Madame olatana warbut as.., p.12

Madame Olatana, Warbut Astrologer, page 12

 

Madame Olatana, Warbut Astrologer
 


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  “Maybe this announcement from Madame Olatana, the famous astrologer, will interest you, Mother,” Stradona said, waiving a letter on real paper. “She wants to give me a free consultation, saying I have been identified, after an exhaustive search, as a potential consort for one of her clients.”

  “Has this fancy stargazer seen your academic record? Men don’t like women who are always winning fellowships to Oxford and Cambridge,” Tignois immediately replied. “Don’t let her get a whiff of any of that.”

  V

  Another letter on real paper made its way to a less reputable household on the east side of Warbut’s capital.

  “Another bill collector, I suppose, wanting just a tiny fraction of what is owed,” Cafarey sighed. “Where do these terrible people come from?”

  “No, Mom, it’s a letter from that charlatan who calls herself an astrologer,” Sajuey answered. “She wants to give me a free reading.”

  “Something free in this life? Let me see that letter!” Cafarey cried.

  Sajuey walked over to the sofa which was her mother’s usual domain and handed her the letter and the envelope from Madame Olatana.

  “Says she is a consultant to the royal family,” Cafarey read. “Wonder how much that cost her?”

  “They say the royal family will grant such a crest or endorsement when they cannot pay a bill, Mom,” Sajuey said. “So this so-called astrologer has a big, uncollectible invoice from the royals, I guess. Puts her right in line with most of the haberdashers in town.”

  “There wasn’t any haberdasher in town before King Hutarfe let those Earthlings onto Telluric Island,” Cafarey reminded her daughter. “The Earthlings have changed us from a planet of comfortable beings into ones that are always worried about what we wear. Why, I remember when I had only one or two robes, and your father went to work in a loincloth.”

  “So times have changed,” Sajuey yawned. “And the Earthlings are paying the taxes to keep the Wiklvings, the tribe from which my father escaped. So we are all anxious to keep the Earthlings from leaving for a better planet.”

  “There is no better planet for Earthlings,” Cafarey stated. “Their original place is polluted with the filth they cast into their oceans, and the lower classes have taken over the great cities. These Earthlings on Warbut have no alternatives.”

  “So we have to put up with them and keep our privates covered when they come to call,” Sajuey said. “I hope this Madame Olatana does not want me to marry an Earthling.”

  “What! Where does it say that?”

  “Right here,” Sajuey replied, pointing to the paragraph in the letter that discussed an unnamed client who was searching for a mate.

  “There is no mention here of Earthlings,” Cafarey said. “We can only assume this unnamed client is either a nonpaying royal or a swell who can afford this service.”

  “Well, I wouldn’t want a royal,” Sajuey replied. “That crazy King Edsella of Lillitzen has bombed a large ship in the sea, thinking it was the royal palace.”

  “Where did you hear that? I never got wind of such a thing.”

  “You need to follow the police reports, Mom,” Sajuey said. “You need to hear about what is going on. The only lives that were lost in that bombing were Wiklving islanders who were headed toward Telluric Island to raid the farmlands there.”

  “I thought the Earthlings’ taxes were feeding the Wiklvings. And we don’t need to follow the police reports any more, not since you left your former work.”

  “The news reports say the Wiklvings want more. And they like stealing food more than taking the government’s handouts. So I wouldn’t want to be any part of the royal family,” Sajuey concluded.

  “This client might be a rich man, honey,” Cafarey suggested. “We might be able to pay off all those loan sharks.”

  “We’re doing all right now, Mom. I work three days a week at that hospital, and we always have enough to pay the rent,” Sajuey reminded her mother.

  “But if we could be rich! If we could have luxury vacations and our own aircraft! Think of that!”

  “All right, I’ll go to see this astrologer, but I’m not getting involved with the royal family,” Sajuey concluded.

  VI

  Rondo came into the consultation room with a sheaf of papers.

  “Here are the eleven charts,” he said to Madame Olatana. “We have nobody, absolutely nobody, who is thrilled with the idea of meeting a Warbut businessman. All these women want professional men or society hangers-on.”

  “I don’t think much of this crop, either,” Madame Olatana agreed. “We are going to have to dust off Chef Glocy before the introductions, Rondo. He is very likely to come into the meeting in his soiled toque and his striped trousers.”

  “Nobody stands out?”

  “Just two, an academic who would consider Chef Glocy as a project and a former prostitute who is now a receptionist at a hospital,” Madame Olatana replied. “It all depends on how strong the planet of Nuslen is in these charts.”

  “Nuslen?”

  “Yes, Nuslen is a very large planet in our own system, far, far away from Warbut. It rules the unusual, including unusual love affairs. I hate to see Nuslen come up in a marriage or partnership chart, but we may need Nuslen to get things started,” Madame Olatana said.

  “Get things started?” Rondo asked.

  “I will need to find a date for these introductions when transiting Nuslen is making an aspect to Watool, either the transiting Watool or the natal Watool in these charts. Of course, transiting Watool moves very quickly, so we ought to have a good aspect within the next two months,” Madame Olatana told Rondo.

  “Will Chef Glocy want to wait two months?”

  “I feel we are making a terrible failure of this consultation, Rondo,” Madame Olatana agreed. “It is all a timing problem, and we have no good solution.”

  VII

  “Any news from Madame Olatana?” Privia, the headwaiter at Joy of Celebration, asked Chef Glocy.

  “We are down to two candidates, and I am out several thousand in Universal Gold,” Glocy replied.

  “We are making money by the bushels here,” Privia said. “Why aren’t women lining up in front of Madame Olatana’s establishment to meet you?”

  “Because of Nuslen, the planet of surprises,” Glocy said. “I’m just a fat, pale Warbutian, and Warbut women want thin, dark males. Nuslen will make a good aspect, according to Madame, in about three weeks, and these women are more likely to come around at that time.”

  “Who are these gals? Anybody we have had here?”

  “There is one academic who is rarely seen, even at the faculty club. And there is one former call girl who would never be included in any gathering here,” Glocy said.

  “And this is the best you can do, even with having Madame Olatana working on the case?”

  “I wasn’t doing any better on my own,” Glocy admitted. “I usually was rebuffed by the second date, and two of those women I found wanted to borrow money from me. At least the academic is solvent and the former call girl is getting there.”

  “How about some of the kitchen crew? Anybody there who interests you?” Privia asked.

  “Those women know too much about me,” Glocy said. “I’m a terror in the kitchen, and I can’t keep any woman on my kitchen crew, either.”

  VIII

  Madame Olatana rushed into the reception room very early on the morning of the day when Watool was making its favorable aspect to Nuslen.

  “Is everything ready for the meeting this afternoon?” she asked Rondo.

  “I ordered the food and the drinks from the coffee shop down the street,” Rondo told her. “Everything ought to be here about an hour before the guests arrive.”

  “And did you call to confirm with everybody yesterday?”

  “Yes. I know you wanted to invite Privia, and he will be here. He asked if he could bring his sister, and I said she would be very welcome,” Rondo said.

  “Yes, that was ri
ght. An extra guest when Nuslen is involved is always a possibility,” Madame Olatana said.

  IX

  “Well, how did it go?” Cafarey asked Sajuey when her daughter came back to the house. “You are very late, aren’t you?”

  “It was a bit of a surprise, Mom, but I think I am going to like the way things turned out,” Sajuey replied.

  “Turned out? You were supposed to meet the astrologer’s client. Didn’t he come?”

  “Oh, he came. A big, fat man with several chins. Much too big for me,” Sajuey said.

  “But he selected another lady?”

  “Actually, another lady selected him. She was included at the very last minute, the sister of his business partner. Apparently the client, a chef, had never met his partner’s sister, and the two of them quickly went to a corner of the room and talked,” Sajuey replied.

  “So the man you got all those new clothes for got himself paired up with somebody he might have met on any other day, a day that would not involve any expense to us?” Cafarey demanded.

  “Yes. That left the two women and the chef’s partner. The other women talked to the astrologer and the receptionist, and that meant I had to talk to the chef’s partner.”

  “Anybody interesting?”

  “Well, we are seeing each other tomorrow afternoon,” Sajuey said. “This partner, a headwaiter, has a party to supervise in the evening, and I will meet him for tea and then go to the event space to watch him work.”

  “Well, it’s a start. You looked your best, so there’s every reason why an important man like that would take an interest in you,” Cafarey replied.

  X

  On the morning following the meeting, Rondo was a few minutes late arriving at Madame Olatana’s office.

  “Did you get Stradona home with no mishaps? I wouldn’t have wanted anything untoward to happen to those beautiful shoes she was wearing,” Madame Olatana asked.

  “Yes, she got home with no mishaps but I did not. She proposed to me in the autotaxi, and I spent the evening hearing all about her,” Rondo replied.

  “Proposed? Marriage?”

  “Not exactly marriage, Madame,” Rondo answered. “Something like a ten-year contract, with options for renewal.”

  “Heavens! You can’t be serious! I never saw that in her chart or in yours!”

  “It must be Nuslen,” Rondo replied. “The more she talked, the more I liked her.”

  “Let me see,” Madame Olatana said as she made her way to the computer in the reception area.

  “Any Watool connections?”

  Madame Olatana sat down at the console. “A wide orb of seven degrees, Rondo, but still worth considering. We were working with an orb of three degrees when you found the original candidates for Chef Glocy, but seven degrees is not bad. Certainly seven degrees is better than most couples can boast.”

  “I found her easy to talk to, that’s for sure, and I even liked that scarf she was wearing,” Rondo went on. “She listened to me when I talked, which is unusual for academics.”

  “What time did you leave last night?”

  “I didn’t leave last night, Madame. I came to the office from her house. We spent the night in her bed.”

  “Sex! Let me look at the appropriate planets,” Madame Olatana said.

  “Don’t bother. The sex was the best ever for me, even if it was stirred up by the surprising Nuslen. I hope it lasts,” Rondo admitted.

  “That’s what I am looking for, Rondo. You can’t expect sex under Nuslen’s influence to last, unless there are other indications.”

  “I don’t care about other indications. I don’t care about Nuslen, Watool, or Angelto. I’m going to sign that contract as soon as the lawyers can draw it up,” Rondo insisted.

  “Not while Watool is retrograde! Starting in three weeks Watool will go retrograde and any contract you sign will have to be rewritten!”

  “I will sign it before this week is over. Stradona has offered me twice as much as you are paying me, even with these bonuses, and I want to start to earn it,” Rondo said.

  5 Isabella Witchen

  I

  On the date the Earthlings called September 5, 2235, Mula poked her small nose into Madame Olatana’s consultation room and said, “It’s a call from an Earthling on Telluric Island, asking for an appointment. What should I tell her?”

  “Now, Mula, we have clients from all around the Universe,” Madame Olatana reminded her new receptionist. “Every client has the right to an initial reading, and every client has the right to an updated reading if that client’s account is up to date.”

  “But she was born on Warbut!”

  “I have procedures for that contingency, Mula,” Madame Olatana explained. “The Earthlings have been on Warbut for a number of years, and some of their offspring who have been born on our planet are now old enough to want readings. We will draw a chart just as if this Earthling were a Warbutian, but I will interpret it a little differently.”

  “Differently?”

  “Yes, some planets that travel around Warbut’s star are very important influences for Earthlings, and certain others are not,” Madame Olatana began. “For one thing, all pureblooded Earthlings, born on Earth or on Warbut, have different nervous systems from pureblooded Warbutians and the magnetic pull of our planets is somewhat different on these nervous systems. For another thing, most Earthlings are concerned with commerce to a greater extent than Warbutians are, so the readings take a different tone. Finally, Earthlings have a strict sense of a Universal pecking order, something which Warbutians have never embraced, and I need to keep that in mind.”

  “But aren’t all Earthlings at the bottom of that pecking order?” Mula asked.

  “Earthlings have a different idea,” Madame Olatana replied, shaking her large head. “I have to keep up with the decisions of the Universal Supreme Court to know who is pecking whom. Right now, the Universal Supreme Court is ruling against Lillitzen and for Drintde. Consequently, Earthlings consider themselves higher in the pecking order than any Lillitzian. This can change from week to week, so I have to be careful with what I put on the recordings.”

  “Recordings?”

  “For those clients who do not come to the office, I create a recording on the Universal Message Service, one that will last as long as the Universe is in existence,” Madame Olatana explained. “I assume this Earthling is not willing to travel to the capital.”

  “That’s true, Madame. She wants to talk to you from Telluric Island, that place up north where King Hutarfe stored all those Earthlings,” Mula said.

  “Yes, I have heard of Telluric Island. We have four other clients who are living there, and we have seven clients on other planets who are waiting for their properties on Telluric Island to come online.”

  “Online?”

  “Yes, His Majesty King Hutarfe is implementing various electrical and water systems, and some of those are not finished. The buyers may not take possession of the properties until all utilities are installed and until an initial house has been built,” Madame Olatana explained.

  “So I should just take down the birth data, like I would for a Warbutian?” Mula asked.

  “Yes, and make a note that the client is of Earthling descent. I’ll do the rest.”

  II

  On the date the Earthlings called March 18, 2236, Mrs. Haroldine Witchen called up the day’s calendar on the Universal Message System.

  “Isabella,” she bellowed, “what is this entry for today for Madame Olatana?”

  “Mom, that’s the famous astrologer on Warbut. I’m going to have her give me a reading about my future,” the girl answered.

  “And how much will this cost?”

  “Grandma sent me two hundred in Universal Gold for Christmas, and I’ll send part of that,” Isabella said.

  “Two hundred! And when your father has thousands in unpaid bills from the Farm Agency!”

  “This is my money, Mom. Grandma doesn’t know about Dad’s setbacks,
or I am sure she would have sent him something.”

  “Your grandmother just sits in Omaha, Nebraska, United States of North America, and imagines we are living high on the hog out here,” Haroldine insisted. “Your father has never told her a word about how hard it is to farm these lands and how impossible it is to get these robots repaired.”

  “Maybe he needs to bring her up to date, Mom,” Isabella said.

 
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