I guess I just don’t understand dead people; they never seem to relate in any constructive way.

Maybe it’s their communication with psychics that’s lacking. Instead of saying anything useful and specific—like “Hey, I left the TV remote under the Vanity Fair” or “When you get here, don’t say anything to God about his mullet. Trust me”—dead people always seem to be asking a psychic to tell someone whose name begins with the letter S that someone whose name begins with the letter T isn’t mad anymore.

I finally had the chance to address this notion with Tristan Rimbaud, a psychic—a gay one, yet—whose press rep called to say the guy is ready to market to that “hip, alternative” crowd. Tristan, who hears thoughts and not voices, is amiably puckish on the phone. He’s also young, cute, and lanky. Since he’s gay, he’s smart enough to post half-naked photos of himself on his site ( along with his predictions for the next 100 years. (A sample: “All 900 lines, such as psychic hot lines, will be banned by the government around the year 2020.” So don’t take your freedom for granted, kids.) Oh, and don’t go getting all French on his last name, smartie—it’s pronounced, as the site indicates, “rim-bo.” I hate myself for enjoying that a gay psychic is very particular about the “rim” in his name.

Anyway, I took it upon myself to ask the Indiana resident what the deal was with dead people. First things first, he said; don’t call them dead.

“Typically, they don’t like that,” he laughed. “They’re not the dead—we are. That bugs them. They always stop me when someone says that, and they’re like, ‘That’s not true.'”

OK, so, we’re dead?

“Technically,” he continued. “We eventually die, our bodies will be buried somewhere, and the planet, of course, is not going to be here forever. The spirit world is eternal—it’s always been, it always will be. So if you look at it technically, we’re kind of like the dead ones, because eventually we’re gonna have to leave this body and go back to the spirit world. They’re always there, and they always exist.”

Yeah, yeah, all right. So what’s with psychics not getting coherent scoop from dead—or, OK, eternal—people?

“If you lined up 10 psychics, you wouldn’t be able to find two psychics that have the same exact ability,” he says. “We all think differently. It’s really just a matter of dealing with the individual mind. A lot of times it’s like playing charades with the spirit. They’ll kind of give you images and pictures and visuals to help you match up what it is. And it’s just easier to do that with some people than others. A lot of the times with a large audience, [the spirits] will start to switch, and we kind of won’t notice that they’re switching the information.”

Damn those scattered, charade-playing eternals. If some lover of mine speaks from beyond the grave, he’d better tell me what JFK Jr. is really like and know how to spell my entire name or forever hold his peace.