Vol.XVII No.IX Pg.1
November 1980

Year Of Our Lord 4192

Robert F. Turner

The land was patched with brown and green, and thin vines clung to stunted trees that seemed to struggle upward. Many valleys and low pockets where contaminated soils had settled were still raw and barren. A few were marked with flags and warnings of radioactive spots; for centuries of waning and washing were necessary to purge the land of a curse its once proud warriors had brought upon it. But on a round green hill a temporary camp had been established, and students now prepared for another day of research in the ruins of an earlier civilization, long vanished.

A professor of Archaeology led his class into a large excavation in the side of the hill. Color-coded stakes and signs marked the eras they passed as they climbed down. Finally, they reached the lowest level where crumbling remains of a once-magnificent building had been exposed. Various objects, surprisingly preserved by a deep layer of ash, had been carefully cleaned and left in their place for more accurate identification. A broken marble cornerstone lay to one side, inscribed: FEL...HIP HAL..

"This is Late-American," the professor said. "Ante-Hydrowar, perhaps. The building was probably a place of worship in that period, and may have been destroyed by one of the bomb blasts that brought the Americo-Russian period to a close."

One of the students pointed to a hooded metal table, half buried beneath the rubbish, and asked, "And what is that, Sir?"

"We are not certain," the archaeologist replied. "We think it may have been a type of food warmer, known as a 'steam table.' In other ruins similar tables have been found next to large urns — thought to have contained a liquid called 'coffee.'

"You see," the professor continued, "although little is known for certain about the religion of the Americans, we deduce from evidence found in such temples that they worshipped a God called 'Fellowship.' An important ritual, related to that worship, was called, 'Coffee and Dough-nuts.' BUT THERE IS LITTLE EVIDENCE THAT THOSE PEOPLE THOUGHT SERIOUSLY OF THE SOUL.