• By Jesse Austin

BOMB...Intuitive Courage


Do you like live music? That is, can you sort out the music from the interior commotion of the people at a concert? After all, you are a psychic medium and sometimes music comes at you from the oddest directions.

Ordinarily, at most large, live concerts you end up listening to the inner struggles and joys of the folks in attendance. But you were in San Francisco for psychic business, and on a night off you pranced over to the Golden Gate Theater.

Friends of yours from LA were to be onstage playing international folk music. Globe Dreamers were a group of seven, playing and singing and lifting the hearts and hopes of the discouraged masses.

Outside the large archway you stood in a quiet place and pretended an ocean wave was washing over you, again and again. You pictured it vividly, the clear, crashing water washing you free and clear of the unwanted desires and despairs of others. Then, like a soccer player cut lose, you presented your ticket and weaved a path through the dizzy crowd in the lobby.

In your mind you had pictured your switchboard, all switches were off, save for one. That one switch was left open for purposes of safety and service; if your guides particularly needed to reach you, then there was a way.

And wouldn’t you know it, when you stopped at the long, gleaming snack counter a grandmother popped into view and put her ghostly arm around a short, young woman who was chattering loudly with her two friends. You decided to quickly scoot away, maybe you didn’t want a giant cookie after all. Abruptly, you heard the grandmother project her thoughts to you.

“Her diaphragm is leaking. Tell her to watch out, or she will have a baby.”

Your mouth dropped open. This old woman with white hair and a lace collar had come back from the dead to warn her granddaughter, through you, that her sex life needed adjustment. You were a robust, middle aged man of nearly sixty, and had no intention of informing this fetching young woman anything to do with her vagina.

It was time to get out of Dodge, you turned to go when you heard a wailing screech. Now the plump grandmother was holding a decidedly upset ghost baby.

And the spirit baby projected his divine thoughts straight to you. “It is not my time to be born—it will only end in abortion and a lot of fuss—tell my mom to be more careful. My true, glorious birth is five years in the future.”

You paid three dollars and eighty cents for the chocolate chip cookie the size of a pancake. Turning your shoulders slightly, you listened to the woman with the bobbed hair and the bold slash of red that made her lips rise to a ‘V’ under her nose.

“Jake is a jerk,” she practically screamed to her friends in the hubbub of the lobby. There was more, but you couldn’t make it out. Both the grandmother and baby were scolding you. You had a duty, you could hear them, their message was vital to several lives. Quietly, within, you felt the nudge from your departed wife. “Help them, honey,” you heard Wanda whisper. “It is important.”

“Sure, a stockbroker is a good job,” the future mother was singing out in the din. “But William wouldn’t know how to romance a potted plant. He is dull, dull, dull …”

“Ah,” you say, leaning around one of her theater companions. “I am a psychic medium and I have a message for you from your grandmother.” When you intrude you always introduce yourself like that, might as well throw your cards on the table.

All three of them stop what they are doing, and look at you with interest. You have scored. The young crowd now-days is tuned in and willing to hear from psychics, good ones that is. You describe the grandmother, mentioning the lace collar and the pearl.

It takes a moment for the three of them to realize the message is for Melissa, the one with the red lips.

“Just a minute,” she says, dipping her pointed chin into her handbag. She pulls out her cell phone. “I want to record this.”

Her friends beam at you and her. One of her friends is a tall dude in a suit that looks like a cowboy tux. The other is a picture perfect, quiet woman with coffee colored, beautiful unblemished skin.

You are pretty sure they are all going to revile you in the next few moments. The phone, now video recording is aimed squarely at your face.

“Your grandmother,” you say, having to raise you voice a bit to be heard in the crowded lobby. “Your grandmother is standing next you with her arm around your shoulders. She has a huge smile, a pearl necklace and dainty fingers.”

You watch the young woman suddenly tear up. The unexpected has happened, in her gut she feels her grandmother’s love. In an instant, her hard-won adult persona has dropped away. You can feel her heart, all she wants in this moment is to be a child again and hold her dear grandmother’s hand.

“She loves you, you know,” you say carefully, “But she wants to tell you …” you hesitate for the right words. “She tells me to tell you, that your diaphragm is not functioning properly.”

The young woman suddenly squints at you in anger. You are obviously some sort of pervert. She throws her phone in her bag, and huffing, she turns away from you. Her two friends lean towards her, now in the protective mode. You, the weird psychic intruder with nothing fun to say, are excused.

You turn, get three steps—not enjoying being viewed as an idiot and pervert—when the woman suddenly grabs your arm. Her face takes a different expression, she has remembered something. Her little group watches everything.

“It’s weird,” she admits in her high nasal twang. “I had a crazy dream last weekend that my kitchen countertop was full of babies, and they were all mine!”

The little throng around her laugh, you were useful after all. You walk away with a tiny glow, like someone who has just crossed a stream on a slippery log. “Never again,” you say without conviction.

The gong goes off and everyone races helter-skelter to their seats. You swing through the bathroom first and stand silently for a moment clearing your energy.

When you finally start down the aisle you feel the dark cloud right away. Two men in front of you are waiting for two woman wearing stylish jackets with big shoulders. The venue seats maybe 1,000 or 1,200, and the people are all talking, smiling, getting up and down and milling like cattle at a picnic. But that’s not the vibe that’s killing you. Whoa, something is very wrong.

Again you have the sensation of a low, dark cloud. It almost has a smell, as if it will bring death by suffocation. You absolutely have to get out of the building. But the stronger urge, impossibly, is to go towards the stage. More people are seated now, the crowd is quieting some. What is wrong with you?

You ticket is for the 13th row, seat 58 on the aisle. But you march on past your row, heading straight for the stage. Up on the stage the group is already sitting, smiling at each other, adjusting instruments and stands, waiting for the audience to get into place, waiting to begin their performance.

But in your imagination you see an almost comical picture, a packaged clearly marked – BOMB!

You don’t question it, the sensations throughout your body are horrific. Something terrible is about to take place, and apparently you have been warned so that you can warn others. It is not always that way. Some events are meant to happen, and for some events there is a window of opportunity that might take the train in an entirely different direction.

On the stage is Bobbi, she plays the flute, the accordion and sings backup on some of the songs. You have known her thirty years, she is a dear friend. A few years ago she gave you a kitten after your wife died. Now, if you don’t act, she will…be…blown up. Those words are spoken in your mind, slowly.

You stop yourself at the lip of the stage. The crowd has gone almost silent, Ernest the piccolo player and MC is speaking, introducing the group, the music and the why-to-for’s.

You close your eyes, attempting to calm yourself, attempting to talk yourself out of a mounting sense of panic. Are you merely having a crowd induced panic attack? That’s it, you think for a moment. The thing is not to make a fool of yourself, return straight away to your seat. But you don’t. In your mind’s eye you see a slim, bent over man with stringy hair creeping in front of a high, dark curtain. And quite clearly you are told: “He is the bomber.”

Your throw all good sense to the wind, walk in a forced gait to the stage steps and ascend to the stage proper. At first no one notices you, but that doesn’t last. You go up directly to your friend Bobbi, telling her and the group to instantly get off the stage. You don’t have time to explain, so you lie.

“The police,” and you point dramatically back towards the exit doors behind the audience. “The police said there is a bomb in the building.”

Bobbi and the two men with horns next to her look at you with confusion.

“Clear the stage at once,” you say with great, unwavering authority. “The police have reported a credible bomb threat—leave the stage and go straight outside!”

Suddenly Ernest has got the message. He leaves the hot mic, and starts pointing, pushing and saying, “Leave your instruments, go, go, go!”

A sound like an ocean wave goes through the audience. Heads bob and shoulders jerk, but no one raises from their seats. You advance purposefully to the hot mic. En route you dream up a most outrageous lie, you do not want to panic the crowd.

“Group member Bobbi McCoy is having an acute appendicitis attack. She is to be operated on immediately backstage. Her life is in grave danger. You are asked to quietly leave the building. Doctors think the commotion of folks even in the lobby could limit the hope for success of the operation.” Your lie is a little far-fetched, but it has a majesty that likely will serve the moment. As a kid you were taunted both about being spooky and a bald faced liar. You were good at seeing stuff no one else could see, and, for whatever reason, you were uncanny at romancing all events, making up stuff to enhance the moment, that is, you lied a lot for the pure pleasure of invention. Seeing dead people was one of your gifts. Lying on demand was another.

At any rate, finally getting the message, a number of people leaped to their feet and began to file out; being lovers of the group and of Bobbi in particular.

“Hold onto your tickets,” you say in your best official sounding voice, hoping to keep the crowd calm and orderly. You watch as multitudes pass out the exits.

A backstage official in a poke-a-dot shirt rushes up to you, dizzy with fear. He wants an explanation. You step away from the mic, and explain, lying adroitly yet again, that the police have ordered the building evacuated of all personnel—a bomb is about to go off.

He and others of the backstage crew leave. In a cosmic jiff, you have a sense that you are now very nearly alone in the domed building. Oh boy, what have you done? Are you sure you are interpreting your guides correctly. You are likely going to get yourself arrested, as well as ruining an evening of fine music for hundreds of deserving people. You head swivels back and forth searching the dim, gigantic space. Dismayed, you close your eyes and ask for help.

But you are too keyed up to see anything, or get any useful messages. Around you the building is silent. “I wish I was dead,” you mutter. You can’t lie, and you can’t see, you are stuck.

“Honey,” you whisper out loud, “Help me.”

“Open your eyes, Charlie.”

Your eyes spring open, your head swivels as you search the hall. Nothing. Then you get a sense of something with you up on the stage. Looking around, you spot a man wearing tattered clothes, a thin beard and pasty white skin. He is creeping in front of the purple curtain, just as you saw him earlier in your imagination flash.

“The lone bomber,” you hear the words like a chorus inside your head. Without hesitation you move towards the thin, bent man, carried now by a wave of certainty.

“Friend,” you softly say, after you have walked around the on stage instruments to his crouched side. “Your father is sorry.”

The wretched man looks up at you, his eyes blank and hopeless. You notice the bulk under his tattered shirt—the bomb. Then your guides tell you the big joke, the homemade apparatus will not detonate. “Jesus, why tell me now?” You expostulate in your thoughts.

Out loud you say again what you hear, “Your dad wants you to know he loves you.”

“What?” the old man says, straightening slightly to look up at you.

His fetid smell is repulsive. He blinks repeatedly trying to pull himself out of the ocean of his own despair. In your mind you see a picture of a big man shouting at a pudgy boy. Then the man rips a coin out of the boy’s hand and throws it out the window of the moving car. The sadness of the boy and the man are enormous.

“Your father,” you tell the old man with the stringy white hair and the ghost blue eyes, “Your father is terribly sorry he threw your birthday coin from your grandmother out on to the road.”

“It was a silver dollar,” the old man whispers.

Out of the corner of your eye you see blue uniforms. It is the police, fanned out, slowing moving down the aisles towards the stage.

Quickly you wrap your arms around the frail old man. He smells like urine and funky street garbage. You wrinkle your nose, but spirit rushes through you and you squeeze his shoulders hard. “Joey,” you announce in a husky voice. “Joey, can you forgive me?”

“Sure, dad,” the old man answers, weeping and shaking in your arms.

“He has a bomb,” you tell the two young officers that climb up on the stage. Frowning, they drop back several paces.

You loosen your grip on the man, then reach down the open neck of his filthy shirt and give a quick jerk on a wire. It comes loose in your hand. For a second you hear the bomb go off, but it is not real, it is not in the reality that you occupy. You show the yellow wire to the police.

“It’s OK,” you declare. “I have disarmed the bomb.”

Later, at home in the shower the ghosts are all there thanking you: the grandmother of the woman with the leaky diaphragm, the unhappy father who tormented his son into being a mad bomber. And your lovely wife Wanda, naked and smiling, finally comes through, assuring you that you too would most certainly die one fine day—and then the fun would really begin.

Psychic Medium Jesse Austin can be contacted by email: jesseyesse@gmail.com

Jesse credits his wife, Rita, for the story’s artwork

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Eureka, California

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