I was sitting at the bar in my favorite watering hole, wondering what I could write about next. This wasn’t unusual because I am a writer in my retirement years.
Just then a nervous chap jumped up on the stool next to me.
“That looks good,” he said, looking at my drink, “What is it?”
“It’s a gin and tonic with ice and lemon.”
“Bartender, I’ll have one of those gin and tonics.”
He smiled at me and I noticed a facial twitch near the corner of his mouth.
“My name is Jonah, what’s yours?”
“Dave,” I said reluctantly.
“I’m very nervous today, Dave.”
My stool mate, Jonah, started to shake like he had Parkinson’s.
“What’s the problem, Jonah?”
“I’ve had another premonition. I think I’ve got a sixth sense. It’s scary.”
I smiled and ordered another gin and tonic.
“Psychic abilities are not recognized by the scientific community.”
“But Dave, there is so much evidence and support for ESP, even celebrities have premonitions. I get many of them.”
“Jonah, remember the old joke: one person says, “The food in this restaurant is not good.” And the other person says, “I know, and they don’t give you much on your plate either!”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” said Jonah quizzically.
“What the joke tells you is: people tend to think that a large quantity of something can compensate for the lack of quality. What was your recent premonition?”
“Oh, you mean because ESP is in the news so much, there’s got to be something to it.”
“My premonition was that I dreamt I would meet an old friend I haven’t seen for years and low and behold, I ran into them in a restaurant. They were at the next table!”
“That’s a sort of coincidence, isn’t it? It’s a coincidence between your dream and an event in the outside world.”
“I still think I have a sixth sense. And anyway, there is so many ESP stories reported in the media, it has to be true. ESP is a fact of life!”
My friend was getting excited now.
“Yes, I will agree that the media reports a lot of strange goings on, and that reinforces your belief.”
“There’s something inside of me that wants to believe in the unknown and the supernatural. Something is willing me to believe,” said Jonah, twitching more than ever.
“Jonah, I know it’s comforting to suggest a belief in, lets say, an afterlife. This can be a very seduction thought.”
“Oh, I had a premonition about that too. I think there is an afterlife!” Jonah interrupted.
“Of course you want to believe, because it opens up the possibility for some part of you to survive death.”
“Oh, wouldn’t that be wonderful, to survive death?”
Jonah’s eyes were gleaming.
“A lot of people would like a ticket to immortality if only there was evidence to back it up, but there isn’t any.”
Jonah looked demoralized now.
“When you say that ESP or any transcendental things don’t exist, you’re taking something away from me that I need,” said Jonah, shouting now.
“Relax Jonah, it’s human nature to want to believe in the unknown and the supernatural, but you’ll save yourself a lot of grief if you face up to the fact that science does not back it up.”
“I’m sorry Dave, I have to believe, even if it just ain’t so! I can’t stop these premonitions.”
Jonah got up to leave:
“I will probably be miserable and depressed until my 50th birthday.”
“Who told you that?”
“A fortune teller I know.”
“Will things improve then?”
“No, she said, “I’ll just get used to it by then!”
I never saw Jonah again!