The king is hunting for men who don’t want to be found, ancient men who have been quiet all of these years, ancient men who are not quick to involve themselves in the games of kings.
He has never seen these men.
He only knows they are out there, and he doesn’t rule them. And so he wishes to find them and make them submit. He wishes to see them on bent knee kissing the signet ring, on bent knee with a gun to their head, he wishes to empty their pockets into his own hands not because he needs the money but because he wishes to see their faces when they realize there’s nothing they can do about it.
And so the king and his men push deep into the wilderness in search of the ancient men, free men who are not allowed to be free any longer, with guns drawn, deeper and deeper until they begin to go mad with fever, north is no longer north and the river is circling around us, the birds are swirling overhead and the trees are watching, my king, we already came this way, my king, the ground is shaking beneath our feet, this is not a land where men could survive, not here O King.
Each night when they set up camp, on the faraway hill they see a boy watching them, a boy who holds a slingshot and five smooth stones.
The king sends his men to confiscate the slingshot because all things belong to him, and the slingshot does not belong to him. But when the men arrive the boy is gone, and waiting for them are five loaves of bread and two fish – the warning that they cannot see, they do not have the eyes to see, and so they mock the meal as they stuff it into their faces and return to the camp to say he’s gone but when we catch him we will string him up like a dog.
And one day after many days of marching through wild places the boy appears in the clearing and stands before the king, the king who says give me your slingshot and take me to your father, if you want to live you will do as I say.
The boy loads a stone and the soldiers laugh, the boy swings it round and round and round and the king laughs, the boy lets it fly and the king dies. And then he is gone, vanished into the corridors of time, and all those who followed the king into the wilderness will spend the rest of their lives trying to find their way out. And every once in a while, just as they think they’re getting close to escaping this madness, this wild place, they will come upon the grave of the king.
Do you understand yet,
that some men
don’t want to be ruled by strangers
from faraway places?
Do you understand yet
that some men
are better left alone?