Tuesday, September 30, 2008

September 2008

by Fernando Magnifico

Buongiorno! The Lady Asterisk is indisposed this month, for she was attacked by a rogue cheese.

My friends, it breaks Fernando's heart to write this, but he has failed in his sacred duty to be your astrologer. When he came to the beautiful city of Ankh-Morpork to study the art of astrology at the feet of the bellissima Lady Asterisk, Fernando swore that he would carry the burden of being astrologer for all his readers who rely on him. But now Fernando's food is like ashes in his mouth, even his Uncle Enzo's famous salami, the one with the chilli and fennel seeds, and the cold wind blows through Fernando's small but stylish room. Even Fernando's red velvet cloak gives him no pleasure, for it is like sackcloth on Fernando's soft yet manly Brindisian skin. Fernando now knows well what it is like to have a heart heavy with shame, for he has failed: Fernando's astrological charts have disappeared, and without them even Fernando cannot calculate the horoscopes.

It will take weeks to re-calculate the charts, for every astrologer's calculations are unique. So there can be no horoscope this month. Instead Fernando will take questions from his devoted readers:

    "Dear Fernando,

    I am a Boring'un with an allergy to fish. Even walking past a market
    stall selling fish brings me out in hives. I'm thinking of accepting
    a job offer to be Assistant Clerk Fourth Grade (Sprout Specialist)
    at the Cabbage Grower's Cooperative, but Mother insists that a job
    with better prospects is First Mate on 'The Vindictive', which sails
    next week under Captain John 'Blackheart' Edwards. I'm worried
    because the previous First Mate was eaten by sharks in the Mothering
    Sunday Islands, but Mother tells me that sharks never attack unless
    provoked. What should I do?

    Signed, Cabbages Are The Life For Me"

Fernando cannot cast a precise horoscope this month, but Fernando has much experience in the knowing of personalities of each sign and knows that Boring'uns are not well suited for any job on a ship called 'The Vindictive'. Except perhaps for the job of victim. I recommend you take the job at the Cabbage Grower's Cooperative.

    "Dear Mr Magnifico, Ai am a respectable hwidow hwoman of hadequate means and still with all my own teeth. Ai was hwondering, is there a Mrs Magnifico?

    Signed, Still Young At Heart, Unseen University"

There is only one Signora Magnifico in Fernando's life, that is Fernando's sainted mamma, may the gods smile upon her.

Fernando gets the many proposals for marriage from the Signorinas, and sometimes the young Signores also. Fernando is always flattered, but he has too much love in him for any one person. This does not mean that Fernando will never be married, but it will have to be to a very special person who understands that it is Fernando's mission to spread his love to everyone in the world, except perhaps the Quirmian footsballers, and Carlos, but Fernando does not wish to speak of Carlos.

One of his missions. Fernando has many.

    "Dear Mr Magnifico,

    My sisters Incontinentia and Chlamydia and I read your horoscopes every month, and we especially love to hear about your exciting life back in Brindisi. Is it true that you once saved a young woman from being eaten by a whole family of bears?

    Signed, Prudencia Woolstocking (Miss)"

A whole family of bears? Fernando does not know where these stories come from. It was only the one bear, twenty feet tall on his back legs, with claws like daggers and teeth like even bigger daggers, and the bear he had found the signorina Valentina who was picking berries in the forest. Fortunately, Fernando was riding through the forest and came across them. Fernando's horse was frightened and threw Fernando and ran away, but Fernando got up and looked the bear straight in the eyes. The bear stood up on his back legs, thirty feet tall if he was an inch, and roared, and Fernando threw himself at the bear to save the signorina from being eaten. By the bear.

It was a terrible fight, for Fernando was unarmed except for a small stick he broke off a tree, but Fernando was victorious and the bear ran off into the forest and the signorina was saved. The cost was great though, for Fernando's favourite black silk shirt was ripped to shreds, and Fernando had to walk back to the village with his bare chest and back covered in terrible claw marks. From the bear you understand. Fernando's cousin Palomita had to go and have a lie down, and his Auntie Maria gave him a clip on the ear for riding bare-back and falling off the horse. She said that riding bare-back is dangerous, but Fernando laughs at danger.

    "Dear Mr Fernando,

    What is your favourite opera?

    Signed, Patron of the Arts."

Fernando has a great passion for the Brindisi opera. There are many such great operas, and it is very hard to decide which is best, but Fernando believes that perhaps the greatest of all is "Programma Nove da Spazio Cosmico" by the famed composer Eduardo Foresta. Who cannot be moved to tears by such as this?

E appena un salto il a sinistra
Ed allora un punto alla destra
Con le vostre mani sulle vostre anche
Portate le vostra ginocchia fortemente
Ma e la spinta pelvica che realmente lo guida insano
Li lascia ripetere il filo di ordito di tempo!

Fernando intends to make his new astrological charts, and next month the more usual horoscope should be back. Ciao bella!

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