The Client from Hell

What can I say, but ouch. Some people you just don’t want to read for. This post will be about one of my least-favourite Tarot-memories.

I was reading publicly in a cafe at the time. I was also next-best-thing to penniless, and wasn’t about to turn down a reading.

In walks an elderly, very expensively-groomed woman. Sits down. Crosses my palm with plastic holograms (Aussie money. Paper is primitive, but I’ll accept gold bullion bars. I don’t do change). I do my usual intro, including asking if she has an issue she wants me to focus on, or does she want a general reading.

Has a question. I instantly wished I’d never asked.

She gave me some background. She’d been married and widowed twice, inheriting everything from both husbands despite at least one of them having adult children. She never had children, because children ruin your figure. She’d also worked all her life, and what with her own savings and substantial estates from her dead husbands, was a very wealthy woman in her own right when she remarried fifteen years ago. Her third, current husband is also very wealthy. He wanted kids – she’d refused to have any again for the same reason – they make you fat and ugly.

Her question: she wanted to know if her husband was going to die first, because she’d be damned if he was going to inherit all her money, and she thought it was only fair if she inherited his money because of how she’d had to “put up with the old coot slobbering all over her” for fifteen years.


For ignoble financial reasons of my own I didn’t want to turn her money down and refuse the reading. What to do? I told her I couldn’t do a reading for her husband because he wasn’t here and if I did the reading I couldn’t guarantee the accuracy. I offered to read on her own health, and let her draw her own conclusions. Rather to my chagrin, all the cards I pulled indicated a long, vigorous and robust life. She was well satisfied, and she was convinced despite the care I took not to do it, that I’d told her that her husband would die first.

She went away.

As she left I reviewed everything she’d said in my mind, and came to the conclusion that she’d hinted broadly that she was poisoning her husband slowly. But what can you do? There was a police station not far away: should I walk in and say: “I’m a Tarot reader, I just had a client, I don’t know her name or her husband’s name or their address but I’m certain she’s poisoning him”? I’d be laughed at. Or arrested for wasting police time – which is an offence in NSW. With no names and no addresses, all I could say was that it was a well-groomed affluent woman between say – sixty and seventy-five who had a husband. That describes stacks of people in an area renowned as a retirement destination.

The poor husband. Everything she said about him led me to believe that he felt they had an active and loving sex-life. To her, it was just an “old coot” regularly “slobbering all over her”.

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