It Takes a Psychic by Mike Hickman

Carol's boyfriend hopes their relationship has a future, and who better to prognosticate than Psychic Trevor; by Mike Hickman.

Psychic Trevor didn't have a crystal ball, although he did have a mightily shiny head. On his purple-hued Photoshop cheese dream of a flyer, his bald pate sparkled with enough lens flare for a JJ Abrams movie. In real life, his dome was hardly any less gleaming. It was almost a relief when he smiled and the wall of teeth took their turn to become the brightest things in the room.

I could see the girls eyeing him up, and I was sure that he wasn't so much wearing the tight white trousers for a dare as to please this very particular demographic. "Hen parties a speciality," said his flyer, although tonight's was a more domestic arrangement. Just Carol and the girls. And me.

If Trev thought I was the Odd One Out in Carol's cramped living room, he didn't say. As far as Carol knew, I'd been lonely and in need of the company; there because the alternative was a service station sausage roll and a night scratching myself in front of News 24. Hell, it might even be good for me, I'd said, when she'd told me she couldn't be responsible for Trace, Debbie and Lianne's behaviour. Not least because neither could they.

"It's alright, no need for ceremony, you can sit down," Carol told me, slapping me on the back with the non-wine glass wielding hand and directing friend Trevor towards the kitchen.

Creaking down into the upholstery, I saw the envelope being slipped into Trevor's hand. Twenty quid each, plus a list of their names and other "pertinent" pieces of information. I didn't ask Carol if she knew about the extra name on the list. Even if the guy she was handing the money to ought to have known that Carol's new man had inveigled his way into Psychic Night with his own agenda.

But Debbie had arrived by then and was already so many sheets to the wind that it would not so much take a psychic to predict her immediate future as a light breeze to sweep her into it.

Trace went first, as the others bantered about the altogether eye-watering. "They're not going to hold back just 'cos you're here," Carol had told me. "I should hope not," I'd said, and then I'd worried that seemed altogether too interested, but maybe she liked that. "You're learning," Carol had said, that first night we'd been together. As far as she was concerned, my being there added to the curriculum and, yeah, perhaps part of me liked that. Perhaps Psychic Trevor might read that much in me.

When I'd finished reading him. And Carol, too, of course.

Trace had been all emotional because the subject of exes had come up. More than likely because she'd introduced it. And Trevor had told her what to expect from her new beau. I should have guessed that matchmaking was a major source of his appeal. Giving his blessings to relationships to come and declaring a line through relationships that, the girls at least, thought should never have been. Even though, if anyone else had offered up the observation, unsolicited or otherwise, they'd have likely received a punch up the bracket for their efforts.

Debbie was reassured about her mum. The prognosis was good. Funnily enough, precisely what she'd said on the phone to Carol only the other week.

Lianne was concerned about precisely which decade she and Dave might tie the knot. A well placed Three of Cups reversed had cast some doubt on whether it would be this one.

And then Carol herself went in. No look at me, cheeky or otherwise, because it seemed she really did take this seriously. This wasn't Trevor's first visit, after all.

I sat and I nibbled and I bantered and I allowed for the fact that my sex were getting it in the neck from the girls - it wasn't like I disagreed with much of the criticism. And Carol's consultation went on rather longer than I might have expected.

She was smiling when she came out.

"In you go, then, sunshine," she told me.

Trev only just managed to get the bottle down onto the floor before I was sitting opposite him, admiring my reflection in his bonce.

The only crystal ball I was going to need.

"So," he said, making a thing of spreading out his cards, tinkling his crystals, flashing his teeth, "you're Carol's new man, aren't you?"

The man she had invited back into her house, despite that flyer, that shirt, those JJ Abram's lens flares, had looked at me sitting there, and that is what he'd said.

Psychic or not, he was surprised when I told him that's all I needed to hear.

Best twenty quid I'd spent in a long time, I told him.


  1. Good, solid tongue-in-cheek technique and a very satisfying ending. Nkicee job.

  2. Nice and tight, very stylish. The characters exude a lot of personality with very limited opportunity for development. Nice work.

  3. Good job--and unique setting!
    Cameron Spencer

  4. Really entertaining with terrific description and an inevitable - but really dynamic ending. Very satisfying!

  5. I like the opening line about the shiny head.