Sunday, November 30, 2008

Crowning Glory

I recently ordered a Fleur-de-Lys flag and plan to fly it above my house. Why? Because I am at heart a royalist. I think George W. (Washington, not the other guy) missed the boat when he was asked to be king of America and declined. Noawadays, it seems to me most folks whom we have elected or named to positions of vast influence have been sadly lacking in honesty, mores and experience at serving the public trust. So why not rely instead on professionals, i.e. a royal family well-versed in presenting the country's best side, promoting commerce, and, generally, staying above the party politics and special interests that permeate government today?

The Royalist Party of America--yes, there is none--makes an excellent point in stating that "to create a true sense of trust between the governed and the government, our nation's leader must be above the politics of the day, beholden to no special interest group, and free to do what must be done for the good of all Americans, not just the party he or she leads."

This makes sense to me.

Today there are some 28 countries with operational royalty. Of those, 25 are constitutional or parliamentary monarchies. The three that aren't--Oman, Saudi Arabia and Swaziland, all absolute regimes--are admittedly not your best example of effective and interest-free government, but the others, including Belgium, Denmark, Morocco, Spain, Japan, the U.K., and Sweden, have learned that it's not a bad thing to have your country represented by entities that are neither Wig nor Tory, Republican nor Democrat. In modern times, the whole concept of monarchy is based on having an entity of long-standing and respectable history that will act or react intelligently for the well-being of the country involved.

I'm not fooling myself--the US will not turn into a monarchy of any kind in the near or far future. But there are lessons worth learning from the kings and queens of history. Some were damned good leaders, the type of folks we need around now.

Here's installment 58 of Wasted Miracles.

For Josie, there is no past, only a present and an indistinct future.
The beanbag chair has become home. There is nothing else but that, that and the drugs. The drugs provide increasingly brief respites from what has become a slow-building agony. Josie has no notion of time save the moments elapsing between pipes. Her mouth, throat, chest are raw but whenever she fires up she refuses to cough; that might waste some of the salvation and she could ill afford that.
She has become almost somnambulistic. She eats when told to, relieves herself when told to, sleeps when the cravings allow it. The Zulu has become God and she is desperate to please him.
She misses sunshine, light. When she was just starting out, messing around with fruit wines and dope, one of her favorite things was to get lightly stoned and lie out in the sun sensing each individual particle of light bounce off her face. She hasn’t had that feeling in quite a while and wonders why.
Now she’s drifting on a painful sea. Most of the time she’s cramping though it’s not yet that time of the month, her period isn’t due for awhile, of that she’s pretty certain. So the cramping is something else and when she can give rise to an emotion other than want, that emotion is fear. She’s not scared of death. She feels death will be a relief, she’s earned it. She’s scared of something else, something she can’t quite identify.
When she’s high the memories rush by like express trains and the jumble of them amaze her. Things she hasn’t thought of for years, and she can see herself in situations long forgotten, it’s almost like being at the movies. There’s even music and a cacophony of sound effects, voices, noises, slamming doors, rushing water. She thinks the song she keeps hearing in her head is Springsteen’s “Born in the USA,” it has that kind of a snarl to it. But then again the tune might be something else. It doesn’t matter.
The door opens and the Zulu walks in. She can tell he has a couple of rocks in a glass vial. He’s shaking the vial in his hand, he always does that when he comes in as if to announce his presence. It makes a noise like two pebbles rattling in a cup.
The Zulu says, “Miss Stilwell, my patience has just about run out. I am telling you this so you’ll be aware of the situation you’re in. These,” he holds up the glass vial, “are it. There will be no more until my simple questions are answered. Do I make myself clear?”
Terribly so. Horrifyingly so. But the realization that she will soon be cut off comes second to the need she has, right now. So she nods, yes, she understands, and hands him the pipe which is now a treasured item, the sole link to an endurable life.
The Zulu shakes a rock out, drops it into the bowl, hands the pipe back, fires a wooden match. She sucks it in like a true user, short intense gasps that hit her lungs like ball lightning. She wants to cough, tenses every muscle in her upper body to avoid it. And then it hits and life is OK again, more than OK, but short of wonderful because now there’s only one rock remaining.
The Zulu says, “Remember, Miss Stilwell. No more after this.” As if she could forget.

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