world without end

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


The King

Everyone called him the King. But when he tried to be King, he fell short. He fought a good fight, he said. No one could ask more from him. But not everyone agreed; especially those who had counted on the King becoming King. Their discontent gave birth to a smoldering anger inside their hearts, not just for the tyrant that they had not displaced, but also for the King who seemed all too eager to slip away over the hills and far away.

The discontented plotted and schemed in dark rooms and brightly lit hotels and coffe-shops. For a long time, they could not agree on a plan. The King had loyal subjects who cared little about carrying on the fight when the King himself had said that he intended not to. And so they kept on plotting and scheming, gnawing at the bitter roots of their disappointment.

One day, one fo the King's most loyal lieutenants approached the Councils of the Discontented. With tears in his eyes, he recounted the sleepless nights he suffered, stung by the King's withdrawal from the field of battle. He felt betrayed, he said. He felt ... used. He had decided that the King owed his loyal subjects one more stab at the Crown they all aspired to.

The Discontented kept silent, knowing that more would soon come. After a while and several shots of firewater, the Betrayed outlined his plan. "We must turn him into a symbol ..." he began.

Three weeks later the Discontented and the loyal subjects threw a feast for the King. A lavish affair with food and drink overflowing. For awhile, it seemed that all had been forgiven, and that the King's subjects had finally accepted his decision to seek peace with the one they called the Tyrant. The Betrayed sat next to the King - his sovereign's right arm. "Forgive, me, My King," the Betrayed said. "I should never have doubted you."

"Do not worry about it anymore, my friend," the King said. "Come, let us drink instead and forget all this talk of war and betrayal." The Betrayed pressed a cup into the King's mighty right hand and watched as his King drank deep. "Funny you should say that," he muttered.

Thirteen hours later, the Betrayed stood in front of the King's mournful subjects and, with tears in his voice, declared "The King is dead." The wail that rose up from the gathered crowd shook the dawn and startled birds from their perches up in the trees. The Betrayed held up his hand and brought stillness back.

"Before he died, he told me to tell all of you: Keep on Fighting!"

In the cozy darknesses of their cars and SUV's, the Discontented smiled. The coming days would be muted in mourning, but soon - so very soon - the battle would again be joined."

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