Revised History 1: Overly Honest Abe

Revised History 1: Overly Honest Abe

Revised History 1: Overly-Honest Abe

Curtains closed as the audience proceeded to offer an almost obligatory, courtesy applause. The play, The Apostate, was wholly unsatisfactory.

Patrons shuffled out of Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C. on that crisp evening on March 18th, 1865. The date alone – and even the play itself – may have fallen into ambiguity were it not for the events that would follow just under a month later on April 14th, 1865 – the day actor John Wilkes Booth carried out his assassination plot on President Abraham Lincoln in the very same theater.

The main theater seating emptied first. Up in the president’s box, Abe and Mary slowly gathered their belongs and prepared to leave while their bodyguards stood by at the door.

“Well, my love, what would you like to do now?” Mary said. “We’ve still got a bit of evening left to enjoy.”

“I’ll be honest with you, Mary,” Abe said. “I think I need to get back to the house as soon as possible. I’m afraid I need to take a massive dump.”

“Abe! Please, do you always have to be so honest?” Mary said.

The bodyguards chuckled.

Abe got up from his chair let out a loud fart, wincing in discomfort.

“Really, Mary. I’ve got to go!” Abe said. “That one left a stain.”

Mary was becoming frustrated with her overly honest husband. She knew he meant well in always sharing the complete truth, but sometimes, she wished he would learn to keep some things to himself.

Just as the group was about to exit the Presidential box, there was a knock on the door.

It was John Wilkes Booth, who had just finished changing backstage after his performance.

“Mr. President,” Booth said. “I heard you were in attendance this evening. I wanted to thank you for coming and get your opinion on the play and my performance.”

Abe looked at Mary and politely smiled and nodded. It was his signal for her to go on ahead, this is going to take a while. Mary huffed, snatched up her purse and exited the room in an exasperated hurry. One of the bodyguards followed behind her.

Despite the pain in his stomach and the beckons of his bowels, President Lincoln wanted to give John Wilkes Booth his full and honest opinion.

“John, why don’t we have a seat,” Abe said. “I’m really glad you came to me.”

“No, no. The pleasure’s all mine,” Booth said and the two sat down.

“John, I’ll say this first. I’m a huge fan of your work. You’ve demonstrated an impressive mastery of your art nearly every time I’ve watched you perform. And, between you and me, I’m a bit of a theater buff. You’re one of the best actors I’ve seen,” Abe said.

“Wow. Just wow,” Booth said. “Thank you! That really means a lot.”

“Tonight, however, was a different story,” Abe said. “This play was one of the most uninteresting and drawn out performances I’ve ever witnessed. My wife wanted to leave during intermission, but I’d already promised Mr. Ford that I’d be in attendance this evening. And, John, I’m a man of my word. But the play, it lacked emotion. The plot was poorly executed. It was, and I’m being completely honest here, an utter disaster.”

Booth was speechless. Abe’s unadulterated honesty was too much to comprehend.

Abe continued sharing his opinions.

“And finally, John, to your second question. I actually forgot it was you as I watched this play. Your performance, like the play, was very dull. It was very strange to see such a talented actor such as yourself look so amateurish and green. It was almost like you’d never been on stage before.”

At this point, Booth was fuming. His fists were clenched so tight that his arms were shaking. His brow so furrowed that he opened a small cut on his forehead.

“Well, it was great to talk to you, John! I hope we can do it again sometime. But, I really must get going now,” Abe stood up and smiled.

As he shuffled past Booth, who was still seated, Abe accidently let out the most Presidential of flatulence. It echoed throughout the theater and the stench lingered in Booth’s face.

“Excuse me! I’m so sorry,” Abe said. “I fear I’m minutes away from ruining these pants completely!”

Abe and his bodyguard exited the President’s box and Ford’s Theatre.

John Wilkes Booth remained seated. Even as the last theater employees left for the night and shut the lights off, Booth remained. His anger was growing as he replayed the President’s words in his mind. He knew he asked for his opinion, but being the sensitive, sissy-boy that he was, Booth wasn’t ready for the honest criticism that Abe had dealt him. Nor was he going to let it slide.
After a successful acting career, Booth really wasn’t used to hearing the kind of things he heard from Abe. And subsequently, because of his tarnished ego and his pride, he swore that would be his last performance until he was able to get revenge on his newly sworn enemy – President Abraham Lincoln.

The next day, after spending all night nursing his hatred, Booth burst into the office of his friend and screenplay producer, Harold T. Cranson.

“I’m going to kill the President!” Booth said.

Harold was sitting at his desk looking over some papers. He was startled by both Booth’s abrupt entrance and surprising words.

“Johnny, Johnny. Slow down. What’s going on?” Harold said.

“Abraham Lincoln has to die,” Booth said. “I cannot rest until it’s done.”

Booth proceeded to share the events of the previous night with Harold – beginning with what he claimed was one of his top performances of his career and ending with the President’s brutally honest opinions.

“Yeah, Johnny. I hear ya. That’s pretty rough,” Harold said. “But, I don’t think you need to kill the guy over it. Why not get revenge through your craft? You know, we can make the perfect play – just for you. Then you can really show him how wrong he was.”

“A play, huh?” Booth said. “I swore I wouldn’t take the stage until this is done, but yeah. Here, I’ve got an idea for you. It’s titled: Kill that Stupid, Heartless Bastard Lincoln. Curtains open, I come out with a song.”

“You want to do a musical?” Harold said.

Booth jumped atop Harold’s desk.

“The song will be up-tempo with a catchy accompaniment and it’ll go something like this…

If you’re thinkin’ what I’m thinkin’
Then it’s Abe-a-ra-ham Lincoln-

Who’s ruining my life
Who’s causing me my strife!

And I’ll tell you what I’ll do
I’ll show the truth to you –

He really has to go!
The world – it has to know!
That Abe-a-ra-ham Lincoln is evil
Yes, he’s stinkin’…”

He stopped singing to catch his breath.

“Yeah, that’s pretty catchy,” Harold said. “But not much of a story there.”

“Oh, you need a story, huh?” Booth said and got down from the desk. “Song ends. Audience erupts in cheers and applause. It’s the most amazingly entertaining thing they’ve ever seen. President Lincoln stands up from his chair in the President’s box. He says, ‘Gee John Wilkes Booth, I’m so sorry about the stupid, completely wrong things I said to you the other night. I’m a stupid dumb, dumb head.’ I say, ‘Oh yeah, well screw you.’ Then I take a bow, raise a gun and shoot him right between the eyes. Curtains close.”

“Yeah… “ Harold said. “We’re not doing that.”

“You’re right. He doesn’t deserve to witness such a transcendent performance. He doesn’t deserve to enjoy my unmatched talents on stage ever again! I’ll just shoot him the next chance I get,” Booth said.

“Sure, you’ll just walk right into the President’s box at the next play he goes to and shoot him in the head. That’ll solve all your problems. Riiiight,” Harold said.

“Genius, Harold! Genius!” John Wilkes Booth said and kissed Harold on the forehead before prancing out of the room.