Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Best Seat in the House

He’s a hack. A charlatan.

He travels from town to town, lying to grieving widows and wounded parents, and they line up and pay him for the opportunity.

They’re actually grateful for it.

He doesn’t care how much they’ve suffered, or about the desperation that drives them to him, he sees them as little more than marks to be fleeced for whatever he can get from them. He makes whatever promises he needs to, and knows he’ll never be held to account for any of it.

He can’t speak to the dead. Trust me.

I’ve been up here, near the skylight, screaming at him since his little show began. If he could hear me, he’d have acknowledged me by now, if only to tell me to shut the hell up.

But even if he did, I wouldn’t be able to bring myself to.

My wife’s in the third row, you see, and watching her stare at this con man as though he was her only hope of salvation is tearing me apart. She’s better than this, she shouldn’t believe his line of nonsense. But grief does funny things to people, I suppose, and it’s not like I’ve been there to provide the comfort she needs myself.

So she paid two hundred dollars for a ticket to see a man who’ll lie about messages from me, and when it’s her turn to be interviewed privately after the show he’ll mouth a few empty platitudes about how I’m in a better place and how I want her to get on with her own life. And if he does that job well enough, she’ll maybe buy a t-shirt.

He’ll do the best he can to help her come to terms with her grief. After all, he dearly wants her to buy that t-shirt.

Maybe it’ll actually help her, I don’t know. She’d always been more open to this sort of supernatural mumbo-jumbo than me.

It’s just not how I’d have dealt with it, is all.

But how she deals with things is no longer a matter I have any say in. I haven’t had a say since they put me in the ground.

So I’ll wait, up here, and watch the show.

And when she goes for her private interview afterward, I’ll hope the “message” he receives from me sounds something like all the things I so desperately want to say…


  1. Wow, this is fantastic! It's made my list of fave stories for the week!

  2. I like the way this started. The early twist really worked for me.

    Sad though.

  3. Best. Tight, complete, and I can see this easily.

  4. A unique take on the idea of a fake psychic, and I really liked how the sadness of it was so understated it kind of sneaks up on you.

  5. I like how this turns heartwarming at the end.