Sounding The Current: Chapter 15 – A Suffered Fool

Lisa caught up on her different social media accounts as she walked home. It was almost one week to the hour since she had demanded that Rebecca teach her tarot, and the intervening week felt more like years than days. She scrolled past posts celebrating drunken actions that landed the actor in the hospital, jail, or both. Past announcements of breakups, screeds of evil exes, announcements of complete reconciliation, and proof that their relationship cycle was about to start again.

The memes about her life weren’t funny anymore as the speculative scuttlebutt shifted to guessing whose couch she was going to crash on any given day to who was likely her murderer and where was her body hidden since she had not been seen at any bars, clubs, or “smoking events” in the past few days by the people she would usually be bumming something off of.

Lisa realized that prior to receiving the tarot cards from Rebecca, this was her normal life. And now that she was one week after receiving the cards, she realized her life was changing in unexpected but necessary ways. It would be very easy to blame the cards for this havoc, to throw them away, and to go back to her old habits, she understood. But Rebecca had reminded her that tarot was a tool. Lisa was making the decision to change her life and walking out those changes, herself.

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Sounding The Current: Chapter 14 – A Drink Served Cold

Lisa had walked no further than the first crosswalk from her apartment building when she thought of Ricardo’s bullshit. Did he really think she was stupid and naive enough to fall for it? The more she thought about what he tried to do, the more furious she became. That Ricardo threatened to tattle to Aunt Helen about their recreational activities only infuriated her further.

Lisa crossed another street and with it, another personal boundary. Why was she pretending that no one knew about her activities both on and off work. There was a Tumblr blog dedicated to mocking her and at least two Twitter accounts haunting her and her family.

She stopped beside the next building to message Jean about the conversation. “Ricardo tried to blackmail me into signing something about the restaurant and insurance papers. Told him to fuck off. If he comes back to you or anyone else saying anything, I didn’t sign shit and I’m not signing shit.”

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Sounding The Current: Chapter 13 – Airing Things Out

Lisa had no idea when she went to bed. She knew what time she woke up. Though the rising sun does not shine into her window, the tennis match of light rays between her building and the building across the street illuminated her room enough to convince her body that it was time to get out of bed.

Her body’s refusal to go back to sleep prompted Lisa to greet the gentle morning with harsh expletives as Sundays were the one day of the week that she had no employment obligation to meet. She sat up, rubbed her face, and poked herself in the eye. Instead of continuing with the usual stream of unpleasant and vindictive blasphemies against everything that existed, Lisa was reminded of the vision of the eyeless girl that claimed the Death card was her card.

As she started to get out of bed, she was also reminded that the child had not only touched the card, but had turned the card over. “She was here? She was here! Oh shit, Death was in the room with me!” Instead of going to the bathroom, Lisa went to the table. The cards were still as she had left them last night, with the Death card resting face up on the decorated deck. She was now unsure if the card had ever been moved at all.

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Sounding The Current: Chapter 12 – Bloom

Lisa had planned on going straight home after work as part of her new “living moderately” initiative. The use of the Sun card’s theme during the Moon card’s ordeal taught Lisa that she could pull the theme of the card into her life. So she used the Temperance card to tap into some much needed adult moderation. As her rideshare pulled into the drop off area for the club, she realized that her mistake was depending on the card to determine how far to take that power instead of making the decision and drawing the boundary for herself.

How ironic then, Lisa thought, that the card that she was depending on to straighten out her life would smother it instead.

Exiting the car, she tipped the driver just one dollar as she paid for the trip in the app, but gave the driver five dollars in cash with a silent nod of thanks. The driver waved and pulled away as soon as she closed the door. Lisa stood in line to enter the club, which must not have been very busy as the only delay was the bouncers diligently checking IDs and bags as patrons came in.

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Sounding The Current: Chapter 11 – Restraining Order

Lisa took the next top card and carried it with her as she silenced the alarm on her phone. She turned back to face the table but remained in place. The lighting was just right to better appreciate the card in her hand.

“XIV” “TEMPERANCE” A pool partially hidden behind green… something… was fed from a waterfall that looked more like drapes in the background. Seven small somethings were connected to a center chalice by either pebbles or pearls. From the center chalice, multiple overlapping forms rose looking like what you get when you mix soap bubbles, ooze, and those weird forms that happen when you’re trying to mix cornstarch with cold water.

She knew she was holding paper and ink, but between the “conversation” she just had with Jean and the sensual forms on the card, the Temperance card felt alive to Lisa in some way. As if the more she held and focused on the card, the more the forms seemed to move in her sight.

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Sounding The Current: Chapter 10 – Tug O’War

Shortly before noon, Lisa woke up again. She laid in bed and stared at the ceiling, not believing in its dull and unchanging surface. She stretched and rolled over, waiting for a judge to appear from out of nowhere to be standing or sitting in the best place to surprise her. After several minutes, she chased herself out of the bed with what she initially thought would be just a small and routine fart.

After cleaning herself up and getting some lunch, she sat down with the cards again. She knew that no matter what was told to her in the Moon’s ordeal, that the Tarot (capital T) cycle was going to continue with her or to her as each card’s challenges and revelations were settled. Compared with the horror stories she had read online, the Tower’s ordeal was quick, to the point, and easy to understand. But then again, Lisa was now willing to face her part in what the Tower revealed. She could imagine how much more terrifying and destructive that lesson would have been if she had insisted on accepting no responsibility for herself.

She stacked the deck on top of the laid out cards in the order that Rebecca had placed them, and then moved the Tower to the bottom of the stack. The Devil (XV) now was face up on both decks. Lisa looked over the decorated card and was glad she had the plain handwritten card to stare at instead.

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Sounding The Current: Chapter 9 – Crumbling Away

Lisa sat on a pile of fallen bricks. The uneven surface pinched and poked into her ass but that was the least of her displeasures. She was dreaming, she knew she was dreaming, and she knew just enough of the Tower card to know that her next encounter with a judge would not be pleasant. She had not forgotten her pledge to punch the next time she saw the judge that wore her face as a mask, and she was cracking her knuckles in preparation for making good on that pledge.

“Who are you angry at, Lisa?”

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Sounding The Current: Chapter 8 – The Light of Hope

Lisa woke up prior to her alarm but well rested. Her Friday morning job was really a Friday early afternoon job and she still had several hours of personal time before she had to be at the store. She sat down with fresh coffee at the table and reviewed the list of meanings, the meanings card of the decorated deck, and her recent experiences.

No matter how much she turned over what the judge had said during the ordeal of the Moon card, Lisa could not find the edge of the judge’s lie. Because of this, Lisa was unsure of Rebecca’s motives for giving her the deck and thus giving the judges access to her life.

“But did she, though? She gave me the plain cards, and probably did something to make that first dream happen, but I was the one who took the Tarot Judge’s hand in that dream. Not her. And what does the judge with her face represent anyway?” Lisa thought about what that judge did in the only dream she saw them in. “Hope. Rebecca had hope that I would use the deck to better myself, so of course the judge wearing her face would talk about that hope.”

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Sounding The Current: Chapter 7 – A Different Light

Suddenly startled, Lisa opened her eyes and looked around. She was worried that she would sleep through the arrival of her grocery delivery. The sun had set not too long ago. The sky outside was pinkish as if it was stalling the arrival of night. The temperature in the apartment had dropped slightly. She would need to put on another layer of clothes soon. The screen was dimmed from the screensaver but she could see the bright red Netflix logo waiting for her.

Everything looked right, but she felt completely wrong. Lisa stared at the red logo for a few seconds before getting up and looking for something printed to read. She suspected she was dreaming again. The dreaming studies she did for her psych class taught her how to test for dreaming. No matter how lucid and/or vivid the dream was, any printed material would be either backwards or impossible to read. Instead, the dreamer would unknowingly rely on the meaning of the text as delivered in the dream.

She sorted through the mail on the kitchen counter. Unfortunately, the printed addresses and envelope marks were proper in their place and direction. She told herself that she’ll look at the overdue bills later. She still had the sense that something was still very wrong.

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Sounding The Current: Chapter 6 – Sunny Day

Lisa woke up again at the time of day that she would usually have summoned a fuck about working the restaurant job. Though, if she still it, she would have been late. She looked at the clock, reflected on what her actions would normally be at this time and laughed. Any time before this morning, she would be defiant and flippant about being late for work. She would be quick to say that the worst thing her bosses could do to her was to fire her.

Now as her body insisted that she get out of bed again to take care of her bladder’s insistence for wakefulness, she wondered if her bosses hadn’t already done the worst thing for her. Those managers that was putting up with her shit, putting up with her chronic lateness, her inconsistent work, just letting her hang around for half the pay and none of the work, those managers that didn’t expect her to be anything more than eye-candy and portable benefits were just taking advantage of her.

The memory of the dream pinched her. Her voice only carried to her ears. “That’s not fair.” Lisa sat up and reflected on the unwritten rules of the game. “Yea, they took advantage of me, but I was taking advantage of them just the same. Everyone wanted a piece and as long as it was someone else that paid, who gave a shit.”

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