FURTHERMORE WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE
I’ve not seen much of my Masonic-pet-raven-brother, Furthermore, of late. This is usually a cause for concern. Not that I’m worried about him, you understand. He can take care of himself. It’s everyone else I’m worried about. When I start hearing from lodges in obscure parts of the world concerning his activities, I do get worried.
Anyway, in the interests of greater humanity, I decided I’d better drop down to the caverns below our modest home and see what—or who—was cooking. I also keep the gin cold there, too, so there was an added attraction, after all.
At the bottom of the great stone staircase, the nine-headed hydra was waiting. If you’re coming in late, I should tell you I hired the hydra to tyle the bridge that spans the underground river and provides access to the great caverns where Furthermore lives and where we keep the gin cold. The hydra sometimes—well, usually—forgets who signs its paycheck and just remembers the guarding part. So we generally spar a bit before I cross the bridge. I should add that I hired the beast because I figured nine heads were better than one. So much for the new math. It has an IQ of just over 120. That’s about 13 per head.
Anyway, the hydra and I went a few rounds before I got bored and cut the bout short with a small thermonuclear device that I keep about my person for such occasions. While the smoke was mushrooming, I slipped into the main cave and was greeted by Furthermore in his usual friendly manner.
“What the devil’s the matter with you, twit brother,” he shouted at me as he rocketed past at mach
2. “Can’t a bird get a little peace and quiet down here?! How can I study with all that racket?!”
He dropped to the oak cadaver table in the center of the room, perched a pair of horn-rimmed glasses on his beak and did his best to look perturbed. Sort of like a Past Master. He does that well, by the way.
Okay. Now we’ve reached the point where I lose any control of the conversation that I may have had. I know better. But, what the hell? So I said, “Study? The last time you studied for anything, it was a paternity test. How’d you do, by the way?”
I got a wicked grin in return.
“Yes, study,” he responded.
He waited. I waited. He waited longer.
“Okay. I give up. What are you studying for?”
“That show on television! I can do that! You answer silly questions, carry on a little idle conversation for the little people who are watching and then my main man, Regis, gives you a million bucks! It’s great!”
Okay. Now I’m up to speed. He’s greedy. He wants to go on that millionaire show, the one my wife watches all the time and then gives me a hard time for not going on and winning.
“I don’t think it’s quite that simple, bird. I mean, if it were, wouldn’t Regis just pocket the money and light out for the high country?”
“Don’t dis my dream, man! Help me study!”
Well, why not?
“Okay, bird, first question. Who’s buried in Grant’s Tomb?”
“That’s silly. Who’s not buried in Grant’s tomb. Grant is.”
Point for the bird. Now we’re going for 10 bucks.
“Okay. You’re from Arkansas. You divorce your wife. Is she still your sister?”
He was stumped. Relationship questions were never his strength.
I hit him with some others.
“What color is green?”
“What’s the difference between a telephone pole?”
“How far can you run into a forest?”
Okay. He got the last one. Half way. After that, you’re running out.
By now, by the way, we were working on our second martini.
“This isn’t that easy, is it,” he mumbled.
“No, it’s not. Besides, what makes you think they’d pick you, anyway? All those people are actors from central casting!”
“But I’m cute and adorable!”
I had to think about that for a while.
“Besides,” I told him, “that silly show may not be around much longer anyway.”
That got his attention.
“They’re on ABC, right?” I said. “Well, did you see what happened recently? One of the big cable networks pulled the plug on ABC.”
“I’ll bet they didn’t have enough money. Been giving it all away on game shows!”
We thought about that while we tested the gin.
So, my advice to my brother Furthermore—and to you, brothers, for that matter—is this: If you get on that millionaire show, grab Regis by his expensive lapels and tell him you don’t take checks. Cash only or you’ll answer all the questions wrong and screw up their ratings.