I knew something was odd about the young woman from the very start.
It was as if I could see the wall, right through her, for a moment. Then I realized the illusion was caused by the color of her shirt, a shade of dark red almost the same as the bricks. At least, so I told myself at the time. I thought she looked about nineteen. Then again, I did not see her long enough to be sure. Maybe sixteen, maybe twenty-two.
The platform was crowded. People surged toward the subway car when the door opened. The girl’s eye caught mine. She walked toward me, turning to slip through the tide of bodies. A large man in a raincoat pushed a woman carrying a baby toward the girl, and I lost sight of her for a moment. She reappeared, fifteen feet away, one arm raised, gesturing toward me. She called out something, but the only words I heard were “green truck” and “Tuesday.” Noise of the train and crowd drowned whatever else she said. A pair of teenagers struggling to walk across the flow of bodies blocked my view for a second. When they passed, she had gone.
There were too many people for her to move away quickly. I stayed another ten minutes on the platform, watching as the crowd thinned, until the transit cop who leaned against the far wall started to give me the evil eye. The girl had vanished.
* * *
I’m a prospector. You hear the word “prospector,” and maybe you think of the bearded, half-wild old man who featured in Western movies your grandpa liked. I’m not that kind of prospector. I find things of value, whatever their nature, wherever they turn up. I find things that are lost.
I’m very good at what I do. Call it a gift.
* * *
I just needed a few dollars today. Enough for groceries and a bottle of decent wine. The rent was already paid.
A few blocks from the subway, I caught the scent of something interesting. The man in the blue jacket had the look about him, so I followed. He turned down an alley. I crossed the street, sat at the bus stop, and waited. Two minutes later, the woman in the pink windbreaker, with a good-sized messenger bag strapped diagonally, shoulder to hip, turned down the same alley. It was dark and narrow, not big enough for a car to go down. I doubted it came out on the opposite street.
Another couple of minutes passed. The woman came out of the alley, her bag noticeably more bulky, followed shortly by the man. They went in opposite directions.
I crossed the street and walked into the shadows of the alley. It smelled like New York is supposed to—pee, garbage, rats, car exhaust… and money. I had a small flashlight in my pocket, but I did not expect to need it. Sure enough, I looked in the six-inch space between the two big trash cans, and there were a couple of hundred-dollar bills. One was stuck to the wrapper of an ice-cream sandwich, but that was probably the least unsanitary thing about it. Money’s always dirty, no matter how you get it. Nevertheless, I try to take money only from the bad guys. I’m no Robin Hood, but I have my self-respect. And I believe in karma.
Something had been bought and sold for a lot of cash. Something probably not quite legal. I knew the money was there, where the buyer or seller had lost it, before I went down the alley. I could already see it in my mind’s eye. That’s how I find things—I follow what I see. Don’t ask me how. It’s just what I do. You may as well ask Pavarotti how he could sing so well, or Stradivarius how he made such good fiddles. Or why most people distinguish colors, but some don’t. Maybe I have some little gray cells in my brain that others are missing. Or maybe my brain is just wired a different way.
A quick stop at my favorite coffee shop seemed in order. It was only a couple of blocks. I walked.
* * *
Joe stood behind the counter. He saw me and immediately set out a doughnut and a cup of very hot, very fresh, very black, unnervingly strong coffee. “The lady down there’s been asking about you,” he said. “Think she has a job for you.”
I looked down at the other end of the counter. A woman with astonishingly red hair sat with a cup of coffee and a book. An actual paperback. I was already intrigued, so I took my coffee and doughnut and walked her way.
On closer inspection, I saw the cup actually held tea, as evidenced by the bag, its string draped over the side. The book was an Agatha Christie, featuring Hercule Poirot. She looked up as I approached.
“Joe says you asked about me?”
“Are you Jonathan Cypress?” Her accent was English. I’m no expert on accents, but it sounded more like Knightsbridge than the East End of London. I guessed she was about thirty. Green eyes, high cheekbones, nice chin, full lips, teeth white but not so white they looked bleached. She made her tennis shirt and denim jacket look like the classiest outfit ever, and made me feel uncouth in my coffee-stained hoodie and flannel shirt. I’d always wondered what it was like to feel uncouth. I’d sort of assumed it never happened to people anymore.
“According to the state of New York and the IRS, I’m Jonathan. I usually take their word for it.”
“Joanna Southwood.” She held out a hand. I half expected white gloves.
“An Englishwoman in New York,” I said. “Sounds like a pop song from the ’80s. I assume you are a real Englishwoman, because if not, you are a very bad thespian. Tea, Agatha Christie—it would be too much if it were an act.”
“I like Christie. I find her soothing. It always seems as if something exciting is about to happen, yet nothing ever does. This, however,” she said, glancing at her cup, “is not tea. Despite what you Americans tell yourselves, tea comes from loose leaves steeped in a pot. Put it in a little bag with a string, and it immediately ceases to make real tea.”
“If you say so. I prefer coffee,” I said, taking a small sip and a large bite of doughnut. “Pardon me, but I’m hungry.”
“This is an eatery, after all,” she said, and raised her cup of not-tea, which was somehow not lipstick-smudged by her very red lips.
I chewed. She swallowed, and said, “I’m told you find things? Things that have been lost.”
“So you’re a detective. You find missing persons?”
“I most certainly am not. Detectives work for other people. Clients, or the State. I’m nobody’s servant. I work for myself. Even when I work for someone else, I really work for myself. And I do not search for people. Not generally, anyway. I don’t catch criminals, or figure out if the butler did it.”
“That’s mostly what you don’t do. So what do you do?”
“I do find things of value. Things that are lost.”
“Like what’s-his-name, in that old black and white movie, where he was trying to find the falcon statue.”
I shrugged. Sometimes there’s no point in arguing. “If the thing is lost and valuable, I’ll look for it. Maybe”
“So how do you find them?”
“How do you breathe? How do you walk, or talk? It’s not something you think about. You just do it.”
“But most people can’t just find things.”
“Some people can’t walk or talk, unfortunately. Do you let that stop you?”
“No. But I am told you’re better than most at finding lost things.”
“Yes, I am.” I’ve never thought false modesty a virtue.
“So how do you do it?”
“Who told you about me? That I am good at finding things?”
“Oh, just this bloke I talked to on the tube. The subway, you call it here. Word gets around. I guess we both have our secrets.”
“Everybody does. Even from themselves, usually. So I guess you want me to find something.”
“Not something. Someone.”
“I told you, I don’t search for missing persons. Best left to the cops. A lot of times, people are missing for a good reason. Or what they think is a good reason, anyway. Many of them don’t want to be found.”
“I pay well, though. It might be worthwhile to make an exception.”
“I’m not that desperate for money.”
“No. I get by. Money just doesn’t motivate me that much.”
“What does motivate you?”
“That’s a very personal question.”
“I’m a person, you’re a person, so what other kind of question should we ask? Besides, I need an answer, so I can talk you into taking the job.”
“All right, then. Mysteries excite me. Real ones. Things that seem impossible, but turn out not to be. The ones that challenge our limited perceptions of reality.”
“Well, I’ve got a mystery for you, then.”
“My friend went for a walk in the woods and never came back. Which, of course, won’t seem like a great mystery. As you say, sometimes, people want to disappear. But not Jeanette. I know she wouldn’t just leave like that. And besides, it’s very hard to disappear these days, unless you’re desperate and well prepared. There are cameras everywhere, and if you buy lunch with anything but cash, your financial information goes all over the world. She was not desperate, and I would have known if she’d been making those kinds of plans.”
“How would you have known?” I asked.
“We were… close.” She didn’t say how close. I didn’t ask.
“I take it you reported this to the police?”
“Of course. As you say, missing persons are for the cops to deal with. They tried hard. They found nothing.”
“They didn’t find financial records? Her image on a security camera? A body?”
“No.” She didn’t flinch when I mentioned the possibility of finding a body.
“Okay, but there are still lots of these kinds of cases around. People go away. They start new lives somewhere else. They don’t necessarily explain to those they leave behind.”
“True. But Jeanette has been seen.”
“Well, then, she’s not missing, is she?”
“Do you believe in ghosts, Mr. Cypress?” she asked.
“Believe? That’s a strong word. I believe in metaphors. And possibilities. So… the idea of ghosts makes a good metaphor for things that might exist, but we cannot see them.” I thought of the girl in the red shirt who appeared and disappeared from the train platform. “At least, things or people most of us cannot see. Most of the time.”
I stared out the window of the coffee shop for a few seconds, let the smell of fried eggs and toast and coffee mingle with the taste of my doughnut. Watched the people walk up and down, cross the street. Cars passed. My mind kept turning back to the girl. Or young woman—that’s more respectful. But “girl” is shorter. Less formal. Less high-school-principal-sounding. She might be a passenger in any of the cars, or on the bus, or lost in the pedestrian crowd.
“Here’s her picture,” Joanna Southwood said. She pushed the phone across the table.
I knew who it would be, but I looked anyway. Of course, the screen showed the girl I’d seen on the platform. Same short, dark, straight hair and light blue eyes, a mischievous smile that suggested she knew a secret, but, under the right circumstances, she just might tell.
You ignore synchronicity like that at your peril. So I’ve learned. “You’re prepared to pay my fee if I find her?”
“How much?” Joanna said.
I gave her the number. One intended to be off-putting to all but the desperate or almost desperate.
She didn’t bat an eye. Took out her checkbook. I hadn’t seen one of those in a while. I don’t take credit or debit cards, but I do accept cash. She said, “Half now, half if you find her?”
“No money yet,” I said. “Wait til I know more. Send me the picture. I’ll see what I can do.”
What had the girl—Jeanette—seemed to say to me? “Green truck” and “Tuesday.” I still had no idea what that meant.
“If you find her, what will you do? Can you rescue her if she’s in trouble?
“Well, that all depends on the kind of trouble, doesn’t it? But I have certain skills that have proven useful in times of danger.”
We exchanged phone numbers. I finished my doughnut and coffee and left her to her adventures with Hercule.
* * *
“See what I can do,” of course, meant waiting. Prospecting consists largely of letting events unfold as they will. And noticing coincidences. Paying attention, and waiting for the synchronicities. Patience is at least half the job. I talked to Joanna on Friday. For the moment, all I could do was look out for green trucks, Tuesdays, and dark-haired girls. Meanwhile, I decided to go to the movies. Close Encounters was showing at the Chelsea. I had seen it only thirteen times on the big screen, and I needed to see it again soon, to get off the unlucky number. Not that I’m superstitious. Luck and numbers are not superstitions. Just ask any lottery winner.
* * *
When I was nine, a man came to see me. I was walking home from school, taking the shortcut through the park. He was sitting on the bench near the fountain. This was October, and the fountain was dry, filling with red and brown leaves.
“Have a seat,” he said. “I’ve been waiting for you.”
Of course, adults had told me to be cautious of strangers. But it was three in the afternoon. Other people were around. He looked friendly enough, so I sat. I kept an eye on the other people, just in case I needed help. Some strangers did Bad Things to kids, I was told. The way it sounded, no one was supposed to talk about what kind of Bad Things. You just hoped you didn’t have to find out.
“They can’t see me,” he said, glancing at the other adults.
I thought he was crazy. But one of the mothers, a brunette with two small children, came and sat on the bench. She would have sat on his lap if he hadn’t gotten up and moved to the bench across the sidewalk.
When I realized he was right, and only I could see him, I decided I must be crazy. I knew this as the vernacular term for people who see people who are not there. Later, I looked up “seeing things” on the computer. I learned words like “schizophrenia” and “hallucinate” Did they apply to me? It took years before I was sure they did not.
But that afternoon, seeming to read my mind, the man said, “I’m really here. You are not imagining me.”
“Why am I the only one who sees you?” I asked. The brunette mother glanced curiously my way for a moment, and then ignored me the rest of the time. I guess she thought I was talking to myself, or an imaginary friend.
He shrugged. “Maybe only you need to see me.”
“You look familiar,” I said.
“Yeah, so do you.” He smiled. White, even teeth. Blue eyes, brown hair, a few strands of gray.
“I can’t stay long,” he said, “but B sent me to tell you something. You should take the things you see seriously. Some of them are matters of life and death.”
“Bee? Who’s Bee?” I said.
“Not ‘Bee,’” he said. “Just ‘B’.”
“I don’t hear the difference, then,” I said.
“That’s okay. There are many things we do not hear, or need to.”
“So what’s your name—are you a letter of the alphabet too?”
He smiled. “No. I’m George. But B sent me to tell you about synchronicity.”
“Synchronicity—what does that mean? And don’t you want to know my name?”
“I already know your name, Jonathan. My aunt had two daughters,” he said. “Twins. She named them Chardonnay and Chablis. There was no reason for it. I do not think she knew what the words meant. She just liked the sound of them.”
“So, you just like the sound of the word synchronicity? What does it even mean?”
“In general, it means things that happen at the same time, but when it refers to knowing things or seeing things that most people don’t know, it means the knowledge is uncaused, or at least acausal.”
“Acausal—I don’t know that word either.” I was nine.
“Acausal events may have a cause, but not any that operates according to known rules. Known human rules, anyway. There’s no reason for them. None we can explain.”
“How can anything that happens not have a cause?”
“It would take too long to explain,” George said. “But it will happen to you. Someday, you will see or hear an object or event that seems unrelated to another object or event happening at the same time, yet you will know they are related. Or you will know something, an important fact about someone else, maybe a friend or relative, maybe a complete stranger. You will not know how you know, but you will be certain of what is going to happen.”
“Synchronicity, you mean.”
He nodded. “Synchronicity. That’s as good a name for it as any.” He looked around, as if he expected someone else to come along. “I have to go now. Just remember what I told you. You are not crazy. You are not hallucinating. You simply have a rare ability. A gift. Use it wisely.”
“But you didn’t tell me anything. I mean, nothing that made sense.”
He bent close to my face. He smelled wild, somehow, like green grass and burning leaves. “Forget expecting things to make sense. Reality does not conform consistently to human expectations. Never has, never will.”
“If nothing makes sense, how will I know what to do?”
But he was already walking away.
“Follow your instincts,” he said over his shoulder.
“Wait!” I called to his receding back. He was gone behind the giant maple tree before I could get to my feet. I walked quickly after him, but he was nowhere in sight. Vanished.
Memory’s a funny thing. I don’t remember much else about being nine, except George and that October afternoon. And what he said, even though I understood half of it at best. I repeated it over and over to myself. The more I thought about it all, the less sense it made.
Like so many other things in life.
* * *
So, George, and the mysterious B, whom I never met. I never saw George again, either. Who were they? Guardian angels? Ghosts? Random lunatics or pranksters? Time travelers come back to change—or protect—the course of history? What was their interest in me? I wish I had good answers to these questions. I don’t know—now anymore than then—that’s the only answer. Might as well ask what happens when we die, or why the Big Bang happened, or whether it will rain on a given day next year. We have many uncertainties. And sometimes, theories and little clues. George was right, though—I see and know things that are obvious to me but not to everybody else.
But I like to think some of the things I know, the things and people I see, are related to centaurs, elves, sorcerers, witches, a thousand kinds of fey creatures and beings older than the names we have for them. They live beyond the campfires of our gimmicks and gadgets, the science and technology and rules and laws that produce or describe what we shamelessly refer to as civilization and reality. They mostly stay in the shadows of the modern world, waiting for humans either to evolve, to rejoin the community of all living things, visible and invisible—or to destroy ourselves. I wonder which we will choose.
Maybe there’s an explanation for what I can do, a reason. Maybe not. It doesn’t always matter. Synchronicity.
* * *
The Tuesday morning after Joanna Southwood asked for my help, a green delivery truck stopped outside my building. For some reason, I had been thinking of green pickup trucks, but a truck is a truck. In my line of existence, you take what the universe gives you. So I hailed a cab and told the driver to follow that truck. His name was Jeremiah. He looked at me, clearly thinking I was nuts, but a fare is a fare. The meter ran for fifteen minutes before the truck pulled away. I gave him an advance on a big tip to ensure patience.
The truck turned right off Delancey onto Chrystie Street. “Chrystie” rang a bell in my head. Joanna Southwood had been reading Agatha Christie. Something interesting was about to happen. I told the cab driver to keep following.
Half a block down Chrystie street, a giant trash collection bin emblazoned with “Chris Christie for Governor” bumper stickers was being emptied into a Hercules dump truck. The S on the hood of the truck was smudged almost out of sight by some sort of black refuse, so it read “Hercule.” We were getting close to the crux of the matter.
The green truck stopped in front of a restaurant called The Turtle, across from Roosevelt Park. A gentleman with a neatly trimmed and curled mustache, wearing a gray suit and a bowler hat, came out of the restaurant. I rolled down my window so I could see and hear better. The driver of the green truck jumped down from the cab, almost on top of Bowler Hat, who said, “Oh, pardon me, monsieur,” in a Belgian accent, and went on his way.
I handed Jeremiah the cab driver some more cash and asked him to wait and jumped out and went inside the restaurant. The smell of frying onions wafted out of the kitchen, but I didn’t see the truck driver anywhere.
A young woman stationed inside the door asked, “Table for one, sir?” Her name tag said she was Aggie.
“Is that short for ‘Agatha’?” I asked. She nodded.
I pointed at the truck and said, “That driver just came in here. He was wearing a dark blue button-down work shirt, khaki pants, and a watchcap.”
Agatha looked confused. “Watchcap?”
“Stocking cap, ski hat. Call it whatever, but that driver, blue shirt, khaki pants—did you see him or not?”
She still looked confused, but she was starting to look pissed too. Not used to strange questions from strange men. I put a twenty in her hand and said, “Thanks, anyway.” The twenty would distract her while I went through the only other door in the place, the one in back. It was stainless steel, hinged to swing wide both ways for people with full hands. A round porthole showed a small portion of the kitchen.
I ducked through the steel doors and barely felt the blow to the back of my head before I blacked out.
* * *
You have questions.
Even when I was child, I knew things no one was supposed to know. Mainly because I knew when and where to look. I learned to keep quiet about such knowledge, the way most kids learn not to chew with their mouths open or interrupt when others are talking.
Our neighbor, Mr. K, was having an affair with Mrs. M. Her husband would find out. The bruises on Mrs. M’s cheek were not from falling on the steps. When Mr. K disappeared, it was not because he took a job in Seattle. His body was buried in the park, under the big maple by the creek. By then, however, I also knew better than to tell anyone. The men with dogs would find the remains soon enough. But if I told them, there would be awkward questions. Questions I could not answer, even if I wanted to.
Yes, maybe I could win the lottery if I paid attention. But why would I? Money is rather dull if you have all you actually need. Also, for someone like me, a lot of publicity is not necessarily a good thing. I take what I need, no more.
Romantic despair—the “Oh, it’s such a burden to know bad things” routine—that’s not for me, either. Everybody who pays attention at all knows about cruelty and evil and tragedy. Wars, disease, disasters, murders, torture. It happens. You can hope there’s a balance. Maybe there is, maybe not. Either way, you may as well have coffee and doughnuts, if you are fortunate enough.
So no, I did not see the blow to my head coming. That’s not how it works. It’s not like I’m omniscient. I just see certain things most people don’t. Like you know things your cat doesn’t know. And I have to pay attention. It helps if I have some idea what I’m looking for. There’s no reason for what I see and what I don’t.
Chardonnay and Chablis.
* * *
I woke up in the dark. My head throbbed.
“He’s awake,” someone said.
The lights came on. They blinded me.
“You’ll have to forgive Leon,” Joanna Southwood said. “He gets carried away sometimes.”
She sat on a stool six feet away. Jeanette, the girl from the picture, sat on the other stool.
“Who’s Leon?” I said. It seemed like as good a question as any to start with, while my eyes tried to focus. I seemed to be in a large warehouse or abandoned factory. Sounds of the city came through the broken windows.
“Just a guy. You don’t know him. He works for me sometimes. I told him not to hurt you, but he doesn’t always listen. Short attention span.” No more posh accent. Now she sounded like she was from the Bronx. She took off her denim jacket and draped it across the stool. A similar outfit as last time. Different color shirt, faded jeans, white running shoes.
I was leaning against something hard, half-reclining. I tried to sit up straight. The attempt proved misguided. My head throbbed. Ropes bound my hands to something behind me.
“You’re Jeanette,” I said. Stating the obvious is a safe move when you’ve been knocked out and tied up and subsequently presented with the completely unexpected, proof that things are not at all as you’ve been led to believe. “You were supposed to be missing.”
The girl just looked at me, a little curious perhaps, but letting Joanna take the lead.
“I knew your aversion to publicity,” Joanna said. “And your reputation. But I still had to find out if you were the real deal, or just a harmless lunatic.”
“You seemed pretty confident of my abilities last week,” I said.
“All part of the act,” she said. “I just wanted to be sure you could do what people say you can do.”
“So, I guess I passed,” I said. “What do I win? Another blow to the head? Here’s Jeanette. I found her. I’ll take my fee and be on my way, if you don’t mind. Also, I seem to be a little stuck here.” I wiggled my shoulders and arms. “Would you mind giving me a hand?”
Joanna stared at me for a moment and then nodded to Jeanette. “We just had to be sure you wouldn’t try to run away if we had to step out for a moment.”
“Of course. I get tied up all the time. Some people even like that sort of thing. Or so I’ve heard.” Jeanette leaned over me and untied the ropes. She wore faded blue jeans, the kind with stylish holes, and a white tee shirt. She smelled of lilac. Her hair brushed my neck as she worked. She did not distract me from analyzing the situation. Not at all.
“What do you really want from me? I asked, and struggled to my feet.
“We’ve danced to that song before. I’ll pass on it this time.” I rubbed my wrists, which were numb from the ropes, and my head, which was sore but apparently not bloody.
“With your skills and mine, we could team up and have anything we want. We’d be unstoppable.”
“Wait—you’re trying to recruit me? Your methods of persuasion leave much to be desired.”
“I told you, Leon got carried away. Next time, my instructions to him will be much more specific. I just told him to bring you here if you found your way to the restaurant. Jeanette was there, of course. She went out the back about a minute before you came in the front. Leon is used to dealing with situations where subtlety does not get the job done.”
“Well, give Leon my best. Which way is the door?”
“Don’t be so hasty,” Joanna said. Think about it. You know things. I see things too. Together, our skills would be doubled, at least. Maybe more than doubled. Two heads are better than one. No casino could stop us before we’d cashed in big. When the casinos blacklist us, we use our winnings to take Wall Street by storm. Sky’s the limit.”
“If you had much vision, you’d know what you suggest sounds horrifying to me. Money loses its appeal when it’s easy to get. For me it does, anyway.”
“My vision’s not perfect, of course. Nor is yours, as the bump on your head demonstrates. That’s not the point.”
“No, the point is, we’re done. I’ll see myself out.” I still didn’t see an EXIT sign, but it couldn’t be hard to find.
“I can’t let you do that,” Joanna said.
“I have no interest in working with you.” I started for the nearest corner of the building.
“You see what others miss, but you don’t hear well. I said, I cannot let you go.” Joanna took her hand from her back pocket. The elegant little pearl-handled semi-automatic pistol was, at close range, likely to be quite deadly. The silver barrel glinted in dim light from broken windows.
“I hear fine, and I see better than you,” I said. Jeremiah the cab driver came quietly from behind a hulking machine. Joanna did not notice him. He paused in the shadow of what looked like an electric motor at least ten feet high. Jeanette flicked her eyes briefly at Jeremiah and then back to me.
Jeremiah swung the pipe in his hand. It struck Joanna’s head with a dull thunk, the sound of an axe when one blow splits a length of stove wood. The pipe stayed wedged in her skull, like a strange sort of antenna. She stood long enough for her knees to get the news that something was wrong up top. Her legs folded neatly, and she fell sideways on the floor. The pipe, still lodged in her skull, pulled her head to the left, eyes wide open in blank surprise, as if staring at something incomprehensible in the far corner of the warehouse.
“Where’s the guy who whacked me at the restaurant—Leon?” I asked.
“She sent him for tea and cookies,” Jeanette said. “She always wants cookies when she’s plotting something.”
An incredible bulk of a man entered from behind the hulking machine, noticed Joanna’s unfortunate condition, dropped the cardboard tray of cups and bag of what I could only assume were cookies, and ran back the way he came. All I could make out beyond his great size was the brown coverall, brown work boots, and brown hair and beard. The effect was like a bear that had wandered into the city by accident.
“Wish he hadn’t dropped the tea. I could use a cup right now,” I said.
“The cookies are probably still fine,” Jeremiah said. He went and picked up the bag. “Looks like oatmeal-raisin and Oreos.” He passed the bag around.
* * *
After the cookies, we all looked at the body for a little while. There didn’t seem to be much else to do. The white shoes were spattered with drops of blood, and the jeans with spilled tea. She also appeared to have soiled herself.
“Think we should call the police?” Jeanette said at last.
“No. Just wipe down the fingerprints and clear out,” Jeremiah suggested.
I nodded. “We could tell the police the whole story, but they would never believe us. Not in a million years,” I turned to Jeremiah. “How did you find me, anyway?”
“You dropped your wallet in the cab, so I followed you. Things got interesting really quick, so here I am.” He reached in his pocket and handed me the wallet.
Jeanette looked at me and Jeremiah. “How do you two know each other?” she asked.
“I just met him this morning,” I said. “After I saw the green truck you mentioned, I knew he would help me somehow, so I got in his cab.”
“The one you tried to tell me about at the train station.”
She shook her head. “I was never there. No idea what you mean.” She paused. “Sorry about Aunt Jo. I tried to tell her this was a bad idea. She never listens.” Another pause. “Listened.”
Jeanette nodded. “Why else would I hang out with a psycho like her if we were not related?”
“So, she talked you into being at the train stop and pretending to give me a message, then vanishing?”
“I told you, I was nowhere near the station that day. I hate trains, and crowds. Whoever you saw, or thought you saw, it wasn’t me.”
“Just the universe’s way of taking me where it wanted me to be, or showing me what it wanted me to see, I guess.” I let that information sink in awhile, then asked, “So, she really wanted to recruit me? She thought we could become some kind of partners in crime?”
Jeanette nodded. “Yes. Or she thought if that didn’t work out, she would eliminate some competition. Maybe she’d be the only seer in the world. Like I said, she was kind of a psycho. As you’ve no doubt noticed.”
“So you don’t see and know things other people don’t?” I asked.
Jeanette shook her head. “No, just Auntie Joan had that ability in our family. For which I am grateful. Life’s weird enough for us so-called normal people. I don’t know how you seers manage.”
“Like everyone else,” I said. “Just go with the flow.”
David Rogers’ work has appeared in The Comstock Review, Atlanta Review, Sky and Telescope, and Astronomy magazine. He is the author of a fantasy novella, Return of the Exile and an exploration of the legend behind Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, Roots of the Dark Tower: The Long Quest and Many Lives of Roland, each available from Amazon. He also curates “David Watches Movies” on Facebook.
WHY WE CHOSE TO PUBLISH “Synchronicity”:
Author David Rogers grabs the reader’s attention immediately with his opening sentence that leads us into a mystery and an interesting character. At that point, we’re intrigued, and the intrigue and mystery never stop right up to the lovely twist ending. Sprinkle in some great lines along the way, and you have a winning story. Most of all, it yields what we look for most in any piece we choose to publish: something different and unexpected.