By Joe Grand
On the last
Saturday in January, there appeared a small notice under ‘Psychic
Consultation’ in the local newspaper. It read as follows: Meet Relativity,
ten dollars, five minutes 555-2136. I found myself dialing the number for
two reasons: firstly, I knew the 555 exchange was used on television because no
such exchange existed; and secondly, I was wondering what it was all about.
“Hello!” said an unexpected
“Hi” I stumbled,
“I’m...uh...calling about the notice in the paper. I was wondering...”
He cut me off in mid-sentence:
“Do you wish to meet Relativity?”.
“Your 555 exchange…” I
countered, “where are you located?”
“Where are you calling from?”
asked the disembodied voice.
“Kingston” I replied.
“That’s where we are. Come to the side door at 342 Cataraqui Street at 10
am. Be sure to bring ten dollars.” The line went dead. I tried the 555
exchange again and this time got an automated voice saying I had to dial ‘1’
followed by the area code.
“Well” I thought, “that’s
The thought of going over to
Cataraqui Street kind of gnawed at me, and in a monumental exhibition of energy
not usually displayed on a Saturday, I soon found myself standing in front of a
white clapboard Victorian house with gingerbread trim running along the roof
line. A narrow path led around the side and ended at a solid panel door. Beside
the door a hand written note was posted. It read “ring the door bell”. I put
my finger to the doorbell but didn’t press it right away.
After about five seconds of indecision I felt the button depress. I waited. A muffled voice from the other side of the closed door sounded, “Did you bring ten dollars?” It was the same voice I heard on the phone. And as soon as I replied in the affirmative the knob began to turn. Then the door opened and an older man with a bushy moustache appeared. He gave me a long critical look.
“Are you sure you’ve
come to right place?”, he asked with a hint of distrust; “I only ask because
of your clothing.”
I was taken aback. I was wearing
expensive shoes and one of the equally expensive light weight jackets you can
only get in specialty outdoor stores frequented by rock climbers and kayakers.
He, on the other hand, was in a rumpled sweater and a tired old pair of
unpolished oxfords. His stern countenance kind of rattled me. “This is 342
Cataraqui Street, isn’t it?” I asked, knowing full well all the time it was.
He looked evenly at me,
“You’ve come to see Relativity but I am not so sure he will be pleased to
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