredo dinner and bottomless bowl of breadsticks for her and her eighteen-year-old son, Karl.”

“Hold the phone!” Lyle jerked in his seat.

The psychic opened her eyes for a brief moment. “I told you, I don’t recognize your fancy town-speak,” She closed her eyes again. “To add insult to injury, your Mediterranean Ravioli dish will give you both heartburn and gas.”

“Well–“

The psychic opened her eyes: “I’ll see you at 8 P.M. tomorrow night. B.Y.O. Maalox.”

“Yes’m.”

Saturday, 7:52 P.M.

“You’re frickin’ early!” the psychic, still in “gypsy” attire, yelled at Lyle as she opened the door of her two-bedroom apartment. “Karl!” she shouted into her son’s bedroom. “Do you want a meat-stuffed calzone or do you want a meat-stuffed calzone? Now, get your skinny ass out here, you hear me?”

“I hope it’s in your future that you shut the hell up, mom!” Karl yelled back.

“Well, I know it’s in your future that you’re eating a knuckle sandwich tonight, boy!”

“Maybe, I should come back another–” Lyle began inching away from the door.

“And cheat me out of my bowl of minestrone and bottle of Merlot? Au contraire!”

Saturday, 9:03 P.M.

One bottle of Merlot later, the psychic and her son were getting ready to go. “Thank the yank for your chicken Alfredo, Karl,” she said.

But, before Karl could get a word in, Lyle spoke up: “Wait, no! This can’t be the end! I have so much more to tell you!”

“Look, I told you I was only in it for the Alfredo. I don’t play games, son,” the psychic reminded Lyle. “Word or otherwise.”

“What about Tetris?” Lyle asked, on the verge of tears.

“No.”

“But, without you, I’m like an L-shaped piece with no opening to land in.”

“Don’t talk to my mom like that!” Karl stood up, angrily.

“I’d make an excellent father!” Lyle continued his appeal to the psychic.

“You’d make an excellent target for these guns!” Karl yelled, flexed his non-existent muscles and punched Lyle in the face. Lyle fell back into his seat, dazed.

“I guess my future-dar was off a little, sonny.” The psychic laughed. “I was sure you’d be the one unconscious and bleeding tonight, Karl.”

“No ma’am.”

“I’m proud of you.”

Karl smiled and threw a breadstick at Lyle’s motionless body. “And thanks but no thanks for the Maalox!”

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