THE GIFT • by Deena Lee Davis

Pat Carlisle knew for a long time that her sister Rose Marie was a clairvoyant fake, a marketing genius, and a master of manipulation. The Psychic Rose found quick success by utilizing a classy website with a chat button. For only $25.00, a reader can “chat with a live psychic.” Despite Rose Marie’s ruse to her unsuspecting clients, she garnered more financial success as a psychic than Pat could ever dream as a lawyer.

As a criminal defense attorney, Pat had the innate ability to sniff bunk before her clients even picked up the dirty phone at the county jail to tell their sad tale. Representing deceitful characters was her livelihood. That’s how she knew years ago her sister had no psychic gift. The money Pat earned may have come from ill-gotten gains, but her service was honest. She couldn’t say the same for her sister.

So, when the phone rang at precisely 9:00 a.m., as it did every Tuesday, Pat took a deep breath and picked up the phone.

“Carlisle Law Firm, Pat Carlisle speaking,” she said. Pat couldn’t resist reminding her sister she owned a respectable law firm.

“Good morning, big sister,” Rose Marie sang, ignoring the innuendo in her sister’s voice.

“Hello, Rose Marie. How’s business?” Pat asked, knowing how much her sister loved to talk about the day-to-day life of a psychic.

“Good, sister, good.” Rose Marie never addressed her sister by her given name. She asked Pat one morning before school when they were young, “Did mom and dad name you Pat because they really wanted a boy?”

“What are you wearing today?” Pat asked.

“Oh, darling, you’re such a dear for asking,” Rose Marie replied. “I’m still in my silk jammies, but I’ve laid out a pink plaid dress that is simply divine. You’d love it.”

Pat could hear a quick breath of frustration through the phone, and then her little sister just had to add, “No, you wouldn’t love it. What scarf are you wearing today with your black pants and top?”

Pat doesn’t answer because Rose Marie doesn’t want an answer. The sisters remained quiet for about thirty seconds. It happens every week. They exchanged pleasantries and exchanged silence. Pat rubbed the rose petals from a bouquet a drug client had given her to thank her for a well-fought case. The longer the two sat with dead air between them, the more confident Pat became of the challenge her sister faced.

“My God, Rose Marie, you’ve got cancer.”

“You always were the one with the gift, Pat. What a burden,” she replied.

Deena Lee Davis is the author of the suspense novel Class A Felony. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from Indiana University with a concentration in creative non-fiction. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys ballroom dancing and playing the harp.

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