Clemmy Sue and Estelle Louise enter the empty Diner, and as they head to their favorite booth, they leave a water trail behind them. Shortly after they sit down, Estelle Louise excuses herself and rushes to the public toilet. Ruby ambles over and says, “Clemmy Sue, on this dark and gloomy night you’re a breath of pure sunshine. How about some hot coffee? ” “Yes, ma’am, please and thank y’all. ” “I’m curious Clemmy Sue, besides my good cooking, what brings you and Estelle Louise here in the middle of this outrages storm? ” “Ruby tonight be Estelle Louise’s double nickel birthday.
“That calls for a celebration, I’ll bring her a free birthday cake, with unique candles, at the end of the meal. ” “Bless your heart. Thank y’all kindly. ” As Ruby begins to stroll away Clemmy Sue says, “Oh, by the way Ruby, Imma wandering if that Miss Ta Rot be here tonight? ” “She just arrived. ” “Can she be reading Estelle Louise’s cards? ” “I’ll ask her. ” As Ruby heads for the kitchen, Estelle Louise returns and slid into the booth. Shortly, afterwards Ruby arrives with the coffee and writes down their order; however, before she leaves, turns to Clemmy Sue, and says, “Miss Ta Rot will be glad to read Estelle Louise’s cards.
Not waiting for a response she left. Estelle Louise’s face turns a bright shade of red as she reprimands Clemmy Sue, “Be ashamed Clemmy Sue Jarvis. It ain’t Christian to be havin’ a gypsy be tellin’ a body what they ain’t supposed to be knowin’. ” Clemmy Sue response with a tone laced with piss and vinegar, “Stop having a hissy fit for crying out loud! That gypsy be the reason I be bringing y’all here in the first place. For your information, last week I be hearing around town that Ruby done gone and hired a Card Reader for tonight and I says to myself – ‘self this be a super dooper birthday gift for Estelle Louise.
You be singing the right song when you says- it ain’t Christian. Buts, I reckon if that thief, gots forgiven, you ain’t gots to worry. Besides, imma thinking maybe this be the lord’s way of answering that there question that be haunting y’all to pieces for the past fifteen years. You be knowing he works in mysterious ways. Face it Estelle Louise, y’all be wound tighter than my granddaddy’s pocket watch. ” In the middle of this passionate disagreement, their supper arrives and they dine in silence.
After they finished their meal, Ruby clears the table and asks if she could bring them fresh coffee. Yes, ma’am, please and thank y’all,” they say simultaneously and begin to giggle for no apparent reason. Ruby rolls her eyes, and leaves the table. “Clemmy Sue, I be sittin’ here lettin’ that there idea run barefoot inside my head. I prays to the almighty and be askin’ him politely nots to be upset cause imma gonna go against his teachin’ and be acceptin’ that there birthday gift. Now, you gots to promise that you ain’t gonna be leavin’ my side as that Miss Ta Rot be readin’ them there cards. ” “Estelle Louis, imma gonna stick to you as tight as bubble gum does to a shoe.
Ruby returns with fresh coffee and a tiny birthday cake crowned with two large candles in the shape of fives. After she lit them, she and Clemmy Sue sang the Birthday song. Directly after, Estelle Louise blows out the candles and wishes her wish, Ruby removes the smoking candles, and saunters back to the kitchen. A while later Ruby reappearances and asks if they were ready to meet Miss Ta Rot. Nervously they nod yes, then rise and follow Ruby to a booth in the back of the Diner. The instant Clemmy Sue spots Miss Ta Rot she whispers to Estelle Louse, “She ain’t no gypsy cause she ain’t wearing no big ass gold hoop earrings.
Why she just be a middle aged woman with god awful dyed red hair and a frizzy perm. ” While Ruby makes the introductions, Beth scrutinizes her clients. One wears a floor length white skirt covered with hideous red stains and is shoeless. Next to her stands, a tall sad creature with deep dark circles under her large brown eyes, and the faded red gingham housedress she wears looks like an ill-fitting circus tent. As they slide into the booth Beth asks, “Which one of you lovely ladies, have I the pleasure of reading tonight? Apprehensively, Estelle Louise response, “It be me Miss Ta Rot, my name be Estelle Louise Buttons and this here be Clemmy Sue Jarvis, my bestest friend. ”
“It is a pleasure to meet both of you. ” Beth says as she hands the Tarot Cards to Estelle Louise. “ I need you to shuffle the cards as you think of a question, you desire an answer to and then place the deck in the middle of the table when you are ready. ” With her eyes shut, Estelle Louise shuffles the cards, and repeats several times to herself, ‘Will this here nasty luck that be chasin’ my shadow, gonna run out of breath anytime soon? Slowly, she reopens her eyes and places the cards in the middle of the table.
Nonchalantly, Beth flipped the top card over and said, “Yes dear, your luck will be changing soon. ” “Thank the sweet lord,” Estelle Louise says as she wipes tears from her cheeks. “How you be knowing that there stuff? ” Clemmy Sue asks. “Uniquely gifted,” replies Beth, as she removes three cards from the top of the deck then explains that they represent Estelle Louise’s past, present and future. Without much ado, Beth turns the first card over and says, “This first card says the past overwhelms you. “
Lord Jesus, my life ain’t been nothin’ but , one l-o-n-g scream. ” “Why do you say that, Estelle Louise? ” “Miss Ta Rot, I be born up around Matthews’s way and I be the only one my momma and papa be havin’ and when I be twelve they gets drowned in a fishing accident. All my kinfolk be sayin’ I be a hand full so they puts me in a place for young’uns who ain’t gots no parents. The day I turns fifteen, I runs away from that there place. I be collectin’ nickels, dimes and quarters and be buyin’ a ticket on a Greyhound Bus, headin’ nowhere.
Somewhere between here and there I be meetin’ Orville James on that there bus and it be love at first sight. As god be my witness, we be steppin’ off that there bus in Wrongberight and Clemmy Sue’s daddy, preacher Jarvis be marryin’ us that night. Why, Orville James be the love of my heart and the breath of my soul. He be treatin’ me as if I be a prize he be winnin’ at the State Fair. I be pleasin’ proud of him cause he could read, write and be signin’ his own name. Now our first little one be arrivin’ nine months after we gots hitched and for eight years, they kept a comin’.
One day the heavenly father calls Orville James home and one by one he be callin’ my young’uns. ” Before, Estelle Louise could say another word, the lights went out in the Diner, lightning lit the room, ear-splitting thunder shook the Diner, and the three women scream. When the lights come on again nervous laughter ensues. Without hesitating, Beth reveals the next card and quickly says, “Dear, the past overshadows your life today. ” “Lord have mercy, that there card be awful right. ”
Rushing right along Beth flip the last card over and rapidly said, “Estelle Louise, Clemmy Sue will always be close at hand. The color red brings a promise of renewal and a man named Harry will appear offering home improvements. ” “Lord have mercy,” Says Estelle Louise. “Miss Ta Rot does that there card be tellin’ where that there money for them there home improvements might be comin’ from? ” “Did you check your mail today? ” Glaring at Clemmy Sue, Estelle Louise did not respond to Beth’s question. As they rise to leave, they thank Miss Ta Rot and Clemmy Sue, hands her a dollar tip.
On their way out of the Diner, Clemmy Sue stops by the counter to pay for the meal and reading, and thank Ruby for hiring Miss Ta Rot because she gave Estelle Louise a bucket full of sunshine. As they exit Ruby’s parking lot Estelle Louise says, “Clemmy Sue that there gotta be the bestest birthday gift in all my years. I be wonderin’ though who that there Harry might be? ” “Why he be the man, that be giving y’all, that money, for them home improvements. ” The peal of Estelle Louise’s laughter brought an enormous smile to Clemmy Sue’s face.