Friday, November 05, 2004


Abe and His Nightmares

As he lay at the bottom of the pond, Lincoln dreamed. He dreamed of the day that Stanton had come into his office in 1860, right after the election, and suggested that his first order of business should be legislation making gay marriage legal. About how Lincoln had thought about it, and said, No, no, Edwin, I don’t think the country’s ready for that. The American people, simple and unaffected by the burden of reason, will have a hard enough time accepting that slavery is wrong.

And, sure enough, he had been right. That Stanton! Always harping about gay marriage. Well, at least the slaves got freed, and then the 14th amendment was passed so everybody could vote. And it had been quite a war, too. Enough to make even Grant a peacenik. And of course, Grant had tried to push that gay marriage thing, too. Those boys!

Well, except women couldn't vote back then. And black folks. But Honest Abe had tried. He’d tried to be there, astride his faithful devil-water-cow, Bessie. He’d been there when the first Roosevelt, that cowboy wannabe, had pursued that war against Aguinaldo. He’d been there when Carrie Nation was smashing up bars. He’d been there when Anslinger went on his jihad against marijuana. He’d been there when Joseph McNeil and the others had desegregated the Woolworth’s lunch counter. He’d been at the copper strikes and the textile factories. Few people knew it had been Honest Abe who gave the eulogy ay Joe Hill's funeral.

But he’d never really made the difference. There were always these damned bugs in the way. The bugs invariably spooked Bessie, and Lincoln himself remembered the time that he’d been arguing with Nixon about Vietnam and all of those fleas came out of his ears. God! It was Abe’s recurring nightmare. The bugs. And nobody else could see them. Averill Harriman had just gotten through closing a deal with Hitler and Stalin that Abe had been trying to stop, and was talking to the press in London on the way back to the States, and the suit literally melted away for a split second, revealing a giant mantid who was puking beetles. Nobody seemed to notice.

Bessie was becoming restless. Lincoln opened an eye. Where were they? This wasn’t the pond. What was it? Some sort of bottle? Were they in a bottle? A bottle of whiskey?

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