although it had become acceptable since the war to walk around without any pants on, jeffrey always felt more comfortable wearing pants, especially when the musgraves came to visit.
he thought there might be some pants belonging to grandfather’s old suits hanging in the closet of the back room on the fifth floor, so he made his way, with as sprightly as gait as he could manage, up the back staircases.
there were, of course. no candles on any of the walls, and no servants to light them, even if there had been.
jeffrey reached the fifth floor and began walking down the dark hallway.
how peaceful it was ! there was no sound, except for the barely perceptible ones of the huge spiders spinning their white and grey webs…
but there was nothing for it, the musgraves had to be “entertained”, so with a sigh jeffrey continued on his way to the back room.
but when he reached it and opened the closet door, he heard a voice, an all too familiar voice behind him…
the giant snail!
and of course it would be peevish, and want to talk interminably about the old days, before the war…
the ogre set up shop outside a village, and began systematically kidnapping and devouring its inhabitants, one by one.
the strongest men in the village, including the woodcutter, the blacksmith, the sheriff, and the sergeant-at-arms, sallied forth to fight the ogre, but were quickly despatched and devoured.
a little tailor resolved to defeat the ogre. he found a stout stick and attached his tailor’s needle to it, and announced his intention to the village.
most of the villagers laughed at the tailor, although a few pious old woman told him they would pray for him.
as the sun rose in the sky, the little tailor set forth with his weapon.
what the tailor did not suspect, and what the villagers did not suspect, was that the ogre had grown weary of the village, and had decided that very morning to move on to fresh pastures.
the ogre was in the act of packing his knapsack with some of the bones of his previous victims, to gnaw on in his journey, when he saw the tailor approach.
the ogre made short work of the little tailor and devoured him in one gulp.
but the ogre was so outraged by the effrontery of the village in sending so feeble a champion against him, that he entered the village and completely ravaged and destroyed it, killing almost everyone in it.
the only survivor was a minstrel, who took to the roads, where he eked out an existence begging and singing for his bread.
among the songs the minstrel sang was the tale of the heroic little tailor, and how he slew the ogre and saved the village.
some people read thousands of books in their lives, and others never learn to read.
some people do heavy labor almost every day of their lives, many others work thousands of hours in offices and stores and factories, others never work a day in their lives.
most people can see, but some are born blind.
some people consume tens of thousands of gallons of alcohol in their lives, and others never touch a drop.
some people, such as prostitutes, have thousands of sexual experiences with thousands of different people in their lives, others have none at all.
some people, such as soldiers or members of militias or security police, kill thousands of their fellow humans with their own hands, most people will never kill even one.
some people spend decades, day after day, killing cows and pigs and chickens, others never see a drop of blood from any living creature deliberately spilled in their lives.
millions of people write poems that no one will ever read, a tiny handful write poems that are famous and memorized by schoolchildren.
some people are taught to pray as children, and continue to do so every day throughout their lives, others never say a prayer.
many other examples could be cited - drinking coffee, eating doughnuts, eating cheeseburgers, doing crossword puzzles, collecting stamps or baseball cards, playing games such as chess or go or monopoly - millions do these things every day or dedicate their lives to them but many millions more never engage in these activities at all.
hundreds of millions dream of becoming world famous entertainers or athletes, a minuscule handful do so.
many people go through life loyal to the tribe or nation they were born into.
a not inconsiderable minority embrace some different loyalty.
another, perhaps larger, minority never really give a shit about anything.
once every few hundred years, a person will start a religion that is embraced by millions.
am i missing something?
i wish all people well in their passage through this strange world.
thurston and beresford were the only members of the club still in the room.
“you know,” said thurston, “i was reading something in the gazette this morning.” he paused. “i can’t now remember what it was, but somehow it put me in mind of something. something that happened a long time ago. to a fellow named stafford- wiggins. i don’t suppose you would have known him?”
beresford made a sort of grunt which thurston took as indicating that beresford had indeed not known stafford-wiggins.
“no, i didn’t suppose you would,” thurston continued. “he was a young chap starting out in the service in the corps - the diplomatic corps - at the same time as myself. which, of course, was not exactly yesterday. anyway, all of us - all of us young fellows starting out - thought stafford-wiggins was quite a comer. so, one bright spring afternoon old sir edward chandry - who was in charge of sort of shepherding us through our apprenticeship - invited all of us - all of us young chaps - to the races. at ascot, if i remember correctly.
one of the things that impressed us about stafford-wiggins was the amazing talent he had for arriving at any event or appointment at exactly the right time - never so much as a minute early or late.
so, all the rest of us had gathered in front of the track with sir edward and lady chandry, and we were waiting for stafford-wiggins. the more forthright among us had been laughingly assuring sir edward and his consort that he would most assuredly arrive just in time.
and sure enough, he did just that.
a few of the fellows began chaffing him good-naturedly as he stepped down from his coach, straightening his jacket and getting ready to pay his respects to sir edward and lady chandry, whom i happened to be standing just behind.
“that young man,” lady chandry observed in a low voice to sir edward, indicating stafford-wiggins, “does not know how to wear a top hat.”
this was bad enough, but worse was to come.
“nor,” lady chandry added , “will he ever.”
“i am afraid you are right, my dear,” sir edward agreed as he put on a smile and stepped forward to greet stafford-wiggins.
sentence had been passed, as quickly as a leaf might fall, and of course there was no appeal or any notion of one from the condemned.
i remember that i made a few successful wagers that afternoon, which needless to say made more of an impression on me than any thoughts - deep or otherwise - i might have had about poor staford-wiggins.
in due course, stafford-wiggins was posted to the balkans or spanish guyana or some such. for all practical purposes, he was never heard of or from again. “
thurston paused again, “funny, isn’t it, how a single - what would you call it? not even a misstep, really, can determine a fellow’s fate.”
but beresford did not reply, as he had fallen asleep.
it says that emissaries will be sent all over the globe.
so if i went out to wendy’s i might see some emissaries ?
maybe. it doesn’t say exactly where they are going.
what are they up to this time?
let’s see - they got some kind of vote, they want humans to vote on something.
i did that the last time.
well, you can do it again, if you want.
i might, if it’s not too much trouble.
it’s called proposition 233.
proposition 233 reads as follows:
the ambassadors of the empire of b————— offer a pair of pills to the “humans” whom we have determined to be one of the dominant life forms on this planet. the fifth most dominant, to be exact.
the two pills must be taken together or not at all.
the entire “human race” must take the pills or not.
a vote may be taken, in which any human who wishes may take part, to determine whether the entire human race will or will not take the pills.
we, the ambassadors of the empire of b———————, will be happy to administer this vote.
there will be one vote, and it will be final.
the effects of the two pills are as follows:
pill “a” will change the outward forms of humans.
all humans will have the same form, the same “color” (according to human perception), the same weight and height at birth, the same weight and height through five clearly defined stages of development, and identical facial features at each stage of development.
“sex” will be eliminated.
pill “b” will change human brains.
humans will no longer see the world in binary terms.
there will be no more “us” and “them”.
there will be no more “debates”, “arguments”, “controversies”, etc. humans will perceive the universe as civilized beings do - as one.
the combined results of these pills will be to eliminate so-called war, hatred, racism, injustice, inequality, oppression, exploitation, alienation, competition, survival of the fittest, and other ills. it will also eliminate separate "cultures" for different groups of humsns.
a “yes” vote on proposition 233 will signify a desire to take the pills, a “no” vote to not take them.
if “yes” wins, we, the emissaries of the empire of b——————, will be happy to distribute the pills and oversee their administration.
if “no” wins, we will be on our way, and wish the “human race” all the best.
in either case, we may return in the future, with other propositions for other inhabitants of this planet.
the vote was taken. of the 20 billion human inhabitants of earth, approximately 9 billion voted.
the final vote was 8.5 billion to 0.5 billion.
do you think that
a) 8.5 billion voted “yes” and 0.5 billion voted “no”