Entity MS: Chapter 7

Note to the Mother Ship

I went to Animart today. This is a pet store. The windows had been all broken out by the OAF people. The store owners filled in the spaces with plywood sheets, then the OAF people came back and spray-painted comments and drew pictures (“Free all animals! Animals are people too! End Road Work, Jesus died for your sins but animals don’t want to!” that sort of thing).  We have another pet store not too far from this one and it’s called Pet Smart. I like Animart better because it’s like going to the zoo (which lately has become a potentially dangerous activity). They have puppies, and kittens, and fish, and weird fish—like shrimp and what-not—lizards, and even snakes and giant spiders. I don’t know why someone would want a lizard or a snake or a spider as a pet given that they don’t do anything, at least when you’re looking at them, but I find it interesting to at least look at them, even if all they do is stare back (the lizards) or ignore me (the snakes and tarantulas).

I think I like animals because they don’t lie to you. They’re also never passive-aggressive. They’re either one or the other. I actually appreciate this latter quality more given that they make it pretty easy for you to decide how to respond. Humans, not so much. But in regard to animals and their honesty, granted, in some cases this is projected as a viable threat, such as, “I’m going to kill you,” and that’s not so good of course, and I try to stay clear of that group, mainly by not walking around national parks at night. Of course, this precaution is not in itself a guarantee, as there are a lot of sizeable dogs wandering around, and given that they can be little more than wolves that went to high school, I find our not infrequent meetings disconcerting. There’s a music store I like to drop in on. The owner is a luthier about seventy years old. Like most luthiers that are of this age he’s kind of a Woodstocky sort of person and consequently feels it’s perfectly reasonable to have his very large dog walk around the store sniffing people. The dog seems mellow enough, but I don’t like being sniffed by something that large with upwards of two hundred and fifty pounds of force in its jaws, especially given that dogs have this incomprehensible proclivity for sniffing body areas that are none of their business; if we were the same species, I might give them a pass. But we’re not. I was also recently at Home Depot looking at shower heads (the shower head in our apartment is pretty lame and I was looking for some sort of device that might provide a Singing In The Rain type of downpour. They didn’t have any of those). So, as I’m looking at the shower heads, this woman comes to the shower head display next to me with her unleashed dog. This was not a little dog. Nor was he wearing one of those sweaters that indicate he is a highly trained creature with a specific and helpful purpose so as to compensate for and assist its owner who is handicapped, such as the ability to read and/or ask for directions in multiple languages. No, I believe he was allowed to be present in the store because he was a “comfort” animal. This is a thing where anyone is allowed in a public building with their choice of animal even if that includes wearing a live pit viper around their neck because it calms them down in case viewing a wall of shower heads causes them great anxiety.

This dog was barking a lot, and only at me. I didn’t like that. It was kind of a mutt, but if I had to guess what its ancestry was based on appearance, I would say part Airedale and part Reptilicus. I think if somebody is going to be allowed to bring their comfort Thing into a store, I should be allowed to come in with my comfort Kurt Russel flame thrower and deploy it without causing undue alarm. 

While I like animals in general (excluding that dog) because they don’t lie to you, the other plus in this relationship between us is the fact that I don’t expect much from them. This really low bar allows for a fairly peaceful interaction where I don’t lose my mind over some incredibly annoying thing they might do, whereas if actual human people did it, I would lose my mind. For example, a racoon might get into the outside garbage can, spill it all about, and leave me with a huge mess of garbage to pick up. Now, am I displeased? Yes. Enraged? No. Because they’re animals. And they know not what they do.

On the other hand, if a human did this, I’d shoot them. With a gun. Well, at least I’d like to. It’s all a matter of expectations really. I have, however, recently come across an excellent method of dealing with my outrage that’s triggered by the humans: I don’t differentiate between animals doing ass things and humans doing ass things. In short, by viewing all creatures, be they bipeds or quadrupeds, as just  animals, I don’t get upset with what they do or say.

For example, I walked into the break room at work the other day, and there were two guys there. Apparently they had been talking about me. I don’t know why they would be talking about me, but they were. And as I entered, one said, “Ah, there he is now—the devil in carnage.” To which I said, “Do you mean incarnate?” To which he said, “Oh, college boy, eh?”

Hyenas. Laughing their way past their stupidity and inability to admit when they’re wrong. It’s the nature of their species. Can’t really get upset because they’re just doing what comes naturally.  

And who is it that’s sitting double parked near the door of the Hy-Vee liquor store with their emergency flashers on and under the impression that this makes it okay, despite taking note that I have to drive around them and into the oncoming single traffic lane since they’re blocking the parking lot roadway? Why, it’s the hippopotamus family, waiting for dad to return with the weekend supply of Old Milwaukee. Can’t get upset here. They can’t be blamed if courtesy, consideration, and rule following is not in their nature, for they are behemoths, unconcerned and unafraid if the river be turbulent, and without need to ever get out of anybody’s way.

And as I sit waiting at a traffic light behind a creature who’s seemingly going straight when the light changes, as am I, which is why I’m in their lane behind them, only to discover far too late they believe the turn signal is the thing that makes the car turn and so don’t engage it until the light turns green, as opposed to turning it on a half a block before the stop light like they were supposed to, do I become enraged? No I do not. Why? Because they’re otters. Adorable in water, annoying on the road. Can’t be blamed, though, because they never took drivers’ ed. Because they’re otters. They weren’t allowed.  

Or when the residents above me have their really, really bad music up really, really loud, and I can hear them stomping as well, do I become incensed? No, I do not. I think, “Hm, horses. They do like to kick it up. At least they don’t poop in the street anymore.”

And mindless, thoughtless, automaton customer service employees in any industry are, forever in my mind, weasels, martens, honey badgers, and fire ants. All just trying to get on the best they can, just trying to overcome their limitations and earn a living. Because they’re animals. And that’s what animals do. And they don’t know any better. And I’m fine with that, as I am with the racoons that tip over our garbage.

Anyway, Animart has good-sized fenced area in the middle of the store where they’ll display maybe three puppies of a specific breed. I assume they’re all from the same litter. I like to watch them. Customers like to reach in and pet them, and the puppies really go for that, licking the customers hands and stuff, but I don’t care to touch them as I feel dogs are kind of dirty (also the reason I didn’t like the luthier’s dog nosing about my privates, covered as they were, or wanting to shake hands or whatever the hell it wanted). But I like watching the excitement and joy of the puppies, as well as the pleasure this response brings to the humans. People here just go all gooey at the sight of baby animals, especially puppies. I guess I’m no different. Hm. Maybe that needs further analyzation.

Anyway, they have a lot of kittens too. They’re all behind their little glass walls in their little apartments. I would touch them, pet them, as I find cats to be very clean. But for some reason this is not allowed.

They also have rabbits and guinea pigs (the latter are rodents and not actual pigs). I feel no compulsion to engage them. Likewise, they have no compulsion to engage me, and are usually reading.

In the aquarium area I saw two shrimp-like things fighting. Or they were giving each other congratulatory high fives—I couldn’t really tell; when animals poke at each other it’s really hard to tell as an outsider what their intent is.

As I said previously there’s a lot of reptiles. They’re kind of pricy, ranging from sixty to well over a hundred dollars. Based on my prior statement that they never seem to do anything, I would posit that they are not actual animals but rather plastic recreations being sold to gullible reptile enthusiasts, said to be not fake but simply sedate and pining for the desert fjords.

As I said, I don’t know why anybody would buy a reptile or a snake, but I have a co-worker at the deaf relay center who owns a snake. She’s a lovely person. Very friendly and easy going. Her name is Becky. She also has more pieces of metal imbedded into her face and tongue than anybody I’ve ever seen, including that guy from the movie Hellraiser. Personally, I would find that annoying but it seems to be a thing that makes her happy. Anyway, she buys frozen mouse embryos to feed to her snake (I know, why that and not Purina Snake Chow, I have no idea). I fail to see the allure here of having a snake as a companion, but it’s probably not doing any harm and I suppose one could do worse, even with another human, and she’s a nice person, so, you know, to each their own. 

I don’t think I would own a pet. I like looking at the baby animals, and I like other people’s pets, well, not their dogs necessarily, but I can tolerate their dogs for the most part even if I prefer they were kept in the fridge, but I would not own a pet. I don’t think I would do a good job having a relationship with something that required me to be in charge of taking care of it. This includes a human female mate. But that’s a whole different subject.

                                                                                           –Entity MS


***


“And so we’re done,” said Professor Williams as he paced before the class. “For the last two months you’ve listened and learned. You’ve learned about the most momentous event in our nation’s history, and the most cataclysmic—the Civil War. What I need you now to do is digest it and summarize. You have seven days. I want a four-thousand-word essay on what you’ve learned. What you submit will count as one quarter of your grade. Apply yourself.” He nodded to the group of students that included Alvin and Rika. “Hunker down, relax afterward. Class dismissed.”

“What kind of grade do you think I’ll get if I type ‘the civil war was bad’ a thousand times?” Rika asked Alvin.

“Not good, but you will have gone beyond the four-thousand-word parameter, so you might get credit for extra effort.”

For the next week, Rika went into the typing zone. When she checked in on Alvin periodically he was never typing at all.

“What are you doing?” she would ask.

“Reading,” he said every time she asked, never lifting his head. Books laid open on his desk, on his chair, and on his bed.

“Don’t you have notes?”

“No. I didn’t take any.” He looked up. “Did you?”

“Of course. How can you take a class for two months and not take notes?”

 “I was listening. If you’re writing notes then you’re not listening.”

“Um, okay,” she said. “Did you start yet? Writing?”

“No.”

“You’ve got two days left to put something together.”

“I know. I’m getting there.”

“Well, when are you going to start writing?”

“Soon,” Alvin said. “I like to feel the burn.” He smiled.

 “You’re gonna feel the burn if you don’t start writing.”

“Noted.”

At 9pm Alvin lay on his bed with his hands behind his head. His paper was due in fifteen hours. He did, in fact, begin it, by typing The Road to the Civil War. Nothing else, just that. He looked at the title on the computer screen, which from that distance was just a barely perceptible horizontal line. “Okay, let’s go,” he said to himself, and went to the desk.


***


The Road to the Civil War

By

Alvin Zaronsky

1787–The framers of the Constitution set a date twenty years in the future for the importation of slaves to end, thus giving everybody ample time to go get more, in case they felt they didn’t have enough. This includes anybody living in New York, Delaware, Maryland, and Washington D.C. where slavery is legal.

Slavery begins to peter out in the South as it becomes apparent that it is not an efficient system. But the institution is resuscitated by Eli Whitney’s invention of the cotton gin, leading school children ever after to wonder what the hell a gin is. With its ability to easily remove the seeds from the cotton bolls, the cotton industry booms and slavery gets jump started back into high gear. Everybody is fine with this, including New York and Maryland, but especially Baltimore as Baltimore’s economy, because of exports, is dependent on the South’s cotton and its continued economical production.

While most people in the South don’t own slaves, the big business one percent seize upon the fact that cotton is a hugely profitable crop and push the South further into becoming a purely agricultural economy with cotton (aka “King Cotton”) dominating the landscape and obliterating the development of anything else. Like plums.

As westward expansion rapidly continues, there is great debate about whether each territory will eventually be let into the Union as either a free state or a slave state. This is coupled with much debate as to whether or not California should be let in at all, but that’s a different story. Given that cotton is a crop harsh on the land, the big cotton producers want new territory designated as slave friendly. On the other hand, there is an equal amount of people, mainly in the North, who do not want slavery to spread any further than it already has. They of course have moral reasons for this feeling which stem from their overwhelming desire to not have to compete anywhere in the country with black people for work should they, the white people, ever want to move westward which they do all the time for who knows what reason. At this time there is also the theory that if black people in the South were free, they would consequently stop fleeing to the North and moving in.

The country at this time is definitely divided into two camps. In one camp you have people who are in favor of slavery for economical reasons, and in the other camp you have people who think slavery is just fine as long as there aren’t any black people living in their neighborhood or anywhere they might like to visit in the future, such as Las Vegas. The North has also discovered, for their industrial society, that slavery is not an economically sound system. This leads many slave owners in the North to free their slaves from the yoke of Northern slavery by selling them to plantation owners in the South where they’ll be able to spend more time outdoors. What is a good system in the North, though, is hiring children and the Irish for three cents a week to work twelve hours a day. And what makes this a really good system is the fact that these workers go home every day so you don’t have to feed them. It’s win-win.

Cultural differences and jealousies already have begun to shred the fabric of the Union when the Tariff of 1828 really cheeses off the South. Here’s how this works: The industrial North makes stuff. England sends America the same stuff but at a cheaper price. The North can’t compete. The government puts a tax (a tariff) on incoming English goods so that they cost more than the stuff the North makes. People buy the North’s stuff instead and the North prospers. In the meantime, England is the biggest buyer of the South’s cotton but since England is losing money in the import/export deal, they can’t afford to buy as much cotton, and as a consequence the South starts losing money. Also, the South is an agricultural society and needs to buy industrial goods (like hammers) from either the North or from England. So the North gets money from the South by selling directly at whatever price they want, or they get money from the South through the tax (tariff) put on the English-made stuff (like hammers) that the South ends up having to pay if they want the English thing, and they have to turn the tax over to the Federal government (under penalty of being invaded and fired upon if they don’t) but which gets distributed to the North for further industrial development like railroads because everybody in the North knows, by reading the most popular periodical of the day, Greed’s Weekly, that that’s where the future lies. And the South gets squat. South Carolina threatens to withdraw from the Union for the fourteenth time since the Revolutionary War. Nobody in the North takes this seriously.

The abolitionist movement starts to gain momentum among the Northern clergy. In an attempt to encourage slave owners to abandon slavery, abolitionists “reach out” to their Southern countrymen by telling them they’re all going to hell. And when it comes to getting support for your cause from someone who is not already on your side, we all know how effective this method is.

On the flip side, President Franklin Pierce, from New Hampshire, and three of his cabinet members including next in line president James Buchanan, put forward the idea of annexing Cuba and making it a slave state. They’ll offer Spain 120 million dollars for it but if Spain says no they plan to blow up the U.S.S. Maine, which is currently at rest in Havana’s Guantanamo bay, and blame Spain for it which will allow them to go to war and take Cuba by force. This pro-slavery agenda on the part of President Pierce can be somewhat understood, of course, given that he grew up in the Deep South New Hampshire bayou country.

Meanwhile, striking a blow for freedom and the anti-slavery cause, prominent abolitionist and avid church goer John Brown and his sons murder five members of a slave-holding family on their front lawn with English broad swords, elevating the South’s view of all abolitionists from self-righteous buttinskies to Norman Bates class psychos.

The 19th century is perhaps remembered most for the number of presidents whose names no one can remember. This is because during this time the main duty of the president is turning on the lights in the White House each morning and then turning them off at night before he goes to bed. Abraham Lincoln fits right in here and is selected as the Republican nominee over William Seward as Seward made it very clear during the nomination campaign that he had once dated Harriet Beecher Stowe. Lincoln, in contrast, along with not talking about anybody he might have dated, let alone an abolitionist, doesn’t have a strong opinion about anything. He’s perfect.

Lincoln’s presidential campaign chugs along with the help of varying political groups. Included among these is the Know Nothings. They are an anti-slavery group and only hate Catholics and the Irish. And immigrants. And children. They are called the Know Nothings because they are a secretive group and when asked what they do at their meetings they say, “I know nothing.” A century later they will be portrayed by John Banner on the TV show Hogan’s Heroes.

On Tuesday November 6, 1860 Lincoln is voted into the presidency. Seeing that their influence in the government is considerably lessened with the Republican party’s victory, South Carolina declares its intention to secede because it’s Tuesday and Tuesday has always been Secession Day in South Carolina. But this time six other states follow suit as well.

A four-month period of time exists between when Lincoln is elected and when now President James Buchanan actually leaves office at the end of his term. Upon hearing of the seven states seceding from the Union, Buchanan declares the act illegal but at the same time declares he will do absolutely nothing about it if they want to go. He also declares that he will do nothing if he catches them smoking pot.

Putting too much focus on the pot thing, South Carolina and the other states form a band and hang out at Florida’s parents’ house in the garage for the next four months rather than doing anything about leaving the Union until the day Lincoln moves into the White House. Little do they know at the time what a cool dad Buchanan was. Nonetheless, the die is cast and they are resolute in moving forward and thus declare themselves a sovereign nation. The country is now divided.

During one of the frequent seances held in the White House during Lincoln’s presidency, Lincoln is told by the ghost of Attila the Hun that he must preserve the union of the thirteen states at all costs because thirteen is his lucky number. The next day Lincoln vows to do anything necessary to preserve the Union and at first considers pickling it.

In South Carolina there are three forts with Federal troops. When South Carolina secedes they demand that the forts be handed over to them. Major Robert Anderson, commander of the lightly armed Fort Moultrie, acting without orders departs from the fort and moves to the more heavily armed Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor, leaving the defense of Fort Moultrie in the hands of the camp’s cat, Buttons. Anderson (a man who is both pro-slavery and a former slave owner at the same time because, I’m guessing, he’s one of those Northern guys who sold his slaves into slavery for the purpose of buying a hope chest for his daughter’s wedding), alerts Lincoln that he would only be able to hold out for six weeks should there be an attack on the fort by the South Carolina militia, and probably much less than that if the militia actually uses guns and ammunition during the attack. He asks for reinforcements.

Meanwhile, Congress and the Senate are unanimous on the issue of turning over the forts to South Carolina, feeling that South Carolina is not intent on leaving the Union forever but is attempting to put themselves in a stronger position for near future negotiations in regard to bills, tariffs, mandates, referendums and other things no normal human being understands. And they are fine with acquiescing since the alternative would be The Freaking Civil War. They send Lincoln a message saying, “Just give it to them. No, really, it’s okay. It’s falling apart anyway.” Lincoln considers the advice, looks off mysteriously in the distance while a shrewd smile graces his face and says to himself, “No…that’s just what they’ll be expecting.”

He then sends reinforcements to Fort Sumter and the South opens fire. Game on.

Lincoln immediately institutes the draft, however, in the spirit of fairness allows anybody who can pay $300 to be exempt.

Riots in New York (which is in the North) break out amongst whites angered about being drafted and possibly killed over the slavery issue, or the secession issue, or whatever the hell it is, as well as the exemption for those able to pay the $300 fee to avoid the draft. Over a hundred random blacks minding their own business are killed and/or beaten the bejesus out of. Many buildings are burned including the Orphanage for Colored Children.

Also angered at the $300 exemption fee that allows upper middle-class males to escape the draft, songwriter Stephen Foster composes “Fortunate Son.” Any initial performance is delayed, however, as Foster waits patiently for the electric guitar to be invented.

Making it crystal clear for the benefit of all future generations that the North fought the civil war to free the slaves, Abraham Lincoln offers slave owner Robert E. Lee command of the Union army. Feeling that he didn’t initially hear the question properly, Lee responds, “Do what now?” Upon Lincoln repeating the question, Lee graciously declines, citing first allegiance to his “country” Virginia.

Unable to woo Lee, Lincoln appoints a long series of generals to take control of the Union army starting with George “Fraidy Pants” McClellan and Joseph “Fighting Joe Yes This Is Where The Slang Term For A Prostitute Actually Comes From” Hooker. Later he would come to rely on William Tecumseh Sherman and Ulysses S. Grant, two people who Robert E. Lee would respectively refer to as “that bastard” and “that other bastard.”

The border states, those in the middle of the country between the North and the South, namely Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri, are on the fence as to which side to join. They are all slave states, but are concerned about being in the middle of a war zone and getting shot at by the North. This inclines them to join the Union, which is an option, because unlike many country clubs today, owning slaves doesn’t preclude you from membership. When told that if they join the North they’ll still be in the middle of a war zone and will get shot at by the South, they respond, “Doh!”

Maryland’s dilemma is easily solved, though. Given the strategic importance of Baltimore, Abraham Lincoln coaxes Maryland to the side of the Union in his typically folksy manner by imprisoning Baltimore’s chief of police, the entire Board of Police, all the members of Baltimore’s city council, and a Maryland congressman.

The choice for Maryland is simple but discord and violence reign in the other Border States as they tear themselves apart trying to decide which side to join. Though most are not destined to exist for more than a few months, for a brief period of time new states are born like split off amoebas: West Virginia, North Arkansas, South Missouri, Upper Right-Hand Corner Texas, The Really Cute Spot In The Middle But Toward The Bottom Illinois, to name just a few. Amongst the group, Lincoln eyes the intact Kentucky as the jewel. “I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky,” he says. Kentucky Governor Beriah Magoffin proposes to stay in the Union but when Lincoln requests Kentucky supply 1,000,000 men to serve in the Union Army, Magoffin replies, “Kentucky will furnish no troops for the wicked purpose of subduing her sister Southern states.” Lincoln is enraged, knowing full well that without Kentucky the Union stands little chance in the upcoming NCAA tournament.

Even in the Indian Territory (future Oklahoma) there is upheaval. Slave owning tribes such as the Choctaw and Creek along with the Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Catawba join the Confederacy because–like them–the Confederacy starts with a “C”, while the Iroquois, Huron, Shawnee, Pamunky, and Lumbee join the Union. And in a display of true bravado and one-upmanship, the Cherokee also vote to have their own civil war. This rush into the white man’s war, however, whatever side chosen, is well calculated, as the South guarantees that with their victory the Indian Territory will be acknowledged as a sovereign Indian state, and the North guarantees that with their victory the Native Americans will be left alone.

Yeah anyway,

As chaos within the states rolls on unabated, author, celebrity, and the 19th century’s forerunner to Mother Theresa, Florence Nightingale, sees from afar that it is a minority of extremists in the South and a minority of extremists in the North who are driving the locomotives of self-righteousness toward each other and on the same track at a hundred miles an hour while the rest of the country stares anxiously out their respective coach windows wondering what’s beyond the next bend. She decides that the issue of the American Border States must be decided in a practical way which will end the ongoing violence and horror. To stop the people in Missouri, Kentucky, Kansas, and the Indian Territory from shooting each other, Nightingale proposes that the members of the Northern government cabinet and the Southern government cabinet shoot at each other instead. She beseeches the men to do the manly and chivalrous thing and fight a duel–whatever side has the most members still alive will get the four remaining Border States and Territory. Finding it difficult in their hearts to say no to “The Lady With the Lamp,” a document is drawn up and the members of both cabinets agree and sign it as this is the best way to halt the further loss of innocent lives. However, as the day of reckoning approaches, and without Nightingale’s knowledge, all agree to scratch out “fight a duel” from the document and insert “play miniature golf.”

The match commences under a drizzling rain on June 3rd, 1861. As it progresses, the South seems assured of victory until Confederate Secretary of War LeRoy Pope Walker double bogies the hippopotamus hole and then right after takes a six on the windmill. They lose. The slave Border States join the Union. Lincoln is overjoyed. Jefferson Davis is despondent. Kentucky Governor Beriah Magoffin resigns from office and moves to Japan where nobody knows he has a stupid name.

As the war continues and morale in the North wanes, Lincoln becomes even more determined to preserve the Union, reaffirming his vow to do whatever it takes to keep the Union together even if that means making everyone in the South dead, at which time he will generously welcome them back into the Union.

Poland is the only European country to acknowledge the sovereignty of the newly seceded South. However, no one in Europe acknowledges that Poland is a country.* Consequently the Southern hope of a snowball effect of European support quickly vanishes. *(At this time both Germany and Russia refer to Poland as “the woods.”)

Desperate for money and support, Confederacy President Jefferson Davis prohibits all cotton exports, knowing that England–cotton’s main buyer–will need to lend support to the South’s cause in order to get their “precious cotton,” as Davis refers to it at the time, followed by chuckling that goes on non-stop for about twenty minutes. Davis’ vice president, Clamshell Rickshaw, suggests that they sell the fifty million dollars-worth of cotton they’ve got sitting around to the English in order to gain funds and get in their good graces, but Davis–having been a graduate of West Point as opposed to a graduate of Harvard’s School of Business and consequently never having been introduced to the concept of schmoozing–considers this idea “plain silly.” Davis waits patiently for his plan to come to fruition but is greatly disappointed just a month later upon learning the English have invented Polyester.

In the midst of war, asked what his goals were regarding the slaves, Lincoln–displaying an example of the moral courage and principle for which he would be remembered for always–responds, “If I can win the war by freeing all the slaves then I’ll do that. If I can win the war by not freeing any of the slaves then I’ll do that. If I can win the war by freeing some of the slaves and not others then I’ll do that.” He also says, “My politics are simple and sweet, like an old woman’s dance.”

Okay.

Soon after, however, it becomes clear to him what course to follow: Free all the slaves. He knows, deep in his heart, that this is the morally right thing to do because (a) it will drive Jefferson Davis nuts, (b) it will create chaos in the South and (c) he’ll be able to draft the recently freed blacks and deploy them as special units whose sole purpose will be to make the South run out of bullets quicker.

But Lincoln is smart enough to foresee a long-term solution with the freeing of the slaves. This is to colonize the Caribbean and ship them all there. He closes any discussion on this subject by saying, “We can’t have a mulatto country.” I think this is the inscription on the Lincoln Memorial.

Despite Jefferson Davis’s pissy pants approach to business, England considers lending assistance to the South. When word of this gets back to Washington, Abraham Lincoln, in a hands across the ocean act of goodwill, sends a message to the English prime minister via American Vice President Luca Brasi, that if England provides aid to the South, the prime minister and his family will sleep with the fishes.

Union general William T. Sherman utters his famous line that all school children will eventually learn: “War is hell.” It’s initially considered that Sherman was in a sad, reflective moment, issuing forth a warning to future generations from having experienced the futility and horror of war first hand, but upon closer scrutiny it’s apparent that this utterance is simply a rationalization for all the awful things he’s about to do. Like burning down Georgia.

Meanwhile, in a desperate attempt to bolster their Southern ranks and increase their raw materials, Confederacy president Jefferson Davis devises a plan to annex Poland and have it towed into the Gulf of Mexico where it will be glued onto Louisiana. This will also keep the water in the Mississippi River from leaking out at the bottom, which has been a problem for years.

John Brown with the aid of his sons attempts to start a slave revolt at Harper’s Ferry. Attempting to arm the local slaves, Brown is surprised by the response of, “No thanks. We’re good. You knock yourself out, though.” Undaunted, Brown continues his plan which is to shoot up the town and then head down to the river where his spaceship is parked and which will allow him to flee to Mars. Brown is captured, however, and hung for treason shortly thereafter. Abolitionists everywhere observe a moment of silence for this man who they consider a martyr for their cause, and take up a collection to have his image made into a stained glass window in the National Cathedral alongside Lizzie Borden and Attila the Hun.

Following the war, Abraham Lincoln and William T. Sherman become the only two people hung for war crimes. Oops, no I’m sorry, that was in a parallel universe where the South won the war. Never mind.

The war ends. Preparing for a joyous and celebratory reunification of the Union, Lincoln is surprised and dismayed to find out that the South is kind of pissed.

John Wilkes Booth commits the most boneheaded of actions by assassinating Lincoln. The course of American history is turned on its ear in a moment, starting the very next day when Lincoln is made a saint. Pushing aside Lincoln’s “Goodie Two Shoes” policy for reunification of the South, the Republican Radicals, who control the government, put Southern Reconstruction into action. Black military regiments become the occupying force in the South and recently freed slaves are appointed to the local government agencies and public offices for the purpose of maintaining order in the recently “conquered” southern land. The Northern politicians do this because, deep in their hearts, they are convinced that this would be really funny.

Oh, and they send the South a bill for the war.

In the meantime, all the blacks that are not designated to be in some sort of officious position are nonetheless free to earn a wage, except that none of the white people now have any money to hire them with and so they all starve to death.

As the years pass, all Southern states are pressured into removing the Confederate flag from atop their state capitol buildings. While they do so begrudgingly, they acquiesce knowing it’s the right thing to do, because the people who have leftover bullets said so. But to fill the void atop their capitol domes, and to retain a sense of pride in their Southern heritage, they erect giant plaster fists with middle fingers raised and pointing north.

The End

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