Fear of Falling (Off the Flat Earth), Colltalers
The morning of the departure, half of the supplies for the trip hadn’t arrived yet at the docks. The Captain paced back and forth, checking his phone often, waiting on the confirmation from his First Mate that everything was on its way.
It wasn’t the first time Amazon had delayed shipments, and the last time that happened, he had to cancel an expedition to the Indian continent, a trip whose funding had cost him almost five years of his life to raise.
He looked nervous as the crew and the few ‘observers’ the crown had insisted in accompanying him were already installed on board, sharing fancy Cosmopolitans and streaming their chats with followers via live feed.
At least, the Captain knew that he was guaranteed a few minutes of prime time every week, and that should help sales of his upcoming book, How to Miss the Way to India and Land in an Even Richer Land.
The title, chosen by the publisher, was more than a simple well educated guess as to what he expected to actually happen. At that point, the Marco Polo’s logs were already in their third edition, and were intensely debated whether they were really accurate.
It didn’t matter. After this, the Captain was ready to retire, having sailed halfway across the world, and survived intact the numerous religious wars of his time. The 16th century looked really bright, as far as he was concerned.
The First Mate finally texted him, confirming the arrival of the cargo within the hour, which would leave enough time to move it all to the ship and, all going according to the plan, allow for a smooth sailing by the end of the afternoon.
In those days, the talk of Palos de la Frontera was, of course, climate change. But since the Spanish Crown, this trip’s main sponsor, was doing everything in its power to suppress dissent about such delicate topic, the Captain chose to keep to himself what he thought about the issue.
If he’d play his cards right, within a few years, he’d be comfortably installed with a generous tax-free pension, as a governor of some idyllic island, so he was not about to rock the boat, so to speak, about something he knew was beyond anyone’s control.
There was a light breeze when the packages began to arrive at the waterfront, just as crew from Fox News were setting the lights for an exclusive interview about his plans, and the conditions of his three ships, the Santa Maria, the Pinta and the Nina.
While being prepared for his on-camera chat, he kept a close eye on the unpacking and transport of the expensive kitchen, where he planned to entertain his guests during the downside of the ocean crossings.
His cabin had also a state of the art home theater, with a High Resolution digital screen, with the ability of screening Hollywood blockbusters at the same time as they were hitting the LA theaters. He heard the latest Tarantino was pure Oscar material too.
That was the general mood on that balmy August afternoon, and the Captain was just about ready to board the ship, address the crew and guests with a few inspirational words, and set the sails high, when it happened.
Out of nowhere, a procession of bishops and priests, Vatican envoys, showed up at the pier and demand to speak with him. As it turned out, the Inquisition assembly had gathered the night before in Rome, and determined that such a trip was sacrilegious and should not be undertaken.
The envoys, escorted by a heavily armed group of soldiers, sporting those feared but awfully fashionable Michaelangelo costumes, demand the Captain to stop all actions, and follow them back to answer questions from the Holy See. There should be no time to waste.
Thus, history got postponed for another five hundred years. Right after that rushed trip to the Vatican, the Captain fell ill and died without ever getting back to his beloved ships. The expensive equipment was auctioned off to the backers of the trip.
In five centuries, rumors that there’s a huge land up north, very likely twice the size of the whole Europe, perhaps even more, were never confirmed. There’s talk, however, of sending an exploratory mission to gather more information, but it still lacks funding.
Besides, the church still opposes any attempt at expanding its empire, if there’s no guarantee of its investments to be returned. The Vatican spokesperson has said often, that we can’t afford losing any more ships to the edge of the planet, just out of a ungodly thirst for knowledge.
That’s why, dear readers, our best hope these days is to end the oppression, fight for justice, and finally elect the first Mormon to the U.S. presidency. Otherwise, how will ever be able to replace the current management of all things spiritual by the Italian god?
It’s time to have a more modern, camera-ready ruler of heavens, so no one will ever need to speak Latin, and we may possibly revive the tongue of our ancestors, the Visigoths. We hear their army uniforms are simply killers.
Have a great one.