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Three Card Spread

by Danya White about a year ago in Short Story
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What does your future hold?

What do the cards tell you?

The envelope was placed on the seat of his bright yellow Eames inspired Herman Miller desk chair. He saw it when he got back from his very long liquid lunch. An army green colored old-fashioned mailbox with it's red flag pointing up, a red flower peaking out of shrubbery, and a medium sized package wrapped in a brown paper bag. Those were the three photos Miles found inside the unmarked legal sized manila envelope. He looked around as if to see who had delivered it. He saw what looked like a mailroom clerk pushing the usual cart of mail down the hall. The person didn’t look like one of the regulars. He called out. No answer. The person didn’t even look back. What did the photos mean? It certainly wasn’t blackmail material.

Miles prided himself on being a great detective of the Hardy Boys variety when he was a kid. Today, not so much. A year of unprofitable business deals, his beloved pet dying, and liquid lunch after hours long liquid lunches had dulled his knife sharp analytical skills. He’d have to enlist the help of his best friend and trusty sidekick Patrice, a skilled tarot card reader. The pictures reminded him of a three card tarot spread anyway. The antique mailbox represented the past, the red flower was the present, and the package wrapped in the brown paper bag was the future. Who sent the envelope? How did they even get in his office?

He dropped the envelope on his desk as he pretended to get back to work. He wasn’t hammered, but he was a little tipsy, and not much interested in work anyway. A note fell out of the envelope. Miles almost laughed when he read it. Maybe he was being punked, he thought.

“Miles, meet me at Freddie’s Grill at 7:00 pm,” the typed note read. Well, that left no doubt the envelope and its contents were meant for him. Miles turned over the note looking for clues, finding none, he called Patrice. She didn’t answer. “Call me back as soon as you get this,” he said into the phone. Five minutes went by, then ten, tick tock, fifteen. He could wait no longer. She hadn’t called back. He started to send her an email. He was stuck on the tarot card spread interpretation and he had to know what it meant. He started typing.

Patrice was the last person you would visualize if you were looking for a tarot reader. She was a classic no nonsense corporate type with no BS as her permanent facial expression. Her face betrayed her because she was also one of the kindest people ever to walk the earth. A puppy could not walk by her without getting a nuzzle, anybody who walked her path got a smile, and she picked up random litter.

“Patrice,” Miles typed, “if you pulled the following cards in a traditional three card spread, how would you interpret it?” Miles stopped typing. He saved the draft. Patrice taught him that the first rule of tarot is that every interpretation is personal. So, he decided to give it a try. He would confer with Patrice later.

The old-fashioned mailbox with it’s flag up, having fallen out of the envelope first represents the past in a three card spread. An upturned flag signifies to the mail carrier there is outgoing mail in the box. What outgoing message was his past trying to deliver to him?

The photo of the red flower, having fallen out of the envelope next, represents the present. Miles noticed that the flower was somewhat hidden by the greenery surrounding it. A red flower represents passion, desire, strength, love perhaps. Miles began to tear up. He recognized his current life was missing passion. He surmised the red flower peaking out of the greenery was his passion, his love calling out to him. His desires were trying to peak out through the chaos that had become his life.

Miles was looking for his passion, he was trying to find his way back to what he loved, to rekindle his passion for life, for his career, for his calling, which was restorative architecture. Detective work maybe? It wasn’t at the bottom of a shot glass. He barely liked to drink, but it numbed him, made him forget his current troubles.

The picture of the brown paper bag wrapped package was the last picture to fall out of the envelope. It represents the future. An unmarked package feels like the unknown, Miles thought. The package looked like a gift too though. The future is an unknown gift we have to look forward to getting.

Miles was optimistic. He felt his energy lighten for the first time in months. He would revamp his current business to include his childhood love of sleuthing and his love of restorative architecture. He’d reimagine the business. He’d use his detective skills to find available historic properties that could be restored.

It was 6:30 pm, almost time for his meeting with the sender of the envelope. He loved Freddie’s Grill, so if the meeting turned out to be a bust he would have a nice dinner and celebrate his new found enthusiasm for life. He’d begin to draw up new plans for his business.

Miles got to Freddie’s and wasn’t actually sure what to expect. Would there be a reservation under his name? Would there be a someone in a trench coat and hat obviously looking like they were waiting for someone? He chuckled at that visual. What he saw through the window as he walked up to Freddie’s was Patrice sitting at a table. She was wearing a trench coat. Miles smiled. Was she there for him? He waved at her. She waved backed. Spread out on the table in front of her was a legal sized manila envelope and one of her tarot decks. Patrice was smiling. As he was walking up he heard Patrice say, “let’s go into business together.”

Short Story

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Danya White

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