Few in Flubug know how they arrived. Some were born here. Others arrived in a blackout. Some, like Socrates “Scotch” Johnson, ran out of gas. Most are too broke to leave and wouldn’t know where to go if they did. Others forget the question as soon as it’s asked.
But there are exceptions.
Elmont “Pook” Jefferson, the oldest man in Flubug, arrived by mule in 1837. Unable to find work as an acrobat, the Caribbean runaway opened a voodoo/ taxidermy shop on a muddy tract known today as Fever Street. That tract, incorporated into Flubug after a race riot in 1942, was eventually dubbed Pook’s Addition and spawns annual celebrations to this day.
“Pook” is widely accepted to be the first African American in Flubug. He remains the only taxidermist in town. He was a beacon to slaves and convicts who left their plantations gladly to snare rodents for his odd collection. By the mid-1840’s their shanties and shops transformed the area into a cornucopia of cultural diversity rivaled only by Disfigure’s inbred population who turned diversity into a revenue stream.
Pook is also a master craftsman. He’s widely alleged to have stuffed an aardvark in under two minutes and whittled a gator into a hundred belts. He crafted an antler chandelier for the King of Bugandia and preserved the body of jazzman “Brassman” Giffords, who washed up on Jenny’s Jetty. The preservation was so real, Giffords’ wife tucked a delinquent child support letter into his coat.
But Pook has a dark side. His obsession with chemistry and ceremonial magic have brought him into constant conflict with the religious community who see his longevity as proof of demonic collusion. His experiments with formaldehyde, which imbue his clothes with an air of sulfur, have only exacerbated these suspicions.
Yet without Pook, Flubug would be much the worse. His experiments led to breakthroughs in graphite distillation and aeronautic lubrication and ushered such desperate inventions as Overmeyer’s Infernal Machine and other attempts to escape. He may even have discovered a fountain of youth and may, as some believe, have discovered a way to reanimate the dead.
According to Robbie, “P” is the 16th letter of the alphabet. “O” is the 15th and “K” is the eleventh. If the numbers are placed in a row (161511) and the 1s are removed (65), the resulting number is the exact number of pages in the Tanwater Scrolls. Those scrolls, discovered by Jack Baker, formed the basis of The Book of Jack, itself the basis for the Jahweh Church of Interstellar Disciples religion. Robbie also contends that the name “Pook” spelled backwards spells “Koop” which just so happens to be the name of The Fallen One referenced in the scripture.
Whatever you believe, there’s no doubt “Pook” is a man of mystery. And a man of many talents.
Pook’s Voodoo Shop sits on the corner of 1st and Edgar in the section of town that bears his name, Pook’s Addition. Tours are held every Tuesday at 1pm. Admission is free.