The Angel of San Diego

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Chapter 11 - The Gift

“You know my name because of the ‘gift’,” she said as if to explain. “Before you go, don’t you want to know what that buzzing sound in your head was? Or why you hear people talking to you in your bed at night? Or why you dream you are someone other than yourself? Or why it is that you always know when someone is lying to you or telling the truth?”

He sat back down. He realized she wasn’t trying to scam him. She was trying to help him. She seemed to know more about him than the doctors did.

“But how do you know all those things about me?”

“I have the Gift as well. I’ve also heard voices in the night and the buzzing almost drove me crazy before I learned how to control it. It took some doing, but I learned how to quiet them down until I needed to hear them. You may not have been born a psychic, but that doesn’t matter, Robin. You are one now. Something happened when they implanted those electrodes in your head and began shocking your brain. For some reason that experiment brought you back from death and awakened your abilities.”

Robin was dumbfounded. How could this stranger know so much about him? Nobody had told the newspapers about the experiment that went wrong. It would be too embarrassing for the hospital and the good doctors Noah.

“I don’t understand,” he said. “I have no abilities.”

“You will understand in time,” she continued, “and you do have abilities. You were born with them, but they remained dormant for some reason until your experience at the hospital. I know that as time passes your gifts will grow stronger too. Right now you are a psychic ‘child’, but I can feel the power growing in you. Some day you will be a psychic ‘adult’ and I see you being more powerful than we have ever seen on this plane before.”

“Do you see all that in your crystal ball?”

“Humor; a good quality, Robin, and you’re going to need it where you are going. As for the crystal ball, it’s all for show just like the fancy name, the Oriental rugs from K-mart, and the hokey tent.”

He studied the woman in front of him. Somehow he knew she was no scam artist and she was sincere about wanting to help him. He felt a little guilty about being so rude to this strange woman who had helped him.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to insult you. The last few months have been really strange – to say the least. I just can’t comprehend all of this as being real,” he said apologetically.

“That’s all right, Robin. Being resurrected from the dead is strange enough without having been given the gift of psychic ability. Listen. You have a great life ahead of you and want it or not: You are a psychic.”

She waited for his reaction to that, but he just sat there looking very tired.

“I can see you need a lot of rest and time to get a handle on all of this. There are too many things happening at once and on top of that the headaches, voices, and bees. I can help you – if you’ll let me – and before you bring up money again you can forget it. You don’t have to pay for my help. I’d consider it a privilege to be able to teach you.”

“Why would you do that?”

“Payback… I was fortunate enough to find someone who helped me through my difficulties with the gift and she told me the same thing I’ll tell you: You must always use your gifts to help others and if the opportunity arises for you to teach another person who is going through the experience, you must do it in order to save their life.”

“Fair enough, so, how do we do this?”

“Why don’t you come and stay at my house for a while. I can help you learn how to handle the headaches and hornets without medication or alcohol. I can also help you develop and control your powers. As things progress you could make some money with them, not a lot perhaps, but it is better than trying to find a boring nine to five job. Besides, with your headaches and the constant buzzing in your mind you wouldn’t have enough peace to allow you to work such a job.”

“I just got a place to stay. I don’t want to seem ungrateful.”

“We’ll tell them I’m your long lost Aunt who has found you and wants to take care of you. They will understand.”

He had to admit that she had helped him control his problem with the bees and his headache was gone at last. Something inside of him told him he could trust this woman with his life. She could help him through this. She did seem to know more than the doctors did about his condition. He realized he would do a lot better with her than by himself. Besides, he thought, I hated working nine to five.

He went back to the McNeely house in a good mood. He explained to Mrs. McNeely about his “Aunt” Nancy and thanked her for her kindness. He didn’t like lying to her, but the truth might have her calling for a straightjacket and a rubber room – or an exorcist. Nancy came by at eleven thirty and they all lunched together.

Robin went back to the fair when it closed and helped Nancy take down her tent and pack up her belongings. It all went into a small trailer, which she towed behind her pale blue Pacer.

“Now we can go back to the McNeely’s and pick up your things,” Nancy said.

“I’m wearing them. All I have is this suit on my back. I was going to try to find a store to get some things I need when I ran into you at the fair. I thought you said the gift told you everything about me.”

“Not everything, Robin. It only shows me what it wants to show me. Being psychic doesn’t mean I know everything about someone by just touching them or reading their minds. My gift comes in revealing flashes of information. They are only pieces of the whole, not the complete puzzle. To fill in the missing pieces people have to tell me what they are. I do have the advantage of knowing whether they are lying to me or not, though.”

“But you read my mind clearly enough…”

“Yes, that’s true, but you are different. Your psychic ability in its present state is broadcasting information like a radio station.”

“Then why doesn’t anyone else hear it?”

“It’s on frequencies that only other psychics can pick up. That is to say: Only people with the gift can tune in to it.”

On their way to Nancy’s they stopped at Wal-Mart so Robin could buy some clothes and toiletries.

A few days turned into weeks and then into months. Robin kept his promise to Dr. Noah and allowed him to use him as a “lab rat” every other week. He never mentioned his gifts to him though. The last thing he needed was to be classified as a Looney. Nancy gave him books to study and taught him how to use his gifts. She could sense that his powers were greater than hers. He just hadn’t learned how to tap into them properly.

He discovered that the hornets he heard were really the thoughts of the thousands of people that lived around him. The reason crowds affected him so badly was that the collective thoughts of so many people in such close proximity overwhelmed his telepathic sense. That was why he had the headaches. Dampening his sensitivity to those thoughts eliminated the headaches and brought the noise level down to a low buzzing sound, which he could ignore most of the time.

Nancy tested his telepathy by using playing cards. He was asked what card she was holding and he would tell her. He was never wrong. It wasn’t long before they discovered that he could tell what the cards were without reading her mind. Whichever card she would put on the table he could tell her what it was. Before long he was telling her the cards before she even drew them from the deck.

This gave him the idea to go to the Indian gaming tables and play cards. He won a lot of money before they accused him of card counting and banned him from the casinos. He wore out his welcome in all the gaming houses in the area – including Las Vegas. In the end he had managed to bankroll enough money to live on comfortably for the rest of his life.

He donated a hundred thousand dollars to the halfway house group that had given him shelter. He donated a sizable sum to the hospital that cared for him after his accident and to Dr. Noah Jr.’s research group. He also stopped taking a fee for his lab visits.

When the day finally came that Dr. Noah was ready to remove the electrodes, Robin decided that he would rather keep them than chance the delicate operation required to do it. He was convinced that their removal might take his gifts away – or even his life.

One day, Robin discovered that he could find lost things by just talking to people. They would tell him what it was and he would have a mental picture of where it had gone. He decided to open a psychic detective agency to help people find misplaced things or lost people. He was happy being a genuine psychic and didn’t want anything to change that.

He rented a second story office in Normal heights over a coffeehouse located on Adams Avenue. Then he placed an ad in the San Diego Reader as well as a couple of new age newspapers. That’s where it began. People started calling him about their missing pets, jewelry, or important papers.

The business had just turned three months old today.

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