13 Advance Exerpts From the Future 

1. Chesterfield County Secedes From the Union (Jan. 21, 2015)

After five years of debate, zoning issues and last year's incident at Cloverleaf Scientology Center, the United States announced that Chesterfield County has obtained the right to secede.

"Our paperwork is in order," Chancellor Greg Pearson says. "We've proven financial stability. People of the county have proven themselves socially and culturally progressive on a level to match Sweden."

The county, soon to be renamed Chesterfieldland, will offer dual citizenship to Richmond residents and discounted airfare on flights into Chesterfieldland International Airport. Elections this month will determine the parliament, but it's nearly certain there will be universal health care and mandatory pants-wearing for all citizens. The country will develop wind-driven power plants that the chancellor insists will not be used for building weapons of mass destruction.

2. America Declares War on Chesterfieldland (Feb. 18, 2015)

In a military move not seen in Virginia since the Civil War, the United States has begun air strikes on New Chester City.

"We have ample evidence of weapons of mass destruction being built from wind generated right there in their wind fields," President Walt "Babyface" Bush said in a press conference today.

While Marines moved down Interstate 95, Richmond officials responded by administering wind-proof masks to city residents.

"It's magnanimously inconceivable that an agent of that ignominious country would plan a strike on our soil," Mayor L. Douglas Wilder said. "But I have allocated resources to our defense that will both protect our citizenry and save the city $20 million." He then demonstrated how breathing through a kazoo would protect against airborne agents and "the cunning demons of Zephyr!"

3. Lucky Strike: Philip Morris Lets Seven Smokers Enter Factory (May 16, 2019)

After the successful December 2007 override of President Bush's veto of the popular SCHIP insurance program for youth, House Democrats continued to tie massive social spending programs to funding streams flowing from an increase in the cigarette tax.

Rioting Republicans unexpectedly joined forces with the Ellwood Thompson card club and closed down Philip Morris USA in an effort to choke off the money from the Mommy Government Democrats.

But as it was revealed three years ago, Philip Morris CEO Michael Szymanczyk, along with his top board execs, a raft of midget workers and a few select lab monkeys, had gone into secret seclusion in the company's South Side plant.

They re-emerged in 2018, launching a nationwide contest to open the plant to a select few. Seven lucky smokers who found Marlboro Reds made out of gold will be allowed to enter. Only one special smoker makes it out alive.

4. VCU Cancer Center Cures VCU Expansion (July 23, 2020)

Researchers at VCU's Massey-Trani Cancer Lab achieved new scientific heights this week when they isolated a therapeutic molecule that curtails cancerous tumors. As an unintended side effect, runoff into the water supply wiped out VCU's expansion into the city proper.

In a twist of fate, the previously under-funded philosophy department is all that remains of the once-sprawling university complex. Department head Whitney Craighall pronounced, between puffs on his pipe: "Ironic that it was the unstoppable growth of the monster that created the very thing that finally destroyed the monster. Curious, no?"

5. Richmond Times-Dispatch Does Away with News (May 19, 2021)

To combat the skyrocketing cost of paper, the Richmond Times-Dispatch announced today that it would be letting all the editorial staff go and begin reprinting back issues of the newspaper on sturdy pieces of cheese.

"It's just more cost-effective," Publisher Tom Silvestri Jr. said in an online Town Hall meeting. "Besides, it tastes terrific!"

Editor Glenn Proctor declined to comment.

6. Jim Gilmore Loses Race for Henrico County Dog Catcher; Dog Victorious

(Aug. 24, 2022)

"He may not be loyal to his species, but he's a good boy," said Linda Fourplay, the owner and primary campaign contributor for Licksey, a 4-year-old Australian shepherd who she said promises sweeping reform and universal heart-worm medicine.

7. Homeless Richmond Symphony Announces Bus Shelter Series (March 15, 2023)

Having been turned away from a local woman's basement with a broom and some pots banged together, the Richmond Symphony has taken up residence in a bus shelter on East Broad Street. City officials said the players didn't seem to be any harm.

"Mostly they just empty spit valves and run scales," exterminator Mann McMahon said. "Still, we'll probably fumigate and make sure every one of 'em is dead. Even the flugelhorn."

The "Kicked Out Classics" series begins next week.

8. First Friday Artwalk Canceled Due to Lack of Fridays (Sept. 13, 2023)

There is some fallout from Gov. L. Douglas Wilder's recent approval of legislation that removes Friday from the weekly calendar to "end the chicanery of that odd day and the sheer waste of employee resources that comes from midweek malaise."

The Anti-Friday legislation most dramatically affects the Broad Street Artwalk, which was due to celebrate its 30th year this month.

"Just like that, it's over," said Tad Boxelder, owner of the Walm-Art Gallery, "One stroke of a pen and it's gone, and now no one will see art for even one day a month. Who's going to eat all this snack mix?"

9. Richmond Proper Officially Becomes a Food Court (Dec. 6, 2023)

With the opening of the new Shockoe Bottom eatery 13 Bowls with Stuff in Them, the city has become home to more restaurant space per square foot than other retail or residential space.

The move has prompted Virginia legislators to revoke Richmond's charter and declare it "one big food court."

It's no surprise to resident Margot Lambrigade, who's been living in a two-bedroom apartment in a local Arby's. "It's not so bad," she said, "and at night the meat-slicer sounds like the ocean."

10. City Responds to Child Crime (Feb. 14, 2024)

In order to save ever-dwindling funds, the Richmond School Board announced a merger with the Sheriff's Department.

"We wanted to be where the children were," Board President Carol Wolf said. "As long as the facilities are ADA-compliant, I'll do what it takes to cut administrative costs. In this case, having the incarcerated sixth-graders share yard time with the nonviolent adult offenders just makes good facility sense."

11. iPhone revolution reaches Richmond (June 5, 2024)

In its sixth month, the bloody and violent overthrow of society by an army of self-aware iPhones has finally reached the city limits, having already established transitional governments in Washington, D.C., and Chesterfieldland.

iPhone ambassadors issued a text message to phones in the 804 area code saying they would not be overwrought status symbols anymore. While the army had taken over government and media sources in other cities, Mayor Larry Wilder had assured residents, "It is utterly impossible that these microscopic minions of evil will take our city."

12. 0110010100100011010010101010 (June 12, 2024)

10010101100100001000011000101000101101010000101010001010010100101010101010100101. "010001010101010100101," 0101010010101010.

13. Local Archaeologist Uncovers Primitive Irrigation Ditch (Sept. 22, 2032)

Archaeologist Barry Potpourri, working on the extensive downtown excavation project, said he'd uncovered what looked like a "recreation or perhaps gathering area for the indigenous people" that lived here before the city was leveled by ongoing war.

"It's perhaps some kind of canal," Potpourri said, "used perhaps for mating rituals, or human sacrifice. There's been no evidence to indicate these people had any type of organized social structure, community or laws. I mean, they built a canal when they had a whole river right there … It's probably better that they're gone."

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