This morning Facebook decided to remind me that two years ago today, I was in Times Square…. getting scammed by a psychic named Gina.
I had gone to NYC with a friend to watch Wicked, eat cupcakes out of a vending machine, tour an abandoned morgue*, and see what other insanity would ensue.
We managed to snag rush tickets to Chicago, so we had some time to kill between a matinee of Wicked and the night performance of Chicago, so we drank. And then, leaving an Irish pub, we saw a sign for a psychic for 5$. Why not!
The first sign that something was amiss was that, after going upstairs into a sketchy apartment block, we were separated. I’ve had my tarot cards and palms read before, and I’ve never been taken alone to a back room in someone’s house. (Actually, maybe sign #1 was the apartment building and the 5$ price tag… I mean, nothing is 5$ in Times Square…)
I was taken for a tarot reading that mysteriously went from 5$ to 25$ by “Gina”, while my friend was taken in another room to have her fortunes <s> told scammed by Gina’s also psychic daughter.
Confession: I actually learned how to read tarot cards. I’m not exactly a hardcore believer of the psychic and occult, but…I sorta-maybe studied them at one point. The point here is not that I’m a psychic who’s going to solve all your problems, tell you the future, and give you the winning lottery numbers (trust me, I can’t even predict what I’m going to eat for supper in an hour…) The point is: I have a vague idea of how it works and what each card means.
So, “Gina” just starts randomly shuffling the cards and telling me about my life. A man in your life is an alcoholic (nope), your father has cancer (nope), someone has a vendetta against you (probably nope). After her 25$ shuffling job, she tells me she senses some really bad energy someone has basically hexed onto me. But… she can help! For more money, she can remove the curse. At this point, even tipsy-Sam realized she was definitely being scammed, so I said no. Several times, before she let me go. I tried the “I’m travelling and don’t have much cash on me,” when she kept insisting. She offered to escort me to an ATM and back, and I had to finally just tell her I was done.
My friend emerged, we stumbled back down to the street, and compared stories. Curiously enough, we both had the same backstory, the same future, and the same hex on us.
We laughed it off, and went to see Chicago. Hey, what’s 25$, really? I probably would have spent that on a drink at Chicago, anyway…
The cosmic forces at work on Broadway balanced things out in our favour. Our 20$ standing room tickets to Chicago (literally, standing. We were in the back by the bar leaning on a counter top to see the stage) got upgraded to front and centre tickets. So, you lose some to a psychic, you win some good seats at the Ambassador.
Months later, my travel partner uncovered this gem: a Crime Watch Daily report on “Gina” who also goes by Tammy.
*coming soon, I promise!