An original Tall Tale, featuring that great American man, Silver Sam
|Silver Sam and the Summer that Wouldn't Quit|
Well now, one summer down in Houston, long before you or I was born, it was so hot and sunny that birds taking off in flight would burst into flames and fall fully cooked to the ground. Eggs came out of chickens hard boiled and children went down to the lakes with butterfly nets to swoop up fish swimming in the steam. Those Houstonians were a tough old sort, and the stubbornernest damn fools you'd ever met, but even they admitted that summer was scorcher, and figured to wait it out in the shade 'til Fall.
But Autumn just wouldn’t come that year, and Summer just wouldn’t quit. September got heat stroke and passed on early into October, and November was skipped altogether on account of it wanting to stay up North where it was cool. Then by December, the Night up and went on strike, and the sun started shining twenty-four-seven.
The people of Houston grew desperate and hadn't a clue what to do. Never before were things that bad, and there was even talk of leaving city for once and for all. Then one day walked in that great American man, Silver Sam.
See, Sam was a salesman, and the best there ever was. It's said that the day he was born he sold the doctor his own stethoscope, and sold his papa his mothers’ wedding ring. As a kid, he sold all his teachers his own homework assignments, and all his classmates his daily chores. By twenty-five, he had sold air to a fish, steak to a cow, flip-flops to Big Foot, and a pile of nudie magazines to a Jehovah’s Witness who came vangelicising to his porch one afternoon. The way he figured it, Silver Sam could convince just about anyone of anything.
So upon recognizing this man, Silver Sam, the people of Houston begged him to somehow fix the weather.
"Well, if y'all insist, I guess I'll help," he said. "But in helping I'll help myself too. If that's fine by y'all and don't bother nobody, I'll see what I can do."
Sam then took off in search of something, he didn't say what, an idea already taken hold in his mind. He searched high and low, up and down, searching crossways and sideways, under every rock, in every shadow, and on top of every tree. He swam down to the bottom of the Bayou, and walked the bank of its every stream.
After days of searching, Silver Sam found what he was looking for hiding halfway down a rabbit hole. It was the smallest piece of Winter you've ever seen, no bigger than a pinprick or the twinkle in an old man's eye. Gentle as could be, cupping his hands over it to protect it from the sun, Sam coaxed the piece of Winter from its hiding place.
"Now what's a big thing like you doing in a little hole like that?" asked Sam, his voice deep and honey sweet.
"Big? I ain't so big," said the piece of Winter. "I had to go down there to survive as long as I did with all this sun and heat."
"Nonsense," said Sam. "You, my friend, have a bigness about you, the inner-kind, the kind as old as time, as immeasurable as the drops of water in the ocean, as inevitable as the hand of God. You are a Season, my friend, a proud and austere Season, feared and respected by man and animal alike. You are Winter, you are the ending of things, you are as big a thing as anything."
For hours Silver Sam spoke this way, at first to no effect. But then by degrees, the piece of Winter began to believe Sam's words, and then it began to grow, first just to the size of a marble, then the size of an apple. By day's end, the piece of Winter had grown to the size of a house. By the end of the second day, it covered all of Houston. Snow fell in heaps for the first time in fifty years, Night ended its strike, and November, which had stayed up North this whole time, came back down for a visit.
The Summer that wouldn't quit was finally over, and the people of Houston rejoiced and praised their savior, that great American man, Silver Sam.
Come Spring, Sam talked the Winter down again, but not before he broke off a couple million pieces of it. These he kept in a shed in his backyard. Come Summertime, he put each piece in a box and sold it off. He called it "air conditioning."
Silver Sam's been a millionaire ever since.