What Would John Wayne Do?

We go to a famous psychic in the bedroom of the Dukes yacht for answers in these troubled times

Photo by Jeanne RiceIf only John Wayne were around. Newport Beach's adopted favorite son could pull this nervous nation of ours through these warring times with his famed sashay across the room, take-no-guff stare and a patriotic pep talk that he'd no doubt start with, "Now listen up, pilgrims." When George Dubya Bush says he wants Osama bin Laden "dead or live," face it: you snicker. But if the Duke were to repeat those words, you'd puff your chest out with pride while imagining the supremo terrorist shitting his white robes.

Unfortunately, John Wayne isn't around. He got the cancer bad and went off to that great bang-'em-up western-movie set in the sky way back in 1979. But "Psychic to the Stars" Kenny Kingston is around, and on the evening of Oct. 3, he sat in the bedroom of Wayne's old yacht, the Wild Goose, as it cruised through Newport Harbor. I was there because the Learning Light Foundation—the Anaheim-based, spirit-channeling, crystal-rubbing, feng-shuiing outpost that sponsors Kingston's local appearances—sent an invitation that stated, "Kenny will give interviews in the bedroom of the yacht and bring through messages from the Duke."

I arrived at the docks and immediately received a reminder of these troubled times: uniformed men searched all passenger's purses, briefcases and shoulder bags. I stepped aboard the Wild Goose to find about 150 people I had assumed would be Learning Lighters. Instead, this was a typical Newport Beach affair, something longtime Orange County journalists inevitably and repeatedly find themselves sucked into. The usual suspects, in their brimmed hats, gaudy jewelry, fake nails, fake hair, fake teeth and, of course, fake boobs, flittered about. Some had faces pulled so tight you wondered if their ears touched at the backs of their heads. There is "past your prime," there is "way past your prime," and then there is this crowd. Like I said: Newport Beach.

Turns out this was not a Learning Light Foundation event but a floating book fair, with Kingston just one of many authors aboard. Several books being hawked were too obscure even for the bargain bin at Barnes & Noble. I didn't write down exact titles because I'd come only to hear from the Duke, and my memory's a bit fuzzy because I had taken a painkiller (sore back) before boarding.

Shortly after the boat—which, goddamn it, is awfully large for one person to have owned even if he was an American icon—shoved off, I was invited up to the surprisingly small bedroom to meet with Kingston. There ahead of me was a photographer for the Weekly, two Kingston assistants, and two TV reporters who freelance their work to the national and foreign media. After setting her camera up on the bed facing Kingston (who sat in something like a throne), the British camerawoman would often step outside the cabin and tell the jewelry-jiggling bluehairs to keep quiet as she was taping. You had to love her moxie.

For the next hour, Kingston did no channeling at all. Instead, he threw out random thoughts and predictions, some he had previously prepared on three-by-five cards, some he recited from memory and some he claimed spirits were shouting into his head. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but this pixie-ish, nattily dressed dandy reminded me of someone.

Now, this could be the lingering effects of the painkiller talking, but I believe the best way to sum things up is just to reprint what I jotted down in my note pad, in the same order in which Kingston presented it, in one big ol' honking paragraph:

Camilla Parker Bowles and Prince Charles will marry in the next two years. Prince Philip had better watch his health. Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston and Jennifer Lopez and whoever her new husband is will only have successful marriages if the women bear boys. Jim Morrison is still alive. Soul mates for life: Ron and Nancy Reagan, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and Bill and Hillary Clinton ("Soul mates do fight," Kingston explained with a toothy smile). Camilla Parker Bowles will not be allowed to retain the title of Duchess of Wales, but they'll give her another title. Women's hemlines will start dropping in 2002, and since less visible flesh will leave more to men's imaginations, there will be more marriages. President Harry Truman thought the title of his office should be changed to President forthe United States. Julia Roberts must not, under any circumstances, marry until 2004. Late Brit singer/songwriter Anthony Newley, who was one of Kingston's best friends, was married three times and gave each wife beautiful children, but his first wife was his soul mate, and, despite not having seen her for decades, he wound up dying in her arms. Dwight D. Eisenhower hated one word in the English language—birthday—because you only have one day of birth and everything else is an anniversary of that date. Princess Margaret's life essentially ended when she was not allowed to marry Group Captain Peter Townsend. Princess Diana's two children should be heavily guarded. She was going to marry Dodi Fayed for the same reason Jacqueline Kennedy married Aristotle Onassis: he could afford round-the-clock protection for her children. Lady Di's death was strictly an accident. The first person to greet her in heaven was the Duchess of Windsor. Marilyn Monroe, excited, called Kingston shortly before she died to say she'd scheduled a press conference to reveal something big to the world. She overdosed before she could make that announcement. Everyone assumes she was going to expose an affair with Robert F. Kennedy. Actually, she was going to announce her remarriage to Joe DiMaggio, who had bought a new suit for the blessed event. This explains why Joltin' Joe forever carried a torch for the actress.

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