Twist Of Fate
Copyright 2014 Kendra Little
When newspaper astrologer Genie Star started getting thank you letters from her readers, her alter ego Janelle Richmond was surprised. After all, she made up the horoscopes.
Janelle had been writing them for her local paper for three months. She'd had the idea after noticing her mother devouring them each week.
"But they're not real," Janelle had said over a cup of coffee at her parents' place.
"How do you know?" Her mother peered over her cup, her eyes flashing defiantly. The horoscope page, spread out before her, had already been dissected. "Anyway, sometimes they come true. Last week mine said I'd suffer a minor setback and two days later the bakery ran out of that bread your father likes."
Janelle rolled her eyes. "A setback could mean anything. It's much too vague." She put her cup down with a loud clunk in the saucer and declared, "I could write better horoscopes than that." So she did. The paper's editor called to say his previous horoscope writer had resigned and he needed someone new with fresh ideas. Janelle could do fresh.
Every Sunday evening she penned Genie Star's prophecies. Leo: Your spouse will give you an expensive gift if you drop enough hints. Pisces: A colleague will admit she was wrong when you confront her. Aquarius: Don't buy a goldfish, it'll die. Get a cat instead.
But Genie Star's predictions had never actually come true. Until now.
The first letter was from a Scorpio thanking her for the warning about driving to work. A major accident had blocked traffic for hours but she'd caught the train instead that day and avoided the headache. Another woman wrote that her husband was promoted after his horoscope said he would be if he applied himself.
Janelle received eight letters in total. She rang her mother. "Did you happen to find a lost keepsake this week?"
"Yes! My pearl earring. I found it while gardening. And did you know that's exactly what you wrote for Gemini last week?"
"Amazing," Janelle said, getting excited. "I've received a load of letters about my horoscopes coming true."
"It seems you have The Gift."
"Of second sight. You could set up a hotline and advertise."
Janelle laughed. "It's just a coincidence. I suppose Dad didn't buy a fish this week?"
"No. He's thinking of getting a cat though."
Janelle thought it wise to change the subject. "There's supposed to be a storm tonight."
"See, second sight!"
"Er, the weatherman just said it on the news."
"Don't forget to cover your car," her mother said. "You know how it leaks in heavy rain."
Janelle hung up and took the paper out onto the porch. Spreading it across her lap, she re-read her horoscopes. Her own star sign caught her attention. Taurus: You will meet someone whose name starts with D. He'll become a significant person in your life.
Janelle couldn't think of any new acquaintances whose name began with a D. She sighed. This was ridiculous. She was starting to believe her own fake horoscopes.
Hours later, she was woken by thunder. Her car! She ran outside but it was too late. The little red hatchback's seats were drenched. From past experience, she knew the engine would also be wet. She'd have trouble starting it in the morning.
True to form, it wouldn't start. The poor old rust-bucket gurgled and burped a few times but refused to hum. Fortunately a passerby stopped and offered to take a look. He lifted the bonnet and fiddled with the engine. Janelle had no idea what he was doing but whatever it was, it worked. The car purred to life when he turned the key.
"Thanks," Janelle said, blushing. Now that she got a good look at him, the man was quite handsome with eyes the colour of yesterday's stormy sky. She felt a little weak-kneed all of a sudden. "You're great with cars."
"I should be," he said with a smile. "I'm a mechanic." He thrust out his hand. "I'm Dan."
Dan! With a D. Ooh, yes, he was definitely handsome. And so kind too.
His name was the reason Janelle met him for lunch later that day. The reason she accepted the next date, and the next and the ones after that, was because she liked him. Not only was he sweet and good-looking but he was funny too. Not to mention great with anything mechanical. He fixed her toaster as well as serviced her car.
"You see," her mother said when Janelle called a week later. "Your horoscope was right."
"I made that up!" But the coincidence was too much for even Janelle to ignore. Perhaps she really did have psychic talents. It was definitely spooky.
"You like him don't you?" her mother asked.
Janelle had to agree she did. Very much.
When Dorothy Richmond got off the phone to her daughter she joined her husband in the kitchen. "It worked," she said.
"What?" Ken said without looking up from the sport pages.
"All those letters I wrote paid off. They've seen each other every day this week."
He turned down one corner of the paper and frowned at his wife. "Who?"
"Janelle and Dan. That young mechanic friend of yours. Remember, you said you'd ask him to help her with the car after that storm. Now they're dating, just like we hoped." She clapped her hands. "Oh, I'm so pleased. What luck she wrote that horoscope about meeting a man whose name starts with the letter D. I couldn't have planned it better if I'd written it myself."
Ken's frown deepened. "My friend's name does start with a D," he said. "But it's not Dan, it's Darren. And he said he wasn't available."