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There are two of the them, a couple, they sit at the front of rattletrap buses with dust in their hair and feathers threaded into the seams of their hemp clothing. She strums her ukulele; he strums the side of her cheek and sometimes plays the kazoo.
At inter-provincial bus stations they deal out the cards, sometimes seated, sometimes kneeling, never standing. And there are candles sometimes also, but not the edible kind. Did I mention she keeps a poppy flower in the cleft of her left ear? And that he picks at his nails with a black toothpick?
They take it in turns doing tarot readings, one for the other. He takes off his felt hat and assumes the lotus position with the hat rested on the seat of his crotch while she watches intently for a glimpse of misread expression writ upon his face. The cards are delicate like that. There are double meanings and there are fleeting symbols easily missed. Objectively speaking, you can tell she trims her fringe with nail scissors. Her eyes are cold and clear as shrink-wrapped refrigerators.
In candle-lit cafes he read the lines of her hands, he took the cards when their meanings were not clear and he chewed them around in his mouth.
They are in Acapulco and the cards are speaking now. There are keys to unlocking the mists that cloud the heart of the lion. There will be troubled waters; there will be lilies in her smile. They will both come to know intimate nights on the beach, nights when he will sit platting her hair. She will play Devandra Banhart tunes on her ukulele to the moon’s secret face hidden in the Ort Cloud.
Tayne Ephraim is a writer and English teacher hailing from Wollongong, Australia. He is based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and his work has appeared in Voiceworks, The Suburban Review, Seizure, and Stilts, amongst others.