The Talking Dead

Mike Devine

The first thing I notice upon entering the Los Angeles apartment of Kia Hellman — a medium whose specialties include channeling dead celebrities and who will soon star on a new reality TV show that she is forbidden from disclosing — is that everything is white. The walls are white. The furniture is white. Both of us are white. Normally, this type of monochromaticity brings me great anxiety, an anxiety that falls somewhere on the scale between “pillows emblazoned with golf-related aphorisms” and “patronizing Lululemon bag,” but in Kia’s home, I feel only great calm. I credit this mostly to Kia herself, who is one of the most soothing human beings I’ve ever met in my life.

Meeting Kia is like meeting a Nancy Meyers kitchen that became animate and started talking to you about energy healing. Kia looks like a mix between Meryl Streep and all of her daughters, the wide planes of whose faces are comforting in their synchronicity. (“Genes are real, and science will one day have all of the answers.” —The message I receive from the faces of Meryl Streep and her daughters.) Kia’s voice is soft and low, and she speaks slowly and with perfect elocution, as if possessed by a non-sexist version of Morgan Freeman. She, too, is wearing white. I am wearing ripped jeans and a Pink Floyd t-shirt and feel as if I have perverted the stark holiness of Kia’s apartment. She does not confirm or deny this during our time together.

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