FURTHERMORE HAS A NIGHTMARE
When the coffee cups on the shelf in the kitchen began to rattle, I knew that Furthermore was in residence deep below the house. When he gets wound up on that great pipe organ in the main cavern, it rattles everything for blocks around. I’m worried the neighbors will get curious. How I’ll ever explain my bird brother and his friends is something I don’t want to think about. So I won’t.
Anyway, I thought I’d drop down to see him. He’s been gone lately, as you may have guessed.
I arrived as the base of the stone staircase, just by the bridge over the underground moat, and was greeted by a friendly blow from the nine-headed hydra that guards the entrance to the main chamber. After I regained consciousness, I returned the friendly greeting with a small anti-tank weapon I keep nearby for just such fun occasions, thus effectively reducing the local head count.
Slipping past in the smoke, I was greeted by Furthermore just as the last notes of the Lord Nelson Mass echoed away in the upper dome. The old bird flapped over and settled on my shoulder. “Been away,” he admitted. “Went to look at a new job. Thought I’d like to coach football for a while.”
With an opening like that, I knew I was in trouble so I decided to just go with the flow.
“Yeah. You know, the game with the ball and that irritating John Madden guy?”
“What makes you think you’d be a good coach,” I asked, regretting it even before my mouth closed.
“Well, I watched all the bowl games. During every single one, the coaches were interviewed and they all said the same thing. The way to win games is to put points on the board. With that kind of inside dope, how can you miss? I mean, there’s the secret of the whole thing! How could I lose?”
“But you did?”
He dropped down to the oaken cadaver table and proceeded to select a cigar from the humidor. “Yup. The pro teams are all biased. Nobody wanted me.”
“They don’t like ravens?” I asked.
“No. I think it’s an age thing, you know? I may sue.”
“You should go for it. They’ve got tons of money.”
Furtherrmore settled into his tiny Morris chair and yawned.
“You should get more sleep,” I observed.
“Not tired,” he croaked back. “Just bored with the company.”
“Seriously,” he replied, “I keep having these nightmares. I’m not sleeping well.”
Now the very idea of Furthermore having nightmares is something we could explore at length—and may on another occasion. And, yes, I do know better than to ask.
“Nightmares?” I asked.
“You should know better than to ask,” he smirked. The Thing Behind The Wall and The Thing No One Can See both chuckled. At least, I think it was them. You can never be certain.
Anyway, it seems that Furthermore has been watching science fiction movies again. You know the type—the earth gets invaded by aliens who are thousands of years more advanced that we poor earthlings. Except Furthermore has a slightly different spin on it. Of course.
He is lying awake nights worrying about the earth being taken over by aliens who are only 15 or 20 minutes ahead of we poor earthlings. He stole the nightmare from Woody Allen.
“Don’t you see?” he grouses. “They’re 20 minutes ahead of us. They beat the heavy rush hour traffic, they get the best seats in the restaurants, the best place in line, the first tickets to opening nights. They never run out of anything. They never have a flat tire or an accident because it’s always 20 minutes in the past! They’ll get the best of everything! We’ll be nothing but second class citizens!”
He paused for breath, jumping to his feet, one wing pointed straight up. “But we won’t stand for it! We’ll have a revolution! We’ll have a new independence day! We’ll take it all back.”
“That won’t be easy,” I reminded him. “They’ll always be 20 minutes ahead of you. You’ll never catch them!”
He was stunned. Then he sighed and flapped off to discuss the whole business of revolution with The Thing In The Dark. I guess I shouldn’t be critical.
I mean, I’m a little like Furthermore. I always feel like I’m 20 minutes behind or 20 minutes ahead.
I decided I needed a martini. So I fixed three. One for right now. One for 20 minutes ago and another for 20 minutes from now. Can’t be too careful about the important things in life, you know?