Just as you did, I found my muse in writing prose during the lockdown (although your work is more poetic). Every year at my blog, I do a monthlong Halloween celebration. It's a music blog, but last year I started putting up some parables and dystopic short fiction because I saw a need for it. Here's one from last fall that I think stands up to the test of time:
One upon a time in a kingdom not so faraway, the king called his grand vizier to the royal chambers.
“We are in trouble,” the king announced. “A democracy has sprung up in the adjoining land. People vote for their king now, and they can vote him out. And women can vote too. Imagine! The hubris! If we don’t invade the democracy and take it over, it won’t be long before the people here think they can have democracy too! They’ll want to keep all their corn and soybeans instead of giving them to us. They’ll even want to grow crops other than corn and soybeans. This cannot be!”
“I don’t mean to second-guess Your Highness,” the grand vizier replied, “But we’re a little hamlet of fifty thousand people, and the democracy beyond the border has three hundred and twenty million. If we invade, that’s suicide.”
“We may be tiny, but we’re very rich,” the king replied. “That’s because we’ve worked our population to the bone. And they see what’s going on next door and it won’t be long before we’re toiling for them! So I have devised the perfect way to stay in power, in fact, to take over the democracy next door and then the world! Call the royal herald!”
The grand vizier called the royal herald. “Yes, Your Majesty?” the royal herald asked.
“Herald! I want you to go throughout the land and announce that a horrible boogieman has been sighted. This boogieman is the most evil boogieman of them all. He kidnaps children, preys on the elderly, steals crops and horses and will burn every shotgun shack to the ground! He has the power to destroy the harvest, to prevent childbearing and turn reasonable adults into babbling idiots!”
“Yes, Your Majesty,” the royal herald replied. “But how are we going to prove this boogieman actually exists?”
“Leave that to me,” said the king. “Now get the hell out of here.”
The herald returned in a fortnight. “The people are all terrified of this horrible boogieman,” he told the king. “But what do we tell them next?”
“Summon the sherriff,” the king ordered.
“Yes, Your Highness?” the sherriff inquired.
“Summon all the serfs in the land and construct a series of watchtowers. And then man them with spies from distant towns, not from their own communities. That way the spies won’t have allegiance to the people they’re watching.”
“But what will they snooping for?” the sherriff asked.
“Anything,” the king replied. “Fornicating. Music-making. Congregating in groups of more than one. The possession of garlic or grapefruit.”
“Pardon me for asking, sire, but what are garlic and grapefruit?” the sherriff asked.
“Never mind. If we don’t act now, the whole population will be reeking of garlic and full of grapefruit juice and ready for battle…against us! In order to prevent such insurrective behavior I want you to deputize a posse and go around at night, when all the peasants are sleeping, and round up all the grandparents and the hermits. Then beat their skulls in.’
The king turned to the herald.
“Next, I want you to go around and spread the news that the boogieman is responsible for all this killing, and that the only way to find him and stop him is to build more watchtowers.”
So the sherriff and his deputies went around slaughtering peasants in their sleep, and the herald went around spreading the news that the boogieman had done it. He also announced that since there were no longer enough peasants to simultaneously attend to the harvest, the gathering of wood and the construction of watchtowers, they would have to build the towers with the timber from their own homes instead of cutting down trees in the forest.
The sherriff met with a good deal of resistance from the peasants, but after another round of killing, blamed on the boogieman, the peasants began dismantling their shacks and constructing even more towers throughout the land.
Next, the king summoned the royal envoy. “Envoy! You are to journey to that accursed democracy across the border and obtain a meeting with their leaders. Explain to them that we have been afflicted with a most frightful boogieman. He has terrible powers and has slaughtered a large percentage of our population. Here – bring this bag of royal gold with you. Whatever it takes, just get them to agree that the only way to catch this boogieman is to build watchtowers all over, just as we have done.”
“And if I run out of gold?” the envoy asked.
“I’ll put the royal counterfeiter…um…alchemist in charge of that. Go now and report back to me in a fortnight!”
Meanwhile, there was trouble all across the land. The king’s idea of putting people from faraway villages in charge of spying on communities they’d never visited before was most successful, and resulted in a steady stream of arrests and executions. But at night, some of the peasants began sneaking out and setting fire to the watchtowers. Several spies were horribly burned to death.
That winter was an especially severe one. With just tents made from muleskins strung together, and no firewood to keep them warm, many peasants froze to death. Again, the king and his herald blamed the deaths on the boogieman.
Meanwhile, the leadership of the democracy next door had become alarmed. This boogieman was truly as terrible and unstoppable as the envoy had described! Half of the country’s population was dead now, or so he’d told them. Something had to be done!
So the prime minister and parliament got together and announced that just like the kingdom next door, all efforts would be henceforth devoted to the construction of even higher watchtowers. The royal envoy also managed to convince the nation’s chief of public works, with a little help from a bagful of gold, that the right way to run a system of watchtowers was to man them with people from faraway counties with no loyalty to those they were spying on.
Meanwhile, all public works were suspended, and citizens were required to hide indoors until the boogieman could be spotted. And the royal herald worked overtime spreading the news that the boogieman had the power to instantly kill anyone who left their homes. Therefore, if someone was spotted on the street, and they were alive, they were the boogieman!
But people will be people, and it wasn’t more than an hour or two before the first citizen snuck out to meet her boyfriend. Overhead, a spy spotted her, aimed his high-powered rifle and blew the woman away. Of course, this was blamed on the boogieman.
But a lot of citizens didn’t buy it. And so it was that the residents of Port Gluteus blamed the sharpshooter from Minor Cerebellum for the killing, and overran Minor Cerebellum and scalped most of their residents.
As the days went on, more and people started to get hungry and snuck from their homes, only to be shot by the snipers in the towers, who then triumphantly posted snuff videos all over social media. It was in this way that the citizens of Ham Flats were pitted against the people of Pareve, and the residents of Stillwater succumbed to the hordes from Tippiecanoe.
One day a little boy, disheveled and rail-thin, emerged from the ruins where he’d been hiding. “Why are you all killing each other?” he asked. “Why aren’t you looking for the boogieman?”
“Because the boogieman is you, sucker,” the sniper in the tower above hollered back as he reached for his rifle.
And so it was that a tinpot dictator and his cronies from a tiny, inept little country of fifty thousand were able to invade and take over a nation of three hundred twenty million people – and reduce the population to one hundred sixty. The end.
I have had a hard time recently with my own thoughts and perspective, which comes as a shock to me sometimes, but not other times, depending upon my thoughts and perspective at the moment. I'd like to say that I'm usually a lot more stable than this, and I might be, but it's hard to tell when you are evaluating yourself in choppy-waters. Jenny helps. Thanks Jenny!
You might or might not be experiencing ups and downs of your personal perspective as broad abstractions get pierced by little flying-realities on a daily basis. Whatever worldview any of us may have, it is breaking down in the parts where we use it to predict the near and slightly more distant future, and to judge what our best plans and actions should be today, tomorrow and next month.
We can see things shifting, becoming less reliable, becoming more threatening and demanding, more divisive at every turn. We can see that this has happened before in history, but we never understood it from our vantage points. I don't know that "understanding it" is a good description now, either, but I'm starting to get it.
It's a feeling of desperation. We might all feel like it's mostly a personal thing, but I really don't think it is. I think I personally feel anxiety and desperation and frustration, anger, judgementality, and I don't think I'm alone. I honestly think these feelings suffuse a large human group when resources start to get tight.
The clinginess is like a drowning swimmer drowning the would-be rescuer.
I took life-saving in college . I eventually saved a life in Galveston Bay. We could both have died.
We wondered for a couple of hours. It was not yet that day..
It was actually somewhat calmer than living in Austin, Texas in 2021. And we have it a lot better in Texas than most places in this desperate world.
I keep growing vegetables. I keep treating patients. I am about to bike to the clinic again.
I am sharing my feelings with you.
This song was playing in my head in the garden as I picked "southern peas" a couple of days ago.
Yesterday I shared the tension I am feeling.
People tell me they are feeling it, too.
I thought it helped explain those crazy moments in history, like those that led people into WW-2.
The constant tension feels unbearable. Others are urging, cajoling, bullying and publicly-shaming us to do-the-thing, like everybody else.
Don't keep being weird. What's wrong with you?
A couple of friends of mine at work, both Registered Nurses, informed, responsible, good parents, are looking for a pediatric practice where they can take their kids, where they will not be looked at like lepers or gargoyles when they say they (the parents) "have not been vaccinated".
I called a practice where I used to work. They're still human to people who don't want vaccines. The culture also applies to adults who have good reasons not to want this bunch. I passed it on. It's safe to call Central Family Practice in Austin.
Jenny, my humanity-compass, my wife, has been feeling tremendously pressured and torn. It's not that she doesn't see the power dynamics and the stakes.
Jenny is a school librarian. She told me when people at school, coworkers got COVID last summer, fall and winter, and I privately talked with those people, and wrote them prescriptions for ivermectin based antiviral treatment. I also treated a husband with cancer, on chemo,
They all got better, and nobody paid me anything. Good Samaritan. I think it was 6 people.
That was wonderful. Everybody liked that. As spring progressed, it got harder and harder for Jenny to tell everybody "she was not vaccinated". Some of it came from coworkers , but also a lot from concerned parents, bringing their kids back to school in person, after a long time at home. Austin is a "blue city in a red state", and the parents at her school are mostly deep blue and wealthy enough to live in an expensive and intellectual part of town, the nice old mansion district by the UT campus.
Jenny is dreading going back to school and having to give the same "wrong answer" to .concerned-wealthy-parents again and again, day after day until she breaks and acquiesces and can be accepted as not-leperous.
"Accepting the jab is nothing more than a loyalty test to the narrative."
Somebody commented that on The Automatic Earth blog yesterday, and I like it a lot as an encapsulation of the social tension dynamic here.
The feeling totally sucks. It's unrelenting cognitive dissonance, making one feel anxious and shunned, and very insecure.
It's a feeling. Feelings are different from thoughts. Feelings don't usually respond well to being thought-at.
Narratives change by being resisted sufficiently for the question to remain open, as the evidence piles up that the narrative is wrong and dangerous.
then the paradigm has to shift. Tet-offensive, Vietnam. It happened. You might like other examples, but I lived that paradigm shift. Dad got back from a year in Vietnam just before Tet started, and I saw the whole societal shift unfold from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where we moved.
Back to the feeling that sucks so bad, it makes you want to jump, cowering and shivering and shaking...
I feel it. What have I tried to do?
I don't mean to be vain, but all I can give is what I found when I prayed for my own guidance.
I have to meet the feeling of personal insecurity with compassion for those experiencing it, then it is not "I" experiencing it, but "I" am giving warmth and connection and support to those feeling it. In the societal-dominance dynamic, people are used against each other to create great tension by division and social pressure. Then, those group divisions are turned against each other, to kill each other until they are all exhausted and deeply traumatized, and willing to fully submit to power.
The Will of Love is the opposite of that.
I am trying to channel the Will of Love, which is to comfort my brothers and sisters who are shivering and cowering alone.
The power over us will no longer exist, when we comfort and love and accept each other.
Time will dissolve it.
"Accepting the jab is nothing more than a loyalty test to the narrative", quoth an ok guy on another blog. It's clear, its succinct. It's even optimistic, as this is the least-bad thing that it can be. Even if it is far more sinister, this is a good encapsulation of concept into language.
Just as for me, I have found a new equilibrium. I'm not still resisting acknowledgement of what this changed world appears to be. The emerging patterns are much easier to discern and trace. I no longer expect to awaken others still blind, and I feel caring and love and perhaps real understanding. I am already looking back, nostalgically, on the last days of today. However, I remain committed to the bond that sails with the words along these electronic zip lines between folks of common mind and spirit, and by no means do I acquiesce to the fate of life service to the house of lesser demons. There must yet be a billion ways to thwart their plans.
Welcome to the world of Idocracy (the movie). AND the movie THEY LIVE (Sunglasses). Altho SiFi but parallels some truth.
Absolutely everything that is happened or happening in a nutshell, fab article.
The psychopathocracy has long had a wish list for absolute control over every living soul. They're been searching for just the right pretext to make the suckers not just accept slavery, but demand it. They succeeded in some small but important ways (drunk-driving checkpoints for example). But they wanted more. They tried "communism" and "terrorism." Now it's "covid." Funny how the solution to every problem, no matter what it is, is more power for them and less freedom for you.
Problem is, it's not like the nightmare began in March of 2020 - it's now clear we've been slowly living it and/or building up to it for decades now. Thanks Osama!
I've run out of patience too. I don't get angry but I refuse to participate in coddling people, so "we need to face reality" has become my kiss-off line for anyone who is daft enough to run the health panic playback loop within my earshot.
"What happened to us?" Tessa asks in a state of confusion.
The answer is what has happened to us AND by us for a very long time is this.... “The 2 Married Pink Elephants In The Historical Room –The Holocaustal Covid-19 Coronavirus Madness: A Sociological Perspective & Historical Assessment Of The Covid “Phenomenon”” by Rolf Hefti at https://www.rolf-hefti.com/covid-19-coronavirus.html
and you will know and understand, releasing you from your condition of confusion.
Love that photo!
"You breathe on it—and it falls apart."
This would be true of the entire root deception fueling this whole thing-- which is nothing more than an inevitable surface eruption of festering poisons that have been skulking about in the hearts/minds of (most) humans for at least several millennia now.
Unable to stand and think for ourselves, we are afraid to live, afraid to die and so have fallen into an abusive romance with the concept of authoritarian rule.
In other words, this is all our own fault and we deserve every bit of it. We made it. We fuel it. We like it. We have long since swallowed the kool-aid and chosen to exist as walking dead in service to external machinations. As such, all this fear, dread, hate and anger actually energizes our rotting bodies and makes us feel alive. We are enjoying it. We like self-sacrificing, self-harming gestures that demonstrate our loyalty to our noble, wise and protective leaders/masters.
Or, on the other side, we enjoy watching in horror, being scared, protesting, denouncing and fighting back against a looming spectre of darkness creeping up on us and herding us into dystopian, mechanized life as GMO beings.
Never mind popular descriptions of us based on invasive medicines. Now (as ever always), we are only The Fascinated and The Un-Fascinated:
fascinate: fr. latin "fascinum", evil spell, (root of "fascism")
1. to transfix and hold spellbound by an irresistible power
3. (-ed) to be irresistibly attracted
Believers fall under definition #1. (duh)
Fighters, protesters, resisters, vigilant watchers trying to "wake people up" etc. fall under 2 and 3. (ouch, this is me)
This accounts for pretty much everybody. The Un-Fascinated are very few in number due to the disheartening fact that, for most of us anyway, nearly a lifetime of Herculean effort is required to overcome the lies within us and become real. We want shortcuts and so decide it is much easier to focus on the external world and delude ourselves that it is within our power and purview to change the minds of others when we see things in them we don't like.
The good news is that there is nothing better to do with ones' life than engage this Herculean effort. There is no greater purpose to being human than to bust out of the cage dropped over our heads by the minds of countless caged others. We may stumble along the way and perhaps fail, yes, but is there not heroic beauty in dying while trying?
You are the goal, the art, and the prize.
“Life is wasted on illusion
Tom and Jerry's no solution
Evil games for cartoon demons
Pinocchio's a real boy, look around!”
--Bow Wow Wow "Do You Want To Hold Me?"
I love your posts!
My idea for strike back.
Mass announcements/ads with willingness to get infected with covid would reverse the forced narrative.
BTW. Being covid recovered is the best status for now.