“Excuse me. Mr. Edwards? Could you hold the door for me please? Thank you.” I called as I ran to the elevator that lead up to the penthouse suite. I just managed to squeeze through the gap as the doors closed behind me. We were alone. The two of us in this large, luxurious hotel elevator.
This was the famous John Edwards. The man of the Crossing Over, talking to the departed, shows. The man who could speak with the dead was standing at the back of the lift staring blankly at me. I imagine he was somewhat surprised to be accosted so in such a prestigious hotel.
“I am so glad I finally caught you Mr. Edwards. I was at your ‘show’ this evening. I was right at the front. You did not react to me. I called out quite loudly in answer to your prompting.” Edwards just looked down at his watch, then continued to stare blankly at me. I cannot afford to lose my temper. Not again. I will explain it to him from the beginning and then perhaps he will help me.
“Don’t get me wrong. I understand. I was in your game myself once. Nowhere near as big time as you are sir, but just the same I was a pretty dab hand at cold reading in my day. If I do say so myself. I was with one of the biggest of the travelling shows. We worked up and down the east coast of Australia. I did not have your marketing skills or international standing, but then, they were simpler times. Still, I could read the crowd. I would have them eating out of my hand.”
“It was easy really. They were so desperate to believe. They would interpret anything I said to suit their needs. I used to pity them, some of them at least, when I was first starting out. You know, those sad, ignorant, ill educated country folk mainly. But as we began to work the cities more, those educated town folk stunned me. They were even easier. Like sheep walking happily for a fleecing.”
“I knew it was all bullshit. At least, I did up until… Well, listen to me. I don’t need to tell you.” Still he just looked blankly at me, occasional glancing up to the floor indicator above the door.
“But then, when it was all too late, I found out. I have been suffering ever since, Mr. Edwards. I believe it all now. I know it now. And I need your help. Really need it. Not like those sad deluded people you were playing in you show tonight. I need you for real. That is why I was so desperate tonight at your show. I was so frustrated that you ignored me. Me! Out of all that rabble. But then I understood. You could hardly talk to me in front of that lot. That is why I left the room and waited for you here. Where we can talk in private.”
I looked at him expectantly but he just stood, tight lipped, staring me down. What is wrong with him? He, of all people, knows my situation. Stay calm.
“Look. I know this is a business for you, and we both know that I cannot pay you. Not with money anyway, I don’t have any. How could I? But I have no one else to turn to and it has been so, so long. You have just have to help me.” He just glanced up at the floor indicator. I could not stop myself turning to look at it myself. We were nearly at his penthouse, I had to convince him to help me and I was running out of time.
“We both know that you are the only person who can help me, but there has to be a hundred ways that I can be of assistance to you too. Come on Mr. Edwards, I am not asking a lot. I just need information. You have to tell me what you know about, about my situation. Surely you know something. You have some idea what I have to do. With all your experience and contacts.” He was looking down at his watch again, ignoring me, when a soft ding behind me heralded our arrival at his floor.
I heard the elevator doors open behind me. John Edwards looked up from his watch, stared at me, no, he stared through me. “For the love of whatever it is you hold sacred sir, I am begging you…” He stepped towards me. I stood my ground, pleading with him. He walked right through me and out into his suite. I just stood there, gutted, frozen, destroyed. The elevator doors slid close behind me and the car started it’s journey back down to the lobby.
I slumped in the corner of the elevator to wait for someone to call it. To open the doors so I could leave. Not that I had anywhere to go, or anything to do. He was my last hope. I had nothing left but despair and surrender and madness. I have been trapped here for more than thirty years now. Since I had my heart attack and died. Thirty years of wandering. Unnoticed. Unloved. Not even hated or feared. I was devoid of all contact. No sleep, no conversation, no interaction, no sensation. Only tedious, perpetual awareness. Christ, even the Abrahamic Hell would be better than this. At least torture requires acknowledgement of one’s existence.
Hatred. At least there is hope in hatred. Something to strive for. A goal. A mission. That bastard Edwards was my last chance. I have tried so many before him, but he seemed most likely to, to possibly be, the real deal. But either he heard me and was callously ignoring me, or he is just like I was. Just one more cheap huckster and not even aware of my existence. Either way I hate him. Either way I have some joy in the hope that, if he is like me, then perhaps it will happen to him too.