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Past Imperfect

by Stephen Lautens

January 8, 1999

All this end of the Millennium stuff us getting out of hand. It kind of makes you wonder whether anyone made a fuss at the end of the last Millennium.

Well, wonder no more. I have in my possession a scroll passed down through the generations of my family. It was originally written in the year 999 by my great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather (give or take a few dozen greats).

Here's what I've been able to make out on the ancient parchment:

"It is the Year of Our Lorde, 999, at the eve of the close of the firste Millennium. And I, Stephen, scribe of the Sun of the Towne of Cowes, have seen the future, and will now reveal all.

There shalle be great iron birds that shall fill the skye, taking people to distant landes. Yet their luggage shall not arrive with them, but shall arrive three dayes later without explanation.

Such journeys shall last less than an houre, yet man and their kin must arrive at the Ports of Aire three full houres before. And there shall be a great wailing and gnashing of teeth as each flighte shall be oversold.

And in the evening hour as the Nightingale sings, a call will come into every man's abode as he sits to break bread, and a stranger shall aske if he wisheth to save on longe distance. And he shalle be much vexed in the answering, as no refusal shall be enoughe to endeth the plague of calls.

The monielenders shall build towers unto the verie skye, and amass gold and riches beyond measure. They shall take wives with golden haire and figures that owe muche to the alchemists' dark art.

And though they have all the riches of the lande, they will still wish to join together, so that their pile of monie reacheth unto the heavens. For suche is their vaniy that they believeth not they could ever be denied.

The Spice known as Ginger will turn her backe on wealth, leaving many to wonder if she ever could sing. Instead she will become the Maidservant of the perplexing, many-headed beast called the United Nationes, which roars yet does not bite.

That rare and wondrous spice known as peppere will be so common across the lande that the Royal Police who are Mounted shall insist that common students of the proteste shall partake of it. And there will be many tears and lamentations in both its giving and receiving.

Voices shall be heard in all places at all times. Yea, even in the cineplexes and theatres of the lande. And it shall be a pestilence called by many names, including the Mobility of the Belle, and the Houndes of Fidoe.

Every evening, all in the lande shall return to their abode to watch glowing visions dance before their eyes, and they shall be transfixed, although there be nothing upon the waves of the Ce Be Ce.

Those in the colde lande of Canada shall instead turn to the Channel of the Fox, whereupon there will be Coppes and Funnie Bloopers, and much lechery and fornication shall adorn their screens.

Yet the Bullard and the Benmergi shall be worshipped, and no personne shall know why. And they shall cry unto the heavens: "Is there something here we getteth not?"

And the Leafs of the Maple from the village of Toronto shall stinketh not, and there will be much wonderment. Yea, they may even drink from the forbidden Cup of Stanley.

By this sign alone ye shall know that the ende is near.

And may Gode have mercy upon us all."


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