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The Oatmeal’s Fool and the Maître d

The Oatmeal’s Fool and the Maître d

oatmeal

The giant came down from the clouds and clumsily walked around, smashing homes and stores with his malodorous feet. Finally the giant got tired, and lay down to sleep. Of course more homes, stores, and also forests were flattened.

My home wasn’t. But the giant’s head was right next to my home and his snoring made it impossible for me to focus on the book I was reading – Migen Plockner’s, The Oatmeal’s Fool and the Maître d.

I went outside, climbed into the nose of the giant (I had to hold on tight to his nose hair’s in order to not be blown away), then up through his sinuses, where I took a feather out of my pocket, and tickled the sinus walls. The giant sneezed, blowing me out, and waking himself up.

I was blown into my swimming pool, so I was okay. The giant got up and walked on, far enough away so that I couldn’t feel the ground shake anymore. I dried off, went inside, and back to reading.

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I guess I should try and make a difference

I guess I should try and make a difference

I sit around a lot and don’t do much. I’ll read a little of a book, but I get bored fast, and I go back to doing nothing. Today I thought, I’m going to see if I can make a difference. I got in my time-machine and traveled back to April 14th, 1865, and the city of Washington DC, Ford’s Theater in particular.

It was evening and a lot of people were heading into the theater to see the production of The American Cousin, including President Lincoln. I wore my hat pulled low so he didn’t notice me. I have often time-traveled to visit Lincoln when he was growing up, when he was a rail-splitter, and in the White House, but I didn’t want him to see me at this time.

The show started and I remained outside. About 45 minutes later, the actor John Wilkes Booth approached the theater. He was trying to not be noticed, but I’m Lincoln buff, and there’s no way I could miss him. I stopped Booth and in a panicked voice and with tears and sobbing said, “Mister Booth, have you heard?! The President had a stroke and died, right here in this street, less than an hour ago!” Mr. Booth was stunned. And then I noticed a relief pass over his eyes.

I asked Booth if he would join me for a drink in the saloon, “To help soothe our frayed nerves.” Booth at first resisted, so I went back to sobbing and he agreed. I read once that if you cry like a baby, everyone wants to help you because you activated their biological response to want to sooth an infant. We went to The Stewed Toad tavern.

I plied Booth with a great deal of Pount Touty brand whiskey. He opened up that when I stopped him earlier, he was on his way to kill the President. I pretended I didn’t hear and asked him to speak loudly. He yelled his assassination plans. A local constable at a nearby table overheard and took Booth into custody. Though he had a difficult time carrying Booth out because of his stupor.

I left the tavern with the feeling that I had finally done well. I time-traveled back home, and lay in bed in the dark. I began to run through all the events I could change and possibly make the world a better place to be. I must have come up with about thirty-five which I wrote down in the notebook I keep by my bed.

When I woke up in the morning, I couldn’t read what I’d written the night before. I lay in bed for a few hours. Then I got up and went to the living room and sat on the sofa for four hours.

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Spaced Out

Spaced Out

spaced out

I took the day off and sat on the Moon. I looked out at the Earth for a little while, but got restless because it reminded me of all the things I that I needed to get away from.

So I walked to the other side of the Moon, sat on the edge or a crater, and looked out at Space. Space has no depth or definition, but there’s an is-ness about it that shook my coil and sent me into a trance. My dog Rexy was sitting next to me, and started barking to bring me back.

I snapped out of it and patted her head. She tried to lick my hand, but her tongue ended up licking the inside of the glass of her space helmet.

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Life’s embarrassments never end

Life’s embarrassments never end

Time-traveling is a lot like eating. I get a hankering to visit a particular person/event, like I need a pastrami sandwich right away. Today I felt compelled to go back in time to Sharpsburg, Maryland, September 17th, 1862 – the Civil War battle of Antietam. This was an embarrassing attempt to confront one of my greatest crushes –  the famous nurse, Clara Barton.

I had to wander around in great peril on the battlefield in search for Clara. It was as bad as you can imagine. I’d rather not go into detail because I’m still rattled. Eventually I found my way to the Union hospital tent. There she was, glowing like the Sun on its first day of work.

I was overcome and almost backed out, but when time-traveling, you need to be bold, like you’re supposed to be where you are in time, otherwise time will spot an anomaly, and crush you like a Dixie-cup under a bull’s hoof.

I went up to her and said, “Nurse Clara?” She looked up from assisting a surgery and said, “Yes?” I hesitated for a moment as I noticed:  her white dress was blood-spattered, and smelled like rotting meat; the patient on the table was screaming, while blood spurted up between Clara and I like a fountain in a park; a mortar exploded next to the tent, tearing away half the canvas, obliterating a handful of convalescing soldiers. In my distraction, I felt the walls of time pushing in, threatening to smite me.

I gained back my courage, leaned forward, and kissed Clara Barton. I felt nothing. How could this be? I’d been imagining “sky rockets in flight.”

I apologized to Clara, saying I misjudged our distance, and that I was there to help assist with the wounded. I sensed that she knew otherwise, and that I hadn’t been the first to be so blatantly impudent.

She put me to work picking up amputated legs and arms from the floor. And so it goes.

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Going back to visit Haystack

Going back to visit Haystack

John Hay

This time around I got in my time-travel machine and ventured back to the White House, September 1862.

I went wandering around the halls. I noticed president Lincoln — he nodded at me, and I nodded back. I often visit with him on my time travels, but I didn’t feel like it today.

I walked until I saw another friend, John Milton Hay, as I like to call him, “Haystack.” Haystack was/is  Lincoln’s secretary. (I never know what tense to use in time travel situations. When you go back and forth in time as often as a Netflix addict watches shows, you kind of forget what past and future is anyway.)

I try to visit Haystack once a month, because he’s funny. I mean, Lincoln will pull out a good joke every so often, and I’ll chuckle. But Haystack’s job is to go through all of Lincoln’s correspondence and write back to people, so he often has to deal with the dregs of society. People who think of things in terms of demons and possessions — that kind of thing. So he has to be funny or he’d go nuts.

When I saw him, he was sitting at his desk, held up a letter and said, “Get a load of this Hullabaloo. From Tuscaloosa. Freston K. Pierce. He writes the President saying, ‘Whad en taurnation r yah biffoons doin?’ How am I supposed to answer this? You tell me! In the future, do the people get any smarter?”

All I imagined was laying down on the floor of the White House. That’s because time travel tiredness overcame me, as it often does after the first few minutes of going down the backstairs of time. So I decided to lie down. My face was on the wood floor, and I could hear creaking sounds as the White House staff walked. It was like listening to waves on the ocean. I mumbled something really dumb, like “Creakin’s good.”

(The above picture of Lincoln in the middle, Haystack on the right, and me on the left was taken by White House photographer Mathew Brady. All it cost me was a duck’s foot, and a pinch of chaw!)