Do you believe in astrology? No? You soon will.
A trip to the funfair sounds like a good day out doesn't it?
Not for Ray Trent, dragged along by his sister's bridesmaids. Still, to show willing, he has a go on the zodiac oracle booth.
Sometimes prophecies have a habit of coming true. Yet Ray doesn't believe in astrology, but the zodiac believes in him, and decides to play a game. Compete to see who can get him to believe in them. He becomes their toy. Their piece on the giant board-game.
Sometimes not believing can have brutal consequences.
"Well you've got to have a go on something".
"No I haven't. There's nothing here that appeals to me. It's for kids mostly".
"No, not really. It's a funfair. Funfairs are not just for kids. Anyone can enjoy them. Except for you. Here we are, what about this?"
Caroline Trent was at a local park where there was a travelling funfair that had settled for the week with her friends, Sandie, Vanessa, Leanne, and Mandy, along with her brother Ray. With Caroline's wedding on the horizon, she and her bridesmaids had decided to go along to the fair, having all left from her house. However, at the gate on the way out about to call was Ray, and Mandy had told him they were on their way to the funfair and would he like to come along?
Before his mind could tell him to refuse, his mouth spoke 'yes' and he found himself tagging along.
They stood before a small arcade which featured one-armed bandits and various gambling machines beneath a large open-sided canvas tent. Just outside stood a fortune-telling booth which looked old and worn, made perhaps before the Victorian age.
'The all-seeing oracle will tell you your horoscope'.
Inside the cabinet was a mechanical puppet dressed in a yellow shirt with a necklace and gold headwrap, meant to represent a wizard.
"Come on, have a go on this at least," Caroline said.
"Nah, I don't believe in horoscope rubbish," replied Ray.
"Look, why are you here? I knew you wouldn't bother with any of this and that you'd rather be down the pub having a beer with the lads, but you're here now so you might as well have a go on something. It's Mandy's fault anyway for inviting you". She looked at Mandy who said:
"Yes come on misery guts. I'll have a go". She walked across to the booth and put her pound in the machine.
In front of the wizard were twelve cards, and in front of them beyond thin glass were twelve buttons.
The puppet jerked into life.
"Welcome welcome welcome," it said in a tinny, but loud voice. "I am the all-seeing oracle. Press your star-sign and I will tell your future".
The girls and Ray all gathered around the machine. Mandy pressed the Virgo button.
The inner workings toiled away as if it had not been used in a long time, but after a few moments from a slot beneath the buttons, a card churned out.
"Thank-you," said the oracle. Mandy took it and read it aloud:
"When Saturn moves into Aquarius, you will be sensitive to different conditions as you usually are and your attitude does nothing for you. With Virgo being an Earth sign, you are honest and forgiving, but you must take the reins and control the situations you have faced before, especially when your emotions threaten to overwhelm. Do not be a doormat. Virgo's welcome change and when your disappointment comes you will be in a stronger position. Drop your heavy weight, and the man with the muscle will pick it up. By the time Jupiter meets Pluto, your confidence levels will be higher, and you will be in much more control".
"Sounds like it's talking about your Carl," said Vanessa. Mandy nodded.
"It kind of does".
"They're all generic," said Ray, "You could read any of them and find something in them about yourself. Load of rubbish". The girls were quiet for a few seconds as if all thinking the same thing: ‘Well go away then you miserable fucker’.
Leanne put her pound in the machine and pressed Sagittarius. The Oracle jerked into life.
"Welcome, welcome, welcome..."
A card churned out and she read it:
"A bright and adventurous fire sign. When the sun rises in your constellation, the wisdom of Jupiter will ensure your employment is ended, but for good reason. A new job will emerge and your enthusiastic lunar nature will ensure positivity for you and your new colleagues, certainly whilst Jupiter is in your sign. Talk for a while, and when opportunity knocks, answer the door. Affairs close to you will pull you in but you need to be head-strong to resist becoming too involved. Sagittarius knows you have the resolve and broad-minded attitude to not let them consume you. Some people always try and take advantage. You must be firm but fair".
Caroline stepped forward and inserted her pound. The puppet became animated.
"Welcome, welcome, welcome, I am the all-seeing oracle..." She pressed Aquarius and moments later a card came out. She read it aloud:
"Your sense of rationality and objectivity enhance your concerns for the environment and society. You love your Libra friend, although they are weak and vulnerable, but they are good for you. They are safe. Sometimes your resolve lets you down, and you place too much expectation on other people. Say farewell to a blood kin, and embrace a new dawn. Freedom is a valuable commodity to you, but your union with your Libran, especially when joined by a Capricorn will widen your horizons. Aquarius knows your independence will see you through”.
"Loada shite," muttered Ray. The girls just ignored him and Sandie stepped forward.
"I'm a Sagittarius like you Leanne, do you think it'll be the same message?" Leanne just shrugged.
"Try it anyway," so Sandie did.
"Welcome..." and a card made its way out. They compared them.
"No they're different," said Sandie, and read hers out:
"Your ruling planet Jupiter needs for you to stop being naive and fickle, and step up and take what you know is rightfully yours. Your child-like quality is a positive asset, but you tend to be taken advantage of by Geminis and Aquarians. Saying 'no' will make you feel so much better. Keep being open and honest and forgive your family. They mean well. Avoid the transport and spice up your love-life. Enhance your 'can-do' attitude and your positivism will rise”.
"Vanessa your turn," said Caroline.
"Welcome, welcome, welcome..." Vanessa read hers aloud:
"According to Libra, an Aries romance will be on the horizon. If your sense of disillusionment, indecisiveness and high standards of perfection are taken down, you may not grow old alone. Your ego is at a rather high level, and you look down on far too many people, even though you are their equal, but only some of your pompous attitude can be justified. Put coins in the blue tin then get out of the rain. You enjoy debate and controversy, but sometimes your mouth gets you into trouble. With a Taurus sun and Gemini moon your sense of morals will be lowered to an appropriate level. Reign in your good taste and you may find yourself in a more rational position”.
"This is so wrong. I'm not posh".
"Yes you are," said Leanne.
"Come on Ray it's your turn," said Caroline. The girls all looked at him expectantly. He made an exaggerated sigh and stuffed a hand in his pocket.
"Don't spend any of your precious beer money," said Caroline sarcastically. "You can get a can of cider for a pound".
"Less, actually," he said, finding a pound coin. He slotted it into the machine.
"Welcome, welcome, welcome..." said the oracle, jerking into life. "I am the all-seeing oracle. Press your star-sign and I will tell your future".
He pressed Pisces. The inner workings toiled away and soon a card was coming out.
"Thank-you," said the wizard.
He took it, but the machine kept going.
Another card came out and fell to the ground. Ray and the girls just watched as another churned out, and another, and another.
"See, the things broke," said Ray as the final card fell on the grass. He picked them all up and shuffled them like playing cards.
"You've got all the zodiac cards," said Leanne. He found Pisces and read it:
"Pisces understands your negative attitude and disbelief in everything but reality. This, however, runs against you. If you took more positive movements to open your mind and believe, you would be happier. As you do not believe in horoscopes, it's time to have some fun. A competitive nature you once had. Then your friends took it away. Now you are a lazy drifter..."
The girls all laughed amongst each other, and Ray glared at them.
"I think this zodiac thing has got us all down to a tee," said Sandie. Ray waited a few more seconds and continued:
"...you want everything on a plate. Which star-sign will get you to believe in the zodiac? They will win, and so will you, now you are the zodiac's toy". Ray stuffed them into his pocket.
"Time to get something to eat," said Mandy. The girls all turned and headed away, Ray following. However when he was a few metres from the machine he heard it whirl back into life and he turned and looked at it. The wizard turned its head and looked directly at him.
"Game on," it said.