eXcavation Factor

An archaeological dig in Mexico has revealed surprising though somewhat predictable evidence regarding the collapse of the ancient Mayan civilisation. Researchers were initially surprised and then increasingly alarmed at what their excavations gradually exposed. This Nuse reporter took a flight out to speak with the team.

“We were digging in an undisturbed site where nothing has grown on the barren landscape in human memory,” said Doug Daily, the chief archaeologist. “We tried to speak to the locals before we began but we couldn’t find them. There simply weren’t any. It was as if some tribal herd-instinct had stopped people from going anywhere near. We couldn’t even find anyone who would acknowledge the existence of the area where we wanted to explore.”

He paused, a haunted look crossing his face, and then continued. “Our initial evidence from satellite photographic images suggested that some kind of a ring had sunk into the earth here and that the desert had simply closed over it. It took many weeks of painstaking scraping before we revealed a massive submerged arena containing tiered rows of hundreds of seats set facing a raised dais, upon which we found a stone desk with four chairs at one side and, on the other, a single podium.”

Rowan Danround, Professor of History Repeating Itself at Peterborough Polyversity, continued the story in a subdued tone. “Early analysis of the skeletal evidence indicates that the audience was jam-packed with humanoids with rather unusual skull abnormalities, suggestive of intense inbreeding and associated brain malformation. The stage, meanwhile, gave up five very badly burnt figures attired in layers of superficially attractive chains and jewellery which, under closer examination, turned out just to be worthless shiny tat.” He shrugged. “We tried to find geological causes for the travesty that occurred here but there is nothing. It seems likely that some kind of contest or trial was in progress when the Earth, with an unprecedented and almost inconceivable violence seemingly directed with pure malevolence at the very life forms she had given birth to, just opened up and swallowed the whole spectacle.”

He turned to the storm-darkening skies above and his voice lowered to a whisper. “We also found some stone tablets with ornate carvings upon them.” His eyes set upon me in a fixed stare and a mask of terror drew across his face. “Intricate markings, they were, formulaic and repetitive. It looked like… like music, I tell you. Music!”

The Last Breath of the NHS

The NHS has been criticised for being “too quick to resuscitate” in a recent report.

The paper, produced jointly by the BBC and ITV, suggested that extending the delay before resuscitation attempts were initiated would add to levels of suspense and that this would be a valuable device when transposed to the many hospital-based soaps which are broadcast incessantly night after bloody night.

“We try to keep our docu-suds as realistic and true-to-life as possible,” said a television spokesbod earlier today, “but it would really help the flow of the dramatic narrative if the medical profession was prepared to meet us halfway. I mean, drugs locked away safely in secure cabinets, insistence upon sobriety on duty, adherence to ‘live-patient’ policy and the like are all very well but they don’t do a great deal for excitement and tension. The most interesting thing to happen in the medical world recently was Harold Shipman, but I’m pretty sure we’ve milked that for all it’s worth by now. Medicine simply isn’t dangerous enough anymore…

“Thank goodness for this government’s health reforms – now at least we’ll be able to construct some proper plots with angles like politics, bribery, industrial espionage, competition, fraud and corruption. After all, like they say: the under-cut is the deepest.”