Thursday, March 17, 2005

Turning a Gourd into a Face

While the stately beard stiffled some of the King's snore, most of the noise which came from his nose filled the room with nasal reverberations. We stood in patient attendance by his bedside, waiting for the appointed hour of his rising.

The thought of killing him had at one time seemed as simple as crushing a tiny little grape between my forefinger and thumb. There was no rage behind this, I was simply a part of what had to be done to bring about the revolution. I spent years in preparation, training my attention to ignore any pangs of conscience from within, translating my feelings into the logic of historical necessity.

Now I was here by his bed waiting for him to awake, waiting for his dreams.

I had infiltrated the castle through a company of actors that were responsible for taking down the king's dreams every morning and dramatizing them in a short piece of theater for two o'clock. Everyone at the court attended these shows no matter how private the contents of the dream had been. For my part it had been a short step from spy to actor but the honesty of the King's mornings had prevented my final transition to assassin.

"Oh my lord," the King awoke with a yawn. "Last night I dreamt of children - three or four -who were painting Gordie Howe faces on gourds they dug up from an abandoned ice-skating rink. But the whole rink was thick with ice. Their hands were so cold because they had clawed through the ice with their little children's fingers. Their tears froze on their face as they sang some song about a hockey strike. That was something which had happened when I was extremely young."

This too was one of my earliest memories of the world, growing up in a world of frozen heroes.


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