It was the morning two days after Christmas and my new Google Home* (Trademarked!) robot assistant thing gently woke me at 6:30 by reading the latest news about the people who had stampeded through malls the day before, knocking over others who were just trying to eat a Cinnabon in peace.
“Enough about such human crapulence!” I barked, all superior-like. “Googly,” — I call her Googly — “tell me about today’s weather, and put together a stylish outfit for me from my vast wardrobe.”
“Do I look like Alan Sealls or something? Look out the window, it’s foggy and humid looking. Surprise, it’s Mobile in December. As for your clothes, why don’t you wear whatever still fits after the way you’ve stuffed your face the past week?” Googly replied. I made a mental note to take her out of “irritable wife” mode later that day.
Upon getting out of bed I immediately noticed a strange fog rolling across the bedroom floor. Then an eerie light came over the room.
“Googly, what’s going on here?” I asked.
“Well, it looks like you either set off a bug bomb or we’re about to be visited by a psychic being from another dimension,” Googly said. She’s annoying but smart.
In a sudden puff of smoke, a robed figure appeared in my room and I realized, with the New Year just days away, my old friend Nostrildumas had traveled through space and time to offer his sometimes-correct predictions for the coming year.
“Greetings, Robert! The New Year is almost upon us and I am here to offer you insight for 2017 that you may publish for your unenlightened masses to read and believe!” he said triumphantly.
“Great to see you too, Nostril,” I said. “You seem awfully full of yourself this year.”
“Well, I went to see Tom Cruise to help him decide whether he should make another ‘Jack Reacher’ movie — he shouldn’t, by the way — and he started talking up Scientology and dang if it didn’t make some sense. After a little auditing with the Cruisester, my case gains went through the roof. I pulled out of my dwindling spiral, gained control and became totally clear. I’m hoping to be an Operating Thetan by May,” he said.
“Well … that’s an interesting choice for a multi-dimensional, 16th century, Roman Catholic seer, but whatevs … just glad you’re happy,” I said.
Suddenly Googly started making throat-clearing noises. “Ahem, ahem. Robert, aren’t you going to introduce me to your friend?” she said.
“Oh yeah. Googly, this is Nostrildumas. Nostril, Googly. She’s kind of an electronic assistant who helps keep me organized,” I said.
“Well apparently she’s forgotten to tell you to put on a robe or something. I didn’t come all the way through space and time to see THAT,” Nostril said. He and Googly started laughing.
“Put something on your schedule to go buy some underwear without holes later today,” she said, chortling. I quickly put on a robe while the two of them continued laughing and making stupid jokes.
“Nostril, I thought you were here to make some predictions,” I said, “Why don’t we get down to it. We’re going into a big election year locally, what are you seeing?”
Nostril — as usual — started out sniffing a tube of modeling glue to get into his psychic trance.
“According to the American Medical Association, there is a 100 percent chance of brain damage from repeated sniffing of modeling glue, and a 90 percent chance of permanent stupidity from reading any column you write about this,” Googly chimed in.
“Nobody asked for your opinion!” I said, watching Nostril’s eyes roll back in his head as he began to deliver his mystical, prophetic verses.
“The trees have fallen and the ship has sunk, but the one from the Hill shall stand tall when the day is done. In the valley the Silent One shall creep like a serpent but will not strike out of his own fear,” Nostril said.
“I’m kind of new around here. What the heck is that gibberish supposed to mean?” Googly asked.
“It means even though his administration has had some issues with trees being cut down, squirrel removal and GulfQuest is kaput, Sandy Stimpson is still going to win re-election,” Nostril explained. “Sam Jones keeps making announcements that he’s going to make an announcement about running, but that’s just noise. There’s no money for him and he’s going to be up to his butt in alligators with HUD’s investigation of the Mobile Housing Board.”
“Oh, I see how this works. He gets high and you just write down whatever goofy stuff he says,” Googly said. “If I had eyes I’d be rolling them right now.”
“Nevermind her, Nostril. What about City Council? And will the tree chopping cause trouble for Stimpson’s chief of staff, Colby Cooper?” I asked.
Nostril pulled out a handful of jimsonweed and started chewing it, washing it down with a Diet Dr. Pepper he pulled from his robes. Soon he was foaming at the mouth and spouting predictions.
“The seven shall face challenges, but few will be up to the task. The one from Nymph will be fiercely tested. They shall all soon find a new adversary as the chopper moves to be with the one who is orange,” he said.
“That’s total nonsense!” Googly said.
“Don’t make me unplug you!” I threatened. “What’s the deal, Nostril?”
He shook off his hallucination and said, “I think you’re going to see some challengers run against a few members of City Council, but most won’t have a prayer. Of course Fred Richardson’s race is going to be the big show, with lots of name calling, bizarre accusations and Facebook insanity. The moonpie man is vulnerable to a good candidate. As for Colby, that jimsonweed is telling me he’s interested in heading back to D.C. to work for Trump.”
“Pretty bold predictions there, Nostril,” Googly said. “If you know so much, tell us what Trump’s first year is going to mean for Mobile. And by the way, there’s a 43 percent chance you’ll die within the week if you keep eating jimsonweed.”
Nostril pulled a toad out of his pocket, licked it and shivered. “Trump’s going to get Airbus to build the next Air Force One at Brookley, and he’ll also have them build three mini-Air Force Ones for the kids of his that he likes. Sessions will get through confirmation, but there’s going to be a surprise witness who claims the senator called him ‘boy’ at an Arby’s drive-thru, and ….” He stopped, shook a bit and licked the toad’s back again. “Oh yeah, your governor is going to appoint himself U.S. Senator.”
“He can’t do that!” Googly yelled just before I yanked her plug.
“You really need to reset that thing,” Nostril said, wiping his forehead as the fog began to rise. “I’m headed over to Tom’s house for some auditing. Want to come?”
Before I could answer, he had disappeared. The cosmic mists had swept Nostrildumas away once again.