Soft-hearted Catherine makes a living as a tarot card reader but faces a crisis of conscience in the process.
- Dorothy Lyman as Catherine
- Carmen Matthews as Madame Marlena
- Teri Keane as Esther
- Woody Romoff as Isaac
- Johann Carlo as Iris
- Rosanna Carter as Mrs. McNeill
- Arthur Pierce as Mugger
- Paul Sparer as Narrator
Catherine is on the phone with a man named Billy, ordering either a sign or an ad for her fortune telling business. She appears very casual about the whole thing. As she is hanging up the phone, an older lady is seen walking up to the window of her shop. The older lady rings the bell a couple times and Catherine puts on her shawl to make herself look more like a fortune teller. The older lady tells Catherine that she has heard of her and she is positive that the encounter will be fun.
Catherine is doing a reading and lets the older lady know that she sees a young and practically perfect man in her future. The older lady is amused and remarks that this must be why her husband does not believe in fortune telling. Catherine is obviously using cold reading techniques and the older lady seems to have caught on to this. She remarks that because the Knight of Swords has shown up in her reading, that it never lies and signifies that a young man will be coming into her life. The older lady asks Catherine how she knows what the cards mean and Catherine tells her that the art is in interpreting. The older lady proclaims Catherine an artist and reaches into her purse for payment.
As Catherine gets up to make change, the old woman tells Catherine that she heard how Catherine gives positive readings. While Catherine's back is turned, the older lady switches Catherine's deck with another one.
Catherine is doing another reading to a young customer named Iris. She mentions that she must be there for a question regarding her boyfriend. While Iris is remarking on how good Catherine is, Catherine asks her to cut the cards again. The customer does so, but assumes that Catherine must have seen something in the cards and does not want to tell her. Catherine denies this, but when she lays out the next spread, it is exactly the same as before. While the customer is ecstatic about this, Catherine is upset because the cards are telling her that the customer's boyfriend is going to die. As soon as Catherine mentions this, a car wreck is heard and the customer's boyfriend has died in a car wreck.
Catherine is now doing a reading for an older gentleman named Issac. She seems upset again and asks Isaac if he touched the cards at all. Isaac ensures her that he did not, since he wanted her to do an actual reading for him. As Catherine is laying the cards down, she looks distressed and tells Isaac she is not feeling well. He gets her a glass of water and lets her know that readings that foretell bad events are not her fault. He tells her there are only two choices: either tarot reading is a game or they must accept the power of the cards.
Isaac explains that tarot has it's origins in the Kabbalah and that he appreciates that Catherine tried to not hurt his feelings with bad information. He explains that he understands that the cards were giving bad news because he saw it in both her face and the cards. Isaac kisses Catherine's hand and leaves.
Once Isaac goes, Catherine begins to panic. She takes the tarot cards, puts them in a bag, and throws them in the trash. At that moment, the customer whose boyfriend died in the car wreck comes in and demands that Catherine finish her reading. She tells Catherine she knows there were awful things in the cards and she needs to know what they were. Iris is insistent that Catherine tell her what she saw. Catherine tries to claim she forgot Iris's reading and cannot do another one because she threw the cards away. Iris has no idea what Catherine is talking about and points to the deck of cards sitting on the table.
Catherine does Iris's reading, commenting on the fact that the spread is identical to the previous spread except that the cards that mentioned Iris's boyfriend are gone. She tells Iris that the spread is very bad and insists that Iris go home.
Later, Catherine is on the phone with her friend Esther. She is panicked and asks her friend to come over to her right away. After hanging up the phone, Catherine tries to burn the cards with the kerosene from a lantern. The cards, however, are unharmed.
There is a buzz at the door and Catherine lets Esther in the house. Esther has brought food and notices that Catherine is upset. She assumes that Catherine is not sleeping due to what happened to Isaac. Catherine has no idea what Esther is talking about. Esther mentions that Isaac died in an elevator accident and Catherine is upset because that was exactly what she saw in the cards. While Esther at first thinks that Catherine has been working too hard, letting all of her happy readings get to her, she then concludes that Catherine has a gift that most people would want. Esther agrees to stay the night with Catherine because Catherine insists the cards act like they are alive and Esther has to see the strange things they are doing.
Later that night, Catherine is in bed and is woken up by a weird noise. Esther is up and they both notice the Knight of Swords turned up on her table. Catherine freaks out, demanding that the cards tell her what they want from her.
Catherine and Esther are talking at the table. Catherine is laying cards on the table. Esther believes Catherine that the cards have some sort of power and that she will help Catherine figure out what happened. She asks Catherine when the bad readings started. Catherine mentions Iris and that the last customer before Iris was an older lady that she didn't know named Marlena. Catherine gives Esther a description of Marlena and that she paid with a fifty dollar bill. Esther seems to know who Catherine is talking about. Esther tells her that there is a fortune teller named Madame Marlena who is upset with Catherine because her positive readings are stealing away customers. Catherine decides to find out if Madame Marlena was the customer that switched the cards. Esther tells Catherine to leave the cards on the table, but they have miraculously appeared in her pocket.
Catherine goes to Madame Marlena's home and recognizes her as the customer. She shows Marlena the cards and asks her where the cards came from. Marlena tells Catherine that all cards come from the same place and that Catherine's happy readings are disrespectful of the tarot cards because Catherine is not telling them the truth in the spread. Catherine tells Madame Marlena that she is quitting the fortune telling business because she wants to get rid of the cards. Marlena tells Catherine that the cards will never leave her. The cards were dong the same thing to Marlena, making her suffer for her disbelief. The only way to get rid of the cards is to pass them on to someone else, like Marlena did to Catherine.
Act IV Edit
Catherine is walking through an alley. She comes to a door that is the business of a tarot reader named Mrs. McNeill. Catherine pounds on her door until Mrs. McNeill opens the door. Catherine lets her know she is there for a reading; a friend referred her to Mrs. McNeill. After confirming that she has money, Mrs. McNeill has her sit down for the readings.
Mrs. McNeill confirms that Catherine has a question and asks her to shuffle the cards. In order to distract Mrs. McNeill so she can switch the cards, she asks Mrs. McNeill to let some light in. When the fortune teller goes to do this, Catherine switches the cards.
Mrs. McNeill comes back and starts the tarot spread. She looks very distressed and Catherine notices and asks what is wrong. Mrs. McNeill mentions that she has never seen such a spread. The final card jumps out and it is the Knight of Swords. Catherine is adamant and demands to know how Mrs. McNeill did that, to which the fortune teller does not know. Catherine gets upset and leaves and tells Mrs. McNeill that she does not want a reading.
Outside, Catherine tries to burn the cards. At that moment, a mugger comes by and kills Catherine. As the police sirens wail, Catherine is lying on the ground of the alley with the Knight of Swords beside her. A slash is heard and fades.
Catherine's mistake was switching the cards before she had her reading. When Madame Marlena asked for a reading, she waited until after the reading to make the switch. Since the evil deck makes bad things happen to people who have readings done by it, this invokes Catherine's mugging.