Excerpt from Some of It Was Real by Nan Fischer, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Some of It Was Real

by Nan Fischer

Some of It Was Real by Nan Fischer X
Some of It Was Real by Nan Fischer
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    Jul 2022, 352 pages

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"My first customers were sisters. The pregnant one was Bethany. I guessed she was almost nine months along—it wasn't a psychic thing, it was obvious that she hadn't seen her feet in a while." I wait for knowing laughter to subside then go on.

"Am I having a boy or a girl? Bethany asked.

"I rested my hands on the swell beneath the cool silk of her dress. The baby kicked and I jumped, laughed, and the mom-to-be did, too. To give Bethany a good show, I closed my eyes. An instant whooshing sound enveloped me, followed by a river of warmth that flowed around my limbs. The warm water cradled me and I felt my body slowly roll ... but then something tugged, stopped me ... The next thing I knew, the tarot reader was shaking me really hard. When I opened my eyes, Bethany was on her feet, arms wrapped protectively around her belly."

The audience is quiet, caught in the story's web. "Why would you scare her like that? Bethany's sister demanded.

"Confused, I followed her pointed finger. Scribbled across the inside of my right forearm were the words I can't breathe. I turned to the tarot reader. Did you do that? But his black marker was gripped in my hand and the writing was mine." Whispers float through the audience. "By then Bethany was crying." I tip my chin and look into the balcony section. "I should've apologized. But when I was little and in trouble, always with my mom, Dad would say that there was a plant that grew inside my belly called a contrary tree. Instead of backpedaling, I said, She can't breathe."

I shake my head at the memory. "The sisters left. I eyed the water bottle that the tarot reader had given me. What the hell is in that? But it was only water. What happened with Bethany exactly? I demanded.

"He explained, You grabbed my marker, started writing on your arm. I think you have the gift.

"Of course I didn't believe him. The guy was leaving town and offered to sell me his table and chairs for ten bucks, put in a good word with the owner of the magic shop so I could still work in front of her store. He'd made a hundred and seventy-five dollars reading tarot in just two hours. After a full day waitressing, I'd only made twenty-eight bucks in tips. At that rate, I wouldn't make the month's rent. So I bought the table and chairs, figured I could try for a few hours after my restaurant shifts, vowed to keep things light and lovely, just play around.

"A few days later, I set up my table and nervously waited for customers. They actually came. After my anxiety burned off, it was surprisingly fun. I scribbled messages, hummed songs that burst into my head, and the customers were amazed. I still didn't believe the tarot guy, but I was a crap waitress and it felt good to be good at something, you know?" More than a few people in the audience nod in agreement. They understand that need to be recognized.

"Soon, there were lines just from word of mouth. People came to see me. Late one afternoon an old man named Arthur asked if I could contact someone who'd died. He looked so miserable that I agreed and closed my eyes ... A red barn door materialized. It jumped into my head, like a kid in a classroom with her hand held high, desperate for the teacher's attention. I let the door swing wide and the tang of metal filled my mouth.

"Anything? Arthur asked.

"I felt a female energy cross the door's brink but couldn't see a face. The next thing I knew, I'd written a message in the crook of my elbow: No rush. I'll be waiting. Take that watercolor class old Tiger—M.

"Arthur told me his wife's name was Maribel and she'd nicknamed him Tiger. She'd been dead six months, and he missed her so much, he wasn't sure he could hold on. After reading Maribel's message, he said that as a young man, he'd wanted to be a painter but had chosen accounting to support his family." The audience draws in a collective breath and I shyly smile. "Arthur kissed the bend of my elbow then walked off with light steps, like he'd sprouted wings." I lower my voice to share, "His smile has never left me."

Excerpted from Some of It Was Real by Nan Fischer. Copyright © 2022 by Nan Fischer. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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