I Shot Miss Cleo
I don't regret it.
It was nearing five in the morning.
It was the second week of January,
first snow of Winter.
I was planning to call in sick to work.
After a long time staring at the hulk flakes
plummet through the dim light of a street lamp
outside my window, I decided to watch some
television. What I really wanted to do
was phone someone. An ex-lover, friend,
relative, old enemy. It would be too cruel,
I thought, to wake any of them up, I do
have a conscience. I settled for paid programming
advertising a Time-Life collection of songs
from the Sixties. I think it was called
Malt Shop Memories or something just as goofy,
whatever the case it was almost enjoyable at five in the
but what I really wanted to do was call somebody.
Then a commercial came on for Miss Cleo's Psychic Hotline.
Truth, it said, learn the truth about your life.
The truth about anything would be refreshing, I figured,
but my own life - now that would be worth hearing.
I thought of a specific question to ask her, that's how I
these things worked. I have since forgotten what the question
"No, no, no," she said when I called,
"Your life is full of imbalance, you have strayed too
"from the spiritual. You are irresponsible, lazy, self
"unethical, unfeeling, antisocial, deranged, dangerous,
"a degenerate, and you masturbate too much.
"Don't be surprised if you spend most of your life in
jail. At least
"this is what my tarot cards tell me."
I was stunned. She hit the nail right on the head, and the
was oversized and extra heavy. I was a believer all right,
but unlike the claims of the commercial
I was not completely satisfied, not satisfied in the least.
That I demanded.
I have lived in New York City my entire life.
I have grown defensive and vengeful.
I do not handle insults well, however accurate they may be.
So I made it my mission.
I called out from work for the next four days
and scoured the Internet for information.
Psychics, Psychic Hotlines, Miss Cleo, Miss Cleo's Psychic
I typed into the computer, Seers, Mind Readers, Mystics,
Miss Cleo Miss Cleo Miss Cleo. Dumb bitch.
I found out that she was actually a Mrs. and her name wasn't
I found out that she did not have a Jamaican accent.
I found out that she had spent time in jail, on several
I found out that there are many other psychic hotlines
that charge much less than $4.99 per minute.
And then, finally, the needle in the haystack.
I found her true address.
The very next day I boarded a Greyhound to her city.
Once there, I took a Gypsy Cab to her street address.
I rang her doorbell and waited. It was Thursday afternoon,
quarter past two, sunny. What little traces of ice were left
on the sidewalks and hedges were slowly melting away.
A woman came to the door in a fuzzy pink bathrobe and I
recognized her as Miss Cleo from the commercials
and Internet pictures.
Without a word, I shot her square in the face.
She dropped like a marionette cut loose from its puppeteer,
driving snow on a windless day with nowhere to go but down
until it is caught callously by the hard ground, leaving the
present and future for history's immeasurable graveyard.
I didn't regret it then and I don't regret it now.
She should have seen it coming.
Jason D Smith
If you've any comments on this poem, Jason D Smith would be pleased to hear from you.