Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Umberto Undone


by M. J. Joachim

Umberto couldn’t have possibly known what was in store for him when he set out from Utah to visit Ulysses Grant’s Tomb on the uneventful morning of July 4, 1985. It was nearing the hundred year anniversary of Ulysses death; Grant died of cancer on July 23, 1885.

Umberto’s journey had been planned for months. He was working on a special history project for one of his online undergraduate classes. His goal was to undermine the history behind Grant’s Tomb, the largest mausoleum in North America.

Mark Twain, who had always been a huge supporter of Grant, unveiled Umberto’s motives to Ulysses, with the understanding that Umberto would soon come to know the underworld he was taking on. Ulysses appreciated Twain’s unadulterated loyalty, having experienced his unrestrained magnanimity before, when Twain offered to write Grant’s memoirs upon his deathbed, which ultimately saved Grant’s family from being broke after he died.

Together, Ulysses and Mark worked out a plan for the undoing of Umberto. Upon his arrival at the tomb in Riverside Park, New York City, Umberto felt uneasy. There was a sense of ugliness in the air and strange odors unleashed themselves in his presence. Suddenly his skin began to itch; soon he was covered in ulcers and taken to a nearby United States Military hospital.

There he was united with upstanding men who told him the true story of Ulysses S. Grant, the story of a hero who was a great general during the Civil War, a man who showed compassion toward Confederate soldiers when they lost the war, the same man who faced serious financial stress, but released his own slave (given to him by his father-in-law) and gave him his freedom, rather than sell him for profit to ease his burdens.

Umberto, realizing the error of his ways, understood the message. Through a strange turn of events, he was unable to continue his undergraduate coursework and became the unauthorized biographer of Ulysses S. Grant instead.

Thank you for visiting FlashTyme.

M. J. Joachim

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Photo credit:  USA Grant’s Tomb, National Register of Historic Places, GFDL
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