*Originally published April 2, 2018 in American Short Fiction Web Exclusive
He is the blind oracle at Unchained Melody Massage Parlor.
He specializes in foot rubs. He can stimulate all kinds of glands with pulls and pricks of the tendon and phalanges.
He can, for example, make a person grow taller by pushing on the well of the big toe, which is the pituitary gland reflex point. Everyone knows this.
He can also tell people’s fortunes.
He made his first prophecy on April 26, 1521.
He told Ferdinand Magellan, seated on a cane chair, feet bulbous from scurvy, that he would not succeed if he went to battle in Mactan. Magellan did not listen, did not even tip him. Magellan died the next day at the hands of a local man named after a fish.
He was twenty-one when he made that prophecy.
He has been twenty-one for 496 years. He stopped aging the minute he stopped growing. He also became blind.
He was born in Mactan Island, Philippines, but moves around because of his debts.
He loves gambling, as all oracles do.
He does not give out happy endings. Neither adult nor the fairy tale kind. When he presses his clients’ feet, he sees only tragedies. For his grim prognostications, many people choose not to believe him. Almost always, those who ask him to read their fortunes end up dead.
It is convenient for him, as the dead cannot seek revenge. Continue reading