Tuesday, July 9, 2013

short story || Lawrence Upton

Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great was eating a great burger, a really large one, with onion and Kings' Relish, it was great, when he had a great idea.
As luck had it (and, as Little Flower once said, that lady always does), he had some great friends right with him; and he told them his idea and they said that it was a great idea. So it was that they took Catford, to protect the racing dogs from exploitation, and went on to conquer Antioch and all the other great cities on the way between the Baltic and the Mediterranean.
It was around that time that he told those near to him that he wanted to be known as Little Flower. You what? laughed his catamite, so Little Flower killed him.
It was great sticking the knife into him, said Little Flower, the resistance of flesh and, more so, of bone; and then the deeper plunge inwards, now unopposed; and the blood rising in a small brief strong fountain.
Others were more circumspect, yet still querying and worried.
Little Flower gave them each one of his great looks, you know, the fierce and creepy look; and all complied.
That was how his biographer, Harry Ann, said it: they complied.
I have a great idea, said Little Flower, one day in Baghdad; and he'd already forgotten the fun of Antioch. We need a little fun; and I am worried about discipline. If anyone else complains about having to walk so far, we tell him to ride his horse.
And then he did that sort of shuffle gesture he did and added: Side saddle if necessary.
We had to laugh.
If he says, and he will, that's what's so great about this idea, that he has no horse, we say: Sure you do! We all do. Look, I have a horse; and then whoever it is, perhaps it'll be me, but I want to cascade this down the command chains, runs up and down saying: Clip clop.
If they laugh, we say: You think it's funny?
I bet it is funny, but I won't laugh. This is where the first level of new discipline comes in, because we will all want to laugh.
If they don't laugh, we just say: Now you; but maybe we'll try not to be so hard on them in the future.
And then, now this is really great, I think so, and I'm sure you will, when they stop, if we're moving forward to our next victory, we say: Where's your horse? You can't leave your horse. Go back and get it and let me hear that animal's feet from way back, further back than I can see, because that's where I think you have left it, come on clip clop clip clop; and we'll make them go the whole way chanting clip clop .
Then Little Flower began giggling beyond his own self control.
What is the whole way? Where are we going, Little Flower? cried some.
Great Alexander looked stern: Who gave you permission to use my private name? Who gave you permission to use that name? It is reserved for only my closest and cosiest associates.
Some of the men looked surprised and frightened: You did, Great Emperor.
Did I? Oh well I must have been thinking of you as my friends. I must be more rigorous in my observation.
And I am no Emperor. I am hardly a king, though some call me that, and I oblige them. I am a facilitator. The people rule through me.
Then, when Great Alexander realised that no one wanted to argue with him any more, he wept a little, out of sight.


[an earlier version of this text was posted on Wryting last year]

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