Madame Olatana, Warbut Astrologer, page 2
Like almost all other adult Lillitzen natives, Edsella was about sixty inches in circumference. Unlike all other adult Lillitzen natives, Edsella had inherited the planet’s crown from its grandsire, and it intended to milk that crown for all it was worth. There is no pleasure in being the ruler of millions of outsized entities unless you can find a few simple pleasures by buying armaments that will allow you to blow up your enemies.
“All this is very well,” Bed Fordbreez told its only sibling, “but we need to get ourselves out of here. That nutty king nearly took our last dollar a month ago, and now we will need to sell our mother’s cemetery lot, with Mom already in it.”
“What’s happening with that letter you wrote to Warbut?” Wood Fordbreez asked.
“The one with that fiddled picture? I wish I looked that good, but the Universal Supreme Court’s clerk didn’t even glance at it when I submitted it,” Bed answered.
“Yes, that’s the one. Surely you have heard something? Another rejection, I guess,” Wood replied.
“I have received four notes from this fellow Ralli, a flunky of some kind who works for the principal. Everything is still in play. I’m now on a shortlist, whatever that may be. Not yet rejected.”
“Who is the principal?”
“An Earthling woman, described as congenial and prosperous. All Earthlings are described as congenial. An intelligent Earthling is almost unknown, but a prosperous one on Warbut is unusual,” Bed replied.
“How can an Earthling get to Warbut without plenty in the bank?” Wood wanted to know.
“You have to remember how Warbut got started as a destination for the misplaced and dissatisfied,” Bed said, wagging a fat finger. “The king on Warbut needed money to feed a rogue clan of shiftless natives, and that king came up with a plan to sell useless land located far away from his planet’s equator to Earthlings who were victims of the rise of Earth’s lower classes.”
“Some were rich and some were impoverished nobleentities. For every ten rich land buyers an insolvent former king or former duke could sign up, the Warbut king would give that former nobleentity a certain number of acres for nothing. The Warbut king also included with the free acres an extremely cheap house, transportation to Warbut for the entire family, and several farming robots.”
“And Earthlings really were willing to go to Warbut? Onto all that undesirable land?”
“You have to understand, Wood, that in the Earthling’s year of 2200 Earth was full of snooty out-of-work monarchs. Those entities garnered no respect from other Earthlings and had very little money. They also feared for their lives.”
“So they went to Warbut and took their claques with them?”
“Many did just that,” Bed replied, nodding its enormous head. “The Earthlings who were able to buy land from the king of Warbut were some of the wealthiest entities on Earth, and they took that wealth and their progeny to Warbut.”
“How can they make any money on Warbut?”
“Most of these Earthlings run businesses that involve a Universal clientele,” Bed said. “Import, export, manufacturing. That kind of thing. The principal stays in Warbut and directs the business.”
“Why don’t we do the same and avoid this congenial Earthling woman?” Wood appropriately asked.
“We don’t know anything about running a business, that’s why. We are physicists, and some of the best on Lillitzen, even though we are currently out of work due to Edsella’s ongoing concentration on armaments that will destroy the planet of Drintde. Remember that we decided not to take part in such projects.”
“Indeed we did. And have you told this Ralli there will be two of us coming to meet this Earthling?” Wood asked.
“No. I thought we could use the rest of our money to pay for the passage on the spacecraft for you. That’s if she selects me, with my fake picture and my overstated résumé,” Bed replied.
“But you would need to have sexual relations with an Earthling woman? Probably an old maid, with a tight box.”
“If I don’t agree to sexual relations, we will be back here in three months, the time it will take a craft to travel between Lillitzen and Warbut. And we can’t afford the return passage,” Bed answered.
“And we can’t afford to pay King Edsella, either. After Mom’s cemetery lot is confiscated, we don’t have any asset left, except for just enough credit on our Universal Gold Credit Card to pay for my passage to Warbut. Edsella will enslave us as household workers, demanding we wear livery,” Wood guessed.
“That’s our only alternative, as I see it,” Bed said.
Madame Olatana rushed into the reception room. “Anybody on the schedule for today?” she asked Ralli.
“Two of King Hutarfe’s administrators, in a couple of hours,” Ralli replied. “I entered the birth information yesterday, and the charts are waiting on your computers.”
“Yes, both born on Warbut from Warbutian aboriginals.”
“I always can read those on the fly,” Madame Olatana said, waving away any thought of a review of the charts before the clients entered the consultation room. “What’s happening with Doctor Weathers?”
“We have seven candidates for your evaluation. The doctor will be here tomorrow.”
“And her account? Still a credit balance?” Madame Olatana asked.
“She sent another five thousand in Universal Gold last week,” Ralli replied.
“I had better spend an hour reviewing those seven candidates. Then we can withdraw some funds to pay the milliner,” Madame Olatana said.
“How about that electric bill? It’s over ninety days in arrears.” Ralli wanted to know.
“Hutarfe won’t allow the electric to be turned off, not even for the Wiklvings. Let it slide,” Madame Olatana concluded.
Ralli shook his massive head. “I’ve got over three hundred entities calling, day and night, asking if we have a decision on the Weathers matter. What should I tell them?”
“Write to each of them and tell them they are still under consideration. Attach an advertisement for our services. Maybe we can pick up some business from these suitors, one way or the other.”
“One Earthling male is threatening a lawsuit,” Ralli continued. “Says we are tinkering with his affections.”
“Tell him the lady is still deciding. Is this male on our shortlist?”
“No, and far from it. He was rejected with the first batch,” Ralli told his employer.
“Send that note with the threat to our lawyer, and add the lawyer’s fee plus twenty percent to Doctor Weathers’s invoice,” Madame Olatana concluded. “We might be able to send a little something to the electric company after all.”
Another couple was interested in Doctor Weathers’s decision. In Mansfield, Pennsylvania, on Earth in the United States of North America, Marion Sommers was taking her lazy, indolent, and lethargic son to task for his lack of success in finding work.
“They only want people who will settle for mindless sales jobs,” Charles Sommers insisted. “You can’t expect me to abandon my discipline.”
“You don’t have no discipline,” Marion returned. “You are the most undisciplined good-for-nothing I have raised.”
“I have four years of post-doctoral work in physics, and I have seven glowing letters of reference from my university,” Charles said.
“Yea, written as they were showing you the door,” Marion reminded him.
“There is a policy at Princeton forbidding anybody who is not a faculty member from working in the lab for more than four years,” Charles replied.
“There ain’t no such policy! You was lazy and they throwed you out,” Marion concluded. “Now, you has to find a real job, one that will bring something into this house. I can’t go on with no income.”
“We have another two months of unemployment benefits,” Charles reminded her.
“What does that do?
“You can’t expect me to remain ignorant of advances in my field. What would interviewers say if I couldn’t discuss the latest research into time travel?” Charles countered.
“And all them hopes of that assignment on Warbut, wherever that planet may be,” Marion continued.
“I have another letter from this fellow Mr. Ralli, saying I am still being considered for that vacancy,” Charles told her. “In fact, I am on the shortlist.”
“Yea, a shortlist of three dozen other failures, all telling their poor mothers that the job is in hand. What is this work, anyway?” Marion asked.
“I would be assigned to an American woman who is there on Warbut with some project from Pitt,” Charles said. “A ten-year project.”
“The University of Pittsburgh,” Charles explained. “Pitt has projects all over the Universe, mostly administrative work involving cadres of scientists from Earth and from many other places.”
“So you would be an assistant to some gal doing administrative work?”
“More or less,” Charles hedged. “It would be a foot in the door, as I see it. I would be in a good position to take over when some scientist returns home. I could spend my spare time reviewing the project and the science.”
“At least it would be something,” Marion agreed. “And how much could you send home each month?”
“I will send you half of whatever I earn,” Charles avowed. “The salary has not been discussed in the correspondence from Mr. Ralli. Only the trip to Warbut, to be taken in third class on a craft manufactured on the planet of Octula and refurbished by a company in Beaver Falls.”
“Well, you better make good with them Warbut entities.”
“I plan to do that.”
“They say the people on that planet, except for them English noblemen, are enormous and real black. You are probably too pale to survive very long in that hot sun, and we are too poor to buy you the best of them new sun hats,” Marion told him.
“Yes, very tall and very bald. They live in excess of one hundred fifty of Earth’s years, and certain health problems, those that kill Earthlings, are essentially unknown on Warbut,” Charles replied.
“But not good Christians, I suppose?” Marion asked.
“The English monarch has been trying to talk the Warbut natives into converting to Christianity, but he has had little success. Marriage is almost unknown among the lower classes there, and almost nothing is outlawed. Polygamy is practiced widely, too,” Charles said.
“It don’t seem them folks will ever git to heaven, then,” Marion concluded.
Doctor Weathers traveled from the outer island that was home to the oil development project to see Madame Olatana in person.
“How wonderful you could come today!” Madame Olatana gushed, fully outfitted in her new hat, her most outrageous earrings, and her translation cube. “Ralli has prepared all the birth information, some of which has just arrived.”
“Yes, I am anxious to hear what you say. I have read all the letters and looked at all the pictures,” Doctor Weathers replied, adjusting her own translation cube so it would tone down Madame Olatana’s booming voice.
“Do you have a favorite among the gentlemen?”
“The Earthlings are all in the midst of distinguished careers, and I would hate to take anybody away from important work for a situation that may not go as planned,” Doctor Weathers said.
“We can look over these charts to see how true that might be,” Madame Olatana said. “How about the non-Earthlings?”
“The physicist from Lillitzen is free, and the pianist from Drintde is just finishing a concert tour,” Doctor Weathers replied.
“Let’s concentrate, today, on the Earthlings, the physicist, and the pianist, then,” Madame Olatana suggested.
“Do you have any insights into the Earthlings?”
“Yes, the only one who is really under bad work aspects is this man from Pennsylvania, Charles,” Madame Olatana began. “Saturn is sitting in his house of career, according to this birth date and time, and it is squaring the natal Saturn. He is thirty-six years old, a time of stress for many on Earth.”
“Saturn? The planet beyond Jupiter?”
“Yes, Saturn rules difficulties and can influence times of career disappointments. He must have recently had a setback, probably about the time when all those glowing letters were written,” Madame Olatana said. “Often glowing letters are prepared as somebody is let go.”
“So he is free to come to me?”
“I believe he is,” Madame Olatana replied. “I see he is not particularly interested in romance right now, but all that may change when he meets you. I like that your natal moon in Aries trines his natal moon in Leo. It is a nice aspect for compatibility.”
“So you like him for me?”
“Well, he will be fine for compatibility, but he may have energy problems,” Madame Olatana said. “If you have ideas about assigning him household tasks, you had better make other plans. He won’t lift a finger. He will want to study and talk.”
“As a Gemini, he’s a good talker. You can’t deny that a good talker will be an interesting companion. The moon in Leo may make him a good lover, but he will always be interested, first and foremost, in the intellectual part of the relationship.”
“Are you ready to look at the entity from Lillitzen?” Madame Olatana asked.
“Tell me about these Lillitzians,” Doctor Weathers started. “Are they able to perform the sex act?”
Madame Olatana cleared her massive throat and began the discussion she had known was coming. “The small amount of literature on interspecies sexual relations says that Lillitzen androgynous entities are equipped to mate with Earthlings, both males and females. However, the most long-lasting of these relationships between Lillitzen entities and Earthlings have involved a male Earthling. The Lillitzens are better at being penetrated than at initiating the sex act.”
“Can’t get it up?”
“Yes, there are problems with erections with Earthlings, and there are problems with sustaining those erections,” Madame Olatana agreed.
“So why should I consider this entity?” Doctor Weathers asked.
“Because you said, on your first appointment in my office, that you were lonely,” Madame Olatana said. “You might be lonely for intelligent conversation, and this Lillitzian is very intelligent.”
“More intelligent than the Earthling from Pennsylvania?” “In general, Lillitzians are among the most intelligent entities in the Universe,” Madame Olatana told Doctor Weathers. “A Lillitzian who is a physicist would be at the top of the intelligence range for entities from that planet.”
“Probably not as interested in sex as others,” Madame Olatana agreed. “Bed Fordbreez has been alive on Lillitzen for forty-four years, and it has not reproduced. The government of Lillitzen has complete and scientific records on the parentage of every native, and Bed has been identified on no other native’s birth certificate as either the sire or the dam. The government of Lillitzen is very efficient, in spite of the continual complaints that reach the media about the planet’s ruler.”
“Oh? What are the complaints about the ruler?” Doctor Weathers asked.
“That entity is considered as insane by some and as hopelessly childish by others,” Madame Olatana said. “King Edsella has judgments against it in favor of entities from many other planets. Most of these judgments have come down from the Universal Supreme Court after lengthy litigation, and after many attempts at civil procedures to get Edsella to pay damages.”
“Damages? What has Ki
“King Edsella likes to shoot at entities from other planets, particularly the rulers of other planets,” Madame Olatana explained. “Edsella has never harmed the body of any Lillitzian, but it levies such high taxes on its subjects that they are close to starvation.”
“And these are not small creatures,” Madame Olatana went on, taking a role of tape from her desk’s top drawer. “It is hard for you, a really tiny Earthling, to imagine what a sixty-inch waistline might look like. To help you visualize such a creature, I have a tape measure here. Note that my waistline is a trim forty-two inches. As I expand this tape measure to sixty inches, you can see how much flesh must be added to my frame to support this size of a waist.”