FURTHERMORE AND THE GREAT LOSERS OF HISTORY
Furthermore is a collector. I didn’t know this about him until quite recently. Of course, as he is quick to remind me, the things I don’t know about him would fill several police files.
But I digress. The old bird is a collector. I discovered this the other night after my regular workout with the hydra. I staggered into the library off the main cavern to tie up my wounds and found Furthermore beaking through a large and obviously much used scrapbook.
“Hey, bird brother!” I greeted him as he glanced up. “What’s happening?”
“Well, you appear to be bleeding to death, for a start. I believe you’re getting slower.”
I wasn’t about to argue the painfully obvious, so I changed lanes. “What are doing there?”
“I’m reviewing my collection.”
“What? You collect stamps?”
“Now what would I want with stamps? No, I collect something far more interesting. Here. Take a peak.”
I leaned over his featured shoulder and saw that the large pages of his scrapbook were covered with photographs, some quite old and many autographed. “To my inspiration and friend, Furthermore….Eddie.” Stuff like that.
“So what’s this all about? You collect autographed pictures?”
“No, no. Nothing that pedestrian! Here. Look at this one.”
It was a picture of William Jennings Bryan.
Furthermore tapped the picture with a claw. “He ran for president three times and got clobbered each time. Then he wound up as the prosecutor in the Scopes Monkey Trial. He made a fool out of himself. Right after that, he dropped dead. Great, huh?”
He moved on to another picture. I immediately recognized Richard Nixon.
“Resigned the presidency in disgrace. First man to do so. A real collector’s item,” observed Furthermore. The next shot was of Gerald Ford. “Pardoned Nixon for everything he said he didn’t do, just in case.”
There were pages and pages of yellowing photos. The navigator from the Titanic was there. Mrs. O’Leary, whose cow burned down Chicago. Lot’s wife, now a pillar of salt. There were several philosophers and scientists, all marked as members of the Earth Is Flat society. The inventor of airline seating was there, along with the inventors of the telephone, the SAT exam and the necktie. The founder of the first law school was there, as well as a painting of the first graduating class. Several writers were included near the back of the scrapbook, including Danielle Steele and some others whose names didn’t ring any loud bells. In what was apparently the sports section, there were group shots of the current Phoenix Suns team and the Coyotes hockey team. O.J. Simpson had a page to himself. “Had to,” confided Furthermore. “He kept shoving the other pictures off the page.”
Now, throughout Furthermore’s proud display and biting narrative, I had been looking for the connection. Finally I gave up.
“Give up?” he asked, grinning that little lopsided grin he gets when he’s been peeking ahead at the script.
“Of course,” I allowed.
He grabbed one corner of the scrapbook with his beak and closed the volume. Across the cover in gilt letters in read “Great Losers, Vol. III, property of Furthermore Raven.”
“Pretty neat, huh? Great collection! Positively inspiring!”
He did a neat little spiral around the Iron Maiden hanging from the rafters and settled down atop the volume on the cadaver table. I was thinking that some birds really do have way too much time on their claws.
I was heading back for another session with the hydra when Furthermore flapped lazily past.
“By the way,” he tossed back, “you wouldn’t happen to have a spare glossy photograph of yourself, would you?”
It occurs to me that I need to get out more and meet new friends, you know?