Chapter Fifty-Five+ S/R
By means of backsplanation, Richard Muntz, Dame Thornia’s right-hand boy introduced in the original Saturn Rendezvous session, scooped up the aging, ailing astrologer upon her release from San Francisco General Hospital after a long, painful stay.
Thornia had closed her downtown salon, having grown increasingly fearful of crime, bodily attacks and an array of other mishaps and maladies Saturn might ring her way. She put her late husband’s insurance settlement toward a decidedly far less threatening Marina two-flat between Chestnut and Cervantes, living on the top floor, setting up shop, discreetly hosting readings in her replicated astrology studio downstairs.
Safer, surer bet—no doubt about it: I even swung by to visit her from time to time. As for Richard, he split his time between an SRO hovel on outer Post Street and a tiny illegal in-law apartment she kept behind her garage space.
Somewhat ironically, Loma Prieta ’89 took down her ‘landfill special’ in a heap of stucco and liquefaction, leaving only her upper floor unit relatively intact. At 5:04, Richard was likely down handing out astrology flyers in Jackson and Union Squares. Meanwhile, Dame Thornia had been puttering around her salon—rearranging candles and plastic flower sprays, as was her wont—as she waited in humming anticipation of a 5:15 session with some Pierce Street boozer harboring a directional disorder.
As she later explained, the earthquake/temblor brought her house of tarot cards folding down around her, cascading lath, plaster and support juices trapping her, crushing her ribs and hip, laying her up in intensive care and traction for months. Richard eventually wheeled her out of General, back to a steel-beam retrofit home her insurance had covered, with his knothole supervision. Of course Thornia, bless her supernatural heart, would never be truly ambulatory again. So Richard rose to the challenge, homecare minder-wise, with myself eventually manning the ill-fated Saturnine.com Weberprise from a heretofore undisclosed remote location. Richard proceeded to wheeze, weasel and wheel her around in an unpowered chair over the years.
She apparently drove him more bitterly harried and desperately crazier than he congenitally was; or maybe they had some haywire suicide pact. I just kept my healthy distance, flitting in and out, even moreso amid the dot-com bust, fretting over I-Team TV investigations of crooked Bay Area psychics. And yet, our Website’s demise was just as well, since it was turning into some kind of sappy Saturn Lonely Hearts Club Band the way Saturniacs were emailing, chatting to our ‘Ring Around’ forum. No, tres no bueno, at all.
So in retrospect, this arrangement spelled total trouble, from inception of her Thorniology Centre on Fillmore Street, wherein Richard surreptitiously wheedled durable power of attorney over her presumably decimated estate, to the brutal finality of Dame Thornia’s ‘inspiration point’ demise…
Return to Chapter Fifty-Five…