Monday, February 16, 2009

His Truth Keeps Plodding On

When I came upon Lincoln, he was rubbing his long, weathered feet, trying to warm them up.

"Ah, hello!" said our nation's most spiritual and moral president. "Please, take a seat. I have been awaiting you."

The room's air was heavy, but breathable. My oxygen belt remained mostly full, so I had that as back up if necessary.

"You might think that in 200 years time, man would be better able to keep his feet from cold."

Lincoln looked up and smiled. His face was hideous. I was prepped for that, but seeing it up close still startled me.

"Mr. President -- I have so many questions."

"I know. They all do. I can answer but a few. Then I must return."

He nodded toward the swirling plasma wall next to the iron stove.

"Pray, proceed young man."

I shuffled in the wooden chair, trying not to stare at Lincoln's shifting features.

"How do you view America these days? Is it what you expected?"

The Great Emancipator laughed. A bit of gray bile oozed from his mouth.

"It is what it is. I merely kept the rebel states within the Union. And what did I receive in return? A bullet in the brain."

He turned to show me the wound.

"It hasn't healed in all this time," I said.

"Indeed not. It remains one of history's most infamous wounds. It has inspired the cheapest music and dreadful poetry. You might think it would get me the fifty dollar bill. But no, they gave that to Grant. Without me, Grant's a drunken failure who ends up in the saddle business."

His laughter became deep coughing. Gurgling sounds vibrated his chest.

"What is my reward?" he asked, clearing his rotting throat. "I am given the five dollar bill and the penny. The penny!"

"Well, you are considered our greatest president."

"I care not. All that has been thrown upon me is false. Sometimes I wonder if the Union was worth it."

"You must be inspired by Obama's election."

Lincoln rolled his yellow eyes. "Oh yes. That is supposedly my doing. Frankly, I am indifferent to whom you elect."

"But, because of you, African descendants can hold the highest office."

"They may have it. It is more curse than blessing, let me assure you. Besides, I did not wage that war to elect colored men."

"That's not what a lot of people believe."

"People believe many foolish things. The slave issue served my war effort well. But I would have waged war had there been no slaves. A great nation cannot allow its southern half to simply walk away. Besides, I did enjoy blasting so many shit kickers into the next life. A very disagreeable breed."

The air was thinning. My head became light. I placed the small mask to my face and sucked in clean oxygen.

"I see that our time is ending," said Lincoln, standing up. "I had a meal prepared, but it appears that once again, I will dine alone."

Lincoln turned to a large table. He lifted the lid from a darkened pot, steam rising from inside.

"Ah, the sweet nectar of quality meat. I never tire of this dish."

Lincoln stabbed with a fork what appeared to be a thigh, placing it on an antique White House plate.

"Pork?" I asked.

"Close," replied Lincoln. "Negro."


"You of the modern world enjoy many amenities that we in the 19th century could not have conceived," he said, digging into the thigh with a large knife. "But you have never tasted meat like this."

Lincoln took a bite, closed his eyes and hummed. "Field hands contain more succulence than house servants. But emancipated Negroes? Too bitter. Stringy. Freedom ruined their flavor."

"I gotta admit, Mr. President. I'm appalled."

"You find this appalling?" he replied, waving a forkful of darkened flesh at me. "For your next visit, I will invite the Kennedy brothers, John and Robert. You should see what they eat."