Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The History of the World

by Kim Farleigh

Suburb A’s inhabitants considered themselves superior to suburb B’s, the A’s mockingly imitating the B’s accents, although their accents were almost identical.
Expletives not employed in suburb A, except to mock the B’s, were used by the B’s, demonstrating the latter’s “unquestionable brutality.” Waggish A’s used these terms to belittle the B’s; better, however, to avoid these expressions whose non-employment indicated an exquisite sensibility beyond the reach of most B’s.
The A’s constantly needed to prove their superiority so that when litter “polluted” suburb A’s clean streets, Suburb A’s leading newspaper, The Erudite Browser, claimed: “Dark-Age Suburb B louts committed litter heresy against decency”, although how they knew this wasn’t explained, research superfluous when poetic conclusions cause collective indignation, the mellifluous cadences of articulate sniping singing with the enrapturing vibrancy of truth.

A final solution is required,” an A politician howled, before white-shirted supporters who linked the tips of their index fingers to make forty-five-degree finger slopes, creating the symbol of the A Homeland Brotherhood.
The A politician’s hawk eyes had the sharp lustre of certitude. He was a giant man of voluminous proportions whose size led “cynics” to refer to him as “the Wailing Whale of Blubbering Blubber.”
Roadblocks will be set up to stop certain elements from entering our beloved territory,” said Zealot Von Hoffenheim, from the ruling Association For Democratic Allegiances.
Thin-lipped Zealot was short and thin, his savage eyes making people believe that he had “charisma.” AFDA blasted ahead in the polls.
Klaus Ariel Dewberger, the AHB’s head, howled at his next rally: “The B subspecies must be banned from our sacred territory that has been bequeathed to us by God. Checkpoints aren’t the solution. Permitting heinous elements into the sacred zone of suburb A would constitute treason against our hallowed forefathers who secured our agreement with The Almighty that suburb A must remain pure for all eternity. Our suburb is His kingdom on earth; we are the souls of his realm and no subspecies has the right to pollute our sacred blood.”
The gap in the polls closed. Television stations, funded by the AHB, showed huge masses in white shirts, with blue armbands, raising connected index fingers. Historians later claimed that these people had been hypnotised by one man, and not by each other, or by stupidity.
The AFDA roadblock policy stemmed the traffic arriving from suburb B, but not because of the prospect of long interrogations at the “border”, but because of the possibility of being treated like an animal by those convinced of their superiority. The roadblocks performed the function of deterrence, the attitude of people in suburb A more effective than roadblocks in signalling that innocent B’s faced violence for being in “the sacred zone.” Being attacked for driving a B-registered vehicle now seemed likely, especially as extreme suburb-A elements were being directed by God and not by ethics. Those elements possessed such self-ordained importance that they had given God a personality. If God does exist he’s probably thinking: “Why the fuck would I want to hand over real estate to people who wear white shirts and who charge around like ants with beards that resemble steel wool!?”
Don’t go there!” a B-suburb politician screamed on TV. “We must prepare for war!”

His brother was a weapons manufacturer. B’s bought his guns to slaughter ducks on the lagoons west of suburb B.
They eat the sleazy duck!” Klaus Ariel Dewberger yelled at a rally.
Klaus, who ate succulent, B-imported duck, had become so vast because of his consumption of the “tasty boid” that his body wobbled as he screamed, his speeches appearing sincere because of his weight.
Ducks were vermin in the religion that AHB members followed, “democracy” promoting neurosis to the level of saneness.
The duck causes their dissolution!” howled Klaus before “white shirts” that resembled mirror images of each other.
Truth” creates repeated units of dumbness. Politicians create the impression that they believe that neurosis emerge from rationality, a tremendous achievement of “democracy”.
Future historians referred to this neurotic hysteria as “the rise of nationalism”, the truth not marketable.
A future publisher advised a future historian that the following comment wasn’t propitious for literary success: “The A-B war demonstrates that people are bipedal amoebas, living under the delusion that they can think, although that’s an insult to amoebas that don’t waste their lives pursuing idiotic fantasies. If you’re reading this book, you’re probably stupid.”
Change it, Bill,” the publisher said, “to: The charismatic cult of personality drove ordinary men and women into patriotic fits in which sensibilities got distorted by the magnetism of manipulative genius.”
Bill smiled.
How about,” he said: “The dream of sustainable glories, linked to the will of malign brilliance, created a nationalistic hysteria that only eccentric outcasts on society’s fringes could resist?”
Bill, Bill, Bill,” the publisher replied, deeply impressed, “that’ll add thousands to sales. The readers will believe that they are that fringe.”
History” creates “the truth”.
Tension between A’s and B’s erupted into violence when Robert Capricious, a cavalier photojournalist and writer entered suburb A to report on the growing tension.
Bob’s curly locks and film-star looks helped him through the interrogation at the bridge where the border guards found it difficult to believe that Capricious wasn’t a spy, or, at least, a film star, astounded that Bob was actually motivated by curiosity and the love of the unexpected. How could anyone be motivated by that? He must be mad! Because no man could invent such a motive, they let him through.
Bob and his crew entered the “the alluring zone” where “spice” was a real possibility.
They were struck by the number of white shirts and blue armbands, and by the prevalence of blue-and-white flags with the A symbol smack bang in the middle of those colours that symbolised purity in the blue heavens.
A cameraman recorded “creatures that looked as if they had emerged from the same egg.”
Such was AHB’s success in distorting reality that they had convinced the majority that they were from a different genetic base “never to be mixed with the blood of the infidel.”
AHB clothes were produced by Genetic Supremacy Limited whose head was Klaus Ariel Dewberger.
Bob Capricious and his crew stopped to fill up in a gas station. Bob’s driver nipped into the queue before a car whose bonnet was adorned with a blue A. A blue-and-white pennant wavered on this car’s aerial.
The driver, who saw Bob’s licence plates, believed that there was only one law – God’s law – even though this law had been created by man. God’s law guarantees free will in certain circumstances, free will itself a guarantee of chaos.
This car’s driver pulled a pump out of a woman’s hands. He raced from the pump stand, the hose stretching across the station. His eyes looked like wild buttons of peeved mica in a storm of steel-wool head and facial hair, like a primate that knew how to use a hose. The primate sprayed Bob’s car and ignited it with a lighter. Flames engulfed the car. Black smoke swirled into the heavens. In an incident that would end up being called The Day of the Long Hoses the cameraman, holding a pump, sprayed the car behind Bob’s; he tried to throw a lighter but got restrained by petrol station employees. Youths in another car attacked Bob and his crew. The woman who had had the pump ripped out of her hands shrieked because she was going to miss her hairdressing appointment. The shimmering slithers of her blue irises ended up being surrounded by fuzzy lines of broken mascara. People pulled up and attacked the suburb B renegades who ended up dead, covered in blood. Bob, clutching a satellite phone, died wearing sunglasses, a man uniquely concerned about image in even the most dangerous of situations.
Suburb A television reported that “vigilant patriots eliminated petrol-bomb terrorists.” Bob “Baby-Face” Capricious, with his film-star looks, was no longer going to be entertaining big-eyed beauties at dinner parties with tales of his daredevil exploits. A border guard said: “That fucker wanted to ‘satisfy his curiosity.’ Can you believe that shit?”
Border guards are border guards because they love hating differences.
Bob became a symbol of noble resistance when the weapons manufacturer saw his chance in the clothing industry. Soon after Bob’s death, T-shirts decorated with Bob’s face went on sale. It became bad taste to not wear “Bobbie Caps” T-shirts. The need to be seen to be mortified by injustice shot up sales.
The weapons manufacturer saw no limit to his financial possibilities.
A few months of war,” he told his brother, in a spa in suburb C, “and we can retire in the Caymans.”
Their gold necklaces glistened in the bubbling water.
The brother set to work.
We must avenge the death of that symbol of tolerance, Robert Capricious,” he told television audiences. “If we stand by meekly and permit our citizens to be innocent victims of unprovoked aggression, how will history judge us?”
Viewers applauded rapturously. There was something fresh about exerting your free will without feeling that consequences existed. Why should innocent B’s be aggressed by a race that detested human rights?
Every citizen,” the brother continued, “has to arm. We owe it to ourselves to defend our rights as free citizens of suburb B.”
Gun sales soared. Hot with righteous vindication, and the joy of destructive free will, the possessor of a weapon fired the first shot across the river, striking a woman’s enormous arse. Doctors cut through “fat mountains” to remove the slug, one saying: “We found a needle in a butt-stack.”
The people, freeing their base instincts from a dungeon called morality, stockpiled weapons, claiming: “You never know when terrorists will strike.”
Bobbie Caps T-shirts became the army uniform. Weapons and T-shirt sales grew so large that the employment figures rose, inspiring commentators to believe that war helped the economy.
God-damned, kick-ass outbreaks,” one high-ranking officer said, “kick economy butt.”
The Erudite Browser believed that this “military genius should be given the Noble prize for economics for his eloquent discourse on the connection between pulverising and profit.”
The weapons manufacturer and his brother made enough money to disappear to the Caymans during the conflict. They laughed when the Secretary-General of The United Suburbs, Xavier Rainbow-Delight, called for an immediate ceasefire. Rainbow-Delight had light-brown skin and African features. He carried himself with a kind of consistent, humiliated nobility. He secretly believed that “the chances of a ceasefire” were “less than the next Mozart being a monkey.” His chief negotiator, Hans Flyabout, alternating between suburbs A and B, rose daily from sandbagged basements to say: “Constructive negotiations are proceeding.” But not around here, he thought. Rising from sandbagged bunkers to spout clichés was his job. He looked like an accountant whose right hand had been soldered to a leather briefcase. His perfect hair resembled a wig hewn from satin and silk.
It’s a miracle,” Klaus said, “that the guy can keep a straight face.”
The weapons manufacturer and his brother ran into Klaus in the restaurant of a five-star hotel in the Caymans. Klaus was eating Peking duck in a plum-cherry sauce.
Five hundred thousand armband units at fifty a hit,” Klaus told them, “kinda adds up. And let’s not forget the shirts. You two didn’t do too badly yourselves, eh?”
Mike,” the politician said, referring to his brother, “revolutionised marketing by calling Bob Caps the Cary Grant equivalent of Che Guevara. Marketing experts now refer to that comment as a tipping point.”
It damn well nearly tipped me off my seat,” Klaus replied. “I almost died laughing.”
Bob,” Mike smiled, “did die.”
And for a great cause,” Klaus replied, grinning.
The only thing wider than Klaus’s smile was his stomach. His head resembled a shrunken cranium above his metre-wide shoulders.
To great causes,” Mike said, raising his glass.
This duck,” Klaus said, “is almost as good as the boids you babies sold from those lagoons.”
The table rocked as Klaus howled with laughter.
You were our best client,” Mike said.
Although Mike looked like an eagle, he had a charming voice. His smile resembled a dazzling shower of fluorescence. His hair fell like dank cloth from the fish-belly-coloured part that dissected his head.
And the client,” he added, “is always right.”


Kim has worked for aid agencies in three conflicts: Kosovo, Iraq and Palestine. He takes risks to get the experience required for writing. 86 of his stories have been accepted by 73 different magazines.

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