Some three hundred years ago a wise and learned man resided in Alqueria. That is to say he was wise and learned compared to the norm in the village. He mastered joined-up writing and could walk and talk at the same time. El Creído was his name and this relatively erudite individual was universally disliked. The simple folk of the Pueblo didn’t understand him and therefore feared him. He was hounded out of his home and his town. As he left a comet was seen bright in the night sky. El Creído prophesied that when the comet returned to Alqueria a catastrophe of biblical proportions would engulf the village.
The comet is now known as the Grungbucket Comet. Named after Sidney Grungbucket of Penge. He catalogued the comet when it was first seen over southern Britain twenty or so years ago. According to his calculations the periodic body is due over southern Spain within the week.
Word spread quickly through the village. The population attempted to abandon their homes and cross the border into Spain. The Spanish authorities, being alive to the situation closed all crossing points. Unable to leave they settled for partying. Partying as if the end was nigh. Manuela was in her element and moved from one shindig to another. If anyone says they remember the parties of that night then it’s a certain bet they weren’t there. For months the village priest struggled to convert the drunkenness and copulation of the ‘night of the comet’ into the more sedately forms of heavy drinking and mild fore-play.
The Grungbucket Comet duly appeared bright and big in the northern sky. Clouds gathered and gave vent to a storm of Wagnerian proportions. Rain, lightning, and thunder shook the windows and rattled the walls of Alquerian homes. The comet shone brightly through the black cloud as if mocking the Alquerian people below. The village trembled as the tempest raged. It lasted until the first spears of the morning sun found their way through the valleys of the high sierra.
The population tentatively examined their village, their homes and themselves. All was well apart from everything being extremely wet. If there isn’t such a thing as a collective consciousness then the reality became obvious to all simultaneously.
The horrible truth is that no catastrophe of whatever proportions could do any damage to Alqueria. The village with its perma-fog, perma-pong and evil smelling Río Verde is such a disagreeable place that any modification no matter how caused would probably be an improvement.