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writing for godot

Durward

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Written by Carl Peterson   
Tuesday, 03 July 2018 06:12

 

Durward sat alone at the long table in the think tank conference room.  A dozen empty chairs on either side of him sat at attention down the long table, and across the table 25 empty chairs sat at attention.  From the ceiling high above, water metronomically dripped on Durward's soaked head.

The older elves had all gone to the bar to get drunk; they said it was Durward's fault that for years they hadn't been able to solve the problem of how to get around the Constitution's blasted checks on overweening power.  The Masters had set them the problem: Overweening power.  We want it.  Figure out how to pick the constitutional locks.  You are elves, everyone knows you will work all night while everyone sleeps and the shoes will be done in the morning.  Well, we don't want shoes, we want something far, far more important than shoes.  We want overweening power, and after that we want another kind of power, but you don't worry about that.  You just get us overweening power, and we'll take care of the rest.

Overweening power.  It had seemed so simple at first, those years before.  The Masters had been naive then, the elves now knew, and they were themselves naive for taking on such a task without provisions in the contract to cover thems elves if the task proved more difficult than the Masters said.  But at the first meeting between the elves and the Masters, the Masters had loudly, profanely, slurringly, scatologically disparaged the Framers of the Constitution, ridiculing them as hopeless "shitheads, nincompoops and incompetents."  The elves had stared across the table at the Masters silently and wondered if this was what people were like when they had too much to drink.  This was before they thems elves began to hit the bottle after about five years or so of failing to make progress on the task the Masters had set for them.  Now they understood the difference.

The Masters were not drunk on liquor--they were drunk on something else.  The elves had a phrase for it that they whispered sometimes when there were no more than two of them together.  Money-drunk.  And the thing about the money-drunk, the elves had decided, was that eventually money-drunkenness became deeply unsatisfactory, without a high--and the money-drunk, at least the Masters anyway, longed to move another rung up the ladder and become power-drunk, and the Masters had power now but only enough to make them a little power-tipsy, and the elves had learned through the years that the Masters were not satisfied with power-tipsiness.  It only tantalized them and drove them on to want to drink more power and more power.  The Masters affirmed over and over again to the elves that they wanted overweening power.  Overweening power.  That is the goal.  The Constitution is in the way.  It was designed by those poor, dumb 18th century bumpkins to make the country overweening power-proof.  Pick its locks!  This is getting incredibly annoying! But the elves had eventually intuited that the Masters would not be satisfied with overweening power.  That might get the Masters drunk, but the elves, because they understood certain things, knew that the Masters wanted not just to get power-drunk--they wanted to get shit-faced, roll-on-the-floor, power-drunk.  Yeah, the Masters wanted that.  But the elves could not figure out what beyond overweening power would get the Masters shit-faced power-drunk?

Hours before, Durward had cupped his face in his hands and stared down at the space on the table directly in his field of vision.  He felt the water dripping on his head, but the older elves had told him not to move-- maybe the dripping water would help him think, they said.  Durward was sad that this whole thing seemed to be making the other elves a little sadistic.  He had always wanted to help them solve this problem, but maybe he just hadn't focused enough.  Maybe the water dripping on his head would help him think.  Durward stared down at the table and after awhile the drops on his head seemed to be splashing on the table and the table became a long, smooth pool of clear, clear, unfathomably deep water and from the drops the water rippled outwardly, gently, concentrically.  When Durward had fallen asleep, the pool spoke to him as in a dream.

The problem, Durward, the pool whispered to him, is that the Masters have misunderstood the problem, and your brother elves have not been able to see their mistake and understand the correction that is needed.  The Masters have been looking at the founding documents upside down!  And they have been reading them from left to right instead of right to left!  These documents were written specifically for the Masters!  Did you really think that such documents were meant to bring forth on this continent a new nation conceived in Liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal?  Nawww!  Of course not!  And only now, with the advent of the Masters has there been anyone with the power to act on the knowledge of what these documents have meant all along.  The Masters made the mistake of presuming that it was true what everyone has said for over 200 years, that the American Spirit of Freedom and the American Way were given first life in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and that these documents proclaimed Democracy!, the political equality of humans and protections for the People from the overweening power of government.  But Durward, this has never been true!  Never!  Never!  Never!  These documents were written to protect the Masters from the overweening power of the Masses, and then to cover the Masters as they ascend to the highest rung.  Yes, one of these documents blueprints checks and balances, but the checks and balances are to check and balance the Masses until there no longer a need for balance, only a need for checking, and then after that!...great horizons open up for the Masters!

Durward, you will be the first to really turn the documents up side up and show them to the Masters!  You will show them that where once the word seemed to be "People," --when the document is turned up side up and read from right to left it really reads, "Masters,"--as in "We the Masters," and as in "government of the Masters, by the Masters, for the Masters, shall not perish from the earth."

You will show the Masters that after the part where the words read "all men are created equal" it goes on to say "and what happens after that is nobody's business."  You will show them that where it says "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech."  It continues to explain, "Money is a form of speech, and as it is self-evident that the Masters have more money, they have an inalienable right to more speech, and it is not the Constitution's business to ensure that the Master's speech and by extension political power does not drown the speech and by extension political power of the Masses who by definition have less money.  And such drowning of the speech and by extension political power of the Masses is decidedly not an abridgment of anyone's freedom of speech."  And it reads right after that, "Even though some segments of the Masses may retain some freedom of speech some of the time when it suits the Masters' to so instruct their private interpreters [the Supreme Court] of the Constitution, the times when this happens may appear to arise idiosyncratically and will not necessarily be predictable by reference to reasons deducible from a strict reading of this Constitution, but simply may be the Masters directing their interpreters to produce opinions favorable to certain segments of the Masses whose support the Masters temporarily require before such time as the Masters permanently subjugate this segment of the Masses along with all the others."  You will see, Durward, that after you awaken and hold the documents in your hands, turn them up side up, and scan from right to left they will surely read the way I am telling you now.

What is more Durward, you will see that the founding documents have been utterly transformed at every point from what everyone has always understood them to mean.  They were not meant to be checks and balances on the Masters' overweening power!  They were not meant to be locks that the Masters need to pick!  They are the sword and shield that the Masters will wield as they ascend to the highest rung!

These documents were not written to ward off another Mad King George, that piker!  These documents have waited for over two hundred years to be read properly.  They have waited not for the purpose of forestalling the Masters, not for the purpose of warding off tyranny, but for providing the very tools that in the hands of the Masters will perfect tyranny!  And you, Durward, shall have the honor of presenting these documents to the Masters as if for the first time, presented in their full truth.  Be proud Durward!

Durward left the think tank at 3 AM.  While he was lying on the couch watching TV the next day he recalled his dream.  Durward took out the documents and turned them upside down which he interpreted as the meaning of the pool's instruction to turn them upside up.  He scanned them from right to left, and he was frightened to see that the documents read as the pool had foretold.  They were no longer a blueprint for the rule of law and democracy, but a roadmap to a perfect, crystallized, eternal tyranny.  The next day at the long smooth table Durward told the other elves about his dream, and showed them the new way to read the founding documents.  Strangely, however, the other elves could not read the documents in the new way.  "Durward, you fool!  These are just upside down and reading them from right to left doesn't improve things."  But Durward insisted that he could read them in the new way, and asked his brother elves for permission to present to the Masters what he said was a new roadmap to overweening power for the Masters.  The other elves, dejected by their years of failure to fulfill their obligations under the contract with the Masters, agreed partly out of exhaustion, and a feeble but wild hope that Durward had really solved the problem of the founding documents.  Durward had always been the odd young elf; perhaps he did have prophetic powers and it was possible that he could see real things that others could not see.  And besides, they loved him.

On his way home from showing the Masters the roadmap, Durward was pulled into a carpet cleaning van.  He spent the next 16 years in a secret private prison.  After Durward was released without explanation he attempted to find his brother elves, but according to the media, which all had different names from what they were when Durward was thrown in prison, his brother elves and their families were now enemies of the state and had been separated from one another for their own safety and the safety of the state.  Twenty years after that, Durward had never been able to find another elf.

One day Durward was walking home from the Circle K when "the long-hoped-for bullet" found his brain.

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