BOOTLICKER

Nervous About The Kurb

2009-05-01

Pitched out over the desert, straddling the river between the smog and the incredible heat, they put their house.

*

Years ago Nela had a parliament where men and women who owned land and drove cars came and spoke to the High Nelen, and through these four elected people the laws where made. The ridiculous speed at which Nela was expanding made the hundreds of Representatives in the many Chambers useless for governing anything. Issues would go in, and then never re-emerge. Instead, strange commands seemed to issue from this place, the men with the money rubbed their foreheads, the women with the factories and the houses rumoured and scowled. Nelen was just so big, and so active, that hundreds of people’s opinions didn’t matter.

It was changed. Four people were given seats instead. Each had about twenty offices in turn, and everything moved in and out with less than a day’s sweat. And so the offices and the buildings and the steam and the fires and the mines reached out from the High Seats and Nela exploded.

It forged its way into Jou, into the forests of the south, into the seas of the north as tentatively as the fearful minds of business would let and fortunes were made. The Jou asserted the right to their own land, soon enough, and the two faced off. Every desert-person refused to exchange dirt for anything for months, blood was spilt in more unfortunate areas, for a few years the shoulders of the two grew cold over the river.

Proskut emerged. Up on the hills of the lofty western soils of Lesser Jou the girl who woke up as Proskut exclaimed Jardenia was not two, but a place of one people. Everything belongs to everyone. This made perfect sense to the Jou, who had shared everything for as long as anything had been written in the caves. The Nelen saw enough sense to compromise with a bastardised version of their funny rules for their black-skinned brothers across the rapids

The Malasrionese Parliament crawled up from the bottom of the desert, just beyond the estuary in the north, where the two sands are the closest, and the two different waters mix. Its enormous marble columns roll out of its roof, and behind them hang big gold doors, that beam like suns out over both sides of the water.

The device was assimilated into both legal systems, both cultures. The Malasrionese Parliament fell under the High Seats as the Malasrionese Ministry, and simultaneously formed part of a Jousen commune. Cereal grows up until a few feet before the enormous steps to its door, the Jousen representatives change hourly, weekly, and some stay members of a Chamber from birth until death. It didn’t make the least bit of sense to the Nelen, neither any difference - everyone seemed just as informed an co-operative as the next - the rigid consistency of the Nelen membership alarmed the Jousen to their wits ends at times (it just didn’t seem… natural to have that woman doing that job for that long…), but the the balance was struck.

This was Malasrion for a generation. The two organisms transmitted their chemical messages to one-another through this device, Nela swung this way with its trucks and its factories and its pollution, Jou flowed in and out with its labour and its pastures growing from any surface.

Nela kept growing. Its systems and its thoughts kept moving in the same direction as it had the generation before. They needed more houses, more roads. More money. More money had to be raped from the earth. Ragzin evolved from all this. Four men were just as equally corrupt and ignorant as one another now, the High Seats were always hung with bickering, this system turned on itself with the clever revolutionary hand of Ragzin, men with grey flags and boots became popular, four men became one, the mysterious and all-powerful Ragzin replaced them.

Ragzin’s claim to power in Nela put an end to the Malasrionese Parliament experiment. The Jousen were forced to represent themselves with a ‘Grand Patriarch’, and adopt other unnatural customs for Ragzin’s peace of mind.

History lessons are not desriable, but this is necessary for the reader’s  comfort. This is where we find ourselves. Ragzin now deposed by the Minister of Malasrion, now the dictator of Nela and Jou, the Gremanese irate and dangerously close. The Gremanese belong to Malasrion, but their story is far, far longer, has considerably less to do with the matter at hand, and will be yet be covered in great detail.

***

A suited man looked on out at the world outside.

“It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense,” food on his desk, the cup he toyed with in his hand now grown cold. “I’ve never thought it was natural that the sands stopped there-”

He pushed an old, yet meaty, yet thinning finger at the glass.

“Just there, and the roads and the smoke and the forced green grass takes over. Someone drew a line.”

“It was probably Ragzin.”

The old man dipped his head before turning around to see the person sitting, smoking just before his desk.

“I didn’t mean it like that.”

“I think it’s perfectly natural for Jardenians to progress, no? Isn’t possession of property and the order of public opinion the most subtle, yet powerful things the Nelen possess? Isn’t the land we claimed from the Jou useful, Mister Minister?”

“No. It can’t be.”

“I think all that time in the desert has made you ill. Are you ill? Do you feel sick?”

“I’m so tired. I’m tired of everything. This is the end of the world, I think this is the culmination of all the Jardenians were meant to achieve, little one.”

“You’ve been converted, haven’t you.”

The old man’s eyes widened slightly. “No, it’s foolish to say anything was intended, I don’t dispute that. Maybe I do. Oh, I feel so uncertain. What is it all, Sherpie? We’ve been left this mess,and Ragzin’s toybox of knives and grenades. Every toy I draw out tempts my resolve further. I’m very sick. Totally sick with power, Sherpie. I can feel it on my nerves and on my back, inside the roof of my mouth, smell it on my breath…”

“I think you need a rest.”

“I’ll have a long, cold rest after all this is over.”

Sherpie stared painfully out over the desert.

“I don’t think you’ll have as hard a job after the Parliament takes over.”

“Humphries will Chancellor, yes. Her executive order has played an amazing role in arming the state, the Jousen are ecstatic they have the the House back - I think you’re right, it’s not entirely my weight.”

“The Jousen will die for their Parliament… I wish Nela was as honourable.”

“The desert’s gotten to you too.”

“I think so.”

[I don’t go to UNYA parties, I go to sleep at 10pm writing silly stories.]