- 6 -

Rome and Romulus and Remus

ROMULUS AND REMUS lived about the time when the Iron Age was finally passing out of being and making way for the Platinum Age.(1) However, since nobody could afford a toilet seat made of platinum, the Platinum Age passed out of fashion pretty dang quick, and handed the ol' history baton to the next age, called the Next Age.

So, in the bowels of the Next Age, Romulus and Remus were born to a poor farmer, who lost his farm during the Platinum Age when he couldn't pay for a toothbrush with bristles made of that elite metal.

The farmer, ever loving and kind, decided to throw his little darlings into the Tiber because he couldn't support them anymore. So the next morning, he took his infants and hurled them into the rushing river.

A local she-wolf, abhorred by this heartless action (but mostly spotting an easy meal), lunged upon the cruel agarian and devoured his intestines.

She then hurried along the bank of the river searching for bawling infants, or floating diapers, or anything that would betray the location of Romulus and Remus to her. She figured, if the babies were alive, she'd have two new members of her pack. If they were dead, she would truly have a marvellous dinner feast.

Anyway, the babies still lived, so the she-wolf scurried off to her pack, holding the babies by the scuff of their necks.(2)

On a diet of nuts, berries, wolf milk, and raw venison, the babes grew quickly and soon went on their first hunting-and-gathering expedition.

They soon came to a field, just outside of the woods, where a kajillion serfs were working for their master.

"Rebus, I mean Sqeamish, I mean Remus, what be that strange creature over there? Do you think its bladder be edible?" Romulus asked, in impeccable Very Ancient Latin.(3)

"I do not knoweth," Rebus, I mean Sqeamish, I mean Remus replied. "Perhap sayeth if we asketh yon varlet he will tell us in sooth." Remus spoke Very Very Ancient Latin. He needed an Ancient Diction Tape from Blitz Products, as well.(4)

They walked up to the serf and asked, "We would like to know, kind sir, if we may eat readily of your entrails without fear of indigestion or any similar disposition."

But this serf was not born yesterday, and replied, "Hey, I'll bet you were raised by wolves, weren't you?"

The brothers nodded their heads and panted.

"I had a brother and a third cousin who were raised by wolves, and do you know what? They both founded a great city!" He paused and waited for this statement to take full effect before he continued. "Yeah, one's name was Florence, and the other was Bologna!"

"Bologna?" they asked, again in unison.

"Yeah, I told you, he was raised by wolves. Hungry wolves."


Hypocritates, king of Minoa, known as Father of Anachronisms, had reached Ancient Italy, too. Now lumberjacks used chainsaws to cut trees and democracy had swept the land. Great highways of concrete, like Appian Route 101, crisscrossed the land like a sieve, and strange combustion-engine driven chariots raced down them recklessly. Even a space program had been worked out, and now craft with strange Roman names like "Apollo", "Mercury", "Jupiter", and "Saturn" soared through orbit.

As for serfs, however, their life hadn't changed much. They still worked all day for a lord and earned no pay, and many dropped dead in the heat and were buried in a dung pile.

This life appealed to Romulus and Remus to no end, and soon they had signed a contract with the lord of the manor (in their own blood, according to the law.)

Anyway, they too, got to sweat all day and lay awake nursing their wounds all night, like all of the other serfs everywhere. And they, too, got to work and work and work as if it were going out of fashion, like all of the other serfs everywhere. And they, too, got to live in barns and eat horse feed, like all of the other serfs everywhere.

"Man, I tell you, this is the life!" Remus would shout.

"I don't know." Romulus would reply. "Being treated like all other serfs everywhere doesn't appeal to me anymore. It's lost all of its magic."

"Aww, what a dork." Remus would blurt out.

Not a day passed in which a slave, I mean serf, did not lose an appendange on the sharp tilling and planting apparatus the lord of the manor would supply. Typically, this meant an end to the usefulness, and therefore life, of the unfortunate.

"Boy, I tell you, it's great to live in a country where any citizen willing to sweat and slave and risk life and limb for some corporate magnate can make it good!" Remus would shout.

"Yeah, nothing like living in barns and drinking pond scum to make a guy proud." Romulus would reply, in his best sarcastic tone. (Which wasn't very good. He really needed an Ancient Diction tape from Blitz Products - buy today, avoid the turn-of-the-millenium rush!)

Anyway, before long the sufferings of the billion trillion serfs didn't matter a fig - Italy and Carthage were at war, and the Carthagians killed the evil serf-master(5) and freed the billion trillion Italian serfs.

Freed them, of course, to become Carthagian serfs.

And so, Romulus and Remus were hauled off onto a Carthagian trireme headed for the rock plantations of Lower Tunis.

But all was not lost - Romulus still had his lupine training, and could dog-fight better than any man alive. And Remus had stealth that would put any politician alive to shame.

So, the Dog-Raised Duo incited a mutiny aboard the little ship, and the captain was slain. The three hundred serfs on board took control of the vessel, and steered it down the nearest river, the Tiger, no, the Fiber - I mean the Tiber!

The mutiny was described by the famous Roman historian, Theomopus, in his Dialogue Concering the Carthagian Wars, written in the third century BC. A text from this wondrous work follows :

"Que remous res freti vera ta ser esti, quod hou ser huomous, et foti et Carthous viti bona terminus, sed Romulus et Remus fettous timous erreret fos set gamet. Per mutinus sed quomous et Rerreous, sed terrere verous Carthous, ibi eret a diretmus, ite vero magna appia Tiber sedet coffee."

Whatever that means.

- * -

Anyway, the hijacked trireme floated gracefully down the Tiber River until Romulus and Remus decided to crash upon some rocks. Convienently enough, these rocks were on the site of Ancient Rome, or as it was then called, Old Seattle.

The king of this mighty megapolis was none other than - umm, let's see - perhaps, yeah! - The Bay City Rollers! And the happy strains of hard rock-and-roll echoed in the crippled eardrums of the stoned inhabitants of Old Seattle.

Romulus and Remus stepped off the boat, but in doing so, Remus accidentally triggered one of the Mauve Pessimists' left over land mines.(6) And so Remus found his end and faded into history.(7)

So Romulus and his crew were left to brave the dangers of Old Seattle. (And dangers there were, divers peril indeed.)

It was at this point that Romulus and his band of serfs entered one of Old Seattle's thousands of espresso cafés and ordered some three hundred cappucinos. The café tender was so delighted at the size of the order that he served Romulus the special of the house, spiked brevé.

This lovely concoction was the personal invention of one of the hep frequenters of the café, and consisted of espresso coffee, steamed cream, and a generous handful of PCP.

After downing the hallucinogenic elixir, Romulus fell into a psychodelic stupor. He began to mutter words nobody understood, and a uncomely amount of drool began running off his chin. All of a sudden, a fire kindled in his eyes, and Romulus began to squirm in his seat.

The café tender, sensing what was about to happen, yelled,

"Stand back, he'll blow!"

Romulus violently swept his glass off of the counter, and lept upon his stool.

"I SAW IT!" he bellowed at the top of his voice. "I SAW THE GOLDEN FLEECE! WE MUST WIN THE GOLDEN FLEECE!"

"What in blazes is the 'Golden Fleece'?" one of the head serfs muttered.

Romulus lept off of his stool. He had gained the attention of every ear in the place, friendly or otherwise.

"The Golden Fleece is a thing of great magic." he began, much enthused. "It is something like regular fleece, but of a golden tint, and it lays somewhere near by, here, in Old Seattle."

Here he paused, wiped his drool-soaked chin with a dishtowel close at hand, and continued his story afresh.

"We must find the Golden Fleece! I saw it in the land where honey-trees grow out of the ears of those who ride green bicycles upside down and sit upon thrones of Play-Doh." he said in an incredibly noble tone. It was easy to see why he was a leader of men.

Romulus' standard-bearer rose their banner. "Do you not hear our great leader? What he says is right! WE MUST WIN THE GOLDEN FLEECE FROM THE INFIDEL LEGIONS OF OLD SEATTLE!!!"

A great cheer arose from the crowd of three hundred serfs, and they began their march towards the Kingdome, the city's royal palace.

By evening their company had reached the gates of the Kingdome.

"We seek an audience with the kings!" Romulus said to the guard of the Kingdome.

"You do, do you? First you must answer the riddle of the Sphinx! If you fail, I shall claim your unhappy little lives!" the guard replied.

"This is the wrong story," Romulus muttered, "but we must do what we must. Fire away, Riddle-Master."

"In what land do kings sit on thrones of Play-Doh?" the guard asked with a diabolical grin.

The head serfs looked at each other and at Romulus in amazement.

"In the land where honey-trees grow out of the ears of those who ride their green bicycles upside down." Romulus answered with a knowledgable air.

"I didn't think that riddle had an answer." the guard said in amazement. "But since you answer so well, and since it all makes perfect sense now, you shall have your audience."

The guard opened the gate and let the army of serfs march into the inner courts of the Kingdome.

Soon they were standing before the mighty kings of Old Seattle, the famed Bay City Rollers.

"And what have we here?" they asked in unison.

"We seek the location of the fabulous Golden Fleece." Romulus and his three hundred serfs replied, also in unison.

"We know not of this Golden Fleece." the Rollers said. "Seek your counsel elsewhere." They shook their heads, and their golden tresses bounced along with them.

"THE GOLDEN FLEECE!" Romulus said with a shout, and with one fell swoop, he had their golden toupees in his hot little hand.

Of course, without their extremely expensive toupees, the Bay City Rollers were but balding, middle-aged relics of the '70s. Their court counselors laughed at them, and before the night was through, they had been deposed, and exiled to wander throughout the world, trying to find somebody to buy their concert tickets. Sad and dejected, and with no hope of a "Return Tour", the Rollers threw themselves off the edge of the world.

And so Romulus was named king of Old Seattle, and he renamed the city in his honor. He called it Romulus City.

This appelation sounded incredibly stupid, of course, so his descendants eventually cut it down to Rome.

And he and his descendants spread Roman Imperalism to the very corners of the earth. More on that in the next chapter, another reluctant delve, with one finger and an upturned nose, into the odious depths of "WORLD HISTORY"!!!!!!!!!!!

1. March 17, 741 BC.

2. Which really made them howl, but the she-wolf had assumed that howling was a natural form of expression among all creatures, so she didn't mind much.

3. Blitz Brand Foreign Language Self-Tutoring Cassette Tapes! Anyone can learn - even somebody raised by wolves! Available in Very Ancient Greek, Very Ancient Latin, Very Ancient Aramaic, and Very Ancient Visigoth! Call ROme 4-4444 to order.

4. And also available - Very Ancient Dictation tapes - stop talking like a hermit with a herd of goats in his mouth! Only from Blitz Products! See above footnote.

5. Serf's up!

6. See chapter 5.

7. That's a nice way of saying that he blew out his guts and his entrails spoiled Romulus' fine new toga he had plundered from the Carthagians.

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