13 April 2001

"A woman's time of opportunity is short,
and if she doesn't seize it, no one wants
to marry her, and she sits watching for omens."
   - Aristophanes

My mailbox had a surprise in it today, a business-sized window envelope addressed to me. The return address was empty, except for three US dollar signs, big, in currency green. The postmark was metered, bulk-rate pre-sort, stamped from Omaha, Nebraska. I don't know anyone in Omaha, and I've never met any Nebraskans in my life. I turned the envelope over in my hand, and saw the back was imprinted with "You're going to like this!" in the same currency green as the return address dollar signs. Intrigued, I opened the envelope, anticipating something good.

It was good, all right, but maybe not for the reasons you might think. I dug right in.

First, out came a three-page, doublesided, single spaced typewritten letter. Above my address on the first page, in a 28-point handwriting font was printed, "Trust me, R.B., if you need money ... it could pay you to read this letter!" The typewritten letter that followed was peppered with quotes from the "Contemporary English Version of the Bible," each relating directly to following some precise instructions for getting an abundance of cash into my life. The letter informed me I was soon to find myself "basking in an extended period of Prosperity and Good Fortune, starting on or around June 6, 2001." The date was underlined for emphasis.

The letter went on to describe how the writer was struck by a vision of my astrological chart aligning itself in such a way as to guarantee me untold wealth, enough to end all my money woes forever, and then some. I was treated to a description of a magnificent old stone mansion, an excellent library filled with priceless books, a shiny black Beemer in my driveway, and a happy child on a brand-new bicycle. Why, in just a matter of weeks, I could be as happy as "Marguerite K."

Who is Marguerite K., you ask? Why she's a woman the writer predicted a "lucky period" for, after which she won $10,250. The same kind of lucky period I was about to face.

To help me jumpstart my good fortune, the writer offered to send me, free, my very own "mystical and powerful Cross of Fortune," and all I have to do is order my "Forecast for a Life of Good Fortune" for only $19.95 (plus $4.00 for shipping and handling). Said Cross of Fortune purports to be "an exact replica" of one that has made my benefactor's own good fortune possible. In fact, the writer used "astrological skills" to figure out the six numbers on a lottery, and personally won one million dollars. There is an illustration of the cross, which looks an awful lot like a lowercase letter "f," along with descriptions of the symbols inscribed upon it -- a "Seal of Bethor," a Nordic "Gilch," a Scandinavian "Feon," and all twelve symbols for the Zodiac. On the facing side of the sheet is the "Prosperity Confirmation Form for R.B." I'm supposed to fill in the form with my date of birth, my place of birth, the time of my birth, and my intentions for the money I'm going to be getting. There is even a coupon to cut at the bottom of the page, a "personal money-back guarantee of satisfaction to R.B. Bilateral," telling me if I am unhappy with my forecast, or if the weeks following June 6, 2001 don't improve my luck, all I have to do is send back the forecast, and my money will be completely refunded. The Cross of Fortune is mine to keep, no matter what. I wonder if it's real gold?

As if that wouldn't be enough to convince me of the writer's good intentions, and the veracity of her skills and talents, also enclosed is a copy of a news article titled, "Astrologer Solves Case," by "Gary DeVille," profiling the writer's involvement with the "Wickliffe, Ohio" police department in solving a particularly nasty crime. The article says that the writer studied with a "well-known English astrologer, Prof. Reynolds," while living in England thirty years ago. She's obviously been at it a while, and knows what she's doing.

The letter ended with a caution, telling me to keep this to myself, lest others become jealous of me and my good fortune, which is just around the bend. Confident of my complicity, the writer ends, "I'm so excited for you, my dear! You really deserve this."

She's right. We both do. In the meantime, I'm grateful she gave me something to write about. Maybe it's an omen.

Excuse me, but I have to go dig up my birth certificate, so I can send along the hour of my birth, and wait for the money to come rolling in.


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