La Satira News Service
POMPEII–The Seven Hills Observatory on Mount Vesuvius announced this week the appearance of a new comet in the western sky. The comet is faintly visible in the hours immediately after sunset if viewed far away from city lanterns.
While comets are generally seen as omens of imminent destruction and chaos, the director of the observatory, Erronius Nexus, suggested that this comet is unlikely to produce too dramatic an effect. “At this point in its life-cycle, if it were going to be a major threat, it would have been much brighter than it is now,” he explained. “So on the whole, I’m guessing that this one is not going to be so much a portent of doom as a portent of some general but minor inconvenience.”
Asked what scale of inconvenience the public might expect, Erronius declined to offer specifics. “I don’t know. Maybe someone’s chariot will lose a wheel on the Via Appia and create a traffic jam at rush hour. Maybe one of the city gates will get stuck. Maybe Vesuvius here will let out a few bad fumes. What do I look like, a prophet?”
As a precautionary measure, the Imperial Palace has announced that it would increase civil patrols and offer additional sacrifices until the comet subsides.
Erronius also announced that the new comet would be named in honor of the emperor. The Imperial Palace also announced that the emperor would prefer it if this “portent of minor inconvenience” were named in honor of someone else. Erronius’ successor as director of the Seven Hills Observatory, Ravenus Lupus, promised the matter would be seen to immediately.
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