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Friday, November 13, 2009

Inauguration of the Regulator

Blustery day, that when Lee “Leland” Pefley, age 77, composed and committed himself before a crowd of more than thirty souls to the “Great Oath,” properly so-called, that marked his assumption of total power in the political, economic, military, and cultural realms. His right hand on a copy of the first edition of the novel named after himself, he pledged all sorts of things. (Thirty souls! A select group, to be sure, chosen by lot from unpublished writers and long-term prisoners furloughed for the purpose.)
“I do pledge,” it is said he said, “do pledge to do what is most aesthetically pleasing, and to hell with practical results. Anyway, I’m sick of results and people of that sort. What is the quality of American poetry, yes? And how many of us, really, can speak both Aeolic and Attic Greek? These are the questions my cabinet shall address next Monday at our annual fry.
(Some of those prisoners are still at large, the neighbors claim.)
“And what will be my policy you ask?” (He pointed to the one who had asked it, a roseate and gimlet-eyed rubicund man with a beetling brow handcuffed most cruelly in barbed wire.) “We don’t need no stinking policy! All we need is…” But here his voice was overwhelmed by the National Orchestra’s rendition of the second movement of Mahler’s eighth, a performance commanded by him at 3:15 that same afternoon upon awakening for the brand new day.


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