Sunday, December 7, 2008

Carl and the horse: A Parable

They sat there, awaiting their execution, wondering when their final supper would be served. There were thirteen in all, one leader and twelve men. They all knew for what crime they were being punished, and it saddened them greatly to think that their cause would die with them. They had no following, no gatherers at the gates, pleaders of the cause before the tribunal that had sentenced them to this most final of ends. The leader arose, and drawing his faithful disciples near, asked if they would be willing to go through with their punishment. Carl, the cynic of the group, commented that they really had no choice. The leader and his faithful followers were used to Carl's jibes, and they paid him not the least attention. Carl was quite out out, and he determined to get one last laugh out of his comrades. He spaced out as he tried to think of one final brilliant line, and only spaced in when their last meal was served. The leader took one look at the succulent portobella mushrooms and the side of spelt cookies, and decided that he'd look better if he died hungry. Carl and the others, waiting for their leader to dig in, realized that he intended to do no such thing, and they decided to follow suit, so that they should not be separated in their final moments. Carl, not a particularly spiritual person at the best of times, wasn't going to let some hippie nuts run his life, and he took a big bite out of a mushroom, and he then proceeded to make short work of the rest of the food. As this was ample food for thirteen, it didn't quite all agree with Carl's stomach, and soon after he regretted making every sign of enjoyment over the food, because he was prostrated over a hole, retching for all his life, or whatever was left of it. The leader, never one to miss a chance, walked over and made as if he was healing and simultaneously being prostrated to. Carl was having none of this, and he dirtied the robes of his putative master. The leader wasn't impressed by this particular devotion, but he realized that he could probably spin it somehow to his advantage.
Carl was just getting up off the floor when armed guards walked in to the cell, grabbed the thirteen men, and took them outside to the place of execution.

The executioner, preparing the tools of his trade, noticed a few horses missing from the wild horses pulling apart people alive machine. He asked the King where the horses were, and before the leader could proclaim that a miracle had obviously taken place, the horses were sighted in the distance, being ridden to and fro by an uncouth band of ruffians, namely the princes of the land and certain age-appropiate peers of the realm. Almost immediately, pandemonium broke lose, and he could only be restrained by a crack squad of soldiers, who were supposed to have been doing the same for the prince and his merry band of friends. The King, growing incensed at these goings on, called to the executioner and commanded him to put things right. The executioner, unskilled in the social graces which are so becoming in a man of blood, didn't quite know how to react. He reached out for his axe and began to swing wildly at the group of prisoners. His was a particularly large axe, and it was accompanied by a particularly wild sort of swing. The prisoners were slight of build, and though you would not have known it of them at that moment, bereft of the splendid robes which marked them as ascetics of the kingdom, they were rather hungry. Swung the axe, and half a dozen were felled to the right of the executioner; swung the mighty axe once again, and half a dozen were felled to his left.
Only Carl, who had been lying on the ground, expelling the rest of his supper, was the only one spared. This wasn't to be for long though, as the prince, realizing his father's displeasure, waltzed in on one of the formerly missing horses, headed straight for Carl. Carl had never been too brave, but now, facing certain death, he suddenly thought up the great line that would cement his place in the gospel for ever more. Unfortunately, just as he began to utter the great words, what was to be, he realized, his fatal line, the horse speeded up, and put an end to these pretensions to legacy forever.

18 comments:

e said...

I think Cheerio will like this.

e said...

If this is titled "a parable," does that imply that there is some sort of point?

The Real Shliach said...

1. Probably.
2. Of course! Once I figure out what it is, I'll be sure to tell you too.

Elisheva said...

Expel is graphic.

The Real Shliach said...

And therefore?

Elisheva said...

I believe its a slightly mushy word.

The Real Shliach said...

There's nothing wrong with using adjectives. The problem is overuse. As the rambam always says, the goal is the middle path. Anyway, "expel" is a verb; it's a big stretch to think it mushy in any sense.

Elisheva said...

Verbs can be as descriptive as adjectives. Good writing uses descriptive verbs.

The Real Shliach said...

I agree 100%. And I still think that my writing isn't mushy, and yours, in that post, was. Sure, I've written mush myself, but I didn't particularly enjoy it. One of my goals is to remove all artifice, pretense, and falseness from my writing; whether I accomplish this or not can hardly reflect on my intentions.

Elisheva said...

I still think my writing wasn't mushy. It was appropiate to trying to get that particular moment accross which happened to be my intention.

I tend to prefer two styles. Either bare bones, or descriptive. So, don't know what to say.

The Real Shliach said...

Well, we all have whatever it is that floats our particular boats.

e said...

my two cents: descriptive verbs are totally the way to go. They provide the adjectives' juice, without the adjectives' added weight.

This site was just recommended to me today, so I haven't checked it out, but the guy who recommended it said it's really good for writers (and those aspiring to deserves that lofty appellation).
http://www.visualthesaurus.com/

The Real Shliach said...

Hey, thanks eliezer, from the little I've seen, that's a great site.

e said...

Eliezer? Who's Eliezer?

Cheerio said...

graphic is definitely key to describing this. perhaps carl will be satisfied knowing that the entire post was molded in his image - that of the the cynic.
and trs - if one of your goals is removing all artifice, pretense, etc from your writing, it pains me to tell you that you have quite a ways to go. as well, it seems to me that if all those attributes were removed from your work, it would kind of suck. at least the blog would. do you write other than on the blog?

The Real Shliach said...

E: you tell me.
Cheerio: as bill Clinton once said, as I paraphrase, "love your critics, for they do tell you your faults."
And yes, I course I write in other places.

Elisheva said...

I thought E stood for Edward.

The Real Shliach said...

Now you know