The One About Miss Fleo
by Westbrook Finlayson Jr.

October 23, 2001

Okay, let’s start with confession. I’m not Jaimie. You probably already knew that from two pieces of evidence: Jaimie told you last week and, more incontrovertible still, I’m using capital letters. Jaimie is on vacation, so I, known to some as Brooky, some as Mr. Finlayson, and yet others as the dad of Liz (it’s just Liz) F, have been asked to write the weekly.  

Let me say that, in my checkered literary career, this is the greatest honor yet bestowed upon me. Poo-poo the Pulitzer, Na-na the Nobel; this, my friends is the Weekly! Yes, I am intimidated. Especially after last week’s weekly with feet and inches and everything. She just HAD to do one that untoppable before handing me the reins! Well, I won’t try to top it. Instead, I will attempt a rapid flanking movement. But will I shrink from this? No! Because I have already received one intimidating email message from Dan who has threatened to come over here and “take his shirt off.” Now, I don’t think he intends violence, but I have seen Dan with his shirt off, so I’m typing for all I’m worth.  

Of course, half the battle (may I use military analogies? Thank you.) is finding a suitable topic, and I did not have to look far or for long. I did not have to look at all. It came to me. Several times. On TV.  

So, it’s late at night and I turn on the TV to see the news. Or at least hear news people talk about things. Not to say that there aren’t some serious things going on in the world, but what people talk about! Just don’t get me started. Anyway, I turn on the TV and there’s this commercial for this tarot-reading psychic. She’s on every channel most of the time. Now, I have to be careful here. People get litigous (as in law suits) for silly things these days (like defamation of character, things like that), so I got out my Weekly decoder ring and came up with a name to call her so you will all know who I’m talking about and she won’t, even though she’s psychic. Let’s call her Miss Fleo.  

Miss Fleo has been on TV for some time now, and I’ve often wondered about her. Not just the usual about can she really do that stuff or not. No, I’m talking about the things I’d really like to know. Like, how does she answer all those calls? I mean, with all that advertising on national TV (which, I understand, is expensive), how does she make enough money, one call at a time? And the first three minutes are free! Mental scenario:
“Hallo, Miss Fleo here.”
“Uh, Hi. This is Dave from Sacramento.”
“I ha’ ben waitin’ for dis call all day!”
“Oh, really? You mean, you knew I was going to call?”
“Yas, mon, some tings are special, an’ I knew you was gonna call ’cause I got a special message fo’ you!”
“Okay, what is it? I can’t wait.”
“The ting you ha’ ben waitin’ all you life fo’ is about…”
–Please insert $10,000.00 for the next three minutes–  

How else could it work? Another thing. I think I saw her in a Robin Williams movie. Club Paradise I think it was called. I guess she could be an actress and a psychic, too, but it does make you wonder.  

But could I leave it at that, not really knowing? Not when there’s a Weekly to be done. So, I got on the internet and I found out some interesting things. First, I found a web page that was just an ad, but linked to it was a testimonial from a “former sceptic.” Okay, so maybe I shouldn’t have put that in quotes denoting scepticism, but then, I’m not a “former” sceptic. As I read, my scepticism did not diminish. This guy had Miss Fleo on his radio call-in show where the conversations were taped for her commercials. Nothing wrong with that, but this guy’s name was Bert. Well, there’s nothing really wrong with that, either. It’s just that his show is called The Bert Show. More questions arise. Like, what happened to Ernie? Is this guy what’s left of the famous Sesame Street duo, gone the way of Lewis and Martin? Was this an amiable parting, or was there the rancor and guile of the typical show-biz split? Was it the hit record (“Rubber Duckie” WAS a hit record, you know)? What led to the Bert show, and can the last man standing in a limelight brouhaha be at all trusted? But there’s more.  

He testifited to her amazing abilities. For example, Miss Fleo’s response to one caller: “You take things too personally. How ’bout the woman you had an argument with at the gas station three days ago?” He doesn’t cite the rest of the conversation: “You know, the one with the Jamaican accent who cut in front of you in line ’cause she had to get to the radio station and make her expensive ad.” Bert goes on. “How about when she told a woman to take that crumpled piece of paper off the dresser?” Crumpled paper on a dresser? How could that be? Egads. If she were to tell me that, I’d have to ask, “Which piece of crumpled paper? A recent one or one that’s been there for three months or more?” At this point I must remind the reader that it is at great personal risk that I write this, because my wife reads the Weekly, and she is (rightfully) not amused by the crumpled pieces of paper on my dresser. Anyway, Bert, crumpled paper! Miss Fleo even knew that Bert’s wife had broken her right foot on their honeymoon. Thankfully, she left out the details of that sordid little story. He went on to tell of Fleo’s anguished life of constantly hearing voices. I don’t doubt that she hears voices. I hear voices, too. My inner voice says, “Clean off your damn dresser.” No, wait, that may have been an outer voice.  

Anyway, Bert may be sold, but not me! I did some more internet research and ran across this news headline (for real):
08/08/01 Miss (F)leo ordered to pay $75,000 for calling Missourians after warning from Nixon. Really, that’s what it said. Which kind of explains the torturing voices. Crank calls from Nixon from beyond. The headline sounds like Nixon warned Miss Fleo about something and she called a bunch of people in Missouri. That was a mistake. You know, Missouri, the “show me” state. None of that crumpled paper crap. Well, it turns out that it was Jay Nixon, the Attorney General of Missouri, enforcing a No Call anti-telemarketing law in that state. I like my version better, but the truth is the truth. Nixon did have a cool quote, though, about the fine. “Miss (F)leo should have seen this coming.” I wish our AG was cool like that.

The one thing I didn’t do in my research was call her number. I’m already seeing a therapist, who needs to add an exorcist to the budget?  

That’s all. Jaimie will be back next week. Thanks. I had fun.  

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