New Year’s Eve was dragging to its close, and the last of the Kevlar panels had been screwed securely in place to protect my home from the celebratory gunfire sure to erupt when the giant MoonPie dropped downtown. The commercial where the guy goes out and buys two expensive, tricked-out trucks as presents for him and his wife as a surprise had just aired for the 53rd time in the past three hours and I drifted into a semiconscious state, where I could no longer tell the difference between Ryan Seacrest and Anderson Cooper.

A mystical glowing fog began to fill the living room and I knew it was either a gas leak or I was about to be visited by the ghost of Nostrildumas, a 16th century seer famed for his uncannily accurate predictions of future events. He likes to drop by from time to time.

In just moments he was standing in the middle of my living room, his goofy prophet hat blocking my view of Christina Aguilera’s low-cut dress. “Greetings, Robert! It is I, Nostrildumas!”

“Um yeah, Nostril, I know who you are. No need to be so formal. Take your hat off and sit down,” I urged.

“What is this Satanic noise!” he blurted out, spinning to look at the TV. “This foul, naked harpy must be silenced before your soul is lost!” With a wave of his hand the TV switched to a channel playing 16th century lute music. “Much better!” he said. “It seems I arrived just in the nick of time.”

I had to admit the lute music wasn’t half bad.

“So how’s it going, Nostril? Want a beer?” I asked.

“I fear interdimensional travel has left me in need of something a bit stronger than the pitiful descendants of Renaissance-era ale you and your friends find so engaging,” he said, pulling a flask out of his robes and drinking until it was dry.

“I see there’s still no interdimensional AA,” I joked, drawing a stern look from my mystic visitor. “Feel like doing a little predicting now?”

“Well, I didn’t come here to watch ‘Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve with Ryan Seacrest.’ By the way, I was flipping between the New Year’s Eve shows on the way here. Why are they so lame?” he said. “I should have warned people about them instead of Hitler.”

“Yeah, we could’ve used a heads up on that. Anyway, things are pretty hectic around here. The House of Representatives will be run by Democrats beginning in a few days, and there’s a lot of talk about impeaching Donald Trump. What do you see happening, O Mystic One?” I asked, trying to butter him up.

Nostrildumas closed his eyes and put his flattened fingers aside his temples and began rubbing in small circles.

“Loud voices cry out in frozen dark; the eagle and the bear walk talon-in-claw; wooden hammer will fall; the orange and the skeleton unmasked and the streets will flow with bile,” he said.

“Nostril! You know I can’t understand your ridiculous quatrains. They don’t make a bit of sense. Can you just tell me what’s going to happen please?” I asked.

“OK, OK. It’s actually pretty juicy! So all this Russian collusion stuff is going to start getting really hairy after Mueller’s report drops, and the House members are going to be clamoring for impeachment,” he said. “Then, just before it happens, the National Enquirer will reveal that Trump and Nancy Pelosi are having an affair and the entire country unites to violently vomit in unison, and people from both political parties will begin to respect one another again.”

“Trump and Nancy?” I said incredulously.

“Yes! Apparently during one of their meetings he just decided to grab her … .”

“AAAAAHHHHH! Don’t say it! I get the gist! That sounds really magical, but also totally insane. You may need a little more ‘help’ getting into a meditative trance, buddy,” I said.

With that, Nostrildumas whipped a tube of modeling glue from his sleeve and inhaled deeply. “Next,” he said while trying to keep the fumes in his lungs.

“The stock market has been wild lately. What can investors expect in the New Year?” I asked.

Nostril exhaled loudly, staggered a bit and steadied himself by holding onto a nearby chair.

“The ringing bell shall chime; bulls bears, bears bulls; a spinning wheel offers hope; silk bedding will hold the future,” he said in a weird, trancelike voice.

“Interpret please,” I said.

“Basically it’s the stock market. It goes up and down. You’d have better luck with a roulette wheel in Biloxi. But your best bet is shoving cash in a pillowcase,” he said.

“OK, that makes sense now. Not bad,” I said. “Let’s hit something local. Mobile’s mayor and council are actually in court against one another, essentially fighting over who has what authority. Where is all of this going?”

“Got any weed?” Nostril asked. “No!” I replied. “What about meth?” he asked. “Are you insane!?” I replied. “How about some drain cleaner and Sudafed?” he asked. “I have Drano, but no Sudafed,” I said. “Yeah, get me some of that,” he replied.

I fetched him the drain cleaner and he poured some in a small shot glass he had in his robes. He gave it a whiff, then knocked it back like whisky. “Whoa baby!” he yelled, staggering around the room. “That’s got a kick!” He flopped down on the floor and closed his eyes.

“The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down; Of the big lake they called ‘gitche gumee’; The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead; When the skies of November turn gloomy,” he said.

“Come on, man! Those are lyrics from ‘The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,’ what in the world does that have to do with Mobile’s City Council?” I said.

“OK, you caught me. I wouldn’t have placed you as a Gordon Lightfoot fan. Anyway, essentially I see the mayor winning the current legal fight, but only after it goes to the Alabama Supreme Court. And even then there’ll still be irritation. The Fred Richardson/Bess Rich alliance continues to cause trouble. Oh, and the council still won’t be able to pick a president,” he said.

“I know you can’t stay long so let’s try some quick hits while you’re still here and that Drano high is raging. No more quatrains!” I said. “I’ll mention a subject and you just hit me with the first thing you see. The border wall.”

“It will finally be funded when Taco Bell buys the rights to actually build a restaurant in the wall every 15 miles,” he said.

“Kay Ivey.”

“Questions will arise about who is actually running the show in Montgomery and why she knocks off work every day by 3 p.m.”

“State lottery.”

“Alabamians will vote in a lottery that allows each county to opt out, which will leave the game legal in just four counties.”

“Attorney General Steve Marshall.”

“Will become a hero to lobbyists for showing them how to go around Alabama’s PAC-to-PAC ban.”

“Alabama Ethics Commission.”

“A bottomless pit of worthlessness.”

“Jeff Sessions.”

“His tell-all book becomes a best-seller when it somehow supports Trump AND makes him sound insane at the same time.”

“Facebook.”

“This year marks the beginning of the end after it’s discovered they’ve sold personal information on more than 3 million fake profiles.”

With that, Nostrildumas was surrounded by an eerie mist and began to disappear.

“I’ll see you this time next year!” he said. “Maybe sooner if you can round up some Sudafed!”