Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Massachusetts Parable

Sherman Oaks, California

(Editor's Note: One rule of life is to never publish thoughts which arrive in the pre-dawn hours, before the sober rods of morning. Knife Tricks will now break that rule.)

A mystery lingers over the Commonwealth. The young Prince, Deval Patrick, sits firm in the Corner Office. The opposition can squeek with its mousy minorities, but Deval gets his way. His sales tax hike. His liquor excise. One day -- can't a man dream -- he will be the hero who repeals Prop. 2 1/2 and allows the full value of the Commonwealth to be used to serve itself, with well-paid-connected drivers and well-paid-connected-nurses and -- oohhh, the loyalty he could buy upon seizing the treasure trapped in the long-held houses of those who don't pay their fair share. It will be a glorious day.

But, in the shaded back seats of his Cadillac, when the snappers have gone, and the phone was turned off, and the kids with the maps and gizmos slept, Youg Prince Deval would grow morose. Because, while life was play, and so was every day for Prince Deval, he was, still, only, merely, just a prince.

One far fairer had become king. One who promised Deval, his friend, his comrade, that, in the fullness of time, Prince Deval would be asked to join the royal court upon the Potomac. And this Deval wanted, more than anything, more than honey or milk or the sap from a maple tree, Deval wanted to sit in Washington at the hand of the King.

But Deval had a task to attend. A great lion was truly in winter, would not live out the season. The laws of the realm gave Deval, and no one else, the power to choose a new lion.

Deval understood. He would remain a prince -- cut off from the Word and the Light in the great white mansion to the south -- until the lion had died and Deval chose a successor. Which meant that The King would make the selection; Deval would announce it as his own; credit for wisdom would flow to the King (who would not deny his role); ridicule for a poor choice would fall only upon Deval.

It was a risk. But everybody whispered about why the King had left his boon companion in a small, mean province of the empire. "If this succession goes smoothly," Deval thought, "The guarded gates at the King's House will open in favor for me. That would be true happiness."

To Be Continued.


Update: Morning remembers that, upon a U.S. Senate vacancy, Massachusetts must call a special election. Same diff. The King wants only one frontrunner in that contest, which will be heavy with symbolism.

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