New Project Backwards # 5

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  No Houses

Another Steve Weaver adventure!

Steve blinked in confusion in those first panicky moments when he first came out of time travel. Now where was he? He was seated in a jam-packed auditorium, and man, was it ever hot. Despite people frantically fanning themselves, they were sweating none-the-less. One lady seated next to him, exclaimed,

“S**t, a person could make hoe cakes in here without a stove.”

He overheard an innocent-looking little boy of around 6 or 7 whispered to his father, apparently, “I think my a** has melted to the seat.”

He expected the father to shush him, but the father answered, “Yeah, f*****g A is it hot in here.”

Immediately, the mother sitting next to them, said, “Now, I know it’s hot as Hades in here, but it’ll be worth it to see the great Mark Twain speak.”

Mark Twain! He would soon be listening to the great author and humorist give a speech. Just then, the lights dimmed, and Mark Twain himself staggered out onto the stage. His face was red, and his wavy mop of snow-white hair was an unruly mess.

“Hi folks; boy, it sure was hot today.”

How hot was it?  thought Steve, thinking of Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show.

“Why, it was so hot that I saw a fireman run into a fire, not to put it out, but because it was cooler!” Only non-believing stares and nervous coughing came from the audience. “Eh, ha, ha!” chuckled Twain, “It was so hot today that I saw, I saw...something; I forget what; Then in the silent auditorium, Steve heard a collective groan, and a few people started to head for the exit. He heard one man say, as he walked by him on the way to the door,

“Man, I’m not going to sit in this oven listening to some drunk guy ramble about things he’s too drunk to remember. I can be miserable at home.”

On the stage, Twain continued, “You know what this reminds me of? it reminds me of the story of rats deserting a sinking--wow, would you look at the lights, pretty!”

At that bazaar statement, the mass exodus began in earnest. “Rip off!”, “Totally disappointing”, and, “Gin-soaked bastard!” were among the comments Steve heard, and those were just the less bitter ones. Steve watched as Twain looked out over the empty hall and seemed to wilt even more. His vacant eyes seemed to bore a hole in the floor, as the dejected humorous pondered something that Steve couldn’t see. He walked up and leaned against the stage next to Twain.

“Tough crowd,” he quietly said.

“I just don’t seem be able to be able to concentrate or come up with clever jokes or witty saying like I used to.”

“Well, if you’ll pardon me saying so, maybe lay off the liquor before going on stage.”

“I’m sober as a judge.”

“Well, you certainly don’t look it. I’m sorry to have to say it, but the staggering, the lapses in memory and judgment? Looks like drunkenness to me.”

“Well, it’s not. I have never taken a drink before I give a speech. Look at that window; it’s like a vision of your soul! In fact, very rarely do I partake of alcohol since my books started selling well; people expect me to have something humorous to say at all times, and alcohol dulls the mind. Say, look at that, that wall is covered with snakes! I always have something semi-humorous to say, at least up until now. I sure could use a drink now though. I’ve been stressed lately trying to perfect my secret recipe for my homemade country stew that I’m going to market. Would you care to come back to my place; I will be cooking my supper, and you can see what you think. I’ve found that the little mushrooms I find in my yard make an excellent addition. By themselves, they’re not very good tasting, but stirred into some gravy?”

Steve looked at Twain’s dilated eyes; he had all the classic symptoms; he was zoning! “Ah, Mr. Twain, I think I know the reason for your difficulties. The little mushrooms you’re putting in your stew are hallucinogenic.”

“They’re what ?”

“Hallucinogenic. They’re a powerful drug.”

“No s**t? So this whole time, I’ve been high, and didn’t even know it; well I’ll be son of a bitch; and here I thought I had just invented a new way to flavor my stew, and I was flying on a magic carpet ride to Freak-Ville!”


The next day, after a good nights’ sleep, Twain and Steve were sitting at the breakfast table, and Twain started laughing, “You were right; I feel like my old self. I’ve been eating nothing but my special stew for lunch and dinner, trying to get the recipe right, but now that you’ve told me about them being a drug, I didn’t have any yesterday, and the old Mark Twain is back!”

Steve figured it was time to go, so he said, “Mind if I use your bathroom?”

“Sure; it’s lucky for you that I can afford an indoor bathroom, otherwise you’d be draining the old spud outside. Eh, ha, ha!”

“Eh, ha, ha; if you’ll excuse me? I really have to go,” and he walked to the bathroom, shut the door, and quietly said, “Get me out of here!” After a few seconds, his world faded to black.

Submitted: July 30, 2013

© Copyright 2020 Mike Stevens. All rights reserved.

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