Murican Pie… (Round 2 : Page 6)

August 16th, 2007

“I call this ‘Murican Pie’.” He drains another voice-cracking tendril of phlegm from his gullet.

“The King was distraught. He paced anxiously about the Elliptical Chambers.The latest Royal popularity ratings lay crumpled in an angry ball on the floor beside the Throne. Something needed to be done! Frustrated, the Liege tore down an ancient draft of the Guarantee of Rights from its hallowed enshrinement on the wall, and this made him feel much better. Still, his Reign was off to a dismal start; and time was slipping away.

“Sire? The man from your, uh, ‘college athletic club’ is here.”“So why are you talking to me about it? Send him in, instantaneously!”

Muttering subvocally about his Monarch’s manners and malapropism, the squire went to the reception and signaled the visitor’s admittance. The man brushed by with a huff, vowing to see the squire hang, or at least lose his federal pension, for detaining him from his audience for nearly a full minute.

“Mr. Pink!” the King exclaimed. “What a pleasure!”

The Chamber door securely shut, the two exchanged secret recognition symbols, a mere formality; the two knew each other quite well. Then the King kneeled and kissed the ring on the other’s finger, for Pink was superior in the hierarchy that they both observed above the formal government of the land.

For the “athletic club” they owed allegiance to was Gull and Crones, a secret society dedicated to mysterious goals and evil conspiracies. Not even the most steadfast members knew much more than that their hidden leaders required world domination. Pink, who hailed from the slums of Alpha Centuri, had not even met the group’s leaders, but took coded instructions from a highly placed aide to the Grand Muck-a-Muck, whose face was never seen. Mr. Pink’s function was to transmit guidance to King Shrub II from the Sirian High Command, who was following the liege’s career very closely, determined that this opportunity to colonize system Sol not be fucked up like the last.

King Shrub I, the current ruler’s sire, had also been a member, a fact which had been rather too well publicized at the time. Murica was a constitutional monarchy; not only was royal power restricted by an elected council, but the Throne itself was subject to jeopardy every four years, subject to the whims of every blacksmith and midwife, uneducated brutes without the slightest concept of the Crown’s responsibility. Shrub the First had lost his Seat to a smooth-talking, lascivious peasant from a backwater province who seemed like a whole lot more fun than the moralistic, cliche – spouting incumbent, who had reversed his most passionate promises and brought the economy to rapid ruin. Vengeance had been vowed.

The two former Princes-Gorge and Yep-consolidated their power, biding the day that the Shrub name would rule again. They each gained regency of a large province-Gorge taking Dad’s old region of Tax Ass, while Yep carpetbagged over to For-I-Duh.

The brothers whooped it up, ordering executions the way drunken salesmen with expense accounts and a pair of prostitutes order room service. Tax Ass and For-I-Duh led the kingdom in application of the death penalty. This sat quite well with their older-than-average constituencies, who resented those with more years of life remaining than they could hope for, and were moderately cheered by outliving anybody.

But controlling two mere provinces could not satisfy the genetic powerlust that flowed in every Shrub’s veins. Gorge knew that he had no chance against the horndog who had toppled his Dad, but made his plans to avenge his father against the designated successor. Victory was imminent.

The elder Shrub had had entirely too much confidence in his popularity, and did not tamper with ballots or their tally when his reelection occurred, or, rather, failed to. This mistake had not been repeated by his son; Junior’s election had been almost openly rigged, the victory margin emerging, by odd happenstance, from errors in For-I-Duh.

There had been some grumbling about this, but not enough to overturn the results. The opponent-a bland golem named All Blood-was not that popular, either, and in any event it seemed the majority of Muricans didn’t believe that election fraud was involved in the contest for the highest office.

These people, known within the advertising guild as “suckers,” also tended to believe that the evening news via Magic Mirror routinely reports facts as opposed to propaganda, and that only criminals wound up in Dungeons. Some of them even believed they themselves would be protected from Royal abuse by the Guarantee of Rights. A tiny minority were delusional enough to imagine that their paying taxes was somehow for their own good, or that tithes sent to MM priests would be put to God’s work, or that expensive kits could make them landed lords with no money down.

Shrub II had tried to garner some instant popularity by leading a tariff rebate through Council, which had hurt his enemies, the Free- spenders, while helping the large merchant interests that had helped him get elected. But as with his father, the financial health of the kingdom proved allergic to the Shrub, who no sooner moved in to the Palace than he began to issue self-fulfilling prophecies of economic doom.

The economy itself wasn’t the problem; part of Gull and Crones’s master plan demanded the Murican people be financially strained, producing a labor surplus which would be available to serve the new alien order. But this could make the public ill-tempered in the meantime, and some malcontents might even blame King Shrub II for their difficulties. So a distraction was necessary.

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