Thursday, March 24, 2011
Luther 'Houdini' DooLittle's Disappearin' Act! ...
It being the renowned Hungarian-born illusionist Harry Houdini's birthday--(born Erik Weisz; March 24, 1874 – October 31, 1926)--a local pair of varlets had accordingly concocted a scheme fraught with inclinations of a deceitful nature, this partly in honor of the aforementioned late, great escapologist--but mainly to fallaciously acquire a hefty swag of burnished coinage from their ofttimes gullible friends, neighbors and acquaintances, along with that of a stranger or so ... thus preparations at once commenced ... the central character in this base plot, Luther DooLittle, obtained a discarded and moldering pickle hogshead from beside the General Store and straightaway concealed it behind an adjacent public 2-stall, 4-hole outhouse ... Luther's best pal, loyal partner and eager assistant, Lamar Beefeater, retrieved the proper tools required to "modify" the old barrel, which entailed the skillful cutting of a hole in its side thereby enabling the configuration of a hardly detectable trapdoor, hinged from the inside, and held securely closed by a small, rusty latch ... this accomplished, the boys "walked" the heavy cask to the corner of the store and positioned it strategically in front of a thick, overgrown multiflora rosebush ... then Luther cleared his throat and clapped his hands together loudly in order to elicit the attention of the nearby crowd, which was comprised of Ansel Poteet the Senior, Grandpa DooLittle, the Wooden Indian and Uncle Virgil Hunnicutt, all of whom were, as usual, settled in around a fiercely raging game of checkers on the store's front porch ... a few regular and anonymous shoppers were also milling about ... having gained their sufficient engrossment, Luther enthusiastically began his pitch " ladies and gentlemen, and all other inanimate objects ... I hereby declare that at approximately 6:00 PM this eve or thereabouts ... with kind assistance from my trusted apprentice and longtime partner Lamar Beefeater ... I shall confidently and boldly climb into this here begrimed hogshead ... hands manacled and eyes blindfolded ... its lid then tacked in place ... will within a very short span of time, upon removal of the lid by my helper Lamer, shall have upon your immediate inspection--'VANISHED' into thin air ... quite possibly to never be seen around these here parts ever again!" ... there was a definite hush amongst the multitudes, along with several giggles and guffaws ... then a sudden explosion of interest as the gravity of Lamar's words gradually sunk in "quite possibly to never be seen around these here parts ever again" ... what a grand and refreshing proposition ... Luther continued his magnetic spiel as he placed a glass, quart Mason jar with a slot punched in its lid on the wooden porch rail "all that I ask, is that each of you deposit a bit of your loose change into this here receptacle as a gesture of your appreciation--refundable of course should my efforts result in dire failure!" ... various and sundry coins began pouring into the jar!
The afternoon slowly passed and it finally approached 10 of 6:00 PM ... Luther and Lamar were giddy upon their return to the store as they discovered a massive audience gathered anxiously round the hogshead, and their Mason jar overflowing with shiny pieces of U.S. currency ... now the plan was for Luther to descend into the barrel manacled and blindfolded ... Lamar was to replace the lid and soundly tack it in place ... in the meantime, Luther was to loosen the latch located within the barrel, open the trapdoor ... exit the barrel on the concealed side ... slam the trapdoor shut, thus prompting the latch to again catch hold thus securing it ... he would then signal Lamar that all was clear so he could remove the lid and show the breathlessly anticipatory throng that Luther DooLittle had indeed doubtlessly and unquestionably disappeared from sight--whilst he forthwith made his escape by way of the dense multiflora rosebush--never to be seen again--at least until the crowd had dissipated ... at which Lamar Beefeater was to retrieve the jar of coins and hurriedly rendezvous with Luther at a predetermined covert locale ... all evidence associated with the ruse--the hogshead--was to be destroyed by fire at a later time ... unfortunately, miniscule and/or unnoticeable miscalculations often result in unforeseen and devastatingly tragic outcomes.
The time had come ... the crowd fell silent in a state of intense awe ... all eyes fell on Luther DooLittle as he slowly and dramatically eased himself down into the dark, musky depths of the barrel ... manacled and blindfolded ... Lamar Beefeater positioned the lid and fastened it firmly with half-a-dozen or so short, brass brads, then awaited Luther's signal ... but to his terror and dismay, Luther DooLittle discovered that he was incorrectly positioned, and unable to reach the rusty latch as previously designed while handcuffed, much less open the trapdoor--he was in a 'pickle' so to speak ... meanwhile the spectators were growing increasingly restless as torturous minutes slowly trickled by, and foreboding murmurings could be heard as Lamar Beefeater nervously prayed for Luther's signal ... yet nothing came forth ... Lamar could hear Luther thrashing about inside and was now certain that something had definitely gone awry ... the expectant onlookers had transformed into an angry mob, and as they closed ranks on Luther and Lamar their collective shouts rang out "open the lid! ... off with the lid!! ... charlatans! ... open that danged lid!!!" ... Lamar Beefeater made an executive decision and took off running towards the hills ... just as the ringleaders were about to unceremoniously dismantle the rigged hogshead piece by piece, along with its contents, Virgil Hunnicutt stepped up and saved the day "now look here folks ... let's not be overly hasty ... I believe Luther DooLittle is without a doubt capable of disappearing, just as he proclaimed, quite possibly to never be seen around these here parts ever again ... ain't that right Luther DooLittle?!" at which Uncle Virgil tipped the wooden cask roughly onto its side and gave it a hearty shove in the direction of the greenbrier thicket which sat directly across the road, and ran for a good half-mile or so--every whit on a steep downhill grade--until it met up with a deep beaver pond below ... the tumbling barrel quickly rolled out of sight, and the piteous sound of Luther DooLittle's frantic screams eventually faded from earshot ... Uncle Virgil Hunnicutt fetched the Mason jar containing the coins and smugly declared "I reckon this here's mine ... considerin' I'm the feller what made that scandalous Luther DooLittle disappear!"