Madame Olatana, Warbut Astrologer, page 21
“Who are the new clients?” Madame Olatana asked.
“Widows, Madame. I follow the obituaries, as we have discussed, and I attend every funeral I can where a widow is listed on the Universal Message Service’s notice. I call on a widow about three weeks after the funeral, and I never take money from a widow until the estate is in probate,” Carls Wunwak said.
“Yes, the Clerk’s notations about the probate will give me an idea about the net assets, and I know which widow can afford to pay me and which cannot. For those who cannot afford to pay me, I ease away, asking for transportation money at first and then not being free for appointments. This business plan has allowed us to pay all the tuition bills, but we are not as financially healthy as we were three or four years ago,” Carls Wunwak admitted.
“And the transits of Stecon, which rules the sex industry, are very slow, Carls Wunwak,” Madame Olatana said. “This transit of Stecon affects Nikkion in your chart, which rules money in general and in your chart in particular. We will have Stecon making a square to Nikkion for at least five years.”
“Yes, and I know some of this will be playing out with the tuition bills. I suspect tuition bills will increase, even though your daughter is finishing her degree,” Madame Olatana predicted.
Carls Wunwak sighed. “It is very true, Madame. Our older boy is talking about graduate school on Earth, perhaps at the English school in Oxford. He has the grades and the personality to get into any college he sets his sights upon, but we never thought we would have to finance a trip to Earth.”
“So you and I need to find ways to augment your income, perhaps by looking at other skills you can offer to clients and employers,” Madame Olatana suggested, glad that she had been able to introduce the idea of a change in profession so cleverly.
“But I have no other skills, Madame,” Carls Wunwak bleated. “Nothing at all.”
“Nonsense!” Madame Olatana returned. “You are physically attractive, you have very nice manners, and you speak both Warbutian and English very well. Come back in two weeks, and we can spend several hours looking over opportunities.”
“I can afford to pay you for just the half hour each quarter,” Carls Wunwak said.
“We’ll put this on an invoice, for when your fortunes increase, as they surely will when Stecon is no longer making such a difficult aspect.”
“You said that was five years in the future!” Carls Wunwak reminded the astrologer.
“Five years is not so long to wait,” Madame Olatana concluded.
Carls Wunwak sat at the kitchen table with his partner, Una, and related the conversations with Madame Olatana.
“Her advice has been excellent during the last dozen years, sweetheart,” Una said.
“We worked hard and put away what we thought we were going to need for the kids,” Carls Wunwak agreed.
“But now we are going to have to be more creative, to think about ourselves and our professions differently,” Una went on.
“I have no more ideas about how I can increase sales,” Carls Wunwak said. “I have this widows’ routine, and it is paying erratically. Sometimes I hit it big, with a libidinous woman with a big inheritance, and sometimes I can’t make a dollar of Universal Gold.”
“Maybe, honey, those widows want the comforts they have lost, like a man who takes over when household problems present themselves. Maybe they don’t want seven positions of sexual intercourse,” Una suggested.
“You take care of household problems around here,” Carls Wunwak told his partner. “I have no skills as a handyman. I am a sex worker, and that’s all.”
“Oh, no, Carls,” Una protested. “You are a salesman, first. Your clients don’t come to you. Instead, you go out and make cold calls. You generate business by creating a demand for your services. You and Madame Olatana need to figure out which other services would be likely to produce a more ample income.”
“It’s the Queen,” Eaner blurted out. “She wants to come over now.”
Madame Olatana sighed. The royal family was in a quandary, with King Hutarfe dead and buried and Queen Bartlia VI off with her consort to Earth to finish her education.
“Tell Her Majesty we are free to consult at any time,” Madame Olatana told Eaner. “If Her Majesty needs to have a car sent around, arrange for that, too.”
“What? Queen Mastila’s bill is over a year in arrears!” Eaner cried.
“We never turn down the royal family, Eaner. They are always behind with payments, but they refer many others who are careful with keeping current.”
Within three hours, Queen Mastila was seated in the best client chair. Queen Mastila was the mother of the current monarch, Queen Bartlia VI. She ran around her own house almost completely in the nude, but, for the sake of the Earthlings who visited the capital in great numbers, she dressed carefully when she left home. Nobody expected to see Queen Mastila in the outrageous hats Madame Olatana wore, of course, but Warbutians were now used to seeing the dowager queen in silk suits, gloves, and simple hats.
“Oh, Madame Olatana, we are so burdened with troubles,” Queen Mastila said, and not for the first time in that room.
“Yes, Your Majesty, I read the news. I see that Her Majesty Queen Bartlia is expecting, and not just a single child,” Madame Olatana said.
“Eight, if all goes well, Madame,” Queen Mastila confided. “We have several surrogate mothers carrying babies from Bartlia’s eggs and Cophet’s sperm, and all of them are viable. That’s a serious concern, of course, but the troubles are with Telluric Island.”
“The island where the Earthlings are established, Your Majesty?” Madame Olatana wondered.
“Yes, the Earthlings are having trouble selling their properties, and this is having a detrimental effect on sales of the new islands,” Queen Mastila said.
“You mean, Your Majesty, the sales of properties on the islands you are developing for extraterrestrials?” Madame Olatana asked.
“Yes, Madame. We have four islands west of the capital that Hutty set aside for entities from Drintde, Lillitzen, and Clarkl, and those islands are not even half sold. We cannot realize any profit until the islands are at least seventy percent sold, given the high cost of borrowing money for improvements such as roads and water systems,” Queen Mastila said.
“So you need, Your Majesty, a time that would be best for a sales effort?” Madame Olatana asked.
“So much more than that, Madame,” Queen Mastila whined. “We need some ideas about increasing the desirability of the Telluric Island properties. They are all built, some with very attractive houses, but the Earthlings have had reproduction problems on our planet. Nobody has returned to Earth, but few Earthlings are being born to replace those who have died.”
“And what, Your Majesty, has been done to solve these reproduction problems?”
“We have established, Madame, a hospital in New London, the capital of Telluric Island, where we have the best of Warbutian doctors to attend expectant mothers. We ask that all pregnant women come to the hospital in the fourth month of the pregnancy, and that they stay there until the child is six months old. Not everyone can leave responsibilities for that long, but our success rate has been excellent,” Queen Mastila answered.
“And have there been any other projects, Your Majesty, built to attract more Earthlings? Art galleries, theaters, opera houses?”
“We need to do more, I know,” Queen Mastila sighed. “I need to assign a deputy to oversee a new ballet company, but nobody in my circle knows anything about dance. The Earthlings, Madame, are very interested in dance, but we Warbutians are too large and too clumsy to have those same interests.”
“Would you consider a Warbutian who is giving thought to a change of career, Your Majesty?” Madame Olatana asked.
“Certainly, Madame. Do you have someone to recommend?”
“I have a male prostitute who nee
“And what are his aspects for a new assignment, Madame?” Queen Mastila asked.
“I have not looked at his aspects for such an assignment, but the aspects for Telluric Island are fair for the next two years, Your Majesty,” Madame Olatana said. “I have determined that the planet Nicknard rules Telluric Island, and I have followed the tax collections from Telluric Island and correlated them to the planetary aspects for Nicknard. In the next two years tax revenue from Telluric Island will increase somewhat, but the real growth of tax revenue from Telluric Island will not happen for four years. Then, we move into a period of twenty years where we will see significant revenues from Telluric Island.”
“So, Madame, in four years Telluric Island will be fully populated?” Queen Mastila asked.
“I cannot say that, Your Majesty. I can only say that the tax revenues will be close to their highest. This may mean a larger population, or it may mean that the entities on Telluric Island have much higher per capita tax payments, for whatever reason,” Madame Olatana said.
“And can you do this same calculation for the other islands, Madame?” Queen Mastila wondered.
“I am still determining the ruler for each of the other islands, Your Majesty,” the astrologer said. “We see some correlation to Jenld and Stecon, but I need another three or four years to test those hypotheses. As for Telluric Island, we have had Earthlings on that island for almost fifty years, so I have a good number of data points for my work.”
“Yes, the Earthlings were the first to immigrate, Madame,” Queen Mastila agreed. “But I need to find a solution to the problem of resales on Telluric.”
“Can the crown buy lands, Your Majesty? To hold until the population stabilizes?” Madame Olatana asked.
“We have some money set aside, Madame, for improvements on Telluric. I need to ask Barty if I can use that money to buy properties. And I need to interview your dance deputy,” Queen Mastila said.
“Again, Your Majesty, this man is very cultured, but he has been a sex worker. This line of work is valued here on Warbut, but some of the Earthlings may not find this background appropriate for our monarch’s deputy,” Madame Olatana said.
“The Earthlings are going to have to get used to us, sooner or later, Madame,” Queen Mastila snorted.
“What did the queen want?” Una asked, her eyes wide with curiosity.
“Frottage, I suspect. I can always tell who wants just a touch and who wants full penetration. How long has it been since the king died?” Carls Wunwak wondered.
“Over a year, honey,” Una answered. “If there has been anybody else in that royal bedroom, the Universal Message Service has not published any report of it.”
“What she said was entirely different, though. She and Madame Olatana have cooked up a scheme whereby I become the titular general manager of a ballet company on Telluric Island, in New London,” Carls Wunwak told his partner.
“What does a titular general manager do?” Una asked.
“Take orders, and raise money,” Carls Wunwak said. “The queen would be the patroness, and I would be the dogsbody who would take the blame when things went wrong.”
“And Madame Olatana says this is a good move for you?” Una asked, incredulous.
“Madame is convinced it will pay in the midterm. About four years out. After four years, it will be a comfortable living for us, but for right now we will need to keep a serious watch on expenses while we are starting this job,” Carls Wunwak answered.
“You want me to come along?”
“You can’t abandon me now, Una,” Carls Wunwak insisted. “Just because I am getting older and have to take orders from a higher-up.”
“So we move to New London, among all those dumb white Earthlings?”
“Not right away. We have to go to the People’s Ballet Company in Britain, on Earth, to serve an apprenticeship for one Earthling year. I will be assigned to the general manager there, to learn the ropes,” Carls Wunwak said.
“So we will be away from the children for a year?”
“About a year and a half, Una. The trips in the spacecraft, back and forth, will take three months each.”
Una sighed. “And I will need to reorganize my work so I can do it on Earth and on spacecraft. Are you sure you will be paid?”
“I was worried about that, given the reputation the royal family has about paying its bills, Una. I asked that the ballet company be funded by the Parliament, and the Prime Minister will set aside a special fund to pay us and our expenses for four years, after Madame Olatana told him privately that the Earthlings would be on Easy Street after that fund expires.”
“So the Prime Minister takes Madame Olatana’s advice?” Una asked.
“Everybody who is anybody in the capital looks to Madame for advice,” Carls Wunwak answered. “You can’t talk much about it, of course, but her calendar is very full. I have recommended her to at least a dozen of my clients, and everybody is quite satisfied. Few Warbutians go there as regularly as I do, but she always can squeeze in another consultation when somebody is in a panic.”
“Like the police?”
“There are rumors the police take an occasional problem to her, but I have never seen any cop over there,” Carls Wunwak admitted. “And the justices of the Warbut Supreme Court are thought to be clients.”
“But we are going to put our entire future on the line, based only on the locations of a few transiting planets,” Una wailed. “Can we take these risks?”
“We are in trouble now, Una. The queen wants me to come to the palace later today for a dancing lesson, which will surely end with more frottage and who knows what else? If I become a favorite in the royal circle, we will never see another dime from Mrs. Warren’s profession. Those people don’t pay for favors,” Carls Wunwak said.
As soon as Eaner had closed the door between the consulting room and the reception area, Carls Wunwak said to Madame Olatana, “I am caught up in the queen’s circle, Madame. Are you aware she is very hungry for sexual attentions?”
“Ah, yes, Carls Wunwak, a young widow is a special case for you. And who will marry her? Nobody, because she is the dowager queen. As long as you are servicing Her Majesty, your future is secure,” Madame Olatana said.
“You don’t know how this business operates, Madame,” Carls Wunwak said, pointing his elegant finger toward the desk. “I cannot count on a single client, not ever, because clients are very likely to shop around. There are seventeen male prostitutes in the capital, and some clients have seen all of us. I am not the oldest, but I am one of the three or four greybeards. Fidelity among the clientele is almost unknown.”
“Her Majesty is in a different position, Carls Wunwak,” Madame Olatana said quietly. “She expects absolute discretion from you. As long as you are her deputy, appointed by the royal house and funded by Parliament, you will be taken care of. You have a four-year contract, with an option for renewal at double the current rate. If Her Majesty were to cancel this contract, tongues would wag. You are in a much more secure condition than any other client of mine.”
“But what will Earthlings say?”
“Take your partner to every official engagement, Carls Wunwak,” Madame Olatana recommended. “Everybody knows a courtier is called upon for many different tasks, but few Earthlings will believe a cultured Warbutian man with a polished partner is also the queen’s paramour.”
“I cannot relax with this situation, Madame,” Carls Wunwak replied. “The Earthlings are not sophisticated. They are not worldly. They will accuse me of adultery.”
“The definition of adultery, according to the Earthlings’ sacred writings, involves intercourse with a married woman. There is no married woman, Carls Wunwak, in this scenario,” Madame Olatana firmly said.
“This is not uncomfortable,” Una declared as she and Carls Wunwak unp
“This is second class, Una,” Carls Wunwak said as he looked around the cabin. “This is exactly what is allowed for the dowager queen’s deputy. No better and no worse. Nobody will assume either of us is humping anybody important.”
“Maybe the steward will press our clothes before we go to dinner,” Una suggested.
“Do you see that ironing board at the end of the closet? I think if any pressing is going to get done, I will need to do it,” Carls Wunwak surmised.