As he drove his earthmoving machine making a cut that would become the roadbed for a new highway across the country now known as Polemiczyk, Jozef Buzzzwicki was appalled to notice that he had uncovered an ancient ruin. He was dismayed because he now would have to file a compliance report to the Ministry of Antiquities which had decades ago in the year 5004 BCE decreed that work would have to cease until a permit was issued following an archaeological dig. This would prevent him from virtually attending the championship game of his favorite sport.
Flagpoleball was a step of the evolutional descendent of a game three millennium ago known as “Basketball.” Over the centuries, through selective breeding, the professional players had evolved to be nine feet tall. However since it became boring to the fans and public interest waned when every possession resulted in a basket, changes were initiated requiring that the players crawl around on all fours and move the ball with their noses. Hence the wildly popular game “Noseball”, Jozef”s passion evolved. Of course, the basket was changed to a net, smaller, lower and similar, to that used in what was then known as football in most countries, but soccer, in one, due to a prior claim to the use of the word “foot”.
The chief archaeologist in charge of the dig, Dr. Louiski Leakeyski, was sitting at his field desk reviewing the amazing findings and with the aid of his GPS and a little of help from Google, he was able to pinpoint the dig location to an ancient town known as Wadowice in a country then called Poland. Along with most of the known world it had been buried under many feet of ash from the eruption millennia ago of the volcano Yellowstone. His studies of the strata had indicated that the ruined structure had been built well before the known date of the eruption.
He was interrupted by the entry into his tent of a lovely but breathless Doris Nojusticewicz. She was his lead graduate student aide who had achieved a small measure of fame as a female activist who justly complained that “even here in the fifth millennium, due to bribery of politicians by PACs, women are still not paid equal wages to men.”
She quickly gasped “We have unearthed a significant find,” and was holding the remains of what appeared to be a very old sealed bag made of the material then known as plastic that had survived intact all those centuries.
Taking it from her trembling hands, Leakeyski placed it upon his desktop and gingerly unzipped the bag to examine its contents which were not visible due to the thick ash coating. To his amazement, inside he found a book, a pair of very much worn and aged cleated shoes, and an item of rotten fabric that could be a towel or part of a garment.
Taking first the book, he was able to make out the title “Catechism 101.” Opening the cover he was amazed to find the owner’s name, Karol Wojtyla and the date 1935 BCE. He quickly Googled the name and became so excited that he lost a bit of bladder control. “Holy shit, Doris, this is obviously the gym bag of Saint John Paul II, this site must have been his high school, and he must have lost this somewhere in the building. Do you realize the significance of this? His bio says that he was an athlete in his youth and as Attacking Midfielder led his football team, the Wadowice Tadpoles, in their defeat of their arch rivals the Krakow Polecats. He scored the winning goal in that memorable game.”
In an effort to increase revenue the politicians took control of the items and immediately placed them on E-Bay. The bidding across Christendom reached over 50MM euros for each item since it was obvious that such a relic in any church would astronomically increase donations by visiting pilgrims and tithing by the devout. The winning bid for the fabric item was placed by reigning Pope Sicola, using Pay Pal. He immediately assembled a team of experts, similar to those who studied the Shroud of Turin, to verify its provenance and age. This team, using carbon dating, of a shred of the fabric and DNA comparisons of a hair attached to the fabric to that of a descendant in the Wojtyla family tree was able to confirm that it was indeed a garment worn by the revered Saint during his high school years circa 1934 BCE. Two of the analysis team were reported to have been cured of serious illnesses upon exposure to the fumes arising from the fabric sample; one was cured of terminal haemorrhoids and the other of cancer of the sweetbreads. Needless to say, this news electrified the world. Ailing and worshipping pilgrims seeking cures flocked in droves to view the relic, and, upon insertion of large euro notes into a machine in St. Peters Basilica, could inhale a slight whiff of fumes vended from the climate-controlled sealed display case, which is closely guarded by Swiss Guards to avoid desecration by jealous and zealous fanatics of competing faiths.
St. Peters Square, outside the Vatican, has been occupied 24/7 by massive crowds. The world demand for rosaries has outstripped production capabilities, and new, highly automated, Vatican licensed, factories, are springing up overnight in China.
At a CNN broadcast, a reporter interviewing people inside the basilica at the display said that she had cornered an Italian woman dragging her reluctant young boy and followed by her husband who obviously would rather be playing bocce ball. The high decibel prayer sounds could be heard as far away as the Trevi Fountain where numerous new Baptist converts were being baptized by total immersion, without even wearing personal flotation devices as required by the Coast Guard.
Upon completion of her allotted ten second viewing of The Relic, the boy, pointing at the relic asks, “Che cosa e’ che conchiglia facendo li.”i After the mother admonishes him, pointing at the relic, he asks his father, “Quelle est cette tache jaune?”ii His father replied, “Sa coupe de’borde.”iii