Everything that a struggling 20-year-old psychic could do, I did. I read at a psychic fair at a women's university while religious protestors waved signs out front. I read at bookstores and coffeehouses. Around this time-in the late 1990s-psychic phone lines were tremendously popular... It was my dream to work on a psychic hotline. It seemed too good to be true-I could work from home and do what I loved. I was hearing at the psychic fairs that some people were making $2,000 or $3,000 a month working psychic lines, plus bonuses. That was big money to me.I called the Kenny Kingston Psychic Hotline and got hired on the spot over the phone. I didn't realize before, but it seemed like if you could talk, you were hired. They couldn't have cared less if you were psychic. I was in. I was asked to get a second phone line installed in my house and was sent a packet of information in the mail.

The way it worked was that I dialed in to an 800 number and heard a broadcast message. A woman would come on and say something like, "Hey, everybody, commercials are on at 11 tonight. We're going to have very strong hits between midnight and 3 a.m." All the psychics were arranged on a priority list, so when I started, out of 1,500 psychics who worked there, I was number 1,499. When someone wanted to call in for a reading, they were plugged in to psychic number 1. The second caller went to psychic number two, and so on down the line. There would have to be 1,499 simultaneous calls for me to get one.But I didn't realize that on my first night. The first time I logged in to the system, alerting them that I was plugged in and ready to receive calls, I was so excited! Of course, I was trying to be very spiritual. I had soft music on and candles lighted, and I was sitting with my tarot cards in front of me, ready for fire. Twenty minutes later, I kind of leaned back and relaxed a bit. An hour into it, I picked up a book. By 2 a.m. I had the radio on and was dancing around the room, wearing my headset. Finally, the phone rang at 4 a.m. I leaped on it. Protocol was to ask callers for their name and date of birth."Kenny Kingston Psychic Hotline. My name is Dougall. May I please have your name and date of birth?" I said breathlessly, all in a rush.The young man on the other end happened to be 18 on that very day (you had to be 18 years old to call a 900 number). It was ridiculous; I'm sure he was probably 13. He said, "All I want to know is when I'm going to lose my virginity."I said, "You've got to be kidding me."And he hung up. That was it. My first call. My only call, as it turned out, for the entire week. I was logged in to the system for 20 hours-from 11 p.m. until 3 a.m. five nights in a row-and received that one phone call. When I had signed up to work on the Kenny Kingston Psychic Hotline, I'd been promised that I would make between $12 and $24 an hour because I'd be paid by the talking minute. But if the phone didn't ring, I got nothing.I called the office the day I got my check in the mail for my first week of work. My net pay was about $1.50. I complained, "I was online for 20 hours and only got one phone call."The supervisor was very nice. She explained the whole priority process to me and said, "Well, I'll increase your priority and we'll see what happens." She bumped me up in the system to probably number 25 or so. That night I logged in, and the phone didn't stop ringing. As soon as I put the receiver down, a new call started ringing in. I did ten readings an hour, from midnight until 4 in the morning. I literally could not get off the phone. I couldn't pee; I couldn't stand up-that phone rang every seven seconds.And the callers! They were on welfare; they were getting beaten by their husbands; they wanted to know when their sons were getting out of prison. I couldn't believe it. These callers were way out of my comfort zone.First thing, nine out of ten callers would ask if they could speak to Kenny Kingston, the man they saw hosting the commercial. And those free minutes they were promised? I found out later that there weren't any free minutes. At least half my callers hung up after two minutes, when I would be right in the middle of saying something. This was because they thought they wouldn't be charged because they had seen the advertisement offering two free minutes. It was like getting kicked in the stomach each time someone hung up on me.Nobody really wanted a reading anyway. They just wanted someone to listen to them, and apparently they didn't mind paying for the privilege.

When I logged out at 4 a.m. that first night after being bumped up, I was freaked out. I could not even do it the next night-it was too weird and scary. The Kenny Kingston Psychic Hotline was not doing it for me. So I quit working for them and turned to a classier venue, the Psychic Friends Network. I had heard through some fellow seers that it was much better. I called the main office in Atlanta and spoke to someone in personnel.

The woman on the other end of the phone explained the whole Psychic Friends Network to me. I had to send in letters of recommendation, a picture, and a résumé. They required proof that whoever worked for them had been a practicing psychic for 10 years. This was a tough one for me; I was only 20 years old. So in my application I just left off my date of birth. I wrote a letter saying I had studied tarot, taught meditation and Reiki, and been a practicing psychic for 10 years. I got a call back from what I called ESP Central, and they set up three test readings. They were carefully screening me, and I was glad. My only worry was that I wouldn't meet their standards.

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