The Whelk – John Leavitt

June 30, 2009

The State Of Pop

Filed under: Scenes From Nonexistent Novels, Words — John Leavitt @ 10:06 am

Look around you, everywhere the people proclaim “The King Is Dead!’ and all of Pop is in morning, but there is something else, no? Do you see it?

It’s quiet. Every foreign power was expecting mass rioting and coups and gods knows what else once The King Of Pop died. The state of Pop, they say, was in such disarray that a revolution was only natural. They clucked at the absolute power of the King and the treatment of his subjects, without his awesome glare, they would surely take up arms.

But look around you. No one is mobilizing, no princes are getting stabbed or poisoned or paraded around town on a stick. The palace is empty, how can this be? How could everyone be so false in their predictions?

Simple. Those faraway Kings were thinking of the old King Jackson, or rather the young Prince Jackson Of Five who united all of Pop under his awesome banner. What he did was really amazing. There are two kinds of states you see, Easy to Take/Hard to Hold and Hard To Take/Easy To Hold.

In Easy to Take states, the Monarch or Emperor or whatever is weak, and the local nobles strong. It’s easy to take the palace and claim yourself ruler but no one really cares cause all the power is with these country nobles and their fiercely loyal serfs and subjects and personal armies. The king there is usually ceremonial, or largely religious in nature, and can do nothing of importance.

In Hard to Take states, the situation is reversed. The provinces are ruled by rotating governors or Pashas, by the middle classes, if you please, and no one really has loyalty to them. All eyes are on the king and all power rests in his family’s hand. These countries are difficult to conquer, but once subdued, the people to return to their Monarch worship.

What The Five did, or rather what Jackson did, was to turn Pop from being Easy to Take to being Hard to Take. He stopped the ceaseless wars between the Noble Houses and formed all their armies under one rule, his.

Then, the masterstroke. Not just take the power away from the Houses, but to make them willing give it up. He knew for all their posturing about authenticity the rulers of Pop cared for only one thing: image. And he gave them an amazing, glittering show and they all clamored to leave their Houses behind and join him at his Place, to be constantly entertained and distracted, handing the rest of Pop to him, smiling. Even the former King vanished into its endless, intoxicating halls, muttering and stuffing himself with fried sandwiches.

For Gods sake he even called it Neverland. It was like he was daring them.

So why is the death of such a worshiped and feared autocrat greeted with such …calmness?

People forget how big Pop is. Massive country when you think about it, from the Shores of Sonority to the the Top of Middle C. For all the focus on Neverland and its court drama, people have been quietly filing out for decades now, reestablishing their fiefdoms and duchies. Neverland has become increasingly shabby and depopulated over the years, we all just got used to it’s rusting and fading interior.The news of the king’s death caused barely a ripple. That’s why everything is so quiet, we all thought he’d been dead for years.

Hm?

Oh no, I doubt there will be any strong claim to the throne. There might exist a “Queen Of Pop” but it would be in name only. Janet has no desire to rein and is I think a little attached to the idea of being a Lost Princess or something. Dramatic personality you know, they all have that. The rest of the family is playing hot potato with the estate, trying to fob off its corrupt and slagging shell to anyone sucker enough to claim it. It’ll be easy to make my claim, however tenuous, and I’ll pick up the whole place for a song.

My plans? Simplicity itself. I’m knocking it down, the whole soggy mess of it. I’m working with a businessman for a brand new venture.

We’re calling it, a Freeway.

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