Standing in the yard the other night drinking a mango White Claw and attempting to see the conjunction of Mars, Saturn and Jupiter, a fog began to set in. Fog, as everyone knows, is a total conjunction killer, and my evening was about to be ruined when I remembered it’s the beginning of the year, and then I noticed the fog appeared a bit more mystical than the average swamp gas. I quickly realized it must be my annual visit from Nostrildumas, the famed 16th-century French seer who likes to traverse space and time to offer Southwest Alabama a look into the future.
And “poof” there he was, bouncing on the trampoline that had been overstretched by a bunch of teenagers at my daughter’s 16th birthday party this summer, then beaten up by a hurricane in the fall. “Watch this — BACKFLIP!” he yelled. I tried to stop him, but he was already in mid-bounce. The saggy tramp didn’t give him nearly enough air and Nostril landed in a wad on his head.
“This trampoline sucks!” he said, rubbing his neck.
“I know. Some teenagers stretched it out. Are you OK?” I asked.
He climbed off the trampoline, holding his neck with one hand and reaching inside his robe with the other. He pulled out a flask and took a deep swig. “You’re lucky I know what’s about to happen to Morgan and Morgan, or I’d have them all over you,” he said. “For the people, my 500-year-old butt!”
I offered him a White Claw to ease his pain and he replied, “Do I look like a high school girl?!” My mystic friend was in a cantankerous mood, to say the least. “Why are you standing out here in the cold anyway?” he asked.
“I’m looking at the conjunction of Mars, Saturn and Jupiter,” I said, pointing out the celestial objects.
“Um, what you’re looking at there, Copernicus, is the conjunction of a 747, a helicopter and Uranus,” he said, laughing. “Get it?! You might want to cut back on the girl drinks.”
“Well, it’s hard to see through all this mystic fog,” I said defensively. “Did you just come here to be a grouch or do you have anything good to tell me? There’s plenty going on. I’d love to know what’s going to happen with the inauguration and all the threats.”
“Very well,” he said, “but with my neck hurting like this, I’m going to need a little ‘extra help’ to get into a proper trance.” With that, he pulled a large funnel and plastic tubing out of his robe and a Schlitz malt liquor 40-ouncer. “Hold the funnel high, then pour in The Bull when I give you the signal.” He kneeled, gave me the high sign and I watched him pound the entire 40 like a frat boy.
“Whew! I almost blacked out there!” he said, staggering.
Nostril’s eyes rolled back in his head and he began humming, then he spoke in his usual mystic quatrains using a nasally robotic voice.
“The orange flies south as the skeleton rises. Palm trees and golf shirts shall be scarce. The one who kicks the donkey shall suffer. Fear will rule the land,” he said, snapping out of his trance.
“OK, what does that all mean?” I asked.
“Trump goes to Florida and stays there while Biden gets his show going and the worry about Proud Boys and Boogaloo Bois shooting up D.C. are overblown. Guys like Mo Brooks are going to be investigated by their pals in Congress and generally, everyone is going to spend a lot of time worrying about violent extremists for several months,” he said.
“Why can’t you just say that first?” I asked.
“It’s no fun that way!” he said. “Hit me with another.”
“When is COVID going away?” I asked.
He nodded, reached into his robe and pulled out his go-to tube of modeling glue, deeply sniffing the fumes.
“Need for the magic elixir will grow enormously. Its mark shall cover the land. Hide your faces from the transformation that comes!” he said.
“In English please .…” I said.
“Everyone’s going to be clamoring for the vaccine, but they’re not going to get it out fast enough, and it’s going to drag on. Everyone will need vaccine cards to go anywhere. And don’t throw your masks away because you’re going to need them, especially if this whole mutation thing takes over,” he said.
“Well, that’s fun news,” I said. “How about some predictions about Mardi Gras? I know the plug has been pulled for the parades. Is there anything positive?”
Nostril once again reached into his robe, this time pulling out a can of whipped cream. He held it straight up and then inhaled all of the nitrous oxide, which sent him into a laughing fit.
“Beads and MoonPies … I can’t do it … I’m laughing too hard. Mardi Gras day is still going to be a huge party. People are just going to wander around drinking, throwing old beads at each other and eating year-old MoonPies. You’ll make the best of it,” he said as the laughter subsided.
“It’s freezing out here, man,” I said. “Let’s hurry it up. What’s going to happen in Mobile’s mayoral election? Is Sandy running?”
“Whooo! Man, I almost peed my robe!” he said. He then reached into the robe again and pulled out a large toad and began licking it. “This tastes way worse than you’d imagine!” he said as his eyelids closed.
“The tree-chopper shall ride again and people will rejoice. Look to the kingdom to the west to bring riches! The wombat and the mongoose will dance the Macarena,” he said.
“OK, I think I’ve got some of that, but the rest makes no sense,” I said.
“Yes, Sandy’s running again and he’s going to win and he’ll also manage to get annexation done this year. Honestly, that mongoose and wombat stuff was nonsense. This is some STRONG toad!” he said.
“One more?” I asked.
“I think I’ve got enough toad onboard to make it through,” he said.
“Is Alabama getting gaming?” I asked.
“Yes. And you’ll know for sure as soon as Governor Kay Ivey opens up a place called MeMaw’s Saloon,” he said.
“I’ll let you get back to your star-gazing and sissy drinks,” he said. “I’m headed out to meet with some weirdo named Q in D.C. at his favorite pizza parlor. He claims to be able to predict the future. I’ll be the judge of that! I’m also hoping I can get a word in with Melania. This may just be the toad talking, but I’m thinking she’ll be single soon. So much hotter than the 16th-century chicks, man. See you next time. Get that trampoline fixed,” he said, fading into the mystic fog.
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