The room was dimly lit. On one side of the table was Otto. On the other, Madam Olga. Because of the poor lighting, Otto squinted. Madam Olga squinted, as was usual, when peering into her crystal ball. The subject was Sylvia.
“Madam Olga, is it over?”
“It looks like it to me, Otto.”
“But can you be sure?”
“Otto, do you think people pay mediums to look into crystal balls for no reason? They want to know what’s going on.”
“Look at yourself, Otto. You’re here.”
“I just want to know if it’s definitely over with Sylvia.”
“All right, let me take a little Windex to this thing.”
There is nothing like Windex to get a better view through glass or crystal. The medium was focusing on Sylvia. The vessels branching across Madam Olga’s sclerae seemed to be little pitchforks. Of course, it was difficult for Otto to see.
“They say there’s always a chance.”
“I don’t remember saying that, Otto.”
“You hear people say that all the time.”
“People, but not mediums, Otto. However, maybe there is…”
“What? Do you think I’ve still got a chance with Sylvia? She’s not with anyone else, is she?”
“Hold it a minute. It’s coming in now. I see her clearly. And…”
“She’s not with anyone, is she?”
“Damn, there’s no chance.”
There was no other way to say it. She had to tell Otto how it was and how she saw it. Madam Olga was not someone to sugarcoat. Her sugarcoating days were long passed. And now it seemed that Sylvia had passed, as far as Otto was concerned.
“What do you mean, no chance?”
“It looked as though she hesitated there with the postal clerk.”
“She’s with a postal clerk?”
“She’s not going out with him. But he did give her change for the certified letter to you, with a return receipt.”
“A certified letter, saying it’s over?”
“Some say it’s the letter, Otto… But for my money, it’s the return receipt that really clinches the deal…”