Unbound Story Three: Peace, Perfect Peace
Peace, Perfect Peace
The President had been in the bunker since his epiphany.
"Sir, you really can't stay here any longer?" said a nervous special advisor. "It is supposed to be for emergency use only?"
"You can look at the world and think this is not an emergency?" The President thrust his arms at the hapless man, who yelped and stepped back.
"I see you have had a new enhancement, Sir." The Chancellor, choking back his envy, stepped into the room. The cabinet followed in a cluster behind him.
"These?" The President waved his supplementary arms. "Yes. They are the physical expression of my resolve to embrace the people; to show them love."
"Come and show them, Sir. Reassure them you're well."
"How can I 'reassure' them of anything, when they live in a world without love? That is the problem I came here to resolve. And in the silence here, I found the answer. Listen." The President held up his hands for quiet. "You can hear it: the loving hum of the universe."
Behind his back, the Chancellor sidled up to a desk and gingerly took up the book that lay there. He sighed, and mouthed "shit" at the Justice Minister, before attempting to slip it under his jacket.
"Put that DOWN, Marcus!" The President bellowed without turning around, and his tail whipped the book from the Chancellor's hand. His voice softened. "Listen, and weep for the people."
"The people, sir?" The Health Minister watched as the massive tail languidly swung the book into the President's pocket. So muscular. It had seemed such a foolish enhancement at first, but now whenever he saw it he would find his hand wandering to his own incomplete rear.
"Silence," said the President, "is the healer of all wounds. Only when there is silence can we hear the loving hum of the universe. But the people," his voice caught, "so desperately in need of that loving hum, are unable to achieve silence. They do not have the means. They are untrained in the art of self-control. We must find a way to help them." He emerged from his reverie, and fixed the cabinet with a demanding stare. "Throw some think at me."
"Sir, if I may?" The Education Minister stepped forward. "I believe the ongoing Language Initiative is the solution. The OED is down to forty thousand words, with a further thousand due to go next week."
"Oh, do me a favour." The President whipped all four hands onto his hips. "We all know they're speaking the old language in private. And even the ones who can't are wittering away just as much as they ever did. You could leave them with a single word, and they would just repeat it all day long. We must do better. The situation is urgent."
The cabinet wriggled and twitched their various inferior enhancements and stared hard at the floor.
"None of you have any ideas, do you? That, I suppose, is why I am President and you are not. So: I have been thinking about the Barkless Dogs Act, which we all agree is an exemplar piece of legislation. And I have been wondering, why should the people have no access to enhancements themselves, when even their dogs are improved? I have been speaking with our friends in research about beginning work on 'barkless', as it were, people."
The room began to thicken with smiles, and all around them the universe hummed, lovingly.
The Next Prompt: Places to read - what are your perfect or dream places to read? Give us your answers on facebook and twitter (#ireadhere #unbound) to inspire our next writer, George Anderson. South Asian Literary Forum will choose the winner on Wednesday 1 August 2012.