All Stories, General Fiction

Olivia and the Oraclespector: A Feeble Fable of the Fantasmagorical by Leila Allison

But First, More Prefatory Gibberish by Miss Stoker-Belle

As any intelligent person can see, I do not control what is said about me in the bold-face heading. In a rare moment of forgetfulness, I had overlooked demanding approval of the heading’s content upon graciously consenting to present the Feeble Fable introductions. This tiny oversight forces me to spend the first paragraph or two of my introductions refuting the bold-faced insults laid on me by my employer, the semi-sentient, Ms. Allison.

Still, being the mature Fictional Character that I am, I will generously resist the temptation to apply my wit on Allison to the same effect that a lioness’s jaws have on the back of a dik dik’s neck. I will maturely defer from all the mudslinging, and with great class describe my feelings about Allison’s latest libel with a fitting acronym before I move forward with the highly anticipated introduction. The acronym that describes how I feel inside toward my “Creator’s” constant degradations of my character as a writer is called TUBS–or, The Usual Bullshit.

Now that the small stuff has been properly labeled and discarded, it again has come time for me to introduce the ghost in this machine as well as wow the reader with my latest innovation in letters: Literary Impersonations.  Get this: Although they hail from the same branch on the Tree of Death, the object of this piece, by name, the Oraclespector,  is not to be confused with his or her cousin, the Wishingwellwraith. This is because  Wishingwellwraiths are flim-flam sharpies who acquire unusable wealth via the taking of wishes that they have neither the power nor desire to grant, *whereas the Oraclespector is of a firmer character.

(* The “whereas…character” part of the last sentence is my impression of Mark Twain. He would’ve done something like that. I think that doing impersonations of other writers brings spiff to my prose and might become the latest stylistic movement in composition–Right?)

Now, this doesn’t mean that your basic Oraclespector is some sort of saint; in fact you’d have to be a major league pain in the ass to come off worse or as bad as a Wishingwellwraith. But at least Oraclespectors try. **They try because it is what they do. They do because they try.

(**That’s my John Steinbeck. Some say it sounds a bit like Ernie Hemingway, but there seems to be some sort of subtle difference that only Mr. S. could  detect. Maybe he was an impressionist,too–Right?)

Although neither a ‘wraith nor a ‘spector has any pull with the future, the ‘spector actually attempts to predict coming events for live persons after analysing the data on hand. ***In life I see an Oraclespector as a tall man who wrote or did something creative or white collar for a living and was a stallion in the sack.

(***That isn’t necessarily my Stephen King impression, but it is the impression I was left with after reading about fourteen of his books in which the dude described was the protagonist.)

The Oraclespector used to be known as a Chance- or Probability Ghost. If one happens to be around while you think you are asking for divine help or inside information, and  certain conditions are  met, there’s a real good chance that a ‘spector will get involved. ****They do it because they care. They care because they are sentimental.

(****Now that’s Hemingway–you can practically smell the bull gore–Right?)

The certain conditions that can summon (wittingly or otherwise) an Oraclespector are common enough, but they all must be met for the ‘spector to have a go at influencing your life-path. First, you have to be a superstitious neurotic of superior intelligence, yet no discernable common sense (aka, a hammerhead). Soft headed, calm imbeciles (aka, a standard hammerhead) need not apply. And among your legion of personal weirdnesses must be a good smacking of OCD. Moreover, you must be the sort of person who realizes that the things you do  may be monumentally stupid but you’re going to do them anyway. *****For instance, you have to believe that the result of a wad of paper you are about to “shoot” into a wastebasket across the room will determine the outcome of something you care deeply about, while trying to get the same result from the flip of a coin isn’t the way to go because it is coarsely sexist–Ya’ know?–”Head(s) or Tail(s).”

(*****Nonsensical long-assed sentences that easily could have been written in half the distance or, better yet, omitted, are indicative of my “Creator,” Leila Allison.)

My Creator (whose name one should never speak thrice into a mirror) has informed me that my “gag” has gone on long enough. She also told me that it isn’t MLA to just add an asterisk to every little item that pops into my head in effort to distinguish one tidbit of nonsense from another. Her less than friendly attitude tells me that I am on to something big. It’s like Zeus getting pissed with Prometheus for giving mortals fire. Unlike poor Prometheus, I am protected by my Union. Ain’t nobody chaining me to a rock on Mt. Olympus as the star attraction of an All You Can Eat Liver Buffet. Still, I guess it is time to allow my Creator, as she says, to “Fling forward her Feeble Fable of the Fantasmagorical.”  She sez the deal with all the f’s is called “alliteration.”  Dunno about that; just seems effed up to me.

Here All Week and Twice on Saturdayishly Yours,

Miss Renfield Stoker-Belle, Supernaturalist

Olivia and the Oraclespector

“If this goes in, he loves me; if not, I’ll die alone,” Olivia said. She was aiming a wadded up junk mail flyer at a wastebasket she had deliberately placed thirteen paces away from the office chair she was sitting in. There’s something witchy about thirteen paces. Olivia figured that if she was serious about getting information on the status of her love life and future from a balled up a pizza advertisement, then witchy was probably the way to go.

Olivia just sat there, back erect, leaning forward, holding the “ball” in her hand, intently staring at the “hoop.” Then something occurred to her: “What if I’d goofed and it’s really thirteen and a half paces away?” Olivia (an inveterate self-talker-toer) said. “A simple goof could cause what would be a center shot from the right distance to fall short from thirteen and a half paces. Nothing witchy about half paces.”

Olivia rose and double-checked the paces. There was a little too much after thirteen–not a half pace, mind you, just something best described as either a skosh or a nudge. Still, neither skoshes nor nudges are considered witchy. Olivia corrected the goof and triple checked it; then she double-checked the triple-checking four times and discovered a hitherto undetected error about a touch in size, to the left. Although such touches are invisible to the naked eye, they can contaminate the accuracy of the sought after information.

The gift of extreme compartmentalization allowed Olivia to keep nagging questions such as “What the hell are you doing?” or “Do you know how crazy this is?” away from the forefront of her obsessed mind. For the record, Olivia did know what the hell she was doing and how crazy it was.  But since when does logic matter to the romantic heart?

At long last Olivia got herself together, and as she sat there silently counting to forty-nine (a new step–seven to the seventh, primo witchy) before she would finally release the shot, Omar the Oraclespector came across the dimensions which separate the living from the dead. His arrival, paradoxically, stopped time, as it pertained to Olivia, for five minutes or so. Omar never knew who  stopped time for five minutes or so as it related to his many clients; he didn’t do it, but since it was an impressive trick he let the other ghosts think that it was nothing at all to a Spirit of his immense capabilities and stature.

Although Omar knew neither the who nor the how of the time stoppage thing,  he did know why. During the pause he’d read his target human’s face and aura, which was precisely what he did with Olivia. Oraclespectors are sensitive entities who can glean information both factual and whimsical from their target humans, as well as what it is the person wants to know.

“Oh joy,” Omar thought with a sigh, “just another hammerhead wanting to know about love.”

Still, there was something extra about this hammerhead. Something Omar approved of. Something which prevented him from directly referring to Olivia as a hammerhead ever again.

Olivia was pretty when she didn’t know she was being looked at. Perceived glances and full blown eye contact had a way of causing her to retreat behind a cloak of anonymity. Yet no amount of veiling could obfuscate her obviously high intelligence–at least as far as sensitive Omar was concerned. Lovely strange dreams and indescribable shines radiated purple in her complicated and vast aura. He had seen such before, yet never to such a degree of fineness. This might cause one to wonder why such a rare creature was attempting to embrace the dull-minded ways of the standard hammerhead–which Olivia was most definitely not, for she had a beautiful mind, indeed.

Omar, however, knew why. He routinely served persons of superior intelligence. And although Olivia by far and away shone the brightest, her dilemma was no different than that of the alarmingly few other lofty minds whom Omar had served. Plainly, standard hammerheads outnumber the brilliant hammerheads 500,000 to 1, and the ratio is becoming increasingly bleak every day. This makes those blessed (or cursed) with soaring minds an extremely lonesome-hearted group.  Loneliness causes isolated geniuses, such as Olivia, to take childlike measures when they think no one is watching. Thus there was Olivia performing an act on the same level with a child plucking petals off a daisy and saying, “he loves me, he loves me not.”

Omar plucked his way through the data and located the name, face and character of the one whom Olivia was smitten. Guess what? That’s right, the dude was a standard hammerhead–although he wasn’t too rotten, he was nowhere good enough for Olivia.  Omar had seen such slumming of the soul several times with intelligent persons, and it stood to reason that  Olivia, in her loneliness, had fixated on the best of a bad lot.

The time stoppage was running out, and soon Omar would have to make a decision. “Should I manipulate the air around the shot and drive it in and allow Olivia to make a hideous mistake and gain wisdom? Or should I knock it off course, thwart the standard hammerhead, yet hurt milady’s feelings–like with that fella at the coffee shoppe last week?”

Then Omar had a Eureka! And at the last possible instant of stoppage time he issued an apology/prayer to whoever was responsible for the awesome time stopping ability that he had taken credit for through his silence on the topic. “Oh, All Powerful One, from here on I will no longer fail to give you your deserved glory. And please, if you find it wise, allow me to gather-to long enough to help this sweet woman avoid the curse of the standard hammerhead.”

The following has been said many times before, yet it can never be overstated: Spirits, whether they be humble  Oraclespectors or “All Powerful One(s)” are slaves to getting their asses kissed. Hell, you don’t even need to bother with feigned sincerity to bring them around to your side; just pucker-up for the team and the object of your flattery will grant any request that is in his or her power to grant. Which is what happened when the anonymous superbeing whom Omar had smooched up something dreadful caused the following to occur:

In the idiom of the dead, the term “gather-to” means anything from slightly heightened abilities to interact with the physical world on up to temporarily taking a human shape. Along with their basic thermodynamic hotspot/coldspot technology, superior ghosts can tap into ambient electricity and then weave recognizable representations of human beings from shadows, dust and sunbeams. Except for a Mirrorglimmer (who can temporarily create dopplegangers of peerless quality), these recognizable representations in no way can fool a sighted person.

Upon the resumption of time as it pertained to Olivia, she decided that counting to forty-nine was out and that the by far witchier one hundred-sixty-nine (13 to the 13th, you see) was the way to go. Omar knew that she was going to do this and it didn’t affect his plans in the least. The Power whose butt Omar had kissed had “gathered-to” Omar, although he would remain invisible until after the “shot”–that is if Olivia ever got around to launching it.

After counting to one hundred-sixty-nine a second time, just in case, Olivia repeated “If this goes in, he loves me; if not I’ll die alone.” The arc of the shot was true, and it was destined to hit its target. Omar didn’t affect its course, which only proved that Olivia was a dead shot with a wadded pizza flyer from thirteen paces. You should have seen the expression on Olivia’s face when Omar stopped the “ball” in mid-air, and caused it to hang there spinning juuust above the “rim.” I’d describe the expression on Olivia’s face if anything new could be brought to the field of the description of astonishment; let’s just say a doozy of a gobsmacked took hold in Olivia’s face and leave it lay.

Omar gathered-to and tossed the paper ball back to Olivia. Despite her under described astonishment, Olivia caught it on the fly.

Visually, Omar had gathered-to as a human shaped shadow in the fabric of reality. Most of the energy that the All Powerful One had culled from the available resources had gone into the enhanced manipulation of Olivia’s shot and a “voice” patched together from the sound of the heater ruffling the room’s drapes, a leaky faucet in the bathroom, the whistling of a nearby neighbor’s tea kettle  and the flapping of a bee’s wings as it bounced about drowsily near the kitchen window.

The guy you ask about is a standard hammerhead,” said Omar. “Utterly selfish and a user. ‘All dick and no diamond,’ as the girls of my day used to opine. You’ll find your true love in the Arabian coffee shoppe across the street from the third Starbucks on Espresso Row. Chat up the one guy there who isn’t writing a graphic novel. Go now. And may your relationship wind up with neither of you occupying a shallow grave if not otherwise blessed.”

Then Omar winked out with a loud pop filched from a distant backfire. Still gobsmacked a doozy, Olivia found herself putting on her jacket while mouthing the Oraclespector’s instructions.

The Family Friendly Moral: Always Give an Oddball an Even Break


The Filthy Feeble Fable of the Fantasmagorical Moral: Always Help a Hammerhead to Get Nailed


Leila Allison

Image by bluebudgie from Pixabay

3 thoughts on “Olivia and the Oraclespector: A Feeble Fable of the Fantasmagorical by Leila Allison”

  1. Hi Leila,
    I really enjoy the introductions to these. They enhance the whole story and you merge all the parts together effortlessly.
    When I think on your end mottos, I do have a weird romantic notion on things that shouldn’t be regarded as romantic.
    Brilliant, inventive and complex as usual!


  2. I like the intrigue of this contradictory borderless yet self contained world of the phantasmagoric, where friends (of a certain unpredictable nature) watch over us, ghost characters with certain powers and also certain limitations. They could be helpful, they could be a nuisance…..but we’re not alone, someone or something is with us. The real world is so crazy and unpredictable that this one could be a relief. Ms. Renfield Stoker Belle tries to get those asterisks in, showing a bit of independence from her creator. But I guess once the spectors are created, they may begin independent actions…. based on their basic character creation. You never know what’ll happen next…. sounds kinda like story writing….


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