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Early America


Trevor J. Houser


n the 1700s Ben Franklin owned slaves in the Detroit countryside.  He was trying to build an electric clipper ship or something.

“Mr. Franklin,” said one of the slaves.  “This is not how you do electricity or whatever.”

“I want to trade with India or somebody like that,” said Ben Franklin.

“Take off that Ben Franklin wig,” said another slave.  “You’re not Ben Franklin.”

But it was Ben Franklin pretending to be a slave.  “Lordy, lordy, I like eating beans over an open fire,” said Ben Franklin.

“That’s fucked up,” said one of the slaves.

All the slaves slept together in the sugar cane.  Ben Franklin watched over them from the porch of his mansion.  He had a kayak paddle he would light on fire and stand there like he was the god of making Detroit into America, which was probably his best attribute.  He also liked fucking in the bathtub and eating grilled cheeses.  

George Washington came over one day to talk about Indians and the werewolf problem.

“What if the Indians could turn into werewolves?” asked George Washington.

“That would be fucking crazy,” said Ben Franklin, who was dressed like a slave again.

“I think we should talk to Canada,” said George Washington. “They have fur trappers who can hunt down things for money.”

“But we don’t have any money,” said Ben Franklin.

“Oh yeah,” said George Washington.

“We really need to get some money,” said Ben Franklin.

“What about the gold rush?” said George Washington.

But Ben Franklin had already dug a hole under his desk and escaped, which made George Washington say, “What the fuck?  Was that Ben Franklin or some kind of slave?”

For a few weeks people made molasses and tobacco and whatever and pretended not to think about werewolves.  Some people went to the gold rush to buy more mansions and slaves.  Ben Franklin just laughed.  “What’s so great about digging for gold?” he said as he lit the kayak paddle.

One night Ben Franklin heard a bloody scream deep in the sugar cane.

“I’m not fucking going out there,” said Ben Franklin.  So his butler went out there.  When the butler came back he said the werewolves ate two slaves.

“Like ate them whole?” asked Ben Franklin.

“I guess,” said the butler.

Martha Washington came to Ben Franklin’s mansion for dinner.

“Sorry to hear about your slaves,” said Martha Washington.

“Where’s George?” said Ben Franklin, switching the subject.

“I think he went to the gold rush,” said Martha Washington.

Ben Franklin and Martha Washington ate fancy soup and hard tack and drank some old wine from France.

“This wine is really old,” said Ben Franklin.

“That’s why I come over here,” said Martha Washington.  “By the way, what’s this stuff?”

“Hard tack,” said Ben Franklin.

“What’s that?” said Martha Washington.

“I don’t know it’s from the war,” said Ben Franklin.

“Weird,” said Martha Washington.

“Did you see any werewolves on your way over?” said Ben Franklin.

“I think there were a couple in Abraham Lincoln’s yard,” said Martha Washington.

“Did you make eye contact?” said Ben Franklin.

“No, because I like having a face,” said Martha Washington.

“Yeah, I like having a face, too,” said Ben Franklin.

One afternoon the slaves were playing badminton and Abraham Lincoln came over and told them to keep it down because his wife was sleeping.

“Shut up, Abe,” said one of the slaves.  But Abraham Lincoln didn’t care because he was going to get famous and emancipate everyone.  If I emancipate everyone then everyone will remember me for that instead of something stupid like being from Illinois, thought Abraham Lincoln.

“Your beard is memorable,” Ben Franklin told him.

“Shut up,” said Abraham Lincoln.  “This beard is the stupidest thing in America.”

“Why don’t you shave it off?” said Ben Franklin.

“I don’t have any time because of the gold rush,” said Abraham Lincoln.

“What about the werewolves?” said Ben Franklin.

“Fuck the werewolves,” said Abraham Lincoln.

The next night ten more slaves were killed by werewolves.  Ben Franklin went to the sugar cane and it looked sort of like nuclear war.  He went back to his mansion covered in slave blood and werewolf fur and made himself a Negroni on the rocks.  He took a hot bath.  He told his butler to bring him the phone.

“Operator,” said Ben Franklin, “Get me Canada.”

“What part?” said the operator.

“The part with the fur trappers in it,” said Ben Franklin.

“Ok, here they are,” said the operator.

“Hello?” said one of the fur trappers.

“Are you fur trappers,” said Ben Franklin, sipping his Negroni.

“Yeah,” said the fur trapper.

“Do you guys hunt down werewolves?” said Ben Franklin.

“Probably,” said the fur trapper.

“I need your five best fur trappers at my mansion by Monday,” said Ben Franklin.

“Where’s your mansion?” said the fur trapper.

“Outside Detroit,” said Ben Franklin.

“What can you give us?” said the fur trapper.

“How about framed copies of the Declaration of Independence?” said Ben Franklin.

“What else?” said the fur trapper.

“Do you like old wine from France?” said Ben Franklin.

“How old?” said the fur trapper.

“Pretty old,” said Ben Franklin.

“Ok, it’s a deal,” said the fur trapper.

Ben Franklin got into bed.  The news was on.  The man on the news said a lot of people want to grow up to be jewel thieves, but that most people have a better chance of getting their face clawed off by a grizzly bear.  Ben Franklin hated grizzlies.  “Fuck those things,” said Ben Franklin.  Then he changed the channel to Swedish porn.

The next day the fur trappers went into the woods to find werewolves, but the werewolves totally fucked them up.  The only surviving fur trapper crawled back to Ben Franklin’s mansion.  

“Oh man,” said the fur trapper.  “We got totally fucked up by the werewolves.”

“Are you seri-uss, motha?” said Ben Franklin, who was dressed like a slave again, halfway through his sixth Negroni.

“I think they were Indians who turned into werewolves,” said the fur trapper. “They be shootin’ arrows at you and shit?” said Ben Franklin, pretending to tap dance.

“Yeah, it was weird,” said the fur trapper.

“That is fucked up,” said one of the slaves.

Ben Franklin, Martha Washington, and Abraham Lincoln went on a road trip to the gold rush because they had to warn George Washington about the Indians turning into werewolves.  

They took Ben Franklin’s green Chevy Nova.  

One night they stopped in Billings, Montana.  Martha Washington came into Ben Franklin’s motel room wearing nothing but the American flag.  

“I’m lonely,” said Martha Washington.

“Yeah, me too,” said Ben Franklin.  “I’m going to turn the bath on.”

Ben Franklin and Martha Washington fucked in the bathtub.  Afterward they ordered grilled cheeses.  

“I shouldn’t have fucked you,” said Martha Washington.  “I’m the wife of somebody who you’re friends with.”

“That seems pretty fucked up,” said Ben Franklin, wishing he had ingredients for a Negroni.

They left the next day and pretended nothing happened.  Abraham Lincoln was too busy thinking about emancipating everyone to notice anything weird so he just looked out the window.  They drove until they reached California.  They found George Washington at his RV outside San Bernadino.

“Where’s the gold rush?” said Ben Franklin.

“Over there,” said George Washington, pointing with a warm beer.  “No, wait, over there.”

“Oh yeah,” said Ben Franklin.  “It looks like everybody’s getting rich and wearing Levis.”

“Pretty much,” said George Washington.

“Did you miss me?” said Martha Washington.

“I guess,” said George Washington.  “I kind of feel tired from trying to reinvent government all the time.”

“That’s stupid,” said Abraham Lincoln. “I’m going to emancipate you.”

“Do you guys want beers?” said George Washington.

Everybody shrugged and had beers.  In the distance were mountains and in the mountains were grizzlies and the grizzlies just sat there like national monuments of clawing peoples faces off.

“What do you guys think about World War Two?” said George Washington, looking at his beer.

“The Japanese are probably werewolves,” said Ben Franklin.

“Fuck World War Two,” said Abraham Lincoln.

No one said anything for awhile.  They had more beers except for Ben Franklin who made himself a Negroni.  Sometimes he wished he was normal like the slaves, but that he still lived in a mansion and didn’t have to worry about getting hanged.

“I always feel like I’m making history or something,” said Ben Franklin.

“Me too,” said George Washington.

“I emancipate you,” said Abraham Lincoln.  

Everyone went over to the gold rush and started digging for gold.  There were Chinese laborers and slaves and some prostitutes named Clara. Abraham Lincoln took his shirt off.  George Washington sang regionally popular songs about grizzlies clawing people’s faces off.  Martha Washington made Negronis for everyone.  Ben Franklin was dressed like a slave, but he felt conflicted.  He didn’t say lordy lordy or sing about people’s faces getting clawed off.

The Chinese laborers came over to where Ben Franklin was.

“Are you guys living the American dream?” asked one of the Chinese laborers.

“I guess,” said Ben Franklin.

“What’s it like?” asked the Chinese laborer.

“It’s like when everybody buys stereo systems and lives in harmony,” said Ben Franklin.

“That’s what I thought,” said the Chinese laborer.

The Chinese laborers went back to digging for gold or whatever.

“Are there a lot of grizzlies out here?” said Ben Franklin, trying not to feel conflicted.

“Yeah, pretty much,” said George Washington, throwing his beer into the wilderness.

Ben Franklin restrained himself from tap dancing.  He finally told George Washington they had bad news.

“That’s why we came,” said Ben Franklin.

“What is it?” said George Washington.

“I guess the werewolves are actually Indians,” said Ben Franklin.

“Oh fuck,” said George Washington.

Everyone went back to Detroit.  Back in Detroit everybody was like “what the fuck?” except for the slaves.

Ben Franklin asked the slaves what the deal was.

“Were not from here,” said one of the slaves.

“What do you mean?” said Ben Franklin, fixing himself a Negroni highball.

“We’re slaves from the future,” said the slave.

“That’s fucking crazy,” said Ben Franklin.

“We have a spaceship,” said the slave.

“How fast does it go?” said Ben Franklin.

“The speed of light,” said the slave.

“This is probably the craziest thing that’s ever happened,” said Ben Franklin.

“You shouldn’t have slaves you know,” said the slave.

“I know,” said Ben Franklin.

“Then why do you have them?” said the slave.

“Because I’m stupid I guess,” said Ben Franklin.

“You’re going to have to kill all the werewolf Indians or you won’t have a country in the future,” said the slave.  “You’ll probably have some kind of werewolf country.  That’s what we came to warn you about.”

“But aren’t you from the future,” said Ben Franklin.

“Yeah,” said the slave.

“So then we do have a country,” said Ben Franklin.

“Oh yeah,” said the slave.  “I didn’t think about it like that.”

There is a sequel to this story. You can read it at this link.

Quiz question:

What drink did Ben Franklin drink repeatedly in Early America?

Gin and Tonic

Gin and Tonic

Tom Collins

Tom Collins

Arnold Palmer

Arnold Palmer

None of the above

None of the above

correct answers enable commenting.

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Issue 3


September 22, 2017

Early America was written by Trevor J. Houser. He is a writer and copywriter in Seattle. He probably drinks Old Weller while listening to the autoplaying music on the homepage of his professional website. If you have 17 more minutes, check out this other story by him as well

Illustration for this story was done by Andy Babbitz. He is a freelance art director who believes you should chew your pride before swallowing it.

i dont feel like fininishing this website right now and i am sorry

Wow. I feel the urge

to start yelling at people

to get off my lawn.

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Issue 3

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