The Hmmm Revolution of 1955 did not change the world, but it threatened my right to privacy, so it is the most dangerous and important to me.
The first I heard of it was in the middle of my and Mabel's first date, at Little Jimmy Sammy's Snacks & Cakes.
Merle and Pearl Eh, the spike-haired ex-scientist weightlifter couple dropped over to our table. Merle gleered around the eatery, then leant toward me until his head was a inch from mine, big as a Chinese moon drenched in lemon-lime after-shave. "Pssst. We are come to fortwarm you of a plans for the soon throwing of your mayor sister secret over."
"You soon what?" I say.
Pearl says, "They will coo."
"Cootie tot," says Merle.
Mabel says, "I believe they're foretelling a revolution to oust Shane," and disconcernedly nibbled her cupcake.
Shane was my sister, and the Mayor of Hmmm. I splutter: "The hell you say! Revolution! What for?"
Says Merle, "She ronned up village inflation on her non-stop parties; imports foreign shoes and socks to crushing trade deficit; sold off spare mayor throne; rising taxes on everybody twice, including dead peoples; installs bowling alley in royal hallway using non-union animal husbandry; heating moat to ninety degrees; bowling all hours of day in night—"
Only a mooncalf could have been surprised at this uprising. Shane had played the village like her own private gumball machine. A good coup dé-tat was just what the doctor ordered, but it meant she'd be moving back in afterwards. Therefore, I declare: "It will be no revolution! What knockabouts is behind this cockamamie supposive coup anyway?"
Says Pearl, "A secret knit group of businessmen, peace activists, defense contractors, lobbyists, consultants, real estate brokers, media personalities, trade unionists, folksinger/songwriters, and other sorted neerdools."
"Defense contractors?" I say.
"Dirk and Sid over at Dirk & Sid's Hardware," says Merle. He proceeded to name the entire secret group from top to bottom. It included pretty much the whole population of Hmmm, including a number of children and newborns, plus a handful of long-dead folks that must of signed up to the coup before Shane even started running.
Mabel says. "What are peace activists doing in a violent revolution?"
"Peace activists protesting invasion," Merle says. "Defense contractors want bigger invasion."
"Invasion?" I say. "Of what?"
"Ambo," says Pearl.
"Ambo!" Ambo was the village over. "Why invade that cornburger?"
Says Merle: "To distract from bankrupt Hmmm, open up new capital markets, and exploat natural resources."
"Are you kidding? Ambo's worst off than Hmmm. They got no resources except them mutant warthogs in Old Phosphorus Cave. Besides, invade them with what?"
"Me and Merle," says Pearl. "But we don't like violence that involves us, so we quit, so she fired us. Oh, how we mighty is fellen."
Pearl nodded sadly. "It's a long way from the head to the bottom."
"Not in politics," Mabel says.
"We need counter-coo, Lem," bursts Perle.
"Well, first," I say, "we've got to inform the citizenry of Hmmm and get them involved against this outrage to my privacy."
"Everybody already know," says Pearl.
"What? All these people know?" I meant the half of the village that was in Jimmy Sammy's right then cramming themself with sugar slop.
"They knows," says Merle. "They perfer to not to get involved."
"They perfer what!" I stood up and smacked the table like a four-star General. Forks and spoons jumped all over the place in terror. "Attention! Citizens and dinners! Oh, you prefer to not to get involved, do you? Let me ask this: where is your patriotism and dignity, my dessert-plastered chums? Look at yourselfs. Are you too addicted to your cake to stop this revolution against my sister before it reeks total havoc in my private life, I mean democracy?"
Most everybody pretended to ignore me, but a few folks glanced up and smiled coquettishly, then returned to their dining experience.
I sat back down, burned out on politics. "Well, I wouldn't worry about it. Villagers is fiery, but their memory is short as a hamster in a sailor suit. Shane can just lay low in the woods for a couple months, then waddle back home in her rain barrel and nobody'll give a dang, except me."
But Mabel continued arraigning me with her furled up eyebrows. "I think we could do better than that."
"Okay, okay," I say. To the Ehs: "So, when is this top secret coup that the entire population is either a part of or don't care about suppose to commence?"
"Tomorrow at one," says Merle and Pearl, "right soon's after Nap Hour."
Later at home I was wishing I had a condensed book called How to Plan & Mount a Counter-Coup in A Couple Hours, when who come busting through the door but Shane and Merle and Pearl themself.
"Hide us, Lem!" Shane squeals, locking the door. "They've taken over the Royal Cottage! They threw my throne in the moat! They're telling dirty limericks about me over the submarine loudspeaker! And now they're coming for us!"
Mabel, me, and Buzz peeked through the curtains. Indeed, a horde of Hmmmizens bellowed in the distance, waving banners that proclaimed "Shane Is a Orfull Mayor!" and "Used Lawnmower Sale at Dirk & Sid's!" They carried rain barrels and sack lunches and were stampeding in our direction. Our mere privacy wall would not hold back any crowd so hopped up on freedom and loathing. Buzz hissed and growled at the approaching ruckus, and begun raiding his own fur for snacks, perhaps for battle energy.
"The revolution is on, Baby," I mummer.
"Do you has our counter-coo ready?" says Merle and Pearl.
"You said it weren't suppose to be till tomorrow after Nap Hour."
Shane remarks bitterly, "A mob of bumpkins has no respect for schedules."
Says Merle and Pearl, "Save us, oh, Lem!"
I looked around and didn't see nobody that looked like they knew what they was doing, except Mabel, who was packing like a dervish to split the scene. I had to pretend to be in charge. "All right, all right. Let me think. Give me some elbow room!" Not only did I have a counter-coup to plan, I had to get Mabel and Buzz to the bus station on time so they could start saving the stupid world.
The first thing a counter-coup needed was a good slogan. I paced like a fiend, glancing at the bookcase, trying to remember one good saying I might of gleaned from the millions of books I'd read. What would Kafka say? "Look around and not have no idea what's going on." Not too inspiring for a counter-coup. What would Loa Stu say? "Ride off into the sunset on a water buffalo." Not too catchy. What about Foydor Dostoevsky or Emily Dickinson or Miguel D. Cervantes or Samuel Beckett or Flannery O'Connor or Nathaniel Hawthorne, what would they say? Whatever it was, before they said it, they'd all sit around and write a book. I guess we could of stood there and threwn books at the charging, foaming riff-raft.
Finally, I remembered that some had history thrust upon them, some wandered around and bumped into it, and some were so surrounded by annoying people that they couldn't think and had to invent history as they went. Taking charge of pandemonium requires a little imagination, and I didn't have any right then. So, I plunked down on the couch, crossed my legs in a commanding, thoughtful, European way, and made a intellectual face.
The wretched multitude sounded out of breath. I looked out to see and lo in behold the frothing throng had paused for a cold snack down the road at Zim's 500-Flavor Slurpso & Mortgage Emporium.
Shane and me took a look around the old homestead. It might be a while before we could safely return. I dreaded the mess that swarm of unwashed rascals would make of the place by the time we did got back, if ever.
I left the garage door down for a surprise exit, revved up the Henry J, with me and Shane and Mabel in the front, Merle and Pearl and Transplant in the back, and Buzz standing tall in the rumble seat on top of the ice chest. Plus somebody tied the Thereamen Box on one fender and the bicycle on another.
It was a cloudy night by then, so the solar panel's on the Henry J were at low power and the cow poo gas was cold, meaning by the time we heard the caterwauling mob climbing on top of itself to breach our wall, we had got up just enough steam to crash through the garage door at about one mile a hour. We almost got stuck in the door but picked up speed from a slight downhill grade on the way to the bus station and kept about three arms' length in front of the panting serfen mass, who was about out of gas themself, despite the Slurpsoes.
However, any carload of morons could have seen that if I stopped at the bus station to let passengers out and unload all that crap, the gasping rabid beatnik lump and proletariat would of overtook and done with us at their pleasure.
Accordingly, I kept it floored right past the station and finally put some breathing room between our necks and the mobus populi. In the rearview mirror you could see them jumping up in down and tearing their signs in two and falling all over the boulevard, rolling around in the dust and coughing and throwing up in sheer revolutionary delirium, free of Shane's four-day tyranny at long last.
As for us escapees, we gathered momenta in the Henry J and passed through the ancient crumbling gates of Hmmm, just like Loa Stu had passed long ago through the gates of the Great Wall of China on his water buffalo. Before you knew it, we were zooming along the open road, nothing in our rearview mirror but both where we been and where we might not never return to.