Created for Albert Salmi
By His Fans
Albert had a wonderful sense of humor, but he very rarely had
a chance to show it to us. Let’s be his script writers and give
him some roles that he could’ve really had fun with!
Poems and Sketches:
Ballad of Albert
Albert Settles Actors’ Residuals
Albert on The Beverly Hillbillies
Jonny Cobb Sketch
Albert and Dino
The Devil and Mr. Feathersmith
Power Play Revisited
Something Big – Revisited
Would you like to write a comedy scene for Albert? Feel free to
contribute your ideas. Contact Sandra Grabman at
The Devil and Mr. Feathersmith
By Klaus D. Haisch
Place: a large building in New York City
At 2:00 o’clock that afternoon, Mr. Bill Feathersmith had called
in the $3-million note on the “Dietrich Tool & Die
It was now 10 p.m., and a somber, sullen Feathersmith was sitting alone
in his office on the top floor, having a few drinks, and reminiscing. Just then,
a humble janitor walks into the room, to clean up.
“Oh, sorry, Mr. Feathersmith,” he excuses himself.
“I didn’t know you were here.”
“Well, I am here,” snaps Feathersmith. “Who
“Hecate, custodian of the top 3 floors.”
Normally, Feathersmith wouldn’t talk to the janitor. In fact, Hecate
had been there for 34 years and Feathersmith never even noticed him before.
But Feathersmith was feeling melancholy and wanted someone to talk to.
“You have a drink, Hecate, custodian of the top 3 floors,”
“Thank you, no, sir,” says Hecate timidly. “I’m
a reformed alcoholic. I haven’t touched the stuff in 20 years.”
Feathersmith just goes “hmm.” Then he bites the end off
a big cigar, and slowly lights it, enjoying the full flavor as he takes the first few,
big puffs. He starts talking slowly, “I was born in the Old West, in 1888.
I was one of the sons of that famous outlaw Jonny Cobb, by his favorite wife,
Feathersmith looks out the window, and continues, “The earliest
memory I have is my 3rd birthday, my daddy Jonny Cobb got me a small pony.
We were out on his ranch. But just then, a posse rode up. They started shooting,
and daddy shot back. They arrested him, and said they were gonna hang
He turns to look at Hecate, “The next thing I know, my stepmom is
packing up. Daddy’d told her, ‘The Wild West is no place to
raise a kid,’ and she was to take me to Indiana and raise me right.
“We got on the Transcontinental Railroad, and went all the way to
Cliffordville, Indiana.” He pauses to reflect, “On a train. Trains
have always meant a lot to me.”
Feathersmith picks up the pace of the narrative, “Well now, it turns
out they never did hang ole Jonny Cobb. He spent about 6 months in jail, but
they had to release him for lack of evidence. Some say folks were too scared
to testify against him. But I never saw him again.
“I still remember my stepmom so well – a tall, blonde,
buxom lady who always wore red, name of Shirleena Salmi.
“She was Finnish, and we moved to a small, Finnish neighborhood
in Cliffordville. The Christian folk in Cliffordville said she was never legally
married to Jonny Cobb, him being a bigamist and already having 2 wives, Polly
& Carrie Standall. She remarried.
“I remember, when I turned 6, Shirleena walked me to school. It was
around the end of August that year. But I could hardly speak English, only
Finnish. The principal told her, ‘Bring him back when he can speak
English.’ I still remember Shirleena, she yelled at the principal, and
called him a stupid old coot, and said that was why kids went to school in the
first place: to learn English – reading, writing and arithmetic.
“The first grade teacher, Miss Helen Foley, now she was a wonderful
woman. She promised she’d come over to our house every day after
school, and tutor me in English, and she did. When the 2nd semester started in
January, I started going to school – and was one of the top pupils. And
I’ve strived to get to the top and stay there ever since.”
Feathersmith takes a drink, and looks at Hecate. “How about you,
Hecate? You ever hear of Jonny Cobb, and that owlhoot that used to ride with
him named Moon?”
Hecate, who had been listening patiently and interestedly the whole time,
says with a bit of pride, “Why, that’s a real coincidence, Mr.
Feathersmith. You see, my daddy was Moon. And he, too, moved to Cliffordville,
with me and my mom. I was only 2 at the time and, like you, I never knew my
dad, either. Moon was just his nickname, but we went by the last name Hecate,
which means moon. I didn’t even know he was my dad. I just heard tell
that I was a relation of Mr. Moon, who used to ride around in the Old West with
Jonny Cobb himself. I finally met my dad in 1932 and we reconciled. He tried to
make it up to me, that he had been gone for most of my life, leading an outlaw
life. We finally developed a good father/son relationship. He died 24 years
Feathersmith squints at Hecate, “How come I don’t
remember seeing you back in Cliffordville, Hecate?”
Hecate says softly, “Well, I guess cause you lived in the Finnish
section of town. And I’m a couple of years younger than you; when I
went to first grade, you were already in the 3rd grade. But I remember
Feathersmith goes “hmm” again. “So, here we are,
Hecate. The sons of Jonny Cobb and Moon, living in the big city.” He
looks at Hecate’s assortment of mops and brooms and dustpans.
“Each with his own particular function.” He gets up, puts on
his hat, and starts to walk out the door. “Well, good night, Hecate,
custodian of the top 3 floors. Maybe we’ll reminisce again
As he walks out the door, Hecate figures it’ll be another 34 years
before Feathersmith ever talks to him again.
Feathersmith takes the elevator down. It stops on the 13th floor, and he
walks over to room 1350. He confronts the woman inside, who identifies
herself as Miss Devlin.
Feathersmith is feeling very nostalgic and melancholy tonight, and repeats
to her everything he’d told Hecate.
Miss Devlin asks him, “How’d you like to relive your entire
life? Start all over again?”
Feathersmith says, “That would be wonderful. I am 75 years old.
All I’ve got to look forward to is another 10-15 years, while I keep
getting older. All the thrills and joys of living life, struggling to get ahead, are
behind me. But what are we talking about? How do you propose to have me
relive my life?”
Miss Devlin waves her hand, and a filing cabinet materializes out of
Mr. Feathersmith says, “You. . . you’re the Devil.”
Miss Devlin laughs softly, “The Devil, you say.” She pulls
out a manilla folder which has everything Feathersmith ever did in his life
recorded in it.
“I suppose,” says Feathersmith, “the usual price is
“That’s a part of the transaction. Your soul, which is teetering
on the edge of being lost anyway, and some money.”
“And in return?” asks Feathersmith.
“And in return,” says Miss Devlin, with a fiendish grin on
her face, “you get 7 fabulous wishes. I think I know what your first wish
is going to be.”
“To be sent back to 1910, of course.”
“And how would you like to get there?”
“On a train, of course – like I arrived there the first time,
when I was 3.”
“All very easily arranged,” she says, as she pulls a huge
contract out of thin air.
“Now,” says Feathersmith, “what is this about
“Oh, that’s a bonus, Mr. Feathersmith. And strictly for
your benefit. Your first wish will to be go back into time. If, for some reason,
things don’t turn out 100% to your liking, you can call on me, and be
instantly brought back here to 1963.”
“And why would things not turn out to my liking?” he
snaps at her.
“Why, no reason in the world, Mr. Feathersmith. In fact, as I was
going to say, it is far more likely you will want to stay back there permanently.
And so, every month, you get to make one additional wish.”
“Additional wishes, eh?”
“For example, suppose after a month you wanted to see your
father, Jonny Cobb. I could arrange that. Or, suppose after a month, you
wanted to marry Joanna Gibbons. . .”
“You think I need to wish to make Joanna marry me?”
he snaps at her. “I get what I go after!”
“Of that I have no doubt, Mr. Feathersmith,” she says
with a smile on her face. “It’s all spelled out in this contract.
7 wishes. Each one guaranteed that if things don’t turn out 100% to
your liking, you can return here and try again. And, should you stay in the
past, you can make additional wishes anytime within one month. . .”
“Never mind all that.”
“I suggest,” Miss Devlin says, “that you read
the contract carefully, and even have your attorney look it over.” A
shudder runs through her body. “I had to say that – I am
obliged, by the Armistice Agreement, which dates back 6,000 years, that we
have with The Man Upstairs – to say you should read it over. So you
look before you leap, so to speak.”
“I can make up my own mind, Miss Devlin.”
“That’s what I like about you, Mr. Feathersmith, your
“Now, you said that along with my soul, this is also a cash
“Yes, indeed, Mr. Feathersmith. You will go back in time to 1910,
and start all over again, and with $1,412 in your pocket.”
“Ha,” scoffs Feathersmith. “That’s
about a thousand bucks more than I had in 1910, when I was 22. I’ll
really shoot to the top this time.”
“So,” says Miss Devlin, “just make your first
“Okay, Miss Devlin, try THIS. . .
1) You send me back in time, send me back to the Cliffordville of 1910,
but I want to look exactly as I did then.
2) I want to have a memory of everything that’s occurred in the
last 53 years, I don’t want that memory impaired one bit.
3) I want that town exactly as it was, with the same people that I remember.
4) I want it to happen right away.
THAT is my wish!”
“Splendid, Mr. Feathersmith. Now, all you have to do is sign this
Power of Attorney, which is attached to the Contract, and in exchange for this
useless thing called the soul (ugh), and the bulk of your money which you will
have a wonderful time earning again, you will get 7 fabulous wishes, each one
guaranteed to be exactly what you wished for.”
Mr. Feathersmith signs. Miss Devlin reaches up, and out of nothing a large,
burning stamp appears. She plunges the stamp onto the Contract, it makes a
large imprint of the Devil’s pitchfork, and sulfurous smoke streams out
of the imprint.
“Mr. Feathersmith,” she says with an impish grin,
“do you want to add anything to your first wish? If you like, I can arrange
it so that Joanna falls madly in love with you, without the ritual courtship. I could
even change her from the nice girl she is into an uninhibited woman
who’ll love you like the Devil every night.”
Feathersmith grins, “You are bad.”
“Why, thank you.”
“But no, thanks. I want to work for everything. That’s the
fun of it – that’s the kick.”
“I wish for you everything you have coming to you.”
“Bless you, Miss Devlin.”
“Watch it,” she scowls. Her voice gets seductively tender
again, “Now, you will arrive in Cliffordville, in the year 1910. On a train.
And this time, with $1,412 in your wallet, knowledge of all the inventions and
stocks of the future, and your whole life to live over.”
“I’m off,” says Feathersmith, as he walks out the
Mr. Feathersmith arrives in Cliffordville, 1910. However, things go awry.
The “beautiful banker’s daughter” Joanna
he’d remembered is a chatterbox with a voice as irritating as fingernails
running across a chalkboard. He buys the Widow Turner’s land
– 1,403 acres with oil underneath it – but forgets that the oil
is 6,000 feet below ground and won’t be accessible until 1937, when
a new self-starter drill is invented. On top of all that, even though he’d
wished “to look exactly as I did then,” he forget to stipulate that
he wanted to be 22 years old again.
Broke, lonely, frustrated, old, and almost dying of a heart attack from all
the failures, he calls on Miss Devlin to end wish # 1, and he is instantly
teleported back to 1963.
Feathersmith confronts Miss Devlin. Feathersmith is angry, but she remains
calm; in fact, the madder Feathersmith gets, the calmer she gets.
“As I said,” Miss Devlin says rationally, “you get
7 wishes. All this is easily rectified.”
“Okay, Miss Devlin,” he sputters, “for my 2nd
wish I want to try again, but with these 2 addendums – THIS time I
want the body of a 22-year-old, AND I want Joanna to be shy and quiet.”
“Anything else you want to change? You don’t have to
wish to relive your life, you know.”
“No,” says Feathersmith, “other than those 2 new
addendums, I want to try reliving my life again, just like I did the first
She smiles, “Wishes always require a bit of fine-tuning.”
(Oh, she’s thinking to herself, she’s going to have a lot of fun
Wish #2. . . . .
Wish #1 —
Wish #2 —
Wish #3 —
Wish #4 —
Wish #5 —
Wish #6 —
Would you like to tell Klaus how much you enjoyed his version of this
story? He’s an Albert fan, too. Drop him a line at
Would you like to write a comedy scene or a script for Albert?
Feel free to contribute your ideas. Contact Sandra Grabman at
Spotlights & Shadows: The Albert Salmi
Story, by Sandra Grabman, is available in both print and
audio formats. Read by author Michael Hoctor, the unabridged
audiobook runs 6 hours and 58 minutes.
Print edition ~
eBook edition ~