I was at home a few evenings ago doing the usual -- ignoring both housework and my astrology blog -- when the room was filled with a flash of light and a cloud of graveyard-dark smoke.
I had been visited by The Scorpio Fairy.
"Do I get three wishes?" was my first response. As an astrologer, it's never wise to pass up an opportunity for a free meal.
"Yes, in a sense" The Scorpio Fairy said. "I'm going to give you three gifts that I have chosen for you."
"That's kind of controlling of you, isn't it?" I replied.
"Enough with the Scorpio clichés, astrologer boy. You have been one sorry slacker lately, and you need to get up off your ass and do something. You have a purpose here, and you've been terribly lazy about it."
I paused and cast my glance downwards. Even gentle criticism from a Scorpio can be pretty withering. "Okay," I sighed, "you're the boss."
The Scorpio Fairy tapped me on the back of the head with her wand. Instantly, my back stiffened as if my spinal column had been suddenly replaced with a length of steel rebar.
"Your first gift. Fortitude," The Scorpio Fairy announced. "You've become lazy with your profession and with your writing. Always being distracted by other matters."
"Ow. That really hurts." I observed as I tried to move my immobile backbone.
"I'm just getting started." She tapped me with her wand across the eyes. I heard a loud pop, then felt a sharp pain in my eyes. I reached up to check them only to discover that my eyes had been replaced by 75X microscope lenses.
"Gift number two: Focus." The Scorpio Fairy explained. "You always tell your clients to try and break things down into simple, easy, manageable bits. You haven't done that with your life at all, lately, have you?"
"No, not really," I replied, bent over stiffly as I examined the fine weave of the couch fabric magnified 75 times. "I've gotten kind of overwhelmed."
"And it's only made things worse. By losing focus, you go nowhere. Thus, everything becomes a muddle."
I nodded in agreement. "Yes, very wise. Now, about my back and my eyes..."
"My third gift," she interrupted.
I felt the wand tap my nose. I felt myself lurch forward, and (under extreme magnification) saw a greyish, rough surface heading towards my face. I estimated the surface roughness to be equivalent of about a 20-grain grade of sandpaper.
My nose had smacked into a grindstone. The stone began to turn. "Ow. Ow ow ow." I said, or words to that effect.
"Determination!" The Scorpio Fairy proclaimed. "Combined with Fortitude and Focus, these are the keys to making your life a better place, and as a result... the world a better place. You want that, don't you?"
"Yes yes yes yes!" I agreed wholeheartedly.
She left me there for several minutes (just to make sure the lesson had sunk in) and then, with a wave of her wand, I was returned to normal.
"Now," she said, "you're not going to make me have to do that again some time, are you?"
"No ma'am," I replied immediately, rubbing my nose and blinking my restored eyes.
She stepped a little closer. Her expression softened and she looked me in the eyes, imploringly. Her voice grew sweet.
"Besides, sugar," The Scorpio Fairy said, "Saturn's still in Leo, along with the Sun now. Neptune and Chiron are taking forever to get out of Aquarius. With Mars in Taurus these days I'm feeling surrounded, and so are a lot of my people. We need you. Now get to work."
She leaned in and gave me a kiss on the cheek, flashing me a bit of cleavage before she vanished in a puff of smoke.
Bloody Scorpios. They're so persuasive.