Hyperion's Travels

excerpt A Gypsy woman materializes out of a bush with two brats in tow; they're tugging at her flowery skirts. "Give us a grand, do, for the sake of them pretty eyes of yours, an' let yer decent soul rejoice for evermore." "And are we goin' to have our fortunes told for the price, or what?" Altisidora replies. "Sure thing, duck, that bright young man of yours is, at any rate," retorts the Gypsy. I find the whole thing a big joke, can't remember seeing anything like it back on the Moon. My imaginary automata must be in fits. Trust the bastards to keep an eye on me. "C'mon, then strike them cards with the note," she says, and produces from underneath her garish skirts a deck of cards by which she must have duped lots of people already, if not half the population of the City. I slap the thousand lei note against the cards. That sets her off: "You come from far, far away, an' that's where you're going back to, no way you're gonna stay here. You've loved one woman, an' there's another one you gonna love, but, oh, your soul is cryin'… don't hold it against me. As far as money is concerned, don't you worry about a thing, you're splurging when you have it, you're splurging when you don't, there's something these 'ere cards are tryin' to tell me about you, but I don't quite get it – first time they show me such a thing. You're wearing your heart upon your sleeve, you're not holding back anything, this woman, your second, is a good woman, loving, too, but she gonna leave you, an'you'll go back to your world. There's a friend coming your way, you'll get on well with him – for a while – but he's goin' to turn his back on you. You know a guy by the name of Ionel?" "Nope." "Beware of him, he's a most fierce enemy. You've got a disease of some kind, your back, innit? You're going on a long journey, but you're not gonna die on earth, no offence, duck, that's what them cards is tellin' me…" The Gypsy woman withdraws for another spell into the bush she has emerged from. I turn to Altisidora: "She's amazing, unaware of her own talent, she is, the more's the pity. Some people have the gift of reading people, and they go completely unrecognized." Cartea Românească, 1997

by George Cuşnarencu (b. 1951)