Herman the Soothsayer

June 22, 2009 at 8:37 am | Posted in The Knave | Leave a comment

htsHerman was the Centennial Baby of the 14th century.  When he was born on January 1st, 1300, the father of the second baby born that year pointed out that since there was no year zero, the true Centennial Baby would not be born until the following year.  Herman’s father, Sherman the Truthspeaker, replied by pulling the pole out of the other man’s ass and using it to point out to him that time was an arbitrary construct.  Society had agreed to accept a common idea of time and so if that same society had agreed to call thirteen hundred the Centennial rather than thirteen hundred one, then anyone who said different was just an antisocial bastard whose kid looked nothing like him and had probably been fathered by one of a traveling band of minstrels/sausage salesmen who took care of his marital duties to his wife which had been sorely neglected as her husband spent his whole day making inane comments to strangers who just barely resisted smashing his head in with a mace every time his mouth hole opened to expose the vacuity of his skull.

Herman heard his father speak many more truths as he grew up in Vienna in a split-level hut with a two-mule garage. These included such wisdom as:  “This is the Holy ROMAN Empire and I will have nothing of Arabic numerals even if I live to see the year MMMDCCCLXXXVIII!” and “If you find something worth doing, and can get someone else to do it at no cost to you, then you can still take full credit for the accomplishment” and “Women are like donkeys: they’ll hear almost everything; they’ll understand almost nothing; they’ll bray your ears off; they’ll kick you when you’re down; they’ll stray if you’re out of sight. If you hope to live with a woman and have any peace, you’d better stick a bit in her mouth and hold the reins tight.” 

Herman’s mother also had knowledge she would impart, such as: “Your father is an idiot” and “If I ever hear you talking like your father, you can join him in the garage with the mules, because you can’t live in my house.”

In reaction to this less than blissful home life (or due to being too lazy to brush his hair), Herman took to wearing hats.  His favorite hats were bizarre constructions indeed.  They were dome shaped, fitting close to the head and constructed of six equal sized triangles of cloth sewn together, each with a small hole near the top to allow airflow.  Where the six pieces joined at the apex of the dome, was a small cloth-covered button.  The front of this hat was characterized by a distinctive protrusion along part of the circumference extending for a little more than two of the segments.  It jutted out like the bill of a duck and provided Herman’s face with shade.

At university, Herman’s father had been the roommate of Louis IV, Duke of Bavaria, and in 1313, Louis called on his old friend Sherman to advise him in his war against Frederick the Handsome.  After several baths to remove the stench of mule, Sherman joined the Duke and brought thirteen-year-old Herman along.  The tide began to turn in favor of the Bavarian forces once the Truthspeaker convinced Louis to issue his troops arrows and swords instead of pretzels and sausages.  At the Battle of Gammelsdorf on November 9th, Frederick the Handsome was militarily defeated, although in reality, he was the victor, because looks are everything.  Despite having lost, Frederick mocked Louis’s plainness, Sherman’s mule smell (it just wouldn’t wash off) and Herman’s hat and they were all sad. 

When father and son returned from the war, Sherman noticed a well-worn path leading to his wife’s bedroom window.  The pair followed it and eventually came across some Parisian rapscallions playing a French game called le baiseboule.  One of the Frenchmen would stand on a mound of dirt and throw a wooden bowl toward another player who held a large stick with which he would attempt to hit it. If he hit the bowl, he would run around three squares, before returning to a pentagram (…or maybe it was an irregular pentagon, but still, it was close enough for Sherman and made it clear that this game was the work of Satan and symbolized running home to Beelzebub) where the runner would kiss the catcher full on the lips. Herman was enamored by the game and the Frenchmen invited him to play, but his father forbade it.  The French said it was for the best as no Austrian could hit a pitch thrown by a true man raised by the Seine, because the Germanic peoples were inferior at everything from womanizing to producing body odor.  This irked Sherman and he bet a thousand pounds of snails and frogs that his son could hit the bowl at least once if they threw him ten good pitches.  Although Herman would one day come to love le baiseboule, he missed every swing and when the Frenchmen found out Sherman had lied about having snails and frogs for them they brutally beat the Truthspeaker to death. 

After his mother married the Frenchman who murdered his father, Herman spent the remainder of his youth in his room, writing programs for his midnight machine, a Commodore 32, and constructing paper airplanes, which he hoped one day to sell professionally.  Beginning in 1316, Herman began delivering predictions and observations about future events.  He had a knack for doing so, because he had developed the ability to project himself forward in time to a point after a thing had happened, so he could look around and then return to convey his prognostications with full foreknowledge via time capsule.  This allowed him to occasionally be in the ballpark of being right, but more frequently he would just spew forth irrational lunatic rants about things, people, and events he either misunderstood or hated. 

No one knows how many time capsules Herman the Soothsayer left us, so his “wisdom” will continue to be revealed until such a time as all dirt in which things can be buried has been destroyed. – The Knave

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