August 21, 2008
Tales From The 57 States: John Wins in Shaman Rick's HouseBy Lee Cary
It came to pass in the eighth year of the third millennium that a long race decided who became Leader of the Realm of the Fifty-seven States. A position many called The Potus.
Running in this race were two men: John the Warrior, who had long fought for the Realm, and a young scribe whose followers heralded as His Obamaness, the Favored One, for they believe he had been chosen by the gods to rule over them and could do no wrong.
In these days there were other realms ruled by men who did not smile upon the Fifty-seven States. Men like Putin the Terrible, Hugo the Oil Baron, and Mahmoud of Persia. John the Warrior looked upon them all with a furrowed brow, while His Obamaness longed to speak with them to sooth their angry hearts, for words were His swords while John favored swords of metal for defense.
John came from the Clan of Elephants, although he was not favored among all the pachyderms because he did not always run with the herd. His Obamaness was of the Clan of Donkeys and an adopted scion of the powerful Daley’s who ruled the southern shore of the Lake called Michigan. There he had been a “community organizer” - a guild that no one could clearly define.
It came to pass that a senior court jester among the Donkeys, Dean the Mad Alchemist, said that John spoke only for white people. But few heeded his words after the day he screamed in victory after losing a race in the Land of the Hawkeyes. From then on, many looked upon his countenance as being oddly disturbed.
It was also true then that most of the town criers of the 57 States, like Matthews of the Tingling Leg, Katie of Couric, and Obberman the Doberman, were quick to speak well of His Obamaness but not so inclined toward John the Warrior.
As the race wore on, the people asked to hear the two men speak together so they could decide who would be The Potus. His Obamaness had proclaimed loud and often that he would fearlessly stand toe-to-toe with John the Warrior “anytime and any place.” But, alas, His Obamaness was slow to accept challenges to joust verbally with John.
Then one day a shaman, highly trusted by the people, Rick of Warren, offered to referee a contest between His Obamaness and John in a way that would favor neither man. All the people upon hearing of this said, “Sounds good.”
And so it was that each man would be asked a series of identical questions. Shaman Rick flipped a coin, since there was no cat available to flip, and that decided which man spoke first. His Obamaness won the toss.
When He spoke, His Obamaness’ words were so wondrous in the ears of his followers that they immediately proclaimed him the winner of the verbal jousting, even before John spoke.
All the while His Obamaness was speaking, John the Warrior was held in a thick-walled dungeon with a black bag over his head so he could see nothing. A strong man of the realm cupped his hands firmly over John’s ears and squeezed hard so that John could hear nothing. Even John’s feet were lifted off the stone cold floor of the cell and placed on a pillow so he could not even feel the vibration of applause for His Obamaness. And so it was that, for the hour that His Obamaness spoke, John heard none of his words, nor did he hear the questions that Shaman Rick asked Him.
In the fullness of time, His Obamaness finished speaking and it was John’s turn to come before the people. When he joked that he had tried to listen through the dungeon walls, few realized he was referring to a time, long ago and far away, when he was held prisoner in a cell by soldiers of the Emperor Ho and had strained mightily to hear coded messages from other captives through his cell wall. But I digress.
As John began to speak, the disciples of His Obamaness did not fear his words for they believed they walked behind One swift of tongue and quick of thought beyond all others.
So it came upon them as a mighty and great surprise when John’s words were even more swift and quick than had been those from His Obamaness. Indeed, many gazing upon the contest declared John’s words as more pleasing to their ears than those from His Obamaness.
This then became a cause for great tribulation and gnashing of teeth by the Obamites, for such thoughts were to them an abomination. First they said, “Look how John sides with the Lords and Ladies of the realm by saying that only those with 5,000 goats are truly among the wealthy.” John, you see, was prone to jesting while jousting and had made the comment with an innocent and jovial intent. He tried to erase it, but the cat that had earlier been unavailable to flip was now out of the bag.
But as word of the verbal jousting in the House of Shaman Rick spread across the land, people saw that, indeed, John the Warrior had bested His Obamaness, and done so decisively.
That left the Obamites with but one thing to say, as reported by Andrea, Crier of the Capital, and wife of the former Exchequer of the Realm. She proclaimed that the Obamites had offered up loud lamentations crying, “John cheated.”
For in the eyes of His followers, His Obamaness could not possibly have lost to John otherwise.