The Jest Is History
From David Koresh's theme park to Jack Ruby's shopping spree, the Beaumont Scrolls reveal Texas' secret past.
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THE FABLED, LONG-LOST BEAUMONT SCROLLS, rumored to have been written by Bubba Nostradamus and clandestinely passed along for generations at otherwise stultifyingly dull Rotary Club meetings, have at last been found! The B.S., as they are sometimes referred to by biblical scholars, were discovered recently by workmen excavating the site for a new Taco Bell. The scrolls tell us that God created Texas in six days and six nights, and on the seventh day He rested and played a few rounds of miniature golf. On the eighth day He created the rest of the world and then hunkered down at Saint Peter’s Garden of Eatin’ with a chicken-fried steak and some rather heavenly cream gravy. God said the chicken-fried steak was good.
Though He devoted most of His time to Texas, the demands of being the CEO of all creation caused Him to overlook a few details. Maybe He deemed them too insignificant, or maybe He just didn’t like to delegate. We’re talking about spiritual trivia like giant mosquitoes in Lufkin, hungry horseflies in Bandera, murderous traffic in Houston, and the fact that some folks have wandered forty years in the desert trying to get a hotel room in Dallas. Most scholars of the Beaumont Scrolls, however, believe these obvious oversights to have been intentional. God, they say, fully meant to afflict generations of Texans with these plagues. It was the only way He could think of to remind them that they were merely human.
By 325 B.C., Alexander the Great had conquered much of the known world. Alex was short, very much distrusted cats and newspapers, and had never even heard of Texas. Meanwhile, the Greeks began experimenting with diet hemlock and nude javelin throwing, the Romans were eating large amounts of Caesar salad and building deeper vomitoriums, and the Trojans were practicing safe sex while trying not to look a gift horse in the mouth. None of these people had ever heard of Texas either.
Back in the Lone Star State, however, a rich and colorful history was evolving. Hundreds of years before pale men arrived on floating houses, the human landscape was dominated by two rather primitive Indian tribes, the Neimans and the Mucuses. Since people in those days often forgot to make reservations, the two tribes built their casinos and campfires on opposite sides of a large lake. The Neimans hated the Mucuses and the Mucuses hated the Neimans. (The Mucuses became so sick of the Neimans poking fun at their name that they eventually had it officially changed to “Marcus.”) Both tribes kept pretty much to themselves, and nobody bothered them because nobody even knew they existed, except possibly James Michener. It is said that a young Neiman named Horny Toad fell in love with a pretty Marcus girl named Little Mud Hen and that one moonlit night the two of them swam far out to the middle of the lake, embraced each other, and vanished beneath the waves. Centuries later, white tourists would bore Indian guides into a coma by incessantly inquiring about the legend. The Indian guides would duly repeat the story, after which the tourists would invariably ask, “What do you call this lake?” The Indians would respond, “We call it Lake Stupid.”
Not long after Columbus discovered the Bank of America, de Soto discovered the Mississippi River and later had a car named after him. In 1541 Coronado claimed Texas for the King of Spain, who was out burning witches and missed Coronado’s call. The two reportedly played phone tag for almost twenty years. Nevertheless, Coronado had a car—and a recreational vehicle—named after him. More than a century passed before the French explorer La Salle, through an error in his global positioning system, mistook Matagorda Bay for the mouth of the Mississippi. He also had a car named after him. French influence was never strong in Texas, however, mostly because of language difficulties. While Texans had no problem pronouncing the word “awl,” they could never quite seem to correctly enunciate the word “beignet.”
By the time the Mexicans attacked the Alamo in 1836, the Texans had already absorbed so much multicultural influence they decided to build a theme park. They called it Three Flags Over Texas. It was successful for a while but then had to declare Chapter 11. More than a century later, cult leader David Koresh attempted to build a similar theme park near Waco. It was called 666 Flags Over Texas. It also failed. The Alamo, however, survived as an icon to the world. People marveled at how a small band of men could have held out for so long against Santa Anna. People also wondered how the defenders could have survived for thirteen whole days without the benefit of fax machines.
The B.S. tell us that the two Indian tribes, the Neimans and the Marcuses, eventually got together and opened a large department store in Dallas. Neiman Marcus, it is revealed, was the last place Jack Ruby shopped before he shot Lee Harvey Oswald. We are told that Ruby purchased a custom-made pair of red-white-and-blue boxer shorts emblazoned with the strangely prophetic, almost visionary words: “Hot babes! Cold beer! Nuke ’em, W!” The B.S., however, do not tell us what will happen to the Dallas Cowboys. They don’t tell us what will happen to the rest of us either.
As far as Jack Ruby is concerned, controversy has swirled around this shadowy, flamboyant figure for decades. Was Ruby a true American hero? Was he a minor player in the JFK tragedy? Was he a pawn of the Mafia? The only thing the Beaumont Scrolls tell us is that he did not have a car named after him.