Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Coupon

LaVoo Wilson claims she can read auras. "There's colors emitting from everyone, like a tattle-tale cloud hovering over their head. The color tells me all I need to know about a person." (LaVoo Wilson of Kankakee, Illinois).

Cindy Peltz, the folk singer with the barely-noticeable cough, had a two-for-one coupon for Miss LaVoo's Aura Readings and asked if I'd go along in case the whole deal turned creepy-sour. My reading was to be free, compliments of her neatly-clipped coupon.

Miss LaVoo operates out of what she calls her "emporium," which, to the casual observer, is more of a paint-peeled duplex with a couple of wind chimes and out-of-season Christmas lights hanging over the front porch. If not for the Aunt Jemima red bandanna, two gem-encrusted rings on every finger, and an otherworldly gaze, Miss LaVoo could breeze through any emissions test facility without so much as a sideways glance from the attendant.

There were exaggerated, swooping arm gestures, akin to an auto show spokes-model's, guiding the way to the aura room. Cindy's reading was quick and flattering. After staring at Cindy in the "aura chair" for a couple of minutes, accompanied by some slippery, hocus-pocus, circular hand movements, Miss LaVoo declared her aura to be magenta, indicating an artistic personality with great creative potential, enough potential, in fact, to be taken to the next, more detailed, level of aura reading for an additional twenty dollars. Sensing a bit of snake-oil-salesmanship, I casually handed Miss LaVoo our coupon.

--LaVoo: OK, have a seat, Mr. Coupon.
--Me: What do you see?
--LaVoo: Mr. Coupon needs to be quiet for a moment.
--Me: If I'm beige, let me down easy.
--LaVoo: Miss LaVoo sees a cloud, a muddy-grey cloud.
--Me: Is that because of the coupon?
--LaVoo: There's bits of lightning in your cloud.
--Me: That's terrible, isn't it?
--LaVoo: Tell me, do dogs bark at you?
--Me: Dogs bark at everyone.
--LaVoo: They bark louder at you.
--Me: Why's that?
--LaVoo: Animals see your aura. It's odious.
--Me: There's a squirrel that likes me.
--LaVoo: Squirrels don't count; they like everybody.
--Me: Come to think of it, my neighbor's parrot calls me names.
--LaVoo: Parrots speak for all animals.
--Me: And my cat shuns me.
--LaVoo: Cats see the astral realm.
--Me: What can I do about my cloud?
--LaVoo: Aura therapy. Ten sessions will put some color in your aura.
--Me: And snare some money from my wallet.
--LaVoo: You have a gift for the unvarnished.
--Me: Maybe this grey cloud is a good thing.
--LaVoo: How's that?
--Me: It keeps angry dogs and indifferent cats at bay.
--LaVoo: People avoid you as well.
--Me: I've noticed that.
--LaVoo: Aura therapy will change the color of your cloud.
--Me: I've grown accustomed to my cloud.
--LaVoo: You're destined for many dark days.
--Me: Perhaps the little bits of lightning will brighten them up.
--LaVoo: Your cloud brings unhappiness.
--Me: I'm quite happy with my unhappiness.
--LaVoo: Go now, Mr. Coupon. Take your hapless grey cloud and go.
--Me: How about if I carried an umbrella?
--LaVoo: On the way out, don't let the dream-catcher hit you in the ass.

It was a long and mostly silent drive home until Cindy broke the ice.

--Cindy: You upset Miss LaVoo. Next time, I'm going alone.
--Me: Why would you go back; you already know your aura is the oh-so-lovely and creative magenta.
--Cindy: You grey-clouds can't begin to understand us magentas.
--Me: You have a lot in common with my cat.
--Cindy: Well, Miss LaVoo nailed you.
--Me: Oh, so sorry, Miss Magenta. May your color be free of my odious cloud.
--Cindy: That's right, Mr. Coupon.
--Me: So now I'm Mr. Coupon.
--Cindy: You heard Miss Lavoo, you're Mr. Coupon.
--Me: But it was your coupon.
--Cindy: Doesn't matter, LaVoo said you're Mr. Coupon.
--Me: Can I drop you at the "I Know You Are But What Am I" store?
--Cindy: Just take me home, Mr. Coupon-Grey Cloud.
--Me: Coupon-Grey Cloud.... has the ring of a thrifty Indian.
--Cindy: More like a cheap mental patient.

This is what I get for being helpful; it always backfires, and I wind up looking like the not-so-helpful guy. My aura is now a coupon, and who knows what problems may arise later in life from that. I'd like to say I'm done with helping people, but pretty soon someone else will ask for a favor and I'll do it with the usual skip to my step and then, sure-as-shootin', something will go haywire. You'd think I'd be used to this by now, after all, I've spent a lifetime dodging those pesky, ass-slapping dream catchers.