FURTHERMORE AND THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE
Furthermore is, as you probably guessed, a traveling bird. This does concern me a bit. I worry when he’s out alone. Not about him—about everyone else. And I know it must be a bit disconcerting when he visits other lodges. There are certain grips, etc., that are difficult to do, beak-to-ear, you know?
Which brings up another problem I have. Furthermore is a raven and he shares quarters in the great caverns below my home with my pet raven Nevermore. Now, is Furthermore a pet? A bird? A brother? I'm still working on it.
But I digress.
I can’t remember if I’ve told you about the organ. It’s one of those hulking four-manual monsters that would be right at home in a cathedral or a pizza place. It’s a full pipe organ, complete with trumpets and hundreds of pipes ranging from pencil-sized flutes to 32-foot boneshakers. I went shopping for a couple of hours one afternoon, and Nevermore and Furthermore had it installed in the main cavern below the house while I was gone.
I asked Furthermore why and he responded that it was easier to play than a harmonica. Which figures, I guess, since he doesn’t have any lips. How he plays that organ is still a mystery. He flatly refuses when I’m around.
Anyway, I always know he’s in residence below the house when I feel the vibrations from the great pipes slicing through the rock below. Last night, he was in rare form. I could tell because he was attacking the toccata from Widor’s fifth symphony. I decided to drop in.
The hydra greeted me with a hiss in nine-part harmony when I reached the moat; The hydra is a nine-headed mythological beast I hired centuries ago to guard the moat. What a joke. I could have had any number of really great beasts, but, noooooo, I chose this one. It’s got the IQ of a salad bar. Anyway, the hydra is just back from its family reunion and was sporting a t-shirt that proudly proclaimed “I survived the Smith Family Reunion!” I guess I was a little surprised. I expected the hydra to have a more exotic surname. Of course, it may have picked the shirt up because it was the only one in 200 X-Large with nine neck holes. You never know. Oh, the hydra was also wearing red cowboy hats with Arizona stitched across the crown. On all nine heads. And there was a banner on the wall emblazoned with “Furthermore for Evermore!” I was beginning to get a bad feeling about this.
The last chords from Widor’s great toccata were still echoing in the distant reaches of the cave system when I got past the Arizona delegation. “What’s going on, Furthermore?” I asked, knowing better.
“It’s our convention!” he cheered as he did a nice barrel role past the slightly swinging blade of the pendulum. “We’re having a convention--just like the ones on television!”
I should have turned around right there and gone back upstairs. Just because you get old doesn’t necessarily mean you get smart. I tried to change the subject. “Did you see they think they’ve found evidence of life on Mars?”
“You’re changing the subject,” Furthermore accused. “Besides, who cares about Mars. The real question is there life here?”
By this time, the old bird had finished an elegant series of spirals inspired by Kerri Strugg and was now strutting up to a tiny lectern located just in front of the old burning stake we brought from Salem.
“Ladies and Gentlethings,” he began, “I cannot say it more clearly than in clear words the like of which we used to utter in sleazy little towns like Resume Speed, Iowa, because they could only understand words of one syllable there. I accept your nomination to lead our party and take over the government of the United States. This is not your moment. This is my moment....”
“Furthermore! Enough already. What are you doing!?”
“Why, I should have thought even someone with media training like yourself could have figured that out. I’m running for president. And I may try for Grand Master later. You never know.”
He’s right about that last part, but I had to ask.
“Why? It’s a thankless job.”
“Yeh, but look at the job security! A lifetime...”
“Lifetime? Furthermore, it’s only a four-year term. Then you have to do it all over again.”
He was visibly stunned. “Four years? Four lousy years?! That’s it!? Well, that certainly explains the quality of the people who hold the office! Four lousy years!”
Which ended Furthermore’s presidential dreams in a hurry and left him with a large storage problem and a larger personnel problem. The storage problem dealt with all the “Furthermore for Evermore” banners, buttons, stickers and coffee cups he’d ordered for the campaign. The personal problem concerns The Thing Behind The Wall. Seems Furthermore offered it the vice presidential post. Who knows? Given the track record in that area, The Thing might have done well.
By this morning, Furthermore had adopted a philosophical attitude about the whole business and was rapidly moving on to other pressing issues--like how to get the t-shirt off the hydra. In a whimsical moment, though, he did express a certain regret.
“It is a shame, somehow,” he sighed. “It would have been nice to give the people exactly what they deserve.”
“You mean....” I asked.
“Yes, exactly,” he responded.