Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Fall and Rise of the House of Salim 8

8
Prime Minister Salim

The returns came in slowly, in part because Salim's party was having to buy ballots all the way to the end. In several cases they found they had bought too many, but in a few they found they had not bought enough. However, even this was to the good, because where they lost, their proxies argued that this showed the election was fair. “Wouldn't we have bought enough votes?” And at least enough people believed this.
In the end, more people decided they loved being bribed, than they hated bribery, and Salim was given the first chance to organize the new government. However, because he needed help from so many small parties, there was a great deal of negotiating to do.

The returns came in slowly, in part because Salim's party was having to buy ballots all the way to the end. In several cases they found they had bought too many, but in a few they found they had not bought enough. However, even this was to the good, because where they lost, their proxies argued that this showed the election was fair. “Wouldn't we have bought enough votes?”
He also called in a famous economist from America, an expert on the Great Depression. He told the economist, “I want you to help me, and advise on how to create a Depression here in Longwindia.”
The economist said “Why that would be the wrong thing to do.”
“Yes, which means I am sure it is the right thing to do.”
So the economist came up with a plan for a new depression in Longwindia.
The new government was installed, by only three votes, and Salim stood up and said:
“In the past several years, there has been a great deal of torment and trial in our nation. So I promise that in this new government, there will be economic tranquility.” There were cheers, and shouts, and someone shook bells and small cymbals.
“For too long money has gone to the undeserving. Under this government, I promise that people will get what they deserve.” There were cheers, and shouts, and someone shook bells and small cymbals.
“All my life I have had to work very hard, and I have learned that it is better to put your trust in God, than in yourself. So under my government, we will put our trust completely in God.” There were cheers, and shouts, and someone shook bells and small cymbals.
“Finally, I remind everyone, that I have learned to live my life by believing that the right thing to do, is the wrong thing to do. No one knows more about how to take care of himself, than himself. So I promise you, under this government, you will be totally on your own.”

There were cheers, and shouts, and someone shot the person with the bells and the cymbals.

There were more cheers.

“I promise I will feed the poor.” There was a loud prolonged ovation.

“I promise I will make our people stand tall again.” There was a loud prolonged ovation.

“I promise to govern by the same principles that I have lived my life, that are here in this holy book.” He put his hand on his copy of the Koran, with all its changes. There was even more loud cheering.

After the speech, everyone agreed that they had never heard such a marvelous speech in all their lives. A week later, the Nobel Prize committee voted him the Peace Prize, the Literature Prize, and the Economics Prize, so impressed was the whole world by the wondrous changes he had promised to bring.

The second election was nowhere near as interesting or exciting as the first, and Salim found himself swept into power, with enough seats to govern without coalition powers. His advisors said the right thing to do was to bring in other parties to the government, so that they would have every reason to support what he did. The nation was in crisis, the told him, and it was essential to have as much support as possible, even a government of national unity.
Salim thought about this, and wondered if it was really the right thing to do, or whether his advisors were advising something that was really the wrong thing to do that they hoped to profit from. So he decided to do the easiest thing to do: he announced that he was giving parties the unprecedented chance to put their country first, and prove that there was no corruption involved at all in their decision. He said that he would allow any party to join the government, but that none of them would get any portfolios. Several parties joined immediately, and Salim was convinced that these parties were weak, because they had done the right thing.

So the next day, with an even larger majority, he said that if a party wouldn't do the right thing for the country, that they would have to do the right thing for their voters, and said that any budget would have no money for any of the districts that were not members of the government. “Why should people who vote against the budget get any of it?” Everyone in his circle of advisors said that this was the wrong thing to do, and this convinced him that all would work out.
Surely enough, the country supported him, because, of course, most people hoped that if there were less for some, there would be more for others. One by one all the other parties joined the government, except for one religious party whose cult required that they vote no on everything. So Salim commanded the parliament 537-1, with the President of the house not voting, and what is more, soon afterwards the religious party representative was assassinated by a concrete contractor, who dropped a block of concrete on the member, and his entire family. They were buried using a paper shedder, so flat were they.
At the end, Salim was almost an absolute dictator, as several Prime Ministers before had essentially been.
With this, he called his cabinet together, and said:
“I am not a very intelligent man, there are many of you who are more intelligent than I am. I have learned over the years, that when my wives took care of money, and God took care of my destiny, that would be best. That people scheme and think, and God laughs, putting barriers in their way. What is more, I went to the West, and studied under their great wise men, and they told me that being greedy and selfish is the best course. So, we will govern by my father's wise words, who knew all of this without leaving home, and that is 'The right thing to do, is the wrong thing to do.' In this one phrase is all of the knowledge of the world.”

“I read the great American sage, who said that the government is the problem, and so it will be. Under my premiership, the government will be the biggest problem possible, and that will unleash the creativity of the public.”
“So I am asking you, as the collected sages of the country, to propose for the legislative program, and to do in your own departments, the worst things you can imagine, because these will be the best things to do.”
“Does that include taking bribes?”
“Saves the public on salaries.”
“Does that include selling state equipment for our own benefit?”
“You will be richer, and someone will use it better than the government.”

“Does that include forcing the women who work under us to be our Mistresses?”

“I have always found that matters work best, when men run the world, and women run the men. A woman who is capable enough to have a minister under her thumb, is at least as capable as the minister. Then we will have two heads for the success of the department.”
“What about living in luxury?”

“Why then you will be hiring servants, and building mansions, and throwing lavish parties, and that will create jobs for so many deserving people. In fact, I will make it the official policy of this government; that members should show the world how well we can live. It is that way in every other important country.”
And so it went, with the cabinet asking about all of the misdeeds possible, and each time, Salim gave them an explanation as to why the wrong thing to do on the surface, was really the right thing to do.
So they left, energized, and eager for the life of reward and luxury that was coming.

The parliament was meeting in a few days to confirm the new government, and Salim realized that he would only get one chance to pass a massive program that would change the country forever. He had learned from his first term that too much tranquility is not good for his legacy, and so he told his advisors to create a plan that would be a bold expansion of private jobs.
Finally they gave him a secret plan, and he put it forward to a secret committee. Parliament was given a chance to approve or disapprove of the plan, but without any details. He spoke to the nation and told people that either they were in favor of jobs or not, since the secret plan was the only plan that would be submitted.
The parliament overwhelmingly voted for the jobs plan, believing, at the very least, that they were saving their own jobs.

For four long years, well actually three, things progressed pretty well, because tax hikes reamed the poor, and who cares about them? So Salim was duly re-elected. But things got worse after that, with plummeting tax revenues, and with a great deal of runoff slush pile. Even by the end many prominent figures were saying that they would vote for the other guy. To make a very long story, by the time the election rolled around people were miserable as a whole get out. So they elect the other party which promise it would keep corruption down, a little bit, and they would monitor it so it wouldn't be more than the economy could handle. But just a little bit. A month before he would've gotten about that would be manageable to his party. Then the crash hit, and only the believers denied it. The result was that the other man won, and by the substantial amount, though there were many true believers who would vote for the man they were supposed to.

So dizzying was the man's victory that no one talked about Salim anymore. It was truly that bad. Though many of their followers turned out to for more corruption anyway.

God is good!  God is great!  But don't stand too close, or your nose will get caught when he slams it shut.


Current Novel Lengths

                                        finished     completed    up
Mars                                  76,000           76,000       *
Salim                                 18,000           18,000       *
Ishar                                  26,000           26,000
Marne                               31,000           40,000
The Lector 

New Testment
 Mark                                 41,000           41,000        *
 Rendition                          36,000          37,000

Seven Sons for Seven  Sisters
 Silent Sphere                   125,000         125,000    *
 Warren of Undercurrert    39,000          125,000

new fantasy novel

1
The Lector of Orenia

It was said that the Lector of Orenia was an old man, with his claws quite long, and hunched back, and face that could only be called effeminate and hideous, in equal measure. All of these things are true, except one, he was 23, though he had been old looking for quite some time. He had come upon the place, and stated that he would now rule, and take tribute from the people. Since they were only a few people, and, as with all places, it was an island, this was not entirely out of the ordinary. As with most worlds, they thought they were the only one of the living. Though if you could look out of the corner of your eye, you could see the Shadowlands. But most people didn't want to see them, and so didn't, unless they must.

Everyone assumed that he, the Lector that is, was indeed old, and what's more evil and wise in equal measure. Since that was nothing special, they would wait for how to pay their taxes, which was the ordinary way of four times a year, and hope that nothing else would be required. Since the Lector was not particularly evil, nor in fact exceedingly wise, there was nothing more to be demanded of the ordinary people. The ordinary people thought that he would give occasional announcement. But this was also not true. He would have tribute, which was mostly going to repair the three bridges that were desperately under-prepared, and the two boats which were leaking, and there would be only enough to feed himself, and his bird.

Realize, that he didn't like the bird, not at all. But every time that he would grasp it, it would be just out of reach. That was not good enough, and just meant with extreme effort, he resisted the temptation. The bird would not only be just out of reach, it was coming enough to eat whenever he was not looking. So Lector fed him enough, so that the bird would not consume even more. Also The Lector was short, as well as scabby and gruff, what he was, however, was cunning and cruel, and disreputable. Actually, he didn't like any of these traits, and in fact he used them for good, just a wicked kind of good, that would not be absolved by any of more refined characters. While the bird was in the object of these attentions, most other people who were his guests were.

While it may seem that he was on the ground, and firmly so, he would wish otherwise, though his feet never left the the nape of the earth. He groaned for roaming over the sea, for cruising over the wind, to feel that he was floating. Even though he did not expect it to happen.

So with the bird just out of reach, and the salty wind playing at his hair, he was not very much like what the people thought he was. Which was just fine with him, because there were many creatures that would, if they knew what he was really like, finishing off. Which is why he would not set down, but he would look as if he did.

As was said, most of the land was in the form of islands. Most of them atolls which could be in the palm of the hand. This one was no exception. It was down in the bottom left hand corner as you look at the map. Further to the west and south there were a trio of larger islands, which housed what were called ghouls, but in fact were bats that were 8 feet long, and very ravenous, drinking only the blood of large mammals, especially whales and humans. Needless to say, no one went there to find out that they were actually bats, as opposed to ghouls.

In the core, there were about 100, or so, main islands. From the South, the people were musk green, and in the center they were blue. From the North they were gray and white. There was no reason for people to be beige, and they were not on these islands. It wasn't a blue as in the sense of wild eyed color, mind you. It was a muted blue, as it was a muted green. These were not birds which reveled in color, these were mammals, and like all mammals, they tended to be subdued, even quiet, though there were exceptions.

As said, he was just about to sneak out when a ship came in to the harbor. Not that there were many huts in the harbor, probably only 200 or so, but that suited the Lector of Orenia fine. The ship was of three sails, though very tiny, think of it as cozy, if you will. The Lector was not quite ready to leave, so he summoned all is courage, and gritted his teeth, to meet whoever came. It could not be good news, but it might be an ask for offering, which would not be so bad, because, as said, he was not in the mood for tribute, per se.

“What do you think of that, bird?” He launched over his shoulder.

The bird only squawk, though it did so just out of reach. Staring down as he did the so. Lector of Orenia did not notice this, because that was the birds normal maneuver, and he was not going to give it any head.

He watched as the the mast bob up and down, and with his eyeglass, he counted at least five figures pointing in the general direction. This could be worse than he expected, because there were several more men than he would have wished for. He pocket the spyglass, and began to get down on his feet. Remember he was slow, so he was deliberate in his motions. In fact, he was so slow as to almost be down near the front of town, as the boat sailed in.



  On the face was a blue-gray figure, he was tall, though of only medium build in height. He was talking to a mixed bag of gray, green, and blue figures. Which meant to the The Lector that they were from various different places, and that meant that they were, probably, going to want tribute beyond what could be born. This was not good, if true.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Fall and Rise of the House of Salim 7

7
The Land of Milk and Money

Finally he stood up again, and walked back to his grandmother's house, that he had last visited before fleeing the city. He found there the box of money and jewels that he had hidden, because he had written this on the back cover of his copy of the Koran. He realized the money had greatly decayed in value, but that the jewels were much more valuable than before, and this more than evened out. He walked back to the small city of his birth, by his old house, and found that it was up for sale. He briefly thought of buying it, but decided that a house in town without wives to keep it, was far too much trouble.
So he went wandering until he found a dilapidated farm for sale, though no one was around. Realizing that the wrong thing to do is the right thing to do, he simply took the sign down, and moved in. He bought cattle and set up a dairy.
This life suited Salim better than any since he pissed for a living, since running a dairy is basically getting cows to piss milk. He had a bad memory, but since he had to do the same things day in and day out, it was not so bad. The fences were in such bad repair, that bulls got in and mated with the cows, so he did not have to do anything but feed the cows, milk the cows, and sell the milk. He spent the first money to buy a book on dairy farming, and he read this every single day.

After his time in America, Salim returned home to his hometown, now a small city of 7 millions. He bought the house he was born in, and paid to clean it up. He then decided to find out the fates of his four wives.
He found out that his first wife had gone back into being a Madame, and was found after having been run over by a truck, four times. According to the news story, she had been stealing from customers when they were having sex.
God is good. God is great. But don't mess with him while he is getting it on.
He found out that his second wife had gone to America, and gotten married to a woman. The woman then had a sex change operation to being a man. The two of them had been deported for two parking tickets, and fought the government to have their marriage recognized. They were living in poverty in the same city. Salim sent them some money, and a week later they were found dead having been robbed and raped by a man who was taken away shouting that he was going to cure all the lesbians in Longwindia the same way. The man was acquitted at his trial and ran for parliament.
God is good. God is great. But not everyone seems to appreciate his gay children.
His third wife had gone into acting in pornography, and had contracted AIDS after doing a movie where she had anal sex with 15 men. She was now in a hospital near Mumblebuy.
God is good. God is great. But perhaps he is not so fond of gang bang videos.
His fourth wife he found working in a small shop. She immediately recognized him, and flattered him. He was so enamored of her sweet words that he took her back in, along with their two children.

God is good. God is great. Especially to gold diggers.

I Have an Idea

 it involves a place known as Earthsea.  and while there is some relationship to  Ursula K Le Guin,  it has a completely separate worldview.  if anyone knows anyone who was playing at MIT ever so long ago,  they would like it.  it will come out in about 6 to 9 months from now.

It will be called Farsea.

a question of translation

Ian gives another excellent post

Arabic literature in English has really good post up

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Fall and Rise of the House of Salim 6

6
The Wanderings of Salim, Master Fakir

So out went Salim, emptied of all possessions, wearing only a simple pancha, and carrying only a begging bowl. He hoped that all of the people looking for him would never guess that the once rich Salim, and the once famous Salome, had been reduced to this. His one compensation was that as he stopped drinking the tea, his manhood grew back, and back, and back, and back, until he had testicles the size of watermelons, and a dick that swung between his knees. So while he was very happy that there was more of him than ever before, he was unhappy that he had no wives, and that he had to waddle back and forth on his way down the road. Unbeknownst to him, the waddling had made his rice bag swing back and forth, and bang against his knees. So absorbed in his own problems was Salim, that he did not notice it. Over time the banging had made a hole in the rice bag, and grains of rice were dropping out, one by one, as he waddled along. So absorbed in is own problems was Salim, that he did not notice this.
As he did so, a small group of baby ducks saw him, and their mother and father being away, they began to follow him, because he waddled like a duck, picking up the grains of rice that fell out of his bowl. And while they followed, quacking, they looked at each other, as if talking. Salim waddled, the ducks waddled and quacked. So absorbed in his own problems was Salim, he did not notice this.
Not long there afterwards, a cat started following the baby ducks, but because Salim was so close by, the cat did not dare take one of the ducklings. But he did yowl from time to time in frustration. Salim waddled, the ducks waddled and quacked, the cat followed and yowled. So absorbed in his own problems was Salim, he did not notice this.
Not long there afterwards, a dog started to follow the cat. But because of the noise of the ducklings, he did not dare attack the cat. But he did bark from time to time, to scare the cat. Salim waddled, the ducks waddled and quacked, the cat followed and yowled, the dog ran and barked. So absorbed in his own problems was Salim, he did not notice this.
Not long there afterwards, some birds landed on the back of the dog, to pick at his fleas. The dog was annoyed at first, but the birds were picking at the fleas, and this was such a relief, that he put up with it. They began chirping. Salim waddled, the ducks waddled and quacked, the cat followed and yowled, the dog ran and barked, the birds chirped. So absorbed in his own problems was Salim, he did not notice this.
Not long there afterwards, two cattle heard the birds, and knowing that this was the sound of the cattle egret, they followed hoping to get their own backs picked clean. The egret saw them and began fluttering around, and picking at the parasites on the back of the cattle. The cattle brayed as they walked. Salim waddled, the ducks waddled and quacked, the cat followed and yowled, the dog ran and barked, the birds chirped, the cattle brayed and walked. So absorbed in his own problems was Salim, he did not notice this.
Finally an elephant heard the noise, and pushed aside the fence that was in its way. It saw the cattle egrets, and the cattle, and hoped to have its back picked clean. So the egret flew from the running dog, to the walking cattle, to the trumpeting elephant. And still so absorbed in his own problems was Salim, that he still did not notice this.
However the town he was walking through was filled with people who stopped and gaped. Children pointed, old men stared, old women gossiped. Mothers hushed their sons, not to disturb such an obvious holy man in the middle of leading the animals on a pilgrimage.
A beggar saw the procession, and he thought what a wonderful meal the ducklings would make, and so he grabbed a bag and began stalking the procession, hoping to get a duckling. An old woman with a dinner party saw the procession, and she thought the cat would make a perfect delicacy to serve, so she took her pot, and began chasing after the whole procession. The cats of the town saw a single dog, and all those birds, and decided that if they killed the dog, they could hunt the birds and have a truly sumptuous repast. The farmer who owned the cattle, who had been chasing after them for many miles finally caught up with them, slowly panting as he walked, half bent over, but determined to get his cattle back. A great white hunter saw the elephant, and thought this was his chance to make up for shooting the governor on the last hunt, so he loaded his big, heavy, elephant gun, and went out to shoot the elephant.
This whole mob chased after Salim and his pilgrimage of animals.

Salim waddled.

The ducks quacked.

The cat followed.

The dog barked.

The birds flew and chirped.

The cattle wandered.

The elephant trumpeted.

The beggar chased the ducks.

The woman chased the cat.

The cats chased the dog and the birds.

The farmer chased the cattle.

The hunter chased the elephant.

And the people watched. Clearly this was a very holy man.
When Salim reached the center of the square, he finally turned around, just to see how far he had walked, and he looked at the entire assembly, and they all looked at him, and every duck, dog, cat, cattle, and person ran and scattered in every direction.

There was a huge commotion.
God is good, God is great. If you wish peace to be upon you, praise God. And get out of the way of any charging elephants, or you will have more peace than you know what to do with.
The people watching applauded; it was one of the most amazing sights they had ever seen.
They talked among themselves, and agreed that this was the greatest fakir they had seen. Well, all but three, who were all fakirs who had hoped to set themselves up in the town, but now knew that until they dethroned this interloper, that they had no chance at all.
So the first fakir came up to Salim, and he looked at Salim, and Salim looked at him. The first fakir said. “I accuse you of being a fake fakir.”
“No,” said Salim, “I am not a fake fakir, because I am not a fakir at all. I am just wandering begging for my living.”
“That is a lie, you purposefully created a great spectacle to show off your abilities.”

“If you say so.” Said Salim, confused.
“I challenge you to a breathing contest, I can go hours without breathing, and if you are a greater fakir than I, you have to prove it by going longer between breathes than I.”
“If you insist,” said Salim. Because, after all, since he was not a fakir, claiming to be one was the wrong thing to do, and the wrong thing to do is the right thing to do.
So they set themselves up in the square, and a judge was appointed, the first fakir grew calm and began to ready himself. But because he knew that the people loved Salim already, he wanted to watch to make sure that if by some miracle the contest was close, he would not be cheated.
The judge raised his hand, they both took their last breaths, and the judge dropped his hand, signaling that the contest was to begin. The fakir was still. Salim, however, knew no more about holding his breath than, well, he knew about anything else, and immediately his cheeks puffed out. He had to bear down his jaw to hold in his cheeks. He then grabbed his nose with his fingers, and had to grab his hand with his other hand. He was shaking and fell over, his arms twisting and writhing. The fakir pointed and said, “There, he took a breath.” But Salim, despite all the thrashing around, had not taken a breath, and everyone had seen this. The judge pointed at the first fakir, and said, “You have lost.”
The crowd cheered. Someone shook some bells and small cymbals.
God is good. God is great. Praise be to God. Otherwise, it is often better to keep your mouth shut.
So the second fakir walked up, and said, “I accuse you of being a fake fakir.”
Salim, having gained confidence from the first time, said “I am at least as real as the first fakir who challenged me.”
“Well he is obviously fake too.”
“If you say so. But it seems to me that a real fakir would be less concerned with other fakirs.”
“I say that the first fake fakir was your confederate, who you paid to fail in such an obvious way to enhance your standing.”
Salim shook his head, and said, “I can truly say that I had never seen him before, never talked to him before, and have never paid him anything to the best of my memory.”
“I challenge you to a fire walking contest. You have to be able to walk farther than I, or you are a fake.”
Salim, thought, well since I am still not a fakir, then claiming to be one is the wrong thing to do. So, since the wrong thing to do, is the right thing to do, I should accept.
“I accept.”
So the town's folk built a big bonfire, and it was let to go to coals. The second fakir insisted that Salim walk in front, because he was afraid that Salim would not walk the coals. Salim lined up and stared at the roiling hot bed of coals, and he was afraid, because, of course, he knew no more about firewalking than he knew about anything else. He decided to just walk forward, because caution was the right thing to do, and the right thing to do is the wrong thing to do. He took a step, and his watermelon sized balls swung one way, and his long dick swung the other way, and he felt a pain on his foot that made him take another step. The second fakir was almost to the point of laughter, but remembering how the first fakir had failed, kept his mouth shut and walked right behind Salim, hoping, if nothing else to be able to push him down.
Salim was in a terrible shape, every step was painful, and he almost had to dance to prevent himself from screaming. He jumped up and down, spun, and did the steps from dancing from his time as Salome. These were burned into his brain, and he did not even know he knew them. Every moment the second fakir was right behind him, but was also in terrible shape, because Salim was making such slow progress that the second fakir's own feet were being burned. Even worse, Salim's dancing and jumping meant that the swinging of his balls and dick were fanning the coals to be even hotter.
Finally the second fakir was spending so much energy fighting the pain, that when he looked up and saw Salim jumping and spinning, his dick sticking out three feet as he spiraled around, his balls smashing into his thighs, that the fakir could not help but laughing from his belly. This proved, alas to be fatal, as he then fell straight over into the flames. They tried to pull him out, but he was burned horribly, and died several days later in terrible pain.
Salim did not even notice this, but hopped, howled, and spun, to the other side.
The judge declared Salim the winner again.
The crowd cheered. Someone shook some bells and small cymbals.

The third fakir strode forward, confident that he had discovered the key to success. He knew that the best way to lie, was to tell the truth. Or most of it.
Salim looked at him.
“So you accuse me of being a fake fakir?” Asked Salim.
“No. I freely admit, oh stranger, that after seeing your pilgrimage of animals, and your victory in the breathing contest, and your victory in the firewalking contest, that you are a great and mighty fakir.”
Salim was puzzled, because, after all, if someone is doing the right thing, it must be because they think it to be the wrong thing.
“That is very generous of you.”

“You are so great and mighty, that I will tell you that the whole town wants you to be their fakir.”
“Well that is very kind of them, but I am a wanderer, and do not want to settle down again.”

“No, really, we all insist very much that you settle down and be the fakir.”

“I have denied once wanting to be fakir, now I deny it twice.”

“Truly your humility is overwhelmingly great.”

“I have twice denied wanting to be fakir, now I deny it thrice.”

“So you do not want to be fakir?”

“I do not want to be fakir of the town.”

“So you would not mind if I nominate myself to be fakir of the town.”

“That's between you and the town. I am just a wanderer.”

The crowd was very disappointed, but accepted that Salim was a wanderer, and that was his karma.

So Salim wandered on alone, still trailing rice behind him, though from a full rice bag. The third fakir took over, taking no pay at all, saying the job was his satisfaction. As far as anyone knows he is still the fakir of the town, and fucking the young boys without anyone knowing, because, of course, that is what he had always intended to do. He only did it for the satisfaction.

God is good. God is great. But most people, somewhat less noble.

And in this way Salim made his progress. He begged for rice, lost most of it to the hole in the bag, and was always followed by birds of the air and water. People thought him to be more and more holy. As the months wore on, Salim's manhood slowly went back to the their right proportions, and his sandals were worn thin. He finally sat down one day, and began to read the Koran.
A revelation came to him.
His feet hurt, and he did not want to walk any more.


the old generation speaks, and we should listen

Last night was a very odd.  I talked to two very old friends,  who are in that twilight of a region which could go on for some time,  and to hear their thoughts about the state of the world.  realize that they are  both very  very much in a hurry,  because they only have a little time.  and therefore they want to get on with things,  because very much in a hurry could be 20 years or so.

They were both thinking of what can be done very soon,  to reach future goals that are on tap.  realize there much more in a hurry then my generation,  who realizes that they actually have to think something,  rather than do something.  My generation is in the grinding mode,  where things like equal marriage are going to happen,  and  relatively quickly in the long scale of things.  but my generation has realized that they aren't the youngest  generation anymore,  which in some ways is good,  because change is fighting for something,  it's watching the old generation die.  and the old generation,  the really old generation,  wasn't actually present,   they are slipping their bonds and just going away.

Anyway,  the old generation has something to say which we in our 30 and 40 somethings should listen to.  just as 15 years ago the older generation said that they were not going to fight for capital punishment,  though a majority still wanted it,  they weren't going to pull the trigger,  so while the deep conservative states were going to quash  more bodies there would be fewer in number,  say New Hampshire.

So what divide is our divine?  In one simple phrase,  the environment.  All the older generation doesn't concern themselves,  really,  with the environment,  the younger generation does.  the older generation says it does something,  but like Ebola it's really just a scare tactic.  The  younger generation things not about Ebola but all of this still yet unnamed pathogens that don't yet have a name.  the older generation wants to wipe out things that have the name,  the younger generation wants to wipe out things that don't have a name.

The other thing that the older generation is saying to itself,  and the rest of the us should listen,  is that  gay marriage is done for,  and they should get used.  the younger crowd hasn't even got this on the radar,  and the older generation is coming to terms with that.

Now I'm going to get back to my fiction,  so long for now.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Fall and Rise of the House of Salim 5

5
Salim becomes Salome

Salim, still dressed in women's clothes ran away from the city as fast as he could, which was quite fast, since he was young, thin, and got lots of exercise. He ran past the decaying bridges, he ran past the crumbling schools. He ran past the over age libraries. But the police stations were all shiny and new.
He ran out to the countryside as night fell, but still he kept running. In the dark, he stumbled into a camp and tripped over a tent and fell forward. They looked at this person, who they saw in women's clothes and stood him up. It was clear that he was a man in women's clothes. He looked around, most of the people he saw were also in women's clothing, and most were clearly men, and most of the rest were not clearly women.
Then a wiry old man pointed at the new comer and said.

“Look, a new Hijra come to join us!”

They all clapped and applauded.

Soon several were clustered around him, very very close, but not touching. Then finally one began to stroke Salim's face, which was just developing a ragged beard. Other reached out and twirled a finger in his hair, which was still short, and another touched the hem of his clothes, which was worn. Then, as if by signal they descended upon him, cleaning his nails, shaving his face, scenting his hair, putting on make up. Salim was too terrified to move.
They continued to tease the hair, they pasted false finger nails on, and false eyelashes, they rouged his cheeks again, they pushed him into high wedge shoes, they put a red dot on his forehead, and they dropped large sunglasses on his face, round with turtleshell rims.

God is good. God is great, but even God can go gaga.

When they were done, there stood a glowing apparition, which, if it could not have possibly been taken for a woman, was clearly no longer presenting as a man. Salim was speechless as they rolled up a mirror, but not in a good way.
His knees knocked together, he was terrified, he knew no more about being a Hijra, really, than he knew about anything. However, this was refuge of a sort, and if he could simply slip away at some point, he could collect the money and valuables that he had hidden in his grandmother's house, and be free, after a fashion, to find his wives, and somehow bounce back from this most recent reverse.
For once, he really was not in any difficulty as to knowing the wrong thing to do, he was sure that hiding like this as a coward, while who knows what was done to his wives and his children, was the wrong thing to do.
God is good. God is great. Particularly great at providing those painful moments of unforgettable clarity.
At this point, they took him before the guru, who leered a lecherous leer at him, but made no motion towards him physically. Salim felt his bones turn to yoghurt, and his meat become as flaccid as chicken cooked in a clay pot, almost ready to fall apart at the slightest touch.
The guru clapped his hands together three times.
“Wonderful! Since we have weddings soon, the new she must be taught how to dance!” There was noise and clapping and shaking of bells and small cymbals.

“Now tell me, what was your name in your old life?”
Salim did not like the sound of that, but in a quavering voice he said: “Salim.”
“Wonderful, you are half way to a new life.”
There was noise and clapping and shaking of bells and small cymbals.
“Your new name, is Salome.”
There was noise and clapping and shaking of bells and small cymbals.
“Do you have anything to say, Salome?”
Salim had nothing to say, but he found that Salome had a good deal to say.
“I am not sure I am really meant for this,” and then remembering some ghost of the manners he was taught, quickly changed course, “Attention and care. You are all too kind, and I am positively unworthy.”
“So, you, Salome, think you are not really cut out for this?”
“Well, yes.” Said Salome. Or Salim. Both, either. It really was a duet in one voice on that one.

“Wonderful!”

There was noise and clapping and the shaking of bells and small cymbals.

“So, Salome, we will make the final cut on you in a week, and then you will truly feel cut out for this.”
Salome wasn't sure about this, and Salim was positively horrified.
God is good. God is great. God gives you want you deserve to get.
So they took Salome away and began teaching her the dances and chants and gestures that made up their wedding dance. Sadly, neither Salim nor Salome had any rhythm what-so-ever, and had no voice at all. In part, this was because every moment he was quaking with dread about what was to happen, and partly because, well he had no talent at all. Whenever he was to turn left, she went right, whenever he was supposed to go towards the audience, she went away, whenever he was supposed to spin right, she spun left.
But this worked, since everyone quickly learned that Salome could not remember the steps, but had an almost instinctual ability to read everyone else and go exactly the wrong way, it made Salome a natural star of the dancing. After two days, they were very happy, but of course, Salome was miserable. Finally, one very old Hijra came to Salome's tent late at night. Salim and Salome were both scared that he was going to be used like a woman, but instead the old Hijra spoke softly and said.
“I have seen that you are frightened.”
Salim and Salome both bobbed their head up and down violently.
“It is natural.”
Salim thought because all of this it was unnatural, at least for him.

“So because of this, I give you this.” She offered up a bag that was fragrant of some hard to place odor.
“What will it do, oh old wise one?” Salome at least, could find her voice, Salim was still busy grieving his not yet lost manhood.
“This will make your manhood shrivel, and your testicles ascend, it will weaken their effect, but it is almost always reversible. We give this to those who are not quite sure yet that they want to go this road permanently.
Salim was overjoyed, rapidly thanks flowed, and Salim listened very attentively, very, very, oh so attentively, to the instructions for preparation and application. He wanted to use not a drop more than needed, but not a drop less either.
So several days passed, and when the time came Salome was given time to make up her mind, as is the prerogative of women the world over. But they did working her in the weddings. Salim had to get used to all of the indignities that women are subject to at such events, or should have, but never did. Every time he would come back sweating and uncomfortable.
But his being exactly off rapidly became considered to be an attraction. Salim thought that truly, even in dancing, the wrong thing to do, was the right thing to do.
God is good. God is great. And god loves a good party.

However, at one particularly large wedding, with a large and complex dance routine, Salome came too aware of how she was out of step, and of course, she then turned right when she was supposed to. This was a disaster, as one dancer after another tripped and stacked up, creating a huge pile in the center. The drums kept beating. There was noise, there was clapping, there was the shaking o bells and small cymbals. Never had the guests seen such an occurrence. They paid double and then double again for this once in a life time spectacle of every dancer on the stage being wrong, except the one who had been out of step for all of the rest of the dance.
However, sadly for Salim, Salome's leg was broken, and she would not be able to dance for the next several weddings. This, according to the iron laws of the troupe, meant she would not be fed, unless she worked as a sacred prostitute instead. The days passed, and Salim was again terrified. Then on the last meal before the next wedding, inspiration struck. Salim asked for a chance to see the great guru, and Salome was granted time alone with him.
Salome walked in, her brocade dresses having gotten finer and finer as she had brought in more and more money. They rustled softly, as Salome's body had gotten softer under the influence of the tea. The guru gave a lecherous leer. Outside there was noise, and clapping, and the shaking of bells and small cymbals.
“Great guru.”
“Yes, Salome?” His voice dripping with expectation, as much as Salome's body was dripping with sweat.
“I have come to enlightenment on something.”

“Yes, Salome?” The guru's hands were shaking in expectation, as much as Salome's hands were shaking in fear.

“There is something I want as much as life itself.”

“Yes, Salome?” The guru's man flesh grew hard, as much as Salome's ass was hard with clenched up panic.

“I know what I need to do in place of dancing.”

“Yes, Salome?” The guru's body rolled back and forward, as much as Salome's stomach rolled up and down.”

“In the ceremony, it is often the case that a Hijra gives marriage advice.”

The guru thought how wonderful it would be to add Salome to his wives.

“And you have decided?”

“That is the job I want, so that I can be here without being a burden. We do not have one right now.”

The guru's heart sank, the guru's gut sank. But most importantly, the guru's dick sank. But, in the cold light of thought, he thought that this was an idea. A truly horrible idea.
“But Salome, how can you give advice, if you haven't been married.”
The guru gave a lecherous leer, and outside there was noise and all that, because of course the guru had pulled the tent open behind Salome, and everyone could see and hear the whole thing.
“In my old life, I was married. Four times.”

“And so divorced three times. That would disqualify you.”

“No, I was one of the faithful, and had four wives.”

“And stayed married to all of them?”

“Yes, guru.”

Even the guru was impressed, and so he gave his consent.

And there was noise, and clapping, and the shaking of bells and small cymbals.
So the day of the wedding came to pass. The troupe went into town, making noise and clapping, and rattling bells and small cymbals. There was a crowd to meet them, throwing coins at them, while they threw flowers and garlands and containers of lipstick back.
The wedding was held, and after the dancing, Salome was set on a small seat, and the first couple came up, they were both richly dressed and were quite rotund with prosperity. They were also both clearly miserable. The husband mumbled something, and then the wife spoke. She explained that her husband was a successful farmer, and insisted on doing everything himself. She stayed at home, and all she had to do was to cook to occupy her time. So they were fat, but unhappy. Very, very, very, unhappy. The wife moaned about how the husband left her alone in a small house with a leaky roof, and then only came back to shovel food into his face before falling asleep. And snoring. Loudly.

So Salome sat, and Salim had an idea.

“You are to manage the farm, and your husband stay home, and cook for a year.”

“Really?”

“Truly,” said Salome, “The wrong thing to do, is the right thing to do.”

There was noise and clapping, and the shaking of bells and small cymbals. What an appropriate decision!

Both made a face, and looked unhappy, but it was less unhappy than before, so they agreed to try it.

The next couple came up.

They were both small boned and thin, and had seen some number of years, though it was hard to say how many. The husband explained that they seemed to be strangers. The wife complained they never talked any more.

This one was easy.

“I want you to fight at least once a day, it does not matter how small a matter it is over. One fight, every day.

“Really?”

“Truly,” said Salome, “The wrong thing to do, is the right thing to do.”

There was deadly silence. What a dreadful decision!

Then the third couple came up. They were both slouched forward, and disheveled, as if they barely had had the energy to get dressed.

The wife explained their problem. It seemed they both were depressed because they could not have children, and did not know what to live for.

“Then kill yourselves. Obviously.”

“Really?”

“Truly,” said Salome, “The wrong thing to do, is the right thing to do.”

They went around this way, and for months, it seemed they were becoming more and more popular. It seemed that everyone wanted to find out what horrible thing Salome would say next. Finally a whole year had passed, and they came back to the same town that Salome had first officiated a wedding.

The troupe came back, making noise and clapping, and rattling bells and small cymbals. There was a crowd to meet them, throwing coins at them, while they threw flowers and garlands and containers of lipstick back. While they paraded in, a thin woman ran up to Salome, and a thin man behind her. The thin woman threw her arms around Salome. “It is so good of you to return! You have saved our marriage.” Salim's memory was still not good, but even if it had been, it would have been difficult to recognize the person.

“What happened?”

“We were the first couple at the wedding a year ago.”

“And.”

“You told us that we had to swap our duties. I was to run the farm, and he was to cook and clean.”

“And how did it work?”

“Well, first, my husband is a terrible cook. So we both stopped eating because his food was so bad.”

“And.”

“Well we were very unhappy, and it turned out I was a terrible farmer, I wasn't even close enough to strong enough to pull the plow, or to pump the water into the rice paddies.”

“And.”

“Well at first we were miserable, but we thought, you gave us the advice, and we should give it a whole year.”

“And.”

“So we started to lose weight, and I was near home all the time.”

“And.”

“So we began to talk again, and we were both much healthier, having lost so much weight. And I planted vegetables and flowers and other small things.”

“And.”

“Well at this point we were not so unhappy.”

“And.”

“Well I sold the vegetables and flowers, and we had as much money as my husband made from wheat and rice. So we were less unhappy. And another thing, as we lost weight, we both snored less.”

“And.”

“Well then there was a massive typhoon, it ruined the whole grain harvest. We would have been wiped out!”

“Did your husband ever become a better cook?”

“Oh no, but that is the strangest thing, once he was home he did all the cleaning I was not strong enough to do, and did all the repairs that I was not strong enough to do, such as fixing the roof. When the storm came, everything was ready, and we were safe. We stayed the storm out, ate our vegetables, and looked into each other's eyes. Now I am pregnant and we are very happy.”

“Good. See, the wrong thing to do, is the right thing to do.”

“Yes! Thank you Mistress Salome.”

The troupe walked a little way farther, and then a man and a woman ran up to her and embraced her. Salim's memory was still quite poor, but even if it had been better, it would have been difficult to recognize the couple, they looked young, and both of them had skin that was taut.

“Oh Mistress Salome, we are so grateful.”

“What happened?”

“We were the second couple you advised at the wedding.”

“And what happened?”

“Well we started out fighting every day. We were so miserable, and the fighting made it worse! But, we thought, since you gave us the advice, we should try it for a whole year.”

“And.”

“Well, while we fought, at least we were talking to each other, and everything that we had never said came out. Oh so often, the other person had been doing something wrong, and not knowing it. So we changed these things one by one. We were a little less unhappy.”

“And.”

“Two things happened. First, we started talking without fighting, and second, we became so good at arguing, that we both applied to law school, and have both been accepted. So now, we will both be lawyers, and be respected and well off. All because of fighting every day!”
“That's wonderful. Remember, the wrong thing to do, is the right thing to do.”
“Yes, Mistress Salome!” And they both thanked her.
The troupe progressed very slowly at this point, because they were very near the center of town. When they reached the center, a man and a woman ran up to her and embraced her. Salim's memory was still quite poor, but even if it had been better, it would have been difficult to recognize the couple, they were bright eyed and energetic, and filled with life.

“Oh, Mistress Salome, we are so grateful.”

“What happened?”

“We were the third couple you advised at the wedding.”

“And what happened?”

“Well, we were so depressed, that we agreed to kill each other, but we were both afraid. So my husband studied to be a police officer, and I studied to be an apothecary. We agreed that I would poison him, and he would shoot me.”

“And.”

“Well on the appointed day, we both realized how much we loved life, and how much we had to live for, with him almost ready to graduate and be a police officer, and with me having a good future as an apothecary. So we broke down in tears and hugged each other, and decided never to waste another day.”

“Good. See, the wrong thing to do, is the right thing to do.”

“Yes! Thank you Mistress Salome.”

And so it was, that the fame of Mistress Salome's marriage advice grew, and this went on for another year, until someone came to the troupe and offered Salome a radio show. But Salim refused, since it would mean never escaping this identity, which he still intended to do.
Also during this time, the wise woman who was providing Salome with the tea noticed how he read the Koran every day. She also noticed that whenever he read certain verses, he would become agitated, so she started cutting out whatever he read the night before. Over the two years, she cut a great deal. By the end, Salim was reading all of what he had in only 10 days.

He was becoming holier and holier.

God is good. God is great. We just need to make a few small changes. Though many people are waiting for the director's cut.

After two years, the troupe prospered, and Salome was famous. The guru had become very rich but he was very very unhappy. Salome was renowned for wisdom, and the guru knew that she was a fool. Salome was more and more renowned for her beauty, and his wives and hijra were jealous. Salome was famous, and he was obscure.

All of this made her want to fuck her even more than before, but as she became more famous, she was less and less in danger of any such thing happening.