It was a dark and stormy night; thunder rolled ominously over the lip of the horizon. The Editor, his enormous bulk shrouded in a vast black cloak, hunched over a tiny table in the dimmest corner of the inn.
From the opposite side of the thin walls, muffled thumps of savage music vibrated.
The Editor's beady red eyes glared under his dark hood.
Where was the Dead Pol? Why was he late? Had something gone wrong?
Suddenly, a bulky figure emerged from the gloom and slid stiffly into the empty chair. His dark glasses were strung to his head with a black cord.
"You're late," growled the Editor.
"I was followed, idiot. Are we on deadline?"
"Enough! What do you know of the Reorganization? What mischief does the new Triumvirate wreak upon the unsuspecting citizenry?"
"They simply recreated the kingdom of Carroll in their own image, as do all new rulers. The rite of Reorganization is themost venerable of the many mystical ceremonies of power."
"Yes. Yes. The last Triumvirate, your Triumvirate, reorganized several times, did it not?"
"But certainly. And we offered some of the same reasons, chief among them was the oldest of all -- to make the kingdom more efficient!"
The Dead Pol snorted and rolled his eyes beneath the dark glasses.
"If the Triumvirate were truly interested in efficiency, the Triumvirate would abolish itself, as oft I have said. Butthat, Oh Great One, is for another time, another column."
"What do the people say?" the Editor asked.
"The Tree Huggers prepare forrevolt," the Dead Pol replied. "They fear the destruction of the kingdom by waves of unrecycled garbage. They had rejoiced at the arrivalof Sir James of Slater to preserve the kingdom. Sir James had slain many polluters in many lands for the great Bechtel. Sir James had begun to make inroads against the enemy. Now Sir James has had his spurstaken.
"The Tree Huggers want a champion with the mandate to defeat the garbage draymen and buriers. The kingdom must not drown in itsown trash.
"The Tree Huggers will seek redress. They will arise. They must not fail."
"But the recycling efforts continue, surely?"the Editor asked.
"Yes. But in another part of the castle than the part which is proper. Waste management and recycling are of the same cloth. They must not be separated; the Triumvirate must listen to those who recycle -- not those who haul and bury -- for guidance.
"The goals of the draymen and buriers are gold and free access to the land of the fill. They have no wish to take responsibility for the trees and waters. I fear for our children who will breath foul air and drink unclean waters."
The Editor glowered. That, he believed, made him appear thoughtful.
The Dead Pol continued.
"Others grumble. The Tourons have been banished. The Touron enticement plans had borne great fruit in these last few seasons. Two seasons ago, only one province outstripped ours in liberating new booty from the Touron purses; last season, no one in the region grew as quickly in that art asdid we.
"Now those who plan the enticements have been sent to abide in the parks where their talents are admired but not well understood. Many lament. A rumour spreads warning that the health of the Festival of the Great Grape may be endangered. I fear that not, but despair at the loss of the Touron largess, which fuels the local inns, markets and purveyors. Just two years ago, the Tourons spent over $50.5 million in the kingdom of Carroll.
"American money?!" Suddenly theEditor took new interest in the ravings of the Dead One.
"American money. And at little cost to the citizenry. Surely we must extend our famous hospitality to the Tourons."
"What new mischief will theTriumvirate whomp up next?" The Editor's pointy head was awhirl.
"No one can predict the acts of the elected. Don Donaldo, Dame Juliana and Clowning Prince Elmo have only just begun to feel their great and wonderful oats. Elmo's jokes are foul, but his heart is pure.
"The Trio knows not what it does, but that never stopped me. Why should they not continue unabashed? That's the way it is."
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