The Shortcuts – Round 5 : Page 5

November 8th, 2016

“You’ve gotten too dependent on the shortcuts, Victor. I think you know it’s for the best if you try to cope with the real world on its terms for a while. Why don’t I keep your gear safe for the time being, and bring it back when you’re more centered? Anything you try to do right now will backfire. Look at yourself. Regressed to infancy. I’m not without sympathy, but, shit, man, you knew better. Controlling others by magic-that was Hitler’s trip. The Dark Side of the Force, my friend. You’re lucky it didn’t work. That means there’s hope for you, you sabotaged it yourself, knowing that if you won her that way you could never say an honest word again. Black magic never pays.”

A fat lady in the audience is calling a pregnant chick in stretch pants a whore because she just told both the men on stage she wants to be with them. I think they’re brothers, though they might have merely been in the same fraternity. I haven’t been paying proper attention, what with the hippie yapping about black magic. A few minutes ago, beefy Security guys had to hold the one guy back from socking the other in the eye. They let him get pretty close. I feel sorry for both of them. She’s not worth it. Jerry Springer sagely shakes his head with a smirk.

“You need help, Victor. I think it’s time you shifted metaphysical gears. Stop focusing on psi, work more on your soul. I can’t help you anymore. You’ve succumbed to the warrior’s first great enemy, Power. Your path must diverge before you can overcome it. Tinkering with rocks and runes to get around life’s disappointments is not what I teach.”

I am absorbed in an advertisement for the Abdominizer, a couch- potato dream machine that exercises for you, stimulating muscles electrically. If I call now, I can get a free bottle of lipid-binding fatburners absolutely free. They enable you to gorge on all your favorite foods and still lose weight!

Talk about magic.

“She’s a very gifted psychic, but she’s also a sensitive empath. Not that you’d be impressed, but she also has outstanding credentials as a conventional clinical psychologist. Llewellyn does past-life regression, but from the looks of you, I’d say you’d better present as a plain-old depression case. Will you stop staring at that idiot box?”

I glare at the intruder. “I’m not ‘plain-old depression.’ I happen to be a bipolar manic-depressive, special not sick, and this is the price I have to pay for feeling so good before. It’s natural. I’m fine. I’ll probably hang myself soon, anyway. Why don’t you fuck off and help someone who wants it?” I return my attention to Jerry Springer. In this segment, a man is going to tell his wife that he’s been cheating-with her mother. I’ll lay 50/50 odds she’s going to turn out to be pregnant with the poor woman’s half- sister stepdaughter. Where do they find these people?

“Whatever. Here’s her number, in case you decide to rejoin the human race. I have better things to do than play audience to your pity- party.” He hands me a card and leaves in a disgusted huff, forgetting my altar contents. It doesn’t matter. I am terrified to touch them.

Fast-forward. 

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