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From The Newly Discovered Second Autobiography of Mark Twain (a work in progress)

September 22, 2010

Greetings, stranger of the future. If you are reading this, it means the written word has survived, that the world of tomorrow still exists, and that for some reason my ramblings are still considered worth reading. My name is Mark Twain, and I write these words to you in the good old days of August 2010.

What’s that, you say, didn’t you die a hundred years ago, you old coot? I hear your memoirs have just been published, right now in 2010, because they had to wait a century after your death, blah blah blah and so on. The truth is I never died, but the same old rumors got exaggerated and then the Great War happened, so people forgot I was still alive. And I’ve kept alive, due to a magic spell cast upon me by a wizard- but I’ve promised not to tell that tale until 1,000 years have passed. I let them do the century book because otherwise I might have to pay the advance back again, and I couldn’t afford it. I suppose by now you all know how I was Jack the Ripper, and why it was in a good cause that I committed those foul murders. Also that I was directly responsible for the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Hopefully you’ve forgiven me these indiscretions…

Anyway, I’ve had a whole new bunch of adventures in the time since. I hope you’ll enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed having them and then writing them down, and then getting paid for it. Especially that last part.

Mark Twain

Chapter One

My Hunt For The Yeti

“Come out here and face me, you snow-covered coward!” I shouted at the snowy waste. The place was Tibet, and the year was 1925… fifteen years since my supposed death. This time my death had been exaggerated out of all proportion, with some newspapers claiming I had been exploded by 10,000 kegs of dynamite while straining stallions tore me in all four directions and a tribe of Indians blew poison darts. Well, none of that had happened. I had decided to take a little time out, that’s all. Right around 1913 I got involved with a bunch of fellows in a business venture involving decommissioned submarines- we decided to sponsor colorful submarine races across the aquatic waterways of Europe. Unfortunately we held the first of our “wacky submarine races” just as some fool oaf had declared war. The whole thing resulted in another bunch of lawsuits and denunciations, which led to me retiring from private life even more in order to avoid becoming too glaringly evident in the eyes of the general public. When Lady Publicity shines her lovely lamp upon you it’s like basking in the pure light of the Sun; but when Johnny Notoriety cast his gaze the effect is mighty noxious. I’ve known a few other people who had decide to stage their own deaths- the most scoundrelly being that Dutch painter, Vincent Van Gogh- I believe he finally died about 1937, living the high life on the French Riviera. His faked death was possibly the most profitable ever…

I had banged around Europe for a while after that (for a period I was a Taxi dancer, performing on top of cars-for-hire), but in the early twenties I had become re-intrigued by the idea of beasts who hid from mankind. This led to me going to Tibet as part of an expedition to find the Yeti, that mythical man-beast of nether yore. We set out from Tibet City on August 8th, as we thought it was best to make the attempt when it was pretty snowy but not too snowy. Fifteen days out into the mountains we struck gold-or rather scat, Yeti scat (poos). We tromped around for days after that looking everywhere but no dice, that’s when I started shouting abuse. I was hoping the Yeti would somehow understand me and come out to challenge this affront to his dignity. Or something like that. I fortified myself with brandy and continued bellowing. “I can stay here all day, stupid cold weather monkey!” I sighted one particular cavehole and made it my target of abuse. “Yeti, come out and play!” There was no sign of life. “I know you’re in there, you damn dirty ape! What are you doing, playing pinochle? I’ve got your favorite kind of candy here” I continued, switching tactics. All of a sudden I slipped and fell into the river. As I was carried along in the rushing, icy-cold water I could swear I saw the smiling face of the Yeti looking down at me.

The water I was in was headed to the North Pole, and it was getting colder by the second. I could tell I was becoming encased in a block of ice. Soon everything below my waist was solidly frozen and my left hand was already trapped. While my right hand was still free I hurriedly wrote “FAMOUS AUTHOR” on the growing outside of the block which held me in it’s grasp- then I was completely frozen, and my ice-block bobbed out into the icy sea to join thousands of others at the top of the Earth. It was more than two decades before I’d be found and unfrozen. I remember having some colorful dreams! The next time I saw that Yeti he had a desk job.

Chapter Two

The Sleeper Gets Awoken Up

The next thing I knew it was 1951, and I was getting wakened up. There was a man standing in front of me who I soon found out was Steve Austin, The Six Million Dollar Man, because he told me. “I am the Six Million Dollar Man” he stated. I stood up my full height and puffed out my chest. “Well then, I am worth ten thousand dollars” I riposted. “Mister Twain, you’ve been asleep a long time. A million is more than a thousand” he informed me. He was right. I realized I was still drunk from 26 years earlier.

Then he told me that I had been unfrosted in perfect health, except for the big toe on my right foot, which they had replaced with a hydraulic version. “It can lift great weights up stairwells” he explained. “You can probably lift a thousand pounds with this toe.” I said I wasn’t using it and I never have, the piece of junk. Twenty years later they did a TV series based on Steve’s life; I made a guest appearance in one episode as the villain, the nefarious Mansquito. I always respected Steve for his mechanicalness, but he smelled faintly of motor oil.

Chapter Three

My Love Affair With Mamie Eisenhower

Boy oh boy, this lady was one hot dish. Her husband was too busy being President to give her the attention she desired, so I nominated myself as the man for the ticket. Ike had called me in to investigate some shady goings-on  underneath the White House; it turned out gold smugglers had dug a tunnel to a pyramid in Egypt and they were pretending to be ghosts in an attempt to get away with it. I helped the police to apprehend them all, but in between I helped myself to great big hot helpings of wonderful Mame. I wrote endless poems about her, and to aid me in this task I compiled a list of words that rhymed with her name. Blame, game, frame, name, maim, tame, came, same… The list goes on… claim, flame, lame, dame, and more. Also reclaim, and reframe.

Ours was a love affair that ended before it stopped, but I will always have a secret fondness in my heart for her, except I just told you about it. Unfortunately I was discovered naked and hiding in the Lincoln Bedroom by the Kennedys when they moved in- how embarrassing!

Chapter Four

Drowning In The Airwaves

I have always wanted to be a wacky radio DJ- the type of fellow who is having such a good time yelling and barking and making poo-poo noises that he doesn’t know which way to turn for the delight he is giving himself and his millions of listeners. I wanted to be the nasal oaf who is spread all over the airwaves honking and braying with joy at his own half-witted antics. So imagine my pleased surprise when WKXB called me in to fill in for their Morning Zoo man Travis Buckle, why had collapsed under the weight of his ego. I would be collaborating with local radio legend Hoagie “Basket Case” Strickness, as we lightened the mental and emotional burdens of weary commuters bending over their steering wheels and desks. The next morning, we commenced jabbering.

We quickly became known as “The Killer Jocks” due to our habit of killing people, always inadvertently but quite regularly thanks to our cruel pranks and deliberately misleading traffic information. Finally we were suspended from the air and imprisoned as an act of public safety. The foolish prison authorities made the mistake of putting me and Basket Case on the air again on the prison radio station- we incited a riot and made good our escape. B.C. was recaptured and died in prison, but I made even gooder on my escape by exaggerating some rumors of my own death again, till my most recent peccadilloes could be forgiven.

Chapter Five

My Career In Skin Films

Within a few years my murderous radio career had left the public’s memory far behind. What I mean is that they’d forgotten it. I had returned to writing, and had a number-one bestseller in 1978 with  Spank My Donkey Ass Lust, a rollicking, ribald picaresque slice of life roman a clef set in the advertising industry. Inspired by the book’s success, the New York Times came a-calling to ask me to do an editorial on any subject which inspired passion in my heart or brain. I decided to write an article deploring Mammon, the hypothetical deity of materialism and riches.

Unfortunately the Times’s copy editor misunderstood the name and changed it to Mammo. Mammo was the notorious gangster who ran a topless-lady “Mammogram” service in most urban centers. This was like the old singing-telegram business but with bare breasts instead of vocalization. Mammo had been imported in his youth from the harsh docks of Marseilles and had risen to become a feared vice lord- imagine my surprise when I opened the Sunday Times and saw that I had just written a public editorial denouncing him! I went to the police for protection, but they said without evidence their hands were tied. I went home and sat and quivered, awaiting his approach. Sure enough, soon I heard footsteps. The door opened and there he was: Mammo! His flat, slit-like eyes glared at me from their position in his blocky head atop a massive body- fists the size of hams swung at his sides. He grunted for a few minutes, then spoke. “You no like Mammo? What Mammo done to you?” he demanded. I explained about the mixup at the Times and promised to issue a correction. He nodded, then pointed his sausage finger at my face. “You make it up to Mammo? You be in Mammo’s movie!” I agreed without considering, as recently I had been doing some acting (Warren Beatty’s Reds) and how bad could his film be? Well, I sure found out.

“Man is the only animal that blushes, or needs to” I wrote quite a long time ago. Imagine my blushes when I got to the set Monday morning and was greeted by bare butts. It was a porno movie! I almost ran for it, but Mammo emerged from his office and explained that I wouldn’t have to take my clothes off, unless of course I wanted to. I was to be playing a professor of literature named Dixton Mulberworthy, who would resemble myself and tell a group of assembled co-eds that they would receive extracurricular credits for doing the simplest of all acts that humans can do with their conjoined nether regions. I completed my lines and exited gracefully, although I did stay to watch the filming for the rest of that day. I also came back and watched the filming for the rest of the week as well. The film turned out pretty well I think, it’s called Switching Positions and by today’s standards it’s pretty tame, apart for the constant close-ups of entwined genitals and so on.

6 comments

  1. Thank you for this glimpse into your life, Mr. Twain.


  2. I knew he wasn’t dead! I finally feel vindicated! Now if only Hitler would publish his latest memoirs my friend Larry will owe me TWO drinks!


  3. This means a lot its genius


  4. Brilliant stuff, Michael! Can’t wait for the next issue of Tales Designed to Thrizzle!!


    • Thanks Barry!


  5. [...] got the new Fantagraphics catalog in the mail, and guess what’s in it! Michael Kupperman’s Mark Twain’s Autobiography 1910-2010! Kupperman is one of the funniest dudes in comics (it’s him, Kyle Baker, Sergio Aragones, and [...]



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