Disclaimer: all ridicule directed at a pompous, narcissistic, egotistical ne’er-do-well in this satirical treatise is purely intentional. If you do recognize the target of my ridicule, please don’t alert him, just let him go on thinking that he is taken seriously and we really enjoy his speeches.
Chapter One, King A’mabo is crowned
Once upon a time, there was a magical kingdom called Foo.
The Land of Foo was ruled by a tyrannical King named A’mabo. He was an evil man, who believed that the kingdom existed solely for his benefit. He cared about no one but himself and he ruled Foo with an iron fist. He had occupied the throne for less than five years but had already tripled the taxes on the kingdom’s people and taken much more of their wealth than any ruler before him. He abolished their freedoms, brainwashed their children, and spied on their activities. And he was just getting started …
Before King A’mabo assumed the throne, the kingdom was happy and prosperous. Food was plentiful and the water was cool and sweet. Unicorns gamboled in the meadows, free to prance and frolic, and the sky was filled with butterflies and rainbows. Colorful flowers bloomed everywhere and breezes smelled of jasmine and honeysuckle. Even the wart hogs and dung beetles were beautiful and the lowliest peasants had perfect teeth, silky hair (no split ends), and slim, healthy bodies. It was a wondrous place.
King George of Dubya (the old King) had wearied of doing king stuff and retired to the La Dientes Falsos senior living center in Palm Beach to live out his days playing bridge and shuffleboard. The people of Foo, who loved King George, gave him retirement presents of white slip-on shoes and a white belt so he would fit in with the other elders.
His final decree was to let his subjects choose their next king. He had confidence that they would choose wisely and not vote for a charlatan who would promise hope and change but deliver warts and toenail fungus.
When he later learned of the plight of his beloved people, he lamented, “I pity the Foo.”
But it was too late for Foo – the despot’s reign had begun.
The Secret Surface
After the coronation, the royal family moved into the magnificent White Castle. The castle was a safe, secure domicile for the King and his family. No enemy could threaten the King or his family while in the secure confines of the castle.
An important part of the King’s protection was the Secret Surface. Like most other castles, the castle was surrounded by a moat. Ordinary moats were filled with water, but Foo had added another secret deterrent – hundreds of hungry alligators.
Viewing from a distance, townspeople wondered why the water’s surface always seemed to be moving – it didn’t look like ordinary water. And with good reason – the secret surface consisted of wall-to-wall alligators.
The few townspeople brave enough to venture nearer said that there were so many alligators that one could walk across their backs from one side to the other without getting your feet wet. But that was an exaggeration later refuted by Stumpy the smithy, Howard the gelding, and Hopping John.
The royal family included A’mabo’s queen, Queen Meshall and their two daughters, Princess Uh-huh and Princess Nuh-uh. The Princesses were delightful, but Queen Meshall was a tyrant just like the King. Her twenty-two ladies-in-waiting main responsibility was assuring the Queen that her posterior wasn’t really as big as it appeared, “it was just an optical illusion”. Other more objective observers noted that the Queen’s buttocks cast a sizeable shadow even when the sun was directly overhead. On a really hot day, when she stood still, woodland creatures would cool themselves in the shade provided by the Queen’s ample backside.
When not lying about the Queen’s rump, her ladies-in-waiting spent hours just maintaining the her hundreds of handbags and shoes. The Queen’s collection contained all styles and colors, all lined with the softest fur. She insisted that her size-twelve shoes be lined with kitten or bunny fur. What townspeople thought was a petting zoo was actually a fur farm, growing kittens and bunnies destined to become pelts for her bags and shoes.
She even had loaned one calico kitten bag to a shop in Switzerland so they could display the especially ornate bag. She was elated when told that her nemesis, that damned Oprah of Winfrey, tried to buy it and was told “she couldn’t afford it.” The queen hated Dame Oprah ever since she intercepted one of the King’s Interpigeon sexts describing (in gory detail) what the King was going to do to Oprah when next they met.
But she could deal with the King’s adultery, a king before A’mabo had been caught with his codpiece down before and had escaped a dalliance with a scullery maid. His reign may have suffered a few spots here and there, but nothing to feel blue about.
When he was not traveling, King A’mabo enjoyed many rounds of Whack-A-Mouse, a game invented by his Lord of Leisure to help him blow off steam. He worked so hard doing kingly stuff, he really craved the soothing relaxation provided by bashing small tethered rodents with a club. But alas, the King wasn’t very adept at sports and often missed bashing the little creature. He really became incensed when a particularly elusive rodent named “Reggie” (whom the King dearly loved) would taunt the King by defiantly wiggling his little mouse bottom and giving the King the finger.
The King and Queen lived a royal lifestyle, throwing party after party at the castle and enjoying their regular weekly vacations (living large was hard work). They traveled far and wide to attend fun praisers at the homes of troubadours, jesters and minstrels and they especially enjoyed their many visits to Follywood where make-believe ruled. The King felt right at home in a place where fakery prevailed (can you believe that even some body parts were phony?). He was loved and admired in Follywood because they knew in their hearts that he was one of them, a not-so-bright actor voicing someone else’s words and playing a make-believe role.
Six months after A’mabo assumed the throne, he hosted a summit meeting. Rulers of the neighboring countries (Fee, Fi, Foe, and Fum) gathered to discuss banning plastic shopping bags and flagons of beverage larger than a pint. A ban on assault spears and limiting the number of arrows that could be carried in a quiver was also in the agenda.
In attendance were Kings High of Fee, Why of Fi, Moe of Foe, and Who of Fum.
Shortly after their arrival the Kings began to complain: King Why of Fi complained about a lack of hot spots and King High of Fee protested the price of cashews in his mini-bar. King Moe grumbled about a valet parking attendant scratching his Italian sports-carriage and King Who objected to being seated next to Hillary of Clinton at the state dinner. True, she was an ancient old crone, but she was still the official White Castle willie washer.
On the night of the state dinner, protocol required that the kings embrace one another on entering the Great Hall. Accordingly, King Who hugged Moe while Why got High, then Who hugged High and Moe got Why. And finally, King Who hugged Why and Moe got High. Kings Moe and Why were last seen wandering around the courtyard looking for Twinkies and chili dogs. Luckily they had those “Hello, My Name Is” tags so others could tell who was Who and who was High.
King A’mabo welcomed the leaders and bowed before each one. He loved bowing since it gave him a chance to view his own reflection in the other king’s polished codpiece – he really enjoyed seeing his own divine countenance smiling back at him. Unfortunately, he sometimes lost track of time while leering into the other king’s groin which led some to think that he was lusting after the other king’s cod rather than lusting after himself.
In his welcoming speech, he apologized for the previous King George’s warlike actions. “There is no place in the 11th century for cowboys,” he said. “Foo’s Folly” he called King George, and berated everything he had done.
Though he had already cut back King George’s legions, knights, and archers, and reduced the number of catapults and trebuchets manned by the Foolean Guard, he still maintained theEnnessay (a French word meaning “watching everyone do everything).” Supposedly, it was so he could catch foreign spies, but the real reason was so he to hear his own spies snitch on those who complained about his reign, or didn’t pay their taxes, or called him names. They who did so were his enemies and would be dealt with harshly.
He would be a peaceful King even if it meant beating his own subjects into submission, while still planning to immediately surrender to any real enemies who might attack Foo (because he was against war).
Behind his back, the other Kings made fun of him, “what a wuss,” they were heard to say. They’d accept his gifts of foreign aid and pretend to be allies, but they knew he was all talk and was packing no cajones (perhaps a pair of chickpeas at best). He was not only incompetent, but he couldn’t be trusted and they knew that he was up to his royal café-au-lait-colored bum in problems.
And the Queen wasn’t helping. She had angered the townspeople by making many costly trips into the village to shop for plus-sized designer frocks and to pick up arugula and kale for the King’s pet gopher, Buyden. Each time her entourage traveled, they required the royal carriage, three chase carriages, a scribe carriage, an ambu-carriage and a contingent of the Queen’s flying monkey guard. Townspeople complained that the Queen could have sent a pigeon to Dominos, and they would have delivered in 30 minutes, saving the kingdom beaucoup money.
The royal carriage was called “Peasant One” and it was pulled by a hitch of eight peasants. The EPA (Equine Protection Authority) had designated horses to be a protected species and pulling a carriage was demeaning. Besides, the peasants didn’t pollute the streets nearly as much as the horses (their droppings were much smaller) and the King wanted to be seen as reducing poo-lution.
I Don’t Got No Stinkin’ Deficit
But poo-lution wasn’t the King’s only problem. Taxes were down and expenses were up – there was a deficit in the counting house and his treasury was growing bare. The kingdom owed much to others and Foo was on the verge of insolvency.
Even though A’mabo had spent excessively and unwisely, he refused to take any responsibility for his actions. That ignorant dolt, King George had left the kingdom with an unpaid balance on Foo’s AMEX Black Card, and it was now due – it was his fault, not A’mabos.
Of course, when ranting about Foo’s massive debt, the King conveniently ignored his numerous loans from China Payday Cash Express (se habla español). He wasn’t worried about repayment, Angelo the Maimer (China’s loan collector) was his buddy and would be patient. A’mabo didn’t put any stock in the tales of bone breakage told by past borrowers. After all, “you couldn’t trust what a bunch of cripples said.”
And with Foo’s economy in the crapper, the King was concerned about the country’s investments. Lord Bernie of Madoff was the kingdom’s principal money manager and responsible for investing Foo’s funds. He assured the King that the kingdom’s investments in dung futures and waterfront villas in Atlantis were “sure things” and were just as safe as Foo’s Ponzi contracts. “Not to worry” he told the King, those investments were as solid as the iconic Rock of Gypsum.
Lord Ryan tried to explain to the King how that pesky revenue and expense thing worked and why he needed a budget. But the King’s background as a Community Obfuscator hadn’t required him to cipher or arithmetize and he refused to grasp the concept of income versus outgo. He excelled at spending, but depended on an endless supply of taxes to cover his deficit spending. He refused to cut spending and yelled at Geithner: “I don’t need no stinkin’ cuts,” “I don’t need no stinkin’ budget,” and “I just need more stinkin’ taxes.”
But even the news was turning sour. A’mabo was becoming angry with Foo’s criers and scribes. Initially, they supported the King without question and were pleased to do his bidding. But lately, they had become disenchanted with his policies and were growing more outspoken. They were starting to find fault and expose his failings. The King couldn’t allow that to continue. The peasants would rise up if they knew the truth.
His solution was to issue an amendment to his Convolution (his First Amendment) that established a Freedom to Praise and Exalt. It guaranteed that everyone could worship King A’mabo without repression. But, the First Amendment also contained language that condemned any scribe who belittled or berated the King. Their punishment would be swift and unpleasant – they must be reeducated.
Accordingly, Foo’s Lord of Attitudes developed a scribe reeducation procedure. Called Poop-Boarding, its purpose was to redirect the unfortunate scribe’s deviant behavior to a more productive one (praising and exalting the King). While some expressed concern that the activity might be considered torture, the King’s legal advisors assured the naysayers that filling the subject’s mouth and nostrils with liquid poop was legally not torture, but merely fertilizing the subject’s brain to cultivate a change in attitude.
It was not wise to question the King, he didn’t like that. How dare anyone disagree with him. He thought that he was so much smarter than everyone else – at least that’s what he told everyone. Only those IQ tests he took while attending the Alinsky College of Lies and Obfuscation could refute his genius, and those results (his IQ was 63) were safely hidden away from prying eyes. The Holy Grail would be more easily unearthed.
“Poor fools,” he thought, “they just aren’t smart enough to realize how ignorant they are.” In his mind, he was infallible and inerrant, he could do no wrong. At the same time, lesser humans could do no right. The King’s ego also wouldn’t allow him to accept anyone else’s ideas as being worthy of consideration. Even when his cabinet (his soothsayers, sorcerers, and wizards) advised him on matters of state, he’d listen, but immediately appropriate any worthwhile ideas as his own and dismiss the others as folly.
He really had no choice, as he was unable to formulate his own ideas. He could never make a decision until someone influenced him to (finally) make a choice. The country’s unions and guilds were especially adept at “helping” him to make a decision (usually in their favor). Choices were difficult for him because the King was born without a fully functioning brain – he only had a small part of the Uhh-poral lobe and about half of the Choomocampus.
Luckily his Blatheranus was intact. It was located in the functioning half of his Choomocampusand allowed him to speak beautifully when reading from a scroll. when speaking extemporaneously though, he mumbled, uhhh’d, and spewed his unintelligible jibber-jabber around, to and fro, hither and yon, much like a case of loose vowels being splattered around by hitting the spinning blades of a fan.
At court, his Deputy Wizard, Lord Axelrod, actually spoke the words while crouched behind a curtain as the King mouthed them to appear as if he were speaking. This subterfuge was widely known ever since the King nodded off and snored briefly, even while “his” words continued. He had no memory of what was said and frequently contradicted himself. But he was the King and no one dared confront him.
“Anger the King at your peril,” was whispered among the population. It was said that the King’s Czar of Punishment, Lord Gelding, used a Wheel of Appendages to determine punishment for an offense. He’d spin a wheel and where it stopped determined which appendage would be chopped off – a finger, a toe, an arm, or a leg. Unfortunately, many men brought before the board suffered disproportionately due to the extra space allocated to the uniquely male appendage. This contributed to scores of male members being whacked off. Lord Gelding refused to confirm a count even though a tally was kept by an official scorekeeper, called the Tallywhacker.
One positive consequence of the appendage-whacking was the continuous supply of severed parts. In an effort to beautify the castle, groundskeepers created patterns on the castle grounds by positioning various cut off members in an artistic manner. One such area became known as the Toes Garden and became the location of many of the King’s public decrees.
Most of his decrees concerned taxing. A’mabo’s extravagant spending required more and more revenue and the King continually increased taxes. It was not long before he had confiscated most of the corn and grain from the villages and the peasants were starving. “Let them eat Chinese takeout,” was Queen Meshall’s solution. But alas, there were no Chinese restaurants in the kingdom yet, only a few Starbucks and an IHOP or two. As a result, his subjects were malnourished and many contracted a deadly virus. The disease was spread by birds and became known as the Bird Foo virus.
In another secret scheme to increase revenues, the King decreed a universal health care plan. The plan included blood-letting for adult children and treatment of pre-existing phlegm disorders. The townspeople rebelled and fought his A’mabocare program, calling the plan a phlegm flimflam, but to no avail – it could not be stopped. In reality, the program was more than an ordinary sham, it was a shama-lama flimflam sham.
The program required that healers use only free-range leeches supplied by Bloodweiser and the blood collected from blood-letting was sold to Count Barackcula to be used as dietary supplements and lip gloss. In fact, so much blood was drawn from villagers, that many became pale and colorless – a result of the Single Pallor system.
He even tried a “Cash for Cows” program where villagers were encouraged to trade in their old, shriveled-up, milked-out cows for newer ones. The newer models gave more milk and produced less flatulence (thereby improving air quality). But, like the King’s other mandates, the program failed. The old cows that were traded in immediately became steaks for the nobility while the villagers waited months for the delivery of their new improved Cow, release 2.0. The townspeople were udderly disgusted and a new moo-ment was beginning to take shape.
As part of a plan to reduce poo-lution, A’mabo’s alchemists convinced him that they needed a new source of energy. They wanted a less polluting, sustainable fuel source to replace the smoky fires used by the peasants to cook their food and warm their huts. A’mabo’s Chief Alchemist convinced the king that the solution to becoming more “green” was dragon gas.
It was common knowledge that dragon farts burned, in fact the greenish gas was so highlyflammable that sometimes a dragon singed his own bottom if he snorted fire too soon after passing gas. Children were taught to make a wish whenever they witnessed a dragon fart. It was said that if a fuel-air blast followed, their wish would come true.
Under the plan, investors would hire contract dragons to eat a diet of spicy bean burritos (turbo-charging their gas production). Housing scores of dragons in Foo’s Fart Farms could produce large amounts of the flammable gas and make their energy production sustainable for years.
But flatulence farming wouldn’t be easy. No one wanted the gas farms in their area. An accident at Three League Island, when a production facility exploded in flames, a mushroom cloud engulfing the sky, made the entire population of Foo reluctant to live by a dragon de-fueling plant. The entire Kennedy Clan of the Your-anus Port region was against any fart farms nearby, “fart not in my back yard” was their cry.
And it wouldn’t be cheap. When word of the plan slowly leaked out (not unlike a SBD fart), the dragons began organizing and created the SDIU (Service Dragons International Union). They began bargaining for exorbitant wages and lavish pensions. The price of burrito stock went through the roof and even though unemployment was already high, it became difficult to find smelling-impaired workers who were also willing to insert the gas capture devices.
Sometimes the dragons became testy when a worker tried to insert the device without sufficient foreplay. Being burned to a crisp was a risk for an inconsiderate, less-than-gentle Anustician.
A’mabo had stated that he planned to shut down domestic peat collection and wood cutting, eliminating them as alternatives to green dragon gas. He admitted that energy rates would “necessarily skyrocket.” His plan would force the country to buy the awful, foul-smelling green LPG (Liquefied Passed Gas) product, like it or not.
On the other hand, the plan would help Foo become more energy independent. Currently, over half of all wood and peat burned was being imported by the Earl of Southshell and the Earl of Eastexxon, which resulted in Foo being too dependent on foreign Earls.
Meanwhile, the peasants were becoming angry; they were cold and starving, their huts smelled awful, and they were growing more and more restless.
A New Adversary, Mutt the Rummy
An undercurrent of rebellion was spreading in Foo. Some villagers began holding PEA parties (Peasants Expressing Angst) and talking trash about the evil King and the changes he’d made to their country – once so filled with hope. The PEA nuts (as they were known) met in secret to avoid the King’s spies and those pesky villagers who were encouraged to rat out the patriots. Though loosely-formed, they would attempt to gain control of a larger group, the Foopublicans, who had a history of being weak and ineffectual.
The rebellion needed new leadership. Even the Speaker of the Hut, Tan John the Whiner would not stand up to King A’mabo, he was quick to do the King’s bidding just to avoid his wrath. Many Pea Party patriots volunteered to lead the revolt and challenged one another for the right. The League of Worried Voters sponsored several debates (all turned into bloody fistfights) to narrow the field of candidates.
One by one, attrition narrowed down the field until only Mutt the Rummy remained.
Rummy was wealthy. He started a venture capital guild called Bainacia de Capital which specialized in turning around failing merchants. He would turn them around rapidly, disorienting them and allowing him to relieve them of the contents of their purses. He then loaned (their own) money back to them in exchange for an ownership stake in their blacksmith shed, stable, or tailor shop. He was successful and soon amassed a boatload of cash.
Even so, many PEA partiers still believed that he was not conservative enough and threatened to withhold their support of Mutt the Rummy. After all, Rummy was a Norman, and everyone knew that Normans hankered for scores of wives and barbecued their unwanted children.
To bring the factions together, the FNC (Foopublican National Committee) decided to appeal to Sarah of Wasilla, a good witch, in hopes that she could cast a spell over the movement. They dispatched three wise men, Counts Larry, Moe, and Curly to find Sarah and beg her to intercede. She lived in a cold, far-off land called Yubetchacann.
When the wise men finally found Sarah, she welcomed them with steaming hot Mountain Dew and bade them to tell tales of their quest for good witchery. As Sarah listened, she recognized the work of her arch enemy, the evil wizard, Ratbastard of Soros.
Ratbastard was known far and wide as the most loathsome creature ever to walk the earth. It was said that when Satan cursed, he used Ratbastard’s name. He never got his hands dirty, but cast his evil spells on lesser humans to do his dastardly deeds. He gave bribes of gold and silver to those who would do his bidding, and he always got his way. He was a formidable adversary.
Ratbastard’s fingerprints were all over King A’mabo. They had first met at a Build-A-Burger dress-it-yourself hamburger shop in Sorodelphia and quickly formed an alliance.
They were perfect for each other, Ratbastard needed a sock puppet and A’mabo needed someone’s hand up his arse to control him and help him to appear lifelike.
To be continued …
Don’t miss the next exciting episode of “Folly in the Land of Foo,” when we’ll see how A’mabo’s “Swift and Spurious” scheme to smuggle spears and swords across the border into Foo’s neighbor to the south, Fug, works out and how he handles Sarah of Wasilla’s spells when she makes him disappear or when a suppository intrudes into the King’s nether regions (all in good fun).
See this and more in … Chapter 2: The King Who Wasn’t There.