Madame olatana warbut as.., p.5

Madame Olatana, Warbut Astrologer, page 5

 

Madame Olatana, Warbut Astrologer
 


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  “I thought we were finished with that work,” Madame Olatana said. “Those three fellows have been on Warbut for over two months.”

  “She sent them home,” Ralli said.

  “Sent them home? Why? They had wonderful companionship aspects with Doctor Weathers, except for that Wood!” Madame Olatana cried.

  “They ran up her bills. Those two Lillitzians bought more clothes than anybody on Warbut has ever needed, and they charged jewelry and other valuables to her Universal Credit Card,” Ralli told her.

  “How much? Did she tell you?”

  “Almost three hundred thousand,” Ralli confessed. “She has that kind of money to spare, of course, but she felt they took advantage of her.”

  “Do you think the Earthling was part of the conspiracy to defraud Doctor Weathers?” Madame Olatana asked.

  “He was part of the trouble, but it wasn’t with the money,” Ralli answered.

  “What happened?”

  “Doctor Weathers came home early from work one day last week, and the three of them were in bed together, having…well, you know,” Ralli said.

  “Mercy, I never saw that on any chart,” Madame Olatana said. “I thought Charles Sommers was a weakling, somebody who would behave himself at all costs.”

  “Charles begged Doctor Weathers to allow him to stay, not to send him back to his mother on Earth,” Ralli told her. “Doctor Weathers was disgusted with all three of them, and she sent them to a hotel near the spaceport, with instructions to the hotel manager that they were to be housed and fed only. I made the final arrangements with the spacecraft today, and they will be traveling to the planet of Farnoll to wait for connecting craft back to Lillitzen and Earth.”

  “Farnoll!” cried Madame Olatana. “I have dreamed of going to the casinos on Farnoll! And now these entities who are being punished are going to that fabulous vacation planet!”

  “Yes, it was the best price I could find, given that we had very little time to make connections,” Ralli said.

  “Yes, of course. And get me all those other applications we reviewed for Doctor Weathers,” Madama Olatana went on. “I’ll find somebody else, somebody with a strict moral code.”

  “No need,” Ralli said. “I have agreed to go to that outer island to live with Doctor Weathers myself.”

  “You! You are the only one I can trust to keep my schedule and my accounts!” Madame Olatana wailed.

  “I’ll have to resign,” Ralli told his boss. “I can’t receive your clients from that faraway island.”

  “But Ralli, you have this terribly important work here,” Madame Olatana insisted. “You know astrology!”

  “No, I do not know anything at all about astrology,” Ralli protested. “I know only how to run a business office. I have been here less than six months, Madame, and another administrator could pick up these office procedures in a week. I’ll stay to train somebody, if you like.”

  “And, you are as black as the ace of spades! All those men she selected on her shortlist had light complexions. Furthermore, you are not strictly a heterosexual, you know. I can see it in your chart, even though we have never discussed it,” Madame Olatana pressed.

  “Yes, but I don’t think it will matter,” Ralli answered.

  “Matter? How will you entertain this woman, an Earthling who has been used to the services of two virile Lillitzians at the same time?”

  “I’ll close my eyes and think of England, Madame,” Ralli announced.

  XX

  “What, ho,” Wood cried. “This spacecraft is much better than that bucket we came into Warbut on!”

  “Yes, but we have lost Doctor Weathers,” Bed sighed. “She was so nice, and we had such a good time playing bridge.”

  “Get over it, Bed,” Wood firmly said. “We are on our way to Farnoll, and there are plenty of swells on that planet who can help us find another situation.”

  “But we won’t ever find such an easy life again, Wood,” Bed insisted. “She allowed us to eat at all hours, and she gave us ample free time to read and shop.”

  “But this craft has better beds, and separate staterooms for us in second class,” Wood continued. “We are now going back in time, of course, but we will be going forward in a few weeks and you will be cheerful again.”

  “I feel funny, different from any feeling I have ever had,” Bed went on. “My stomach aches at leaving Warbut, where we were so happy.”

  “Nonsense,” Wood replied. “If you have stomach problems, you need to consult the second officer, that Drintde fellow who can cure nearly anything.”

  “Yes, he took some specimens last evening, before that Basque buffet,” Bed said. “Ought to have the results tomorrow, he says.”

  “I don’t see you are off your food,” Wood said. “If you are eating, you can’t be ill. Let’s go to the observation room in first class and look at the star map. It changes every ten seconds to show us what stars we are passing.”

  “We are not allowed in first class,” Bed told its sibling, and not for the first time. “We have computers in our own staterooms that show the same stuff, only on a much smaller screen.”

  “If you don’t want to be cheered up, I can’t help you. Maybe Charles can find us a fourth for bridge and we can win some money from somebody,” Wood suggested.

  “Yes, let’s talk to Charles. He is in a terrible depression because he will have to tell his mother how Doctor Weathers rejected him,” Bed told Wood.

  “He’ll get over it,” Wood unkindly suggested. “He probably has had plenty of rejections. That sour puss is a walking loser.”

  “We’ll probably never see him again,” Bed continued.

  “Just as well,” Wood replied. “He’s nobody who can help us.”

  XXI

  “Is that call for me, sweetheart?” Doctor Weathers asked.

  “Honey, it is Mrs. Marion Sommers,” Ralli answered. “She’s at the Warbut capital’s spaceport, waiting for Charles to pick her up.”

  XXII

  “Do you have any news from the second officer?” Wood asked its sibling.

  “Yes, I do, and you had better lie down to hear it,” Bed said, pointing to the outsized mattress in its stateroom. “I’m pregnant.”

  “Is it that Earthling?”

  “Yes. The second officer says the fetus is half Lillitian and half Earthling. An androgynous entity with an Earthling’s genetic materials in its male half.”

  “When will the second officer perform the abortion?” Wood asked.

  “Never. I’m going to go carry the fetus to term,” Bed insisted. “The probability the child will be born alive is slim, given the few instances of Lillitzians successfully mating with Earthlings, but I’ll do my best for it.”

  “King Edsella won’t like this,” Wood told its sibling, quite unnecessarily. “The king tries to deport every extraterrestrial, assuming it will deplete the treasury with its special needs.”

  “Yes.”

  2. Shasian Shepcover

  I

  On the date the Earthlings on Warbut called April 22, 2231, Madame Olatana asked her receptionist, “Lialn, is that cousin of Queen Mastila’s late for his appointment again?”

  “Yes, Madame, he called me just a few seconds ago to say he was within a mile of our office. Will you need fresh tea?” the receptionist and office manager answered.

  “Yes, always fresh tea for Queen Mastila’s relatives, Lialn,” Madame Olatana answered. “And is the chart in my computer? With the star return for 2032?”

  “For 2032, Madame? I thought you wanted the progressions for 2034,” Lialn answered.

  “Yes, the star return for 2032. I have ten years of progressions for Shasian Shepcover from our last reading,” Madame Olatana said.

  “He always looks so elegant when he comes here,” Lialn said.

  “Yes, yes, the planet of love is high in his chart, and he has to dress very well,” Madame Olatana agreed. “A good dresser can attract love, even if he has no other advan
tage.”

  “He could attract anybody,” Lialn said.

  “I’m not sure he would wear well,” Madame Olatana advised. “Don’t get any ideas about that one. Your chart and his are not compatible.”

  “It never hurts to take a look,” Lialn protested.

  “Sometimes it hurts a great deal to take a look,” Madame Olatana argued as she entered her consultation room. “You think you see good qualities that are just illusions.”

  Within another minute the tall, black, and handsome Shasian Shepcover entered the office.

  “Well, missy, are you glad to see me, after my six-week absence?” he asked Lialn.

  “Welcome back, Lord Shepcover,” Lialn said.

  “No, no, I’m not an earl just yet,” Shasian Shepcover insisted. “King Hutarfe says he is working on a promotion for me, but he can’t get the Parliament to set aside the funds.”

  “Well, we’ll just pretend, then, Lord Shepcover,” Lialn told him. “Madame is waiting for you in the consultation room.”

  As Lialn ushered the pretend earl into Madame Olatana’s presence and set the Belleek teapot, filled with fresh tea, on the tea table, the astrologer pulled herself from behind her desk and strained to her full height.

  “Another beautiful suit, Mr. Shepcover,” Madame Olatana said. “We are certainly pleased to find we are so worthy.”

  As soon as Lialn had departed and had firmly closed the door, Shasian Shepcover said, “Let’s forget this bullshit, Madame. Let’s forget I owe you nearly a thousand dollars in Universal Gold. Let’s just concentrate on getting me out of my current mess.”

  “Yes, indeed, Mr. Shepcover,” Madame Olatana agreed. “What is the cause of this current mess?”

  “Massy has cut me off, that’s the cause,” Shasian Shepcover said bluntly. “Without a cent. She’s given me two weeks to clear out of the house I have been occupying.”

  “What did Her Majesty Queen Mastila say was the reason for this estrangement?”

  “She says old Hutty needs the house to give to some Earthling as part of a big deal,” Shasian Shepcover admitted. “And she says the royal family can no longer support distant relatives who are temporarily without work.”

  “Yes, the media has been full of the royal family’s financial problems,” Madame Olatana said. “The Wiklving tribe is starving, to hear them talking, and the plans for converting the distant islands as homesteads for wealthy Earthlings have met with too much success.”

  “Huh?”

  “Wealthy Earthlings are anxious to abandon terrible conditions on Earth to come here,” Madame Olatana explained. “But to get the places ready for these wealthy Earthlings, His Majesty King Hutarfe has had to extend his own funds for surveys, roads, water systems, electrical systems, and communication systems. King Hutarfe can’t close these sales until all these services are in place, and the Earthlings won’t leave Earth until King Hutarfe assures them their places are ready for occupancy. I understand our king is making arrangements for elaborate bus systems to take Earthlings back and forth, too.”

  “So he’s got all his funds tied up in this real estate scheme?”

  “That’s what the media is saying,” Madame Olatana replied. “There have been no reliable reports to the contrary. Some have argued the Wiklvings should be allowed to starve and Earthlings should stay on the polluted Earth, but King Hutarfe was not happy with these suggestions.”

  “But Massy would not even let me touch her kids’ college funds,” Shasian Shepcover went on. “Said she had spent too much energy getting that money away from Hutty to allow me to squander it.”

  “Yes, I understand Queen Mastila is very anxious to send the royal children to Cambridge University after talking with King Alfred about that educational institution,” Madame Olatana said.

  “Farnoll College was good enough for me, and it ought to be good enough for anybody,” Shasian Shepcover said.

  “Queen Mastila has her own ideas, of course, as any mother does,” Madame Olatana said, without adding much to the discussion.

  “But to send the kids to Earth? For a classical education? Who needs it?” Shasian Shepcover went on.

  “Let’s turn, now, to a look at your situation, and maybe we can find some agreeable options,” Madame Olatana suggested.

  “I know old Pusion is still sitting on my star,” Shasian Shepcover remembered.

  “Yes, our star’s largest satellite, the planet of Pusion, is known as the spoiler of plans,” Madame Olatana said. “And Pusion will be affecting you adversely for another year, until the start of the Earthling year of 2233.”

  “Can’t get out from under it, I guess?”

  “Actually, I have found a way, but it may not be to your liking,” Madame Olatana said. “If you get to the planet of Drintde by the time of your birthday in 2232, you would be in a much more favorable position to realize career advances. Your star return’s aspects from Drintde will work in your favor as far as career opportunities are concerned.”

  “Drintde? Where the king is out of favor with that crazy Lillitian, King Edsella? They say that insane king is ready to bomb the stuffings out of Drintde’s capital,” Shasian Shepcover threw in.

  “Yes, there are continual lawsuits in front of the Universal Supreme Court,” Madame Olatana agreed. “King Edsella released some workers, including a number of Earthlings, and the king of Drintde hired them almost immediately and sent his own spacecraft to pick them up. By the time King Edsella had found out how productive those workers were, they were gainfully employed on Drintde, constructing edifices much like the ones they had been engaged to construct on Lillitzen.”

  “Why did old Edsella let them go in the first place?”

  Madame Olatana answered slowly, “Because they were costing more per hour than the Lillitzians.”

  “Sounds to me like Edsella was right,” Shasian Shepcover said.

  “Business administrators think it prudent to measure costs in terms of productivity,” Madame Olatana said slowly. “If one worker can make three items in the time another worker can make only one of those same items, but the first worker costs only twice as much, the cost of the item goes down if the first worker does all the work. That was the situation on Lillitzen, with productive workers costing more than unproductive ones. King Edsella couldn’t see the difference, though.”

  “Seems to me a better idea to keep the home folks working,” Shasian Shepcover argued.

  “Indeed, you have to measure each cost,” Madame Olatana said.

  “So how would I get to Drintde, now that Massy has stopped the funds?”

  “You need to go to the spaceport and apply for a job,” Madame Olatana said. “Most of the spacecraft that come and go from our own capital’s spaceport are managed and operated by the natives of Drintde, those tall, white, and bald entities you see around the spaceport. However, those people are always looking for presentable entities of good family from other planets. You would look over the jobs and see which one would take you to Drintde, to arrive just before your birthday.”

  “Sounds pretty complicated,” Shasian Shepcover said. “Can’t you do that for me?”

  “Yes, of course, if you get your bill up to date,” Madame Olatana agreed. “I can’t afford to leave this office, with paying clients coming in the door at all hours.”

  “I don’t see how I can get anybody’s bill up to date. The tailor has been waiting the longest, and he’s ready to sue me,” Shasian Shepcover disclosed.

  “Perhaps my receptionist, Lialn, could help,” Madame Olatana suggested. “She is very quick with learning things, such as spacecraft schedules.”

  “How can I pay her?”

  “You could agree that, when you get to Drintde, you would pay her from your first remuneration,” Madame Olatana said, quite firmly.

  “That’s a deal!”

  II

  King Hutarfe bounced into the royal bedroom in the tumbledown castle in Warbut’s capital.

  “I hate getting
dressed up, Massy,” he complained to Queen Mastila, who was reclined on the chaise longue working a crossword puzzle. She wore no clothes, as was the royal couple’s custom in their own home.

  “Take off that silk shirt, Hutty, and come here and sit by me,” Mastila said.

  “We were comfortable before the Earthlings arrived,” Hutarfe went on as he stripped off the last of his clothes. “I could go all over town, by myself, wearing only a light robe. Now I have to put on a suit, shoes, and underwear. Underwear! Who would have thought about underwear during my grandfather’s reign? I used to get into a full suit of clothes only for the opening of Parliament or the graduation ceremonies at the University.”

 
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