My Lord, what a night I had. Around 3:00 AM, I'm tossing and turning a mile and minute. My eyes finally crank open; I blink about fifty times trying to blink away the image sitting on my bed. A man--crusty, bushy-haired old geezer shaking my leg so hard I'm afraid he's gonna shake it off. He's so frail; my fear evaporates in a second. He looks familiar. Now I'm thinking, do I know this crazy old coot? He's so out of place, dressed like two hundred years ago. Then it hit me like a ton of turnips. Mark Twain sitting on my bed, chomping on a cigar, tobacco juice driveling from the corner of his mouth all the while he honks at me like a goose gone nuts.
"Wake up you silly, stupid, whiny twit. What the holy hell is wrong with you people?"
"What? Are you--"
"Samuel Langhorne Clemens, shithead. Mark Twain, author, humorist, and all that bullshit. Thank God I was born with a tickle-bone up my ass, or I'd of fucking starved to death."
Jesus Christ, I ate three bowls of chilli last night along with a couple of beers. "Am I dreaming?"
He reached over with his rickety old hand, popped me on the forehead. "That feel like a damn dream, Crybaby?"
I flopped back on my pillow, squeaking like a baby cricket, "No sir, for sure I ain't dreamin'." At this point, my toasted brain's trying to sort out this alternate reality. I've got to cope with my predicament, at the same time controlling a substantial pile of pisscivity. "So, you wrinkly old fart, care to explain how it is that you're perched on my bed like some pirate's parrot?"
"Don't get uppity with me, Mush Mouth. Every year or so, the Devil takes a nap. Me and a bunch of my buddies sneak out of Hell and sneak into Heaven. There's a backdoor up there, God knows about it. He lets us sneak in just so's we can see how the other half live--maybe 'live' is not the right word--'spirit,' yea, see how the other spirits live."
"Well, judging by our conversation, your 'spirit' seems to be of the same temperament when you walked the earth--outspoken potty-mouth asshole--true?"
"Well, you're just damn stupid. When we die, we're the same person as we were in the flesh--in Heaven or Hell. What'd you think happens when we kick the bucket? You think we all looked the same, think the same--a bunch of kumbaya numbskulls flappin' around with those big-ass wings? A person's looks, personality, attitude--all that shit stays with you.
"Heaven's all about getting along. Come to think of it; there is one thing that stays behind--religion. Religion's just an earth-thing, a lazy man's way to get out of working. No churches in Heaven or Hell, never seen a single one--no mosque, no synagogue, none of that silly shit up there.
"There is one thing about heaven; the toilets seats are so nice, softest seats ever. Toilet seats in Hell are covered with Prickly Pears, damn uncomfortable when you gotta business to do.
"Anyway, fuck that. You know something, Double-dumb--"
"Why must you insult me at every turn?"
"Shut up! Kiss my ass, Beatle Brain. As I was saying, we get the news down there just like they get the news up there. The Devil--you know I wrote a book about the Devil--right?"
"Yes sir, I do."
"Well, the All Mighty wasn't too happy that I gave the Devil a hell of a lot more sense than I gave those malicious priest, vicars, witch-hunters and that whole sorted lot. Those son-a-bitchs were the devils in the flesh. Those goddamn Catholics--the planet was doing just fine until that sorry lot came to be." He let go a deep sigh, "Shit, I'm off script again.
"So, when I died, I barely got into heaven. The Lord damn sure gave me the 'stink-eye'. But, as for Saint Peter? He says, 'Hell no.' Sam Clemens was going to burn in Hell; no question about it. It was God who cut me some slack and gave me the go-ahead. But He wasn't too happy that I gave the Devil a little humanity."
"But, Mr. Twain, you just said you're in Hell."
"I know what I said, Dumb Bunny."
"So you were in Heaven, but God kicked you out?"
"You gotta' kidding me."
"No, I'm not kidding. That shithead Ben Franklin hates me like the blue blazes. The fat little son-of-a-bitch would rather piss me off than eat when he's hungry. He'd go whinin' and cryin' to God, Jesus, every goddamn angel that crossed his path. 'Twain's too vulgar to be in Heaven--he has a filthy mouth--on and on. I'd had enough; I laid into that pile of shit like you cannot believe--call him the c*** word."
"--Oh! Big mistake."
"I know, goddamn it! For the recond, I never, never use that word, 'cept once. Before I died, I was having a conversation with this utility worker. He was pissing me off like you can't believe. Out came that goddamn word. And Lord wouldn't ya' know, Olivia and Susy just rounded the corner of the house. Heaven help me; she heard that word. In the house, she sent Susy. Turned, yanked a damn limb from our Weeping Willow, and came after me like a she-bare protecting her cubs. My hand to God, Olivia was on me like water on a witch. Thank God I had my white suit on. She finally got hold of herself when she saw five gallons of my blood splattered all over that white suit. Whew, I took a hellofa' beatin'. First and last time I used that word, while alive anyway.
"So, Ben had set me up. He knew the Lord was in the neighborhood. Timing was perfect; he started up with me like ugly on a Christian, out came the c*** word. And that was that. I had violated my probation, Hell opened the doors, and down I went."
"What with you and Franklin?"
"Nothin', don't worry about it. Me and Bawdy Ben are just two ordinary scoundrels. He went to Heaven; I went to Hell."
A snicker blurted out, "Bawdy Ben?
"Yes! Goddamn me for saying it. It's no big damn secret."
"So Bawdy Ben did you in?"
"Yeah, that's probably why God pulled the plug on me. Nevertheless, fuck it. Let me ask, do you think my dirty mouth woulda' caused Him to get so goddamn pissed with me?"
"No sir, not at all. You do cuss a blue streak, but I'd of guessed you'd be a permanent resident up there. Maybe it just temporary."
"Well, you don't know the whole story. I did some shity shit when I went out west. Never killed nobody or nothin'. Never harmed or diminished a lady, regardless of her station. Ah, fuck it. Other than squatting on a thorny toilet, it's not so bad down there. Anyway, that's not why I'm wasting my heaven-time sitting here talking to your stupid ass. I'm so goddamn upset with my country I'm about to blow my top. Did you ever read my book, The Gilded Age?"
"Yes sir, I did."
"Then why in the bloody hell is my country repeating all that horrible shit I wrote about? I know Clarence Darrow, he's up there, as he should be. Every time I sneak into Heaven, I make sure we talk about the fucking clusterfuck going on down here. He keeps telling me the courts are going to fix things. But I'm not so sure about that. Clarence should be up on Mount Rushmore. Teddy's up there, so should FDR.
"By the way, that Nazi shitbag, Adolph Hickylick-whatever--he's down there. We gang up on that motherfucker every day and beat him senseless. Raining fire, not raining fire, don't matter. We stomp him like the Italians stomp grapes. Sometimes even the Devil joins in. Just so's ya' know, Hell's got different communities. Those real evil shitheads huddle-up over on the other side of the tracks if you get my drift. The rest of us hang out on the good side. Let me tell ya,' there is a lot of borderline cases down there. I don't know how God sorts all that shit out, but I think He's missed a few calls--Bawdy Ben, for example. Damn, got sidetracked again.
"So, back to why I'm sitting here talking to your dumb ass. Anyhow, up there, there's a lot of folks that suffered mightily around the turn of the last century, and through the first and second world wars. Get it through your thick head; there's upwards to eighty to a hundred million souls up there. Un-goddamn believable agony on a grand scale got heaped on those people--suffering and debauchery unhinged put them up there way before their time. Shit, off I go again.
"Back to my story, Franklin Roosevelt did one hellofa' fine job planting the seeds that grew the great Middle Class. Let me spell it out; FDR had balls beyond imagination. And some American wuss needs to grow a pair of elephant balls and flush all that 'political correctness' bullshit down the toilet. I don't give a good goddamn who steps up to the plate, but that someone needs to square up and call these butt-lickin' low-lifes what they are. I'll tell you what to call them--mother-fucking, shit-eating, spinless, scumballs. There're cowards--they're just like roaches, scamper away when caught in the light of day?
"Think of it this way. Franklin's seeds grew a great garden we call the Middle Class. That fantastic, healthy garden fed our nation and millions around the world. Everything the planet could imagine--science, technology, medicine, agriculture--grew in that garden. Millionaires and billionaire blossomed from that garden. Thousands came from around the world to add their energy to this blessed thing.
"But! Republicans! By the humping, jumping Jesus, goddamn their souls to hell. Take that draft-dodging, chicken hawk, Mitt Romney for example. That glob of fermenting dog shit had the unmitigated gall to call them--the 'entitled,' disabled veterans, 'leeches on the system'--all the while that son-of-a-bitch played the Mormon singsong in Paris while writing love letters in the sand, whereas Vietnam raged on. Republicans--a once great and noble institution, now they blanket my beloved homeland with ravenous weeds who wipe their squishy ass on the Constitution.
"Democrats! You lazy, self-centers shitbags have a heavy load on your shoulders. Goddamn it! You cannot let all the beautiful souls I just mentioned have died in vain." Twain pointed, "If you can't do it, find someone with a giant pair who will call out the likes of politicians who slither through the halls of Congress and the White House. You know those creeps, they leave a trail of slime just like a goddamn snail.
"Another thing stuck in my craw, you damn, dumb Democrats need to stop apologizing. The whole lot of you act like your mommies sent you to Pussy School. You've a nation to save, call the devils what they are. Tell them to bite your dirty, harry, ass. Stab your finger in their chests, and promise they will rot away in the hoosegow. It's going to take a hundred years to bring our garden back to greatness.
"One more thing, why do the fucking politicians make it so goddamn hard for the guy in the street to catch a break? The Middle Class is the answer; everything that's ever been and ever will be is the result of the Middle Class. It's their blood and guts spilled around the globe. They made this paradise we call America. What in the holy fuck is the problem with a living wage, a free education, and health care for all? An educated nation leads, ignorant nations become Russia."
"Anyway, I've gotta' get my crusty old ass back into Heaven. I can see it now, that fat little turd, Bawdy Ben Franklin, is plundering around up there searching me out. Nothing he'd like better than to tattletale to the Lord--again." He eased from the bed, "Go back to sleep, Elizabeth.*"
Note: * Senator