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Stories

Teacher! Leader! Favorite Friend!

-1-

The afternoon sun shone through the colorful stained glass windows and cast its multicolored glow across the spacious ornate Hall of Justice, which was filled with as many hand-picked loyal citizens as President-for-Life Bick’s agents could find. The agents had done their work well, as usual; the Hall was packed. The low din of the gathering echoed off the marbled walls as the impatient crowd craned their collective necks to look at the raised dais on the far side of the Hall. It was a thrill indeed for the people to catch a glimpse of their Favorite Friend. And to witness history? An honor for all who were present for the occasion. Of course, for those citizens who were not present, for whatever reason, the day was filled with tension and fear. Would Favorite Friend remember my absence? they thought. Would the Ministers not love on them for their failure? These citizens, and they were many, spent the day in quiet terror.

The Official State Orchestra sat on the right side of the dais, their heads even with the bottom of Favorite Friend’s vacant lectern. Only President-for-Life Bick stood above all others; he was, after all, The Favorite Friend of All. The UnderMinister of Fanfare glanced at the back of the dais and received his signal, a nod from the powerful Minister of Propaganda Bubble, unseen by the hopeful masses in attendance. Suddenly, the Orchestra burst into the Official State Theme, and the blaring horns of the music quieted the crowd at last. The people jostled in nervous anticipation.

The fanfare announced the entrance of President-for-Life Bick and his Council of Ministers. At the three-minute mark, with horns still blaring and drums still pounding their ponderous beat, the Ministers filed solemnly in from the back of the dais and took their places at the lower level, above the Orchestra players but well below the lectern.

Minister of Justice Pubberton slid his ample bulk to the lectern and waited for the last notes of the fanfare to play out, smoothing what was left of his dyed brown hair with one pudgy hand. The silent moment having arrived, he leaned forward and shouted into the microphone.

“Father of Nations! Benevolent Friend of All Children! Brilliant Genius of Humanity! Gardener of Human Happiness! Father of Wisdom and Loyalty! Wise Helmsman! Mountain Eagle! The Greatest Genius of All Times! Paragon of Honor! Loyal Master of Justice! Brave Lion of the People! The Most Profound Theoretician! The Titan of the World Revolution! Teacher! Leader! Favorite Friend!”

“CITIZENS: ALL HAIL PRESIDENT-FOR-LIFE BICK AND THE BELOVED MINISTERS!”

The Orchestra burst into music again, this time playing the President’s current favorite entry fanfare. Favorite Friend himself entered, smiling and waving, the Beloved Ministers Bridget and Monty entering happily beside the Great Leader. Their tails wagged energetically; the Beloved Ministers truly loved on their Master.

As if on cue, the crowded assembly burst into excited applause and cheering, camera flashbulbs exploding everywhere. “All Hail Favorite Friend!” “Great Leader!” “All Hail the Mountain Eagle of our Times!” “I love on you Favorite Friend!!” and other variants of the President’s various titles. Unsmiling dark-visaged agents moved among the crowd, their eyes darting rapidly among the citizenry, making sure to jot notes in their ubiquitous black notebooks about any citizen whose enthusiasm seemed to be wanting.

Favorite Friend raised one hand above his head and dropped it suddenly. The music and cheering all stopped. Silence filled the hall as the great leader surveyed the audience. He glanced down at the Beloved Ministers, who never left his side. He petted both in a gesture of warmth. Once again, camera bulbs flashed, recording the scene for posterity. These pictures would find there way onto the front page of the State newspapers so the citizens could see the evidence of the man’s great personal charm and love for all.

The crowd waited expectantly. Many of the younger citizens licked their lips in antipication. Older citizens had blank, smiling expressions on their faces. For this was the day they’d been waiting for. It was National Justice Day in the nation.

Today, Favorite Friend would dispense justice against a terrible enemy of the people.

-2-

President-for-Life Bick presented his stern face to the assemblage as he began his National Justice Day speech.

“Loyal Citizens! Loving friends and children! Today is National Justice Day and today we WILL see justice served,” he began, his hypnotic voice casting its spell over the rapt crowd, which erupted into cheers. A keen observer might have noted that the President’s agents were the first to cheer.

Favorite Friend waited for the cheering to subside before continuing. “Because my friends, because my friends, only through Justice can we embrace honor for the nation and respect for ourselves.  And our great nation is nothing without honor and respect, is it not?”

The crowd, again urged on by the agents among them, nodded and murmured their agreement. “Yes Favorite Friend,” “Honor is All!” “Hail Favorite Friend!”

“And so, we must pay heed to the dangerous forces that work to undermine our Golden Community of Friends. And so my children, we must SERVE the interests of Justice, no matter WHERE they lead!”

“SERVE JUSTICE!” cried the people in the Hall, “No matter WHERE!” “I love on Justice!”

“Yes my loyal friends, there are dangerous forces afoot in this Golden Land of ours. Dangerous forces who will stop at NOTHING to see our Glorious Revolution of Love and Honor fail, and in failing, fall into the pit of history’s despair!”

The crowd started to cheer again, but President-for-Life put his hand up to stop the cheering. It stopped.

“My friends, we are most fortunate to have My Beloved Ministers at our service, for it is THEY to whom we must give thanks for today’s Justice!” He gestured, smiling broadly,at the two large dogs sitting patiently at his side. The people cheered anew. They loved on The Beloved Ministers, for they knew the consequences of not loving on them.

“Minister Bridget’s unerring senses and unparalleled loyalty have uncovered a plot, a PLOT! against Your Favorite Friend, and through her vigilance, and that of Minister Monty, we have identified the purveyor of this potential evil, this dread threat against our person and our great glorious nation!”

More cheering erupted. The cheering was loudest where agents stood with black notebooks in hand.

“Loyal nationists, proud and patriotic citizens, I present to you an awful criminal, a wrecker, a person of foul intent  and evil mind, and the worst kind of betrayer.” He turned around and nodded his head slightly.

Suddenly, a unit of burly black- and red-clad Personal Guards emerged from behind him, dragging a thin, quivering man dressed in the torn canvas robe of a state prisoner. The prisoner had red scars on his haggard face, and his bent and twisted legs could not carry him. The guards tossed him to the stage next to the lectern, where he fell sprawling and sobbing.

The Beloved Ministers growled at the prisoner. “Stay,” commanded President-for-Life Bick in a quiet voice. The dogs remained motionless but continued to bear their upper fangs at the prisoner.

“BEHOLD THE MASTERMIND OF EVIL!” shouted Favorite Friend, pointing an accusing finger at the frightened prisoner. The people erupted in boos and hisses.

“KILL HIM!” “ DESTROY THE WRECKER!” “TAKE HIM APART!” “LOVE ON JUSTICE!” “HAIL THE MINISTERS!”

“You may recognize this sorry sight in front of you. He is the Former Under Minister of Finance. This awful personage has plotted against us by stealing public funds! He refused to name his confederates and betrayed Our Trust in him. The Beloved Ministers do NOT love on him. I do not love on him. This GREAT AND GLORIOUS NATION OF TRUTH AND HONOR DOES NOT LOVE ON HIM!!!!”

Again, the people cheered their approval of their president and their disapproval of the prisoner. “WE DO NOT LOVE ON HIM!!!”

“And so, my children, we shall see justice served on this holy day. We have judged this wrecker as ALL wreckers must be judged, and have found him wanting. This is Our Special Day! And to commemorate this Holy Occasion of Justice, we have decreed that the Beloved Ministers themselves shall dispense the justice that this offensive creature so richly deserves. Yes my friends,” he continued, his voice rising, “Our Beloved Ministers shall destroy this wrecker, they shall reduce this foul evil to gristle and bone, and we shall all watch with wonder and pride as Justice prevails once again!”

A slight murmur ran through the crowd, but the glare of the agents stifled this impulse, and soon cheers of approval rose to fill the Hall. The President shot a glance of disapproval at his Minister of Honor and Duty, Shmolnick, who nodded in response. He and his agents would be busy on this night.

The former Under Minister of Finance tried to move his ruined body away from the lectern, but the poke of a sharp spear from one of the guards made him wince in pain.

Favorite Friend smiled down at the Ministers, whose drooling grins revealed rows of sharpened fangs, ready to dispense their own brand of justice on the shaking prisoner.

“Pp-please, Favorite Ff-ff-ffriend,” choked the prisoner, “H-have m-m-m-mercy!”

Favorite Friend grinned and spoke to the Beloved Ministers. “Well my Beloved Ministers, what say you? Shall there be mercy on this most glorious of days?”

The two dogs growled.

President-for-Life Bick raised his hands to quiet the crowd, then spoke a single word to his two furry ministers. “KILL,” he commanded.

The two dogs leaped at the prisoner, who held his arms up to protect himself. His screams lasted only seconds; the ministers made short work of him, tearing canvas robe from skin, skin from bone, lips and nose from face, organs from body. Blood spilled all over the stage under the smiling face of the Great and Glorious Harbinger of Truth, Father of Wisdom and Loyalty and Favorite Friend.

The crowd watched in rapt horror, too afraid to look away. The agents in the crowd smiled as the dogs feasted on the prisoner’s remains.

Soon, all that was left of the man was, as Favorite Friend had promised, gristle and bone. He raised his arms up high and shouted, “ALL HAIL NATIONAL JUSTICE DAY!”

The people cheered until they were hoarse.

THE END.

© 2009 Michael S. Cohen

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Almost 200 original cartoons by Shmolnick, including art created using Windows Live Messenger.

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WARNING!

The material in this section is intended for adults only, and even then, not for the faint-hearted. You can expect extreme weirdness, excessive sex, violence, and a host of horrors, albeit presented for humorous effect.

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Six of my latest tunes on the Music page!