Great gods alive and dead, my cloth-eared cretins! Last time we left, your attempt to become a pessimist was turning into depressing failure. This, I suppose, makes it successful, if you think about it. Anyway, you had taken up residence in a lonely sea cave to practice the proper art of misery, having tired of the terminal optimism that afflicts the membership of your ghastly nativity. However, you were pursued to this remote location by, not only angry, embittered relatives and ex-partners but also by the adulating membership of your Athenian fan club, followers of St Archer of the Tombs, noted lunatic and traffic light. That's you, by the way.
The ensuing hostility between these groups, your avowed enemies and your devoted supporters, had given rise to a bun fight of gargantuan proportion. Your lonely beach was now a site for car parks, food and souvenir stands, and litigations that threatened to give new meaning to the term 'vexatious'. With this thumbnail portrait of the past complete, we turn attention to the other four digits of the desirable Mrs Palm, by which we may read the future.
Attend me now, half-human loonies! It's time for a dose of prognostication, vile and bitter, dripping from the long-handled spoon of Asperitus, doctor of doom and demonic declaimer. That's me, by the way!
Thus do we both know our places in the ghastly scheme of things. Open wide as I administer the nasty medicine for jaundiced July! The month begins with jolly Jupiter in turmoil, rutting in the gutters of Heaven with the great Sol Invicti. Thus do we find you ranting, raving and frothing as usual, as you exaggerate the importance of everything that occurs because of its effect on you. Come the New Moon in neurotic Cancer, troubled by seething vileness between jolly Jupiter and Uranus, the idiot god, you retreat yet further into your cave to see if you can escape this gaggle of honking geese that wracks you with discontent. Marauding Mars in odious Aries urges you to search deeper in the dark of hidden passages, leaving behind the company of fellow creatures, despite an incessant craving for sex (Mars in your solar fifth house). So lost are you in the fury of retreat that you fail to hear a telltale creaking in the Heavens that presages coming naughtiness and ill-doing.
Shriek and double shriek, little centaur loonies! It's the creaking knees of lugubrious Saturn, abrading his passage (as it were) into lackwit Leo and your solar ninth house. Now will you discover the true meaning of the word 'pessimism', as this ancient embodiment of depression, old age and ill-health gropes his way through your house of the higher mind (an expression I've always found faintly ridiculous when applied to the human species). The ghastly Full Moon blazes once again in the sign of the miserable Goat, closing a door on the hubbub behind as you turn a sharp corner in the maze of tunnels. It is then you realize that you are penniless yet again, a forlorn wanderer in search of some new Shangri La.
You step forward boldly. There will be no looking back! Let the stern traditions of the Centaur guide you as once they guided Lot, whilst turning the poor fellow's wife into a sound investment for the spice trade. The great Sol Invicti clatters into lackwit Leo, catapulting you to daylight from the labyrinthine dark. But what's this? Why it's the farting of ghastly planets as they cavort in nasty aspect. Mischievous Mercury turns retrograde and you're surrounded by the babble of a foreign tongue, for you've emerged amid a tiny metropolis of foreign folk. Vamping Venus enters anal Virgo and you find you're surrounded by plainly dressed persons of serious demeanour. They poke you and press their attentions upon you, each discussing your presence avidly with a near neighbour. Incidentally, their language has thirty-seven different words for 'idiot'. As most of these are used in the initial converse, it is clear these are folk of keen perception!
Vainly do you try to introduce yourself and tell one of your famous 'ice-breaker' stories. But at that very moment, marauding Mars enters leaden Taurus, clashing with miserable Saturn, and events take a gruesome turn. You're bound and led away, then taken before what appears, from the grim set of mouth and depressing garb, to be the local authority. Egad! You're a prisoner of foreign persons! This will hurtle you towards the pessimism you've been seeking. But who are they? And what do they want? Have you been flung again from life's frying pan to life's fire? A hapless, helpless seeker in a naughty world!
As I'm feeling tired and unwell, you'll have to wait until next month for the answers to those questions. As for myself, I see a brown bottle and a silver tube with my name upon them. Medic! Come hither, and bring the best you have! Hail and farewell, jug-eared galoots!