by Raji Singh
We’re in the Ides of April, National Poetry Month.
Here’s a little celebratory prose and verse,
To lighten the burden of the tax day curse.
It’s the 1890s. Fiction House’s hired hand, Efraim Ephraim, lounges alone in his cavernous Man Cave’s hot springs-hot tub. His moonshine still bubbles, almost in cadence to the burbles of the mineralized water. He lifts a jar of freshly dispensed crystal-clear White Lightening to his nose and sniffs. It has the same earthy bouquet of the plant root ingredients. He proudly toasts himself.
“My Dear Efraim, your recipe is unmatched.” He sips, and reconnoiters. “Ahh! An alcohol for the ages.
Angels would sing and dance in unheard of delight,
If on my special recipe they could get tight.
He tells himself, “I should send that ditty to Nellie Bly’s newspaper. They’d print it. On second thought, better not. Gov’ment men’d come and smash my Angel makin’ happy apparatus.”
Efraim contents himself on his reading material, a dilapidated 100-year old copy of Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanack.
‘In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.’
“How right, your Almanacky is, dear Benny.” Efraim toasts the long-passed statesman, as if they were not only compatriots in philosophy, but also in their choice of ‘stump juice’.
A Perfect Vessel for Making Stump Juice (Photo by Mark Rogers, 2014)
A Perfect Vessel for Making Stump Juice
(Photo by Mark Rogers, 2014)
Inspired by Franklin’s adage verse, Efraim draws himself another jar of ‘the lightnen’ of the Seraphim’, and commences composing.
Revenuers keep away from my still.
Don’t make me witness your bitter, nectar destroyin’ drill.
You say, ‘No tax from your moonshinen’ do we accrue,
So, into the dirt must we dump your brew’.
The Angels will weep, Oh you Gov-ment men,
So ‘steada usin’ your axes for destructin’,
Join me in toast and drinkin’, Mine Frien’.
* * *
“The only difference between death and taxes is that death doesn’t get worse every time congress meets.” Will Rogers
(Join me every Sunday night at the Fiction House, your place for short story, lark, whimsy, and merriment. Meet the many residents as I archive their lives and centuries of adventures. You can read of their origins in my novel TALES OF THE FICTION HOUSE. My novel is available at Amazon, (Kindle and Trade Paperback) and Barnes and Noble.)
©2015 Raji Singh