Steve Whitney squinted at the top of the cloudy hill. A solitary man descended towards his house amidst a swirl of impatient dust. The red sky blinked twice. Steve shielded his eyes from the sharp glare of an angry sun.

The stranger straightened his fedora before rubbing the side of his jacket. He offered a calloused hand.

“Fram Scales, fortune-teller at your service.”

Steve pointed to the road.

“I'm not interested in mumbo-jumbo. Besides, what kind of name is Fram?”

Fram removed his hat. His skin skull nodded three times.

“I think my folks were drunk when they decided to get me christened. Listen, I don't charge. All I ask for is a tiny donation.”

Fram sat on a white dining chair. He removed a black rune inscribed bag and placed it onto a small table.

Steve wanted to tell the stranger to beat it yet he found himself compelled to sit.

“No charge?”

“Not a dime unless you want to. Give me your hand.”

Steve reached across. Fram indicated for him to stretch out his palm. He emptied the contents of the bag into the open hand.

“Make a fist, shake it three times and let the knuckle bones fall.”

Steve felt a fool yet obeyed. The bones fell and he swore the table shook when they landed.


“I see oil. You're sitting on a huge black gold mine.”

Steve looked around and saw nothing but parched ground.

“You don't expect me to tip you for that?”

“That's up to you.”

Steve ordered Fram to leave. Fram shook his head, sighed and walked away.


Fram hit the highway and heard a tremendous explosion.

“I guess there's no telling some folks.”

He'd go back and collect his bones and bag later. Somehow, he always forgot to collect when the customer never tipped.


Gary Hewitt is a raconteur who lives in a quaint little village in Kent. He has had over 80 short stories and poems published and has performed to several live audiences. He is a proud member of the Hazlitt Arts Centre Writers group in Maidstone. Visit Gary's website.

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