Sunday Jul 14

Sindell Headshot Jon Sindell wrote the story collections The Roadkill Collection and Family Happiness. His humor has appeared in The Big Jewel, Defenestration, Feathertale, Hobart, The Higgs-Weldon, Points In Case, riverbabble, The Short Humour Site, and Thrice Quarterly, and before barnyard animals in petting zoos everywhere. Much of his writing hides in plain sight here

America's Got Talented Orators! Historic Cage Match Edition

        Who will advance in this Historic Cage Match edition of AMERICA'S GOT TALENTED ORATORS!? Let's look in as A.B. Baby winds up his rant ...
        A.B.: “... that government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth.”

Polite applause.

Judge Bling (with jaundiced expression): I don’t know, bruh, I just wasn’t feeling it.

Judge Snyde (with derisive grin): What’s with the big hat? I mean, seriously, man. No. No no no no no.

(Audience, cued, bursts into laugher)

        Judge Fluffe (with encouraging smile): You were very sincere. I like that! But what I’m trying to figure out is, what's “four score and seven years ago?”

A.B. (with kindly grin): Poetic arithmetic, ma’am. A bit grand, perhaps.

Judge Fluffe (chin on palm): I don’t get it.
       Judge Snyde: Me either. And that’s on you, tall man. (points accusingly at A.B., turns to audience to receive applause, bicyle-pumps his legs and shimmies)

Judge Fluffe: Could you explain what “four score” is?

       Judge Snyde: Four points more than he’s getting from this boy, ooo! (stands and slaps himself on the seat of his skin-tight turquoise pants)

       A.B.: A “score” is twenty. So “four score" is— (smiles upon the panel in the manner of a benevolent school master to a fourth-grade class awaiting their answer)

The judges stare vacantly at Lincoln.

Judge Bling (sighing in exasperation): Yes?

A.B.: “Four score” means 4 times 20. Which of course equals ...

        The judges look at one another in distress. Judge Bling looks sourly upward as if hoping to find the sum in the ceiling. Judge Snyde scrawls four sets of twenty marks on a paper and begins counting them, but loses count and hurls the paper to the floor. Judge Fluffe laboriously works out the problem with pencil and paper.

Judge Fluffe (beaming): Eighty! "Four score" means eighty.

Lincoln touches the brim of his stovepipe hat in salute.

Judge Bling (smiling broadly): Well, why didn’t you just say so, dawg?

A.B.: Perhaps I should have.

       Judge Snyde (jealous of Judge Fluffe’s approval of A.B.): So what’s the seven, then? I mean, (mocking Lincoln's sonorous intonation), “four score and seven years ago” and all that?

Judge Fluffe (taking up her pencil to add seven to eighty, exclaiming brightly): 87!

        A.B.: I tip my hat to you, madam. (he does so) `Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty—'

        Judge Bling (rolling his wrist to signal "hurry up"): Yeah yeah yeah, we got that, dawg, but eighty-seven years ago what?

A.B.: Well, 87 years before 1863, the year I delivered this speech. That is, 1863 minus 87 ...

        The judges look at each other in an arithmetic-induced panic. Judge Bling scrunches his brow as if pained by constipation. Judge Snyde chews nervously on his pencil. Judge Fluffe fumbles for her phone to use its calculator. They hold a tense, huddled conference.

Judge Bling (irritated, in a panic): We’ll go to commercial.

After the commercial, Lincoln is gone.

        Judge Bling: Listen up, yo. Sorry to report that A.B. Baby has been disqualified for the use of a banned substance: arithmetic. That leaves us a few minutes to enjoy these highlights from the earlier rounds of Historic Death Match.

        Johnny The Eff Kennedy: "And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."

Judge Snyde: I like that "ahsk." Smooth as silk.

Judge Fluffe (mooning): I love the hair.

        Judge Bling: Right right, the hair, the accent, it's all good, but my issue is, ask what "I" can do for my country? Isn't that a little backwards, my man? Shouldn't it be what my country can do for moi?

Judge Snyde: Yeah, it is sort of "ahsse bahkwards."

Judges Bling and Snyde high five.

Judge Fluffe: And a tad authoracratic?

Judge Snyde: Sorry, Johnny, just—no. No no no no no.

(Audience hoots)

        Winnie The Church Hill: Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

The judges exchange puzzled glances.

        Judge Bling: Listen, Winnie, we let you in because your mom was American, but what you gotta know is, some famous speech dude said, "Briefness is the soul of wit." So dig this upgrade: "The beginning's over." Boom! (tallies words). Your original was twenty-four words. My rewrite was three. Three! That's a savings of ... (works it out on calculator) ... twenty-one words! Ya-know-I'm-sayin'?

        Judge Snyde: (stands and points to the seat of his skin-tight purple pants): This is the beginning of the end.

(wild laughter)

Winnie The Church Hill (stiffening lower lip with determination): I shall never surrender!

Judge Snyde (rolling eyes, then staring derisively at Churchill): Just—no. No no no no no!

(Audience howls)

Churchill stiffens his lips and trudges off the stage with dignity.

Judge Fluffe (calling after sweetly): I love your accent!

        Em El King: "... we will be able to speed up that day when all God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics—

        Judge Bling (slicing finger across throat to cut King off): Yo dawg, I see where you're going and I feel you—but don't you think you oughtta dump the "God" riff? It's not very inclusive, amirite?

Judge Fluffe (with patient smile): And `black men' and `white men'—definitely problematic.
        Judge Snyde: What they're saying, your highness, is ... (stands and raises hands as if conducting a choir to cue the audience to join in) ... No. No no no no no!

(uproarious laughter from the audience)

        Em L. King furrows his brow with deep concern for the spiritual well being of the panel and the audience alike and walks off the stage back into the past.

        Judge Bling: Since briefness is the soul of wit, and tediousness the legs and outward flowers or somethin', let me just say, in the words of the immortal me: See you next time on America's Got Talented Orators! Bling out!