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"You're having problems at work," she tells me. This strikes me as odd, because the only job-related problem I can think of is that my work is making me hold the hand of a creepy woman on Federal, and I don't know where or how soon I can wash my hands.

"There is someone you work with who has dark hair and dark eyes who is extremely jealous of you," Fatima informs me.

Uh...

"He is chunky in build."

I scan cubicles in my mind, but can't think of any beefy rivals. We move on.

"There is a woman in your life?"

Uh...

"Yu recently had one but it ended badly?"

Uh, sure, why not?

"You will find your soulmate by the end of the year," Fatima declares with certainty.

Sweet! Where?

"It will be at a party or a gathering," she says, sounding impossibly vague.

A gathering, eh? Like a Klan-rally gathering, Fatima, or a crowd-of-people-surrounding-my-mangled-carcass-after-I've-volleyed-through-the-windshield-on-the-highway gathering? Meet me halfway here.

"It will be at a party," she says. "You will know it is her because she will be in a similar profession as you and you will talk about your interests."

Yes! I love talking about interests!

"You want to ask me a question," Fatima says. "Go ahead, ask it."

Unaware of what question I want to ask her, I instead ask a dozen questions, and learn that Fatima just recently moved to Denver from Los Angeles. She still operates another psychic shop out there, commuting regularly, and I think to myself that this Fatima earns pretty good money in the old psychic racket. She tells me that the money isn't bad, and that she gets six or seven walk-ins a day, plus her regular appointments. Fatima gets plenty of repeat business. Must be the cleavage.

I ask how she first learned she was psychic, and she tells me about how when she was eleven, she walked by a little girl and had an overpowering sensation that something bad was going to happen to the child. An hour later, the girl was in a car accident.

"Did you see it happening, or did you just have a feeling?" I ask.

"Both," she says, adding that her grandmother was a psychic as well, and that the trait skips a generation. "This is what God chose for me, so I do it. It's both a blessing and a curse."

After about fifteen minutes, we conclude that my life is pretty much on course and that besides watching my back for my madman, butterball adversary, I should keep doing what I'm doing.

Fatima leads me back out through the narrow hallway, past the kitchen where the unexplained man is still seated eating hamburgers, through the living room and to the front door.

"You should come back again next week," she tells me.

"I should," I say.

"So you'll come back?"

"Sure."

But Fatima is psychic. She knows she'll never see me again. -- Adam Cayton-Holland

Myra's Hairstyling
3141 Federal
10:30 a.m.

Gracey runs her French-tip acrylic nails through a client's hair, smoothing gel from root to tip, a distance of only two inches. Myra's Hairstyling has been open for just a half-hour, but already the two-room salon is humming with the voltage of blow dryers and multiple curling irons plugged in at once. At this time on Saturday, most of the snuff-colored chairs in the foyer, which is actually a closed-in patio, will be occupied by customers waiting for Myra or Gracey to weave and pin updos for quinceañeras, dances and other formal events.

Right now, Myra is sweeping around her brand-new styling chair -- the first material evidence of an effort to remodel -- and her bobbing head is reflected over and over in the mirrors that flank each wall. As Myra cleans, Gracey, a more subdued version of her bustling and voluminous sister, sections off clumps of her client's hair with metal clips. Despite the whirring fan aimed straight at her station, Gracey's bangs are immovable, an advertisement for the wonders of Aqua Net. The salon's sole stylists bookend nine other siblings: Myra is the eldest and Gracey the youngest.

Myra's is on the verge of celebrating its 27th anniversary in the neighborhood and its fifteenth at the current location, an old house with one room for cutting and styling, the other for sit-down hair dryers and a growing collection of National Enquirers. There are apartments both above and below the salon.

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
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