Mao's Cows

Chaos & Cat {Undertitled:}
And Rats & Rats & Rats!

Chaos In The No No Room.

"Sire," said a motley clown once
(to a little boy to whom he had been sent
by the little boy's momma):

"I am your new Reader of Fairy Tales."

The motley clown
(about whom we shall eventually hear more
later), with his motley costume & all
... the motley clown then bowed very low indeed
to the little boy (about whom we shall presently hear
much more than the fact that he always wore very round-
rimmed glasses... since he was
rather curious about the world around him
and longed to see more to it
than was there)... because, you see,
not only was this new Reader of Fairy Tales
quite tall and thin
but this particular little boy happened to be
the one and only
Son of the Emperor of All the Land--of which
he was emperor, naturally (and otherwise).

"How can I take you seriously
as a my Fairy Tales Reader,"
the little boy asked the motley clown,
"dressed up as ridiculously as all that?"

"Well," said the very tall & motley clown,
by way of an apology for his looks
(as he was, although very, very tall
... also so very, very thin
that he almost amounted to nothing
any whichway one looked at him)
... the motley clown told the little boy (who,
although he was very, very small,
amounted to a great big deal
because he was the Emperor's Son).

Then the motley clown proceeded to tell the little boy
a very tall story indeed about how
he happened to find himself dressed up
like a motley clown
even though he had ended up as
the little boy's personal Reader of Fairy Tales:

"Once I was the greatest motley clown in all the world,"
Terpsicurryend (which was the name of this
peculiarly tall & thin
motley clown), Terpsicurryend explained, while he juggled
everything that came into his hands nervously
all the time he was talking
--marvelously, actually, and anxiously
because the little boy's Momma, who had sentenced
... condemned ... hired him
for the job was a very demanding lady,
who thought nothing of
giving people haircuts down to the neck (so that
no head at all remained to them) if
they didn't do their jobs properly:

"But then, one day," continued the clown: "One day
I happened not to do something absolutely hilarious enough
while performing in front of the old
(and somewhat mad) Emperor's Wife,
your dear Imperial Momma, whom I'm sure you know
--immediately upon witch (she) sent me down
here to your No No Room,
as punishment, forever and for ever after condemned
to be your personal Fairy Tales Reader. The end."

"Here?" The little Emperor's Son asked Terpsicurryend.
And, indeed, where was this place
in which they both now found themselves detained
while forced to entertain themselves
with fairy tales & such
things, one might ask?

Well, the little Emperor's Son's No No Room wasn't
large enough for Terpsicurryend to be able to sit
with his legs stretched out
without his nervousness making him drum
all his toes against a wall
... and so low was its ceiling
that Terpsicurryend's head would very quickly
acquire any number of bumps
just by having him take it in there with him.
But it was comfortable enough for the little boy,
since he was very, very little, you see.

In any event, into his No No Room
was the dear little lad (Mao
was his name now, and for the rest of this story too)
... into his No No Room was dear little Mao sent
by his Momma
whenever he dared to say "no" to her.
Something which, unfortunately, happened
often enough
for him to have practically lived in his No No Room
for most of his life
... by himself, until
Terpsicurryend was sent in there
to keep him company
and to read him his fairy tales
(since Little Mao's glasses were so large and heavy
that they pulled his head down
and always gave him a pain in the neck
if he tried to keep his head straight
... and so the little boy never learned
to keep a straight head on his shoulder).

Otherwise Little Mao's No No Room
was rather a nice one,
for a child's: Really airy and gigantic
(whenever it got blown up
with too much hot air in it,
as it really wasn't much more than
a huge balloon-like tent, in fact). Almost
... a floating palace all its own
(if too much hot air got in it). And then
it might be difficult to walk on its billowing floors!

In any case, down into Little Mao's
No No Room came now
this tall & thin, ridiculously-looking
Terpsicurryend clown
to help the little Emperor's Son
waste more of his time
floating on air
with stories from his Red-bound Little Book
of Favorite Fairy Tales
... which was the only book
the little boy ever allowed anyone to read to him,
since it always gave him a pain in the neck
to read it himself
on account of his heavy, heavy glasses,
you see? Well? (He didn't.)

"What shall it be then, Your Majesty?"
Terpsicurryend asked
his new little Master (who,
being an Emperor's son, was
something of a king already), opening
Mao's Red-bound Little Book
of Favorite Fairy Tales.

"Read to me,"
the little boy who would be emperor (sooner
than anybody could imagine)
said to his brand new Fairy Tales Reader,
without any 'please' about it: "Read to me
one of the very, very Grim
Fairy Tales from Germany," said he;
excitedly letting his head fall back
into a pillow he had placed there
in expectation of such accidents.

"As you wish, Your Majesty,"
the once Royal motley clown
and now Reader of Fairy Tales
Terpsicurryend replied, himself
not as excited as all that
about the Grim task ahead of him:

"Once upon a time," he nevertheless read
from the little Emperor's Son's
Red-bound Little Book of
Favorite Fairy Tales, "there lived
a poor peasant and his wife
who had twelve daughters between them
and so little else between them
that they were always teetering
on the edge of starving to death."

"Excellent," exclaimed the little Emperor's Son
immediately upon hearing this: "I enjoy stories
where people fall off edges
--I say it serves them right
for being so stupid as to do their teetering there!"

"And so," Terpsicurryend continued reading: "For some
reason or other, the poor peasant and his wife decided
that they should push... send their eldest daughter over
... out into the world--"

"Don't spare my feelings, Terpsicurryend!"
The little boy admonished his new Fairy Tales reader:
"I'm used to the worst!"

"Very well, Your Majesty!" Terpsicurryend apologized.
Continuing with the story:
"Out into the world
--Where she was promptly eaten by a lion
and completely digested by the lion's stomach
instead of getting a job
and sending money back home
so her parents wouldn't starve to death
the way her parents had originally intended."

"What marvelous parents these are
intending all along to starve themselves to death
for their children," said
the little boy at this. And,
"I like the way this story gets to the point right off
without torturing you up with all sorts of nonsense
about things possibly turning out for the best & all that.
I dislike fairy tales that are just
too impossible to be believed!"

"In any case, Your Majesty,"
the once Royal motley clown
and now Royal Reader of Fairy Tales
Terpsicurryend continued
reading: "On hearing
what had happened to their eldest daughter,
the poor peasant and his wife
next sent out into the world
their second eldest daughter
--who was (just as promptly
as the first daughter was eaten by a lion)
utterly devoured by a bear
and its stomach."
And then Terpsicurryend had to wait until
the little Emperor's Son had finished
snickering and twisting with delight.

"Well," Terpsicurryend continued reading:
"Immediately upon hearing that their second
eldest daughter had been devoured by a bear--"

"And its stomach!" The little boy reminded
Terpsicurryend... not to forget.

"Yes," Terpsicurryend continued:
"... the poor peasant and his wife
next sent their third eldest daughter
out into the world
--where she was torn up into a million pieces
by a pack of wolves
... and their stomachs."

"Excellent," cried out the little Emperor's Son at this,
unable to contain his excitement
over the way the fairy tale was turning out:
"I think I am finally beginning to pick up a pattern
in this fairy tale. Go on!"

Terpsicurryend wasted no time doing so,
as he himself was rather keen
on putting this fairy tale behind him
as quickly as he could: "Next,
the poor peasant's fourth eldest daughter
was swallowed by a tiger
in a single gulp the minute she was pushed
... stepped out the door; and,
almost immediately afterwards,
the fifth eldest daughter
was hopped upon
and gruesomely gobbled up
by a huge grasshopper
--the instant her head popped outside the door."

"A grasshopper, Terpsicurryend?"
The little Emperor's Son asked,
agog with wonder:
"Do grasshoppers eat people like that?"

"Usually not like that,
Your Majesty," Terpsicurryend assured the little
Emperor's Son: "But this is a fairy tale,
after all! Besides,
it must have been a very, very hungry grasshopper."

But, to continue: "Then
the poor peasant and his wife shoved
their sixth eldest daughter out into the world (by
cleverly disguising the front door
as the door to the kitchen
and ringing the dinner gong... when
this particular daughter
proved a little reluctant to go)
... whereupon she too was
quickly dispatched

... by a two-headed camel this time."

"I wonder
where they found a two-headed camel
to eat her,"
the little boy wondered.
"Do you know, Terpsicurryend?"

"I can only suppose," Terpsicurryend supposed,
"that it must have been rather very close at hand,
from the very quick manner in which
all these different beasts seem to be
standing in line outside the door
of the poor peasant's house
waiting for the daughters to be
pushed out there and into their stomachs!"

"Yes, that seems to be the most reasonable solution!"
replied the little boy.

"And then," Terpsicurryend continued,
"the poor peasant and his wife
tied up their seventh eldest daughter with ropes and
tossed her out a window (not only
because she was that reluctant to go, but
because they couldn't open their front door
by this time
on account of
there were probably
too many monsters waiting outside it now
and their front door only opened out
and not in)."

"I see," said the little boy. And,
"Which monster got her, Terpsicurryend?"

"She was fishished off by a flying shark,"
Terpsicurryend quoted
(perhaps from the book):
"A flying shark which must have been
waiting for her outside the window, and got to her
before she could even begin
(with her own teeth) to
cut through her ropes, Your Majesty."

"That's more like it, Terpsicurryend," said the little
Emperor's Son at this: "A flying shark!
I suppose that side of the house
must have faced the ocean, eh Terpsicurryend!"

"It's possible," replied Terpsicurryend.

"Does it say that in the book?"
The little boy wanted to know.

"No, Sire," said Terpsicurryend.
"But we are already on the last page,
and there probably wasn't enough room
to include the ocean here."

"You know,"
the little boy commented: "This story
would go a lot faster
if they hadn't had
as many daughters, Terpsicurryend."

"Apparently the author agreed,
Your Majesty," said Terpsicurryend
as he read on: "The poor peasant
and his wife were terribly upset
by this turn of events--After all,
they had expected the daughters they had sent out
(into the world) to get jobs
and send money back home
instead of getting themselves killed
the minute they set foot outside their front door!"

"Yes, Terpsicurryend," commented the little boy.
"Those daughters seem to be
exceedingly bad daughters.
Does it say there
what had given the poor peasant and his wife
such a forlorn expectation, Terpsicurryend?"

"No, Your Majesty," the little boy was told.
And then Terpsicurryend continued the fairy tale:

"Oh how terribly unlucky are we,"
complained the poor peasant
to his wife: "Here we've sent
more than half our daughters out into the world
only to have them eaten by every sort of beast
(and their stomachs)
... when at the very least
we could've eaten them ourselves
and now our own stomachs
wouldn't be as hungry as they are!"

"But, husband," the poor peasant's wife protested
when she heard her husband say this:
"We still have five daughters left.
We can certainly eat them!"

"And so," Terpsicurryend concluded
this Grim Fairy Tale: "And so
the poor peasant and his wife
(and their stomachs) ate
their remaining five daughters themselves
and they all lived happily ever after--Or,
at least until they ran out of daughters to eat."

"Excellent!" The little
Emperor's Son told Terpsicurryend:
"I like Grim fairy tales the best.
But, is there a moral to this story?"

"Not a very moral one, I'm afraid,"
the once Royal motley clown replied.

"Good," the little Emperor's Son said at that:
"Morals just take up a lot of empty room.
What happened then, Terpsicurryend?"

"It says here," Terpsicurryend read
in the little Emperor's Son's
Red-bound Little Book
of Favorite Fairy Tales, "that
when they ran out of daughters to eat,
the poor peasant and his stomach ate his wife."

"Good for him," said the little Emperor's Son:
"The moral's implied,
then: Waste not, want not.
And what happened after that?"

"Apparently," Terpsicurryend consulted the Red-bound
Little Book of Favorite Fairy Tales
one last time: "Apparently, when the poor peasant found
that he didn't have any more daughters or wives to eat
... he just ate himself. The end!"

"You see why the German fairy tales
are the best, Terpsicurryend!"
The little Emperor's Son told his fairy tales teller
the minute he heard this:
"All the loose ends are always
properly tied up in the end!"

The little Emperor's Son then gave permission
for Terpsicurryend to go home and change out
of his motley clown's costume
... so he could immediately return
wearing the costume of
a properly royal Fairy Tales Reader
--which was only slightly more motley.
And this Terpsicurryend immediately ran off
and did, of course
(being very keen to please his new little master
... the Emperor's Son).

And, oh, the two of them spent many marvelous days
and days afterwards
in the little Emperor's Son's No No Room
enjoying a back-breaking load
of just as fairly Grim (and even grimmer
still) Fairy Tales
right out of the little Emperor's Son's
Red-bound Little Book
of Favorite Fairy Tales... every one of them read
by the new Reader
of Fairy Tales Terpsicurryend... that tall, tall
fellow who from then on always did his best
to please his dear new little Master
(expecting as he did that one day either soon or
not too far off in the future,
when his dear little friend became Emperor,
that he would reward him
with an even better position
than just being a mere  Reader of Fairy Tales).

How Little Mao Became Emperor.

Wouldn't you know it,
Little Mao eventually did become emperor!
And at a rather too young an age, too... because,
even though he was obviously so young then,
he was still old enough
when his father, who had been
the Old (and somewhat
rather mad) Emperor (until he wasn't
emperor any longer)... took off
one day --on a long, long trip--
to play a game of marbles
with the Emperor Next-Door;
and he never returned again.

What happened was that, juggling the last few marbles
he still had left him--for he had lost most
of his games during his stay
at the Emperor Next-Door's (who was
just better at shooting marbles
... and others), somewhere along his way back home
that Mad Old Emperor suddenly up and
got it into his mad old imperial head
that he wanted to climb
the Tallest Tree in the World (which
just happened to be
growing along the way anyway).

"Sire, is this a good idea?"
the Mad Old Emperor's servants
asked him, instead of telling him
(on account of wanting to keep
the good heads they still had
upon their own shoulders).

But, alas, the Mad Old Emperor was
absolutely convinced
it was a very good idea indeed (since
he was sure that he had had the idea himself, and that
any idea he had was good--or else... and
nobody wanted to find out what that "or else" meant):

In any event, the Mad Old Emperor
told his servants to
hold their horses (and his)
a while down there
at the foot of the Tallest Tree in the World
while he himself climbed it
in order to (or so he told his servants,
who, being but servants
could hardly be expected to stop an emperor
--and no matter how many marbles
he might have lost
on his way there--from climbing
whatever anything he got it into his mad head
to climb, and for whatever reason
he wanted to climb it
... which, in this case, happened to be):
to have a talk with the Emperor of the Sky up there.

"I have a number of things to tell him,"
the Mad Old Emperor assured his servants,
whispering: "Twenty-three!"
(which he'd always thought
a marvelous number for things,
or for any thing). Then
he added loudly: "Maybe I'll
even be able to talk him into
playing a couple'o games of marbles with me,
as long as I'm up there... and
provided we find the time,
and a tree limb wide and flat enough up there
on which to shoot,"
(the two marbles he still had
after having lost his other ones
playing against the Emperor Next-Door).

Then away he went...
up the Tallest Tree in the World
like a spry little monkey
(for a Mad Old Emperor his size and age).

Up & up & up & up he climbed
(and climbed)
until his servants lost sight of him completely:

Up! & up! & up!
climbed the Mad Old Emperor
... higher & higher still
up! the Tallest Tree in the World
climbed he with his sack of marbles
hanging outside the noble skirt
he wore (instead of more common pants),
tinkling & banging together, shaking loose inside!

"Close you eyes everybody! Close your eyes!"
yelled the Mad Old Emperor's
worry-wart servants, horrified
to have to look up
at the really ugly sight of such a Mad
Old Emperor perilously climbing & climbing up!
the Tallest Tree in the World
(leaving all his worry-warts behind him)
... up & up & up!...
never stopping climbing
as spry as a nutty squirrel.

Well, once way up! there
atop the Tallest Tree in the World
... there did that Mad Old Emperor remain
for the rest of his life
(for it seemed as if he spent a whole lifetime up there)
very madly & madly arguing and arguing
with a little silent acorn
which he came upon up there
... and which, being so high
(and all so very pretty puny too),
was perhaps scared stiff enough up there
never to want to let go of
--also the highest--
tree limb which
the Mad Old Emperor could find to climb to.

And so up there did that Mad Old Emperor become
ever & ever so very much more madly convinced
that the reason the little acorn was silent
was that, being the Emperor of the Sky,
it (yes, the little acorn)...
just thought itself too stuck-up (up there)
to speak with even such an elevated Mad
Old Emperor like himself!

Well, for quite a long, long time
all of the Mad Old Emperor's worry wart servants
stood around below
by the foot of the Tallest Tree in the World
waiting and waiting
to see if the Mad Old Emperor would
come down on his own (one way
or the other)... as none of them
had any authority to order an emperor
to do anything (no matter how old or mad he was).

But after what seemed to them a lifetime
of keeping watch (so they wouldn't
be hurt by any falling... stuff)
they all finally gave up
and decided that the Mad Old Emperor had
probably made up his mind
to remain up there for good
(and maybe even for the good
of the Nation--who knows:
They certainly didn't).
And so they all went home
without him (even dragging along his horse, who
had grown so old with waiting
that he could no longer walk on his own).

However, as you might imagine,
the Mad Old Emperor's
Little Son Mao's Momma,
the Mad Old Emperor's Wife (fifth love of his life
... the other four, besides His Little Son
Mao --and himself--
being munching on ham
and shooting marbles), Mao's Momma
was rather upset with the returning servants over their
having left her Mad Old Emperor
up the Tallest Tree in the World
without any visible way
for him to come down to earth again:

"You should have kept a better eye upon
my Mad Old Emperor!"
Mao's Momma angrily admonished
all those warty servants
who returned without her husband,
the Mad Old Emperor. Telling them
(when they tried to apologize
on account of his loose marbles):

"Wasn't I the one who, before you even left,"
(to take him to play
that fateful game of marbles
with the Emperor Next-Door), "told you
that my Mad Old Emperor
had already lost most of his marbles!?"

In any case, all of that was neither here nor there
by this time--Now
the Mad Old Emperor's
worry-wart servants could only
regretfully relate to Little Mao's Momma
how the last they "sawed off" her
Mad Old Emperor he was still climbing
and climbing farther and farther
out on a limb up there
atop the Tallest Tree in the World
way, way "out of sight" of them.

This was a rather poor
choice of words on their part, as
it turned out, because from those words
Mao's Momma figured
that the full sum of'em were all warty liars
to a one (and once
anybody like Mao's Momma figured something out
it didn't much matter
whether she's got it figured out rightly or not):

Mao's Momma had them all condemned on the spot
to adding and multiplying and dividing
numbers without number
(and you can't imagine how much harder that is
than doing it with numbers)
to the very last one (of them)
without end
or use of their own digits--any longer than...

"How tall did you say that tree was?" she asked coyly.

"Probably only..." the wartly servants were answering
while they shivered like leaves.

When, "A stump?" she screamed
before they could say another word
about the Tallest Tale
--I mean--Tree in the World. As, by now,
Mao's Momma believed that
all of the lying servants had had it in hand
to stump her. And,
as punishment, she immediately ordered
that they be left doubly and doubly stumped
themselves, each and every last one
of them... hand to hand to hand
(all very, very, very handily stumped indeed).


"My Mao," she went on
to solemnly inform her little son
after having had him (and his motley
Fairy Tales Reader, the tall & thin
Terpsicurryend) fetched
into the biggest saloon in the palace
and out of her little son's No No Room
... where Mao spent
most of his time (listening to Terpsicurryend
reading from the dear little boy's
Red-bound Little Book
of Favorite Fairy Tales) because
he so very seldom said yes
to his Momma's anything):

"Now you are going to be just
like our Mad Old Emperor," she wept:
"Excepting that you will be brand new!"

This puzzled her little son no end
... but it brought a wicked wide smile
invisibly to the face of her son's
motley Fairy Tales Reader
(that very tall and very thin
Terpsicurryend... who would now be
in all the Land second only to the little Emperor).

However, presently this excepting
by his Momma (about his having to be
brand new) upset her little son Mao
quite a lot, because, wouldn't you know it:
right from the start
what her dear little boy had really wanted
(at least ever since
he could remember wanting it, or perhaps
only since he'd heard her say it) was... to be
older than the Mad Old Emperor!

So, as usual with him and his Momma,
Little Mao just said: "No!
No! No! No! No!"
to his Momma, who herself then
wouldn't let go
and just wouldn't and wouldn't let go trying
to talk him into emperoring
... as usual with their fights.

Boy, and I mean... she really
stuck & stuck & stuck
with it (much to the delight of
the invisibly smiling Terpsicurryend): She
just kept it up with a terrible fury
... until, finally, after quite a lot of bother
(quite, quite, quite a lot),
Little Mao finally gave in to his Momma's stick
and was crowned --but really--
even though deep down
(near his deepest bottom)
he still believed (just under where he had
been thoroughly convinced
by the sticking to it of his Momma)
that it was still better to be old than to be brand new...

Or, "Why is it then," the New Little Emperor Mao
asked his tuckered-out Momma
(right after he was crowned),
like many such insensible little boys are
apt to: "Why is it then
that the old can do as they please, but the new
--who only like to be pleased--
can never please themselves as they please
(for they not so much please as
the old themselves are --please)...?"

"That's right," Mao's Momma said
very huffingly unpleased:
"No matter what you said there:
When the old can do it no more
they're allowed (indeed, as they please)..."

Then, as she walked away very unpleased,
she added: "It is ALWAYS
because --Remember that!"
Exactly like every sensible momma
ought to do in all such cases like these:

"So just do it!"

And, in short, that is how Little Mao
became the New Emperor
of the Land in one nutty shell.

"Let me be the first to congratulate you,
Sire!" Terpsicurryend then
came out of his hiding place behind his invisible smile
... to kowtow before the New Little Emperor Mao.

"What do you think I should do
first, Terpsicurryend?"
The New Little Emperor Mao
asked his motley Reader of Fairy Tales.

"Always do as you wish,"
had always been Terpsicurryend's advice
to the New Little Emperor Mao
(even before knowing what
the dear little boy had in mind doing
--knowing he was going to do it in any case, and
that it was better if he agreed with it all along).

"You are so wise, Terpsicurryend,"
the New Little Emperor Mao
now rewarded his motley companion's wisdom:
"I shall promote you
to be one of the Imperial Advisors on the spot!"

This business of being on the spot troubled Terpsicurryend:
And  in any case he wanted to be
Imperial Advisor on the whole Empire,
not just on the one spot. So
Terpsicurryend advised his New
Little Emperor: "I think
you should order me to go see
who in your entire Empire
listens to the advice of your new Imperial Advisor
... and who's wasting his/her time
listening to non-Imperial Advisors, Sire!"

"Sure, why not?"
The New Little Emperor Mao replied,
matter-of-fact; since
the matter seemed of so little matter to him.

But it was all Terpsicurryend wanted: For now he knew
he was Imperial Advisor not merely on the spot
but throughout the entire Empire as well.

On the other hand,
what really interested the New Little Emperor Mao
(now) was that, although he had been forced
to give in to his Momma
(like most kids must, in the end),
he had (just now) made up his mind
that if he couldn't be older than
their Mad Old Emperor had been
(as he had originally wanted to be)
he would at least be even madder!

"If that's what you really wish,"
Terpsicurryend said to this:
"Then I don't see why not,
Sire!" Since, not surprisingly,
the New Little Emperor Mao's every wish was
something with which Terpsicurryend
wholeheartedly agreed.
And, indeed, he intended to agree
with the New Little Emperor Mao on
everything from here on out
... no matter how mad it might be
(which certainly especially included
the New Little Emperor Mao's
wanting to be the maddest-ever Emperor).

And, as you will see, a very grand Imperial Advisor
to the New Little Emperor Mao
did the new Imperial Advisor Terpsicurryend
prove himself to be.
And a very, very, very mad Emperor indeed
did the New Little Emperor Mao proved
AND re-proved himself to be too.

Mao's Pet Cow.

At first--and let's be fair about this--at first
the New Little Emperor Mao thought he'd
try his best to be a good
new little emperor (even though
his best was something with which he
was very unfamiliar). And so,
wishing to get closer to his people
and to behave and act as they acted and behaved,
the New Little Emperor Mao asked the Mad
Old Emperor's Imperial Advisors
(all of whom, which
now included the brand new Imperial Advisor
Terpsicurryend, were still on the job)
... the New Little Emperor Mao
asked them all to find out
which particular pet was his people's favorite pet
--so that he himself might also keep such a pet
as the National Imperial Pet
just like the rest of his people.

"Dogs," advised some
of the Mad Old Emperor's Imperial Advisors.
But, almost right away,
"Cats," advised some others
of the Mad
Old Emperor's Imperial Advisors. With
Terpsicurryend wisely abstaining here
in either case, as well as
whenever it came to standing behind any advice
which might later seem to the New Little Emperor Mao
as unwise advice.

"Which is it, then?"
The New Little Emperor Mao asked
the Mad Old Emperor's Imperial Advisors, miffed by
the fact that they couldn't all seem to agree.
"I refuse to act
until all my Imperial Advisors are in agreement!"
Musing out-loud: "But how
to accomplish this... perhaps... if I
were to execute everybody who advised cats, that
would mean that there wouldn't be everyone left
who hadn't advised dogs!"
Immediately upon which musing
every last one of the Mad Old Emperor's Advisors
who had advocated cats
immediately jumped on dogs (very loudly).

Unfortunately, this jumping on dogs of theirs
did not impress the New Little Emperor Mao much,
for even before everybody had finished
jumping on dogs,
he was already musing: "And if
I were to execute everybody who says dogs
... I wonder what everyone would agree it was?"

And, my, but were
the Mad Old Emperor's Imperial Advisors
left high and dry by that musing
--since they couldn't very well
jump back on cats
now that they were all of them riding high on dogs!

All, except Terpsicurryend,
the newest Imperial Advisor, who,
very tactfully had by this time niftilly tiptoed out
(to try to hunt down
the Good Humor Man
... in order to bring back a treat
to the New Little Emperor Mao)
and was nowhere in sight.

"Sire," the Mad Old Emperor's
Oldest Imperial Advisor
finally stepped forward
to try to save everybody's behinds (as well as his own)
by saying something silly: "It is a well known fact
that more people keep cockroaches in their homes
than they will ever keep there dogs
and/or cats combined--"

"Does anybody disagree with that?"
The New Little Emperor Mao asked.
And since it was a well-known fact
that the Mad Old Emperor's
Oldest Imperial Advisor
always spoke the truth (even when
he was just being silly),
no one dared to risk his/her neck now
over the chance that he might be telling a fib
this once: All of them
nodded (except those
who just hung their heads down).
But since it is impossible to tell a nod
from a head hanging down,
it seemed to the New Little Emperor Mao
that everybody indeed agreed:

"Ah!" Cried he: "Then we all agreed!" Upon which
everybody raised their heads to see what it was
they had all agreed to.


Then the New Little Emperor Mao asked them
whether they were all one
... or whether they were
going to force him to boil them down to one
--And, not sure what he meant
(and not really all that keen on finding out),
they all settled on. "Cockroaches, indeed!"
... even very eagerly so indeed.

And so, "Fetch me a cockroach,"
the New Little Emperor Mao
ordered at once, interrupting
the Mad Old Emperor's Oldest Imperial Advisor
before the old gentleman could tell him
that he'd only been trying to be funny:
"And be sure to make it a good one!
I expect you to bring me
the best cockroach to be had for a pet."

And that's when even the Mad
Old Emperor's Oldest Imperial Advisor
knew that, for good or ill, they were all
stuck with cockroaches. And so...

Off! they all rushed suddenly
... and down to those darkest
and most dirty, filthiest places
in the Imperial Palace
most likely to be populated by cockroaches.

Soon afterwards they all suddenly returned
proudly bringing with them
the very best cockroach
they were able to locate
down there (beautifully leashed
at the end of a gorgeous thin chain of gold)
for the New Little Emperor Mao
to keep as his National Imperial Pet.

Well, sir, for quite some time afterwards
(many, many days indeed)
did the New Little Emperor
Mao proudly go about everywhere
accompanied up and down all over the place
by this big fat cockroach
daintily leashed
at the end of a little thin chain of gold.

Of course, everybody who was anybody
(or who wanted to be
somebody... or who just didn't wish to
stop being who he or she was
up to that point)
complimented the New Little Emperor Mao on
how natural he looked
with his pet cockroach in tow.

Almost immediately
breeding cockroaches to keep as pets
became all the rage
in the Land
of the New Little Emperor Mao:
Some aristocrats
even began holding competitions
to find and develop the purest breeds
... of cockroaches. Although,
naturally, not even the best
cockroach breeders in all the country
were ever able to match
or surpass the nobility of breed of
the New Little Emperor Mao's
Imperial Pet Cockroach... which
always seem to find a way to win first place
(and prize) in every bug show
in which it was entered: Quite a surprise, really
(seeing how effortlessly it had been found
for the New Little Emperor Mao
just lying about down there
in garbage piles of the Imperial Cellar).

However, it turned out
that the new Imperial National Pet
was somewhat difficult to keep
(at least as a proper pet):
The little beast (the cockroach,
not the New Little Emperor Mao)
totally refused to heel,
or even to fetch! And,
worst of all, every now and again
it liked as not to take off
in all possible directions
except the one in which
the New Little Emperor Mao wished it to go.

Most beastly of all:
Oftentimes the noble pet
apparently became upset
with the way it was being treated
by its New Little Imperial Master
and then it would fly uproariously
all over the room
kicking wildly
with all of its tiny stretched-out legs
while it buzzed its wings angrily
as everybody below it wondered,
frightened out of their wits,
where it might finally come to rest
--and prayed
it would be nowhere near (or on) them!

More often than not
the National Imperial Pet landed on the ceiling
--where it seemed to just know
that the New Little Emperor Mao himself
would not be able to chain and walk it
(without falling straight down
on his head). And then
it took the better part of the day
to talk it down to the floor again
... using long-handled brooms
more usually employed to
knock serenading cats off the roof at night.

But the one thing the New Little Emperor Mao
found he could stomach
least of all was the manner in which
his Imperial Pet Cockroach
quickly developed the habit of
jumping up on his dinner plate
BEFORE he had even finished eating out of it
first (which, fortunately
for all of the Imperial Advisors whom
the New Little Emperor Mao had backed
into backing the miserable cockroach
as National Pet, brought to an end
the New Little Emperor Mao's dinner straightaway
right there... albeit, somewhat
fortunately for them, for the time being
the New Little Emperor Mao could be convinced
(by those very same
begging & pleading Imperial Advisors)
that he HAD finished his meal,
after all--thus sparing the cockroach,
as well as themselves, the grief
of having brought any grief
upon their New Little Emperor Mao).

"Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh!"

Only Terpsicurryend ever found anything amusing
in any of this.
But everyone understood that he'd been
only a stupid clown all his life;
and so no one paid any mind
when he walked about laughing his head off
up & down all the loudly echoing halls
of the Imperial Palace
the day long, and
sometimes even long into the night as well
--or when they heard him sleep-waking
amidst fits of laughter. But,
let me tell you... for everybody else
around the New Little Emperor Mao:
it was all a very real pain!

Inevitably (really), one day
... the day finally came
when the New Little Emperor Mao's
Imperial National Pet
apparently went too far (and
I don't mean too far up the ceiling
to be fetched down
by the Imperial Advisors, either):

The cockroach
had no doubt become so used to
being in the presence of the New Little Emperor
Mao by this time
that its familiarity with its new Little Emperor
had bred enough contempt
(of him) into its heart
to push it into climbing up one of
the New Little Emperor Mao's own legs!


And that (not so) very neatly squashed
the New Little Emperor Mao's
admirable attempt (till then)
to own the most popular of his people's pets
... as well as the cockroach itself
AND all of the (to that point) still
surviving Mad Old Emperor's Imperial
Advisors as well (with the exception
of Terpsicurryend, of course, who,
pretty much guessing what was coming... had
been away sick with laughter in bed all this time).

"The poor man is still trying to get over
his having been a clown once!"
The New Little Emperor Mao
ordered everybody to believe (about
his favorite Imperial Advisor).
And they all did, believe it or not.

In fact, some claim that
this was the true beginning of
the terrible, terrible time their country had
from this time forward
with its New Little Emperor Mao,
who, after squashing
the Imperial Cockroach
because it was tickling him off (up his leg
and under his pants)... gathered around him
only those advisors who knew
how to take his advice
(and to never bother him with theirs).

The Little Emperor Mao's unfortunate experience
with the Imperial Cockroach
also convinced him at last
that his people were all
a bunch of contemptible cockroach overlords
(all things considered)
... not fit for anything better than
keeping such ticklingishly icky pets).
And so he stood up
on his great big throne and swore (awfully,
especially for one that young) that from then on
no one would ever again
be able to tell him anything
(as if anybody could have
told him anything up to then):

"Now," commanded
the New Little Emperor Mao:
"Now I only want around me
those Imperial Advisors who can listen
and keep their stupid mouths shut!"


Well, and what of Terpsicurryend? Well...

"When the poor sick man recovers
enough to also keep his mouth shut around me,"
the New Little Emperor Mao ordered:
"Send him to me
and I will make him Prime Minister
right out of his sickbed!"

An that is how Terpsicurryend
made himself sick enough
to qualify to
become the New Little Emperor Mao's
first Prime Minister.

And this was the first order of business
the brand new Prime Minister
Terpsicurryend brought before the New
Little Emperor Mao:
"What shall we do with
the Mad Old Emperor's Imperial Advisors,
Your Majesty?"

"Strip them where they stand, Terpsicurryend!"
The New Little Emperor Mao replied to that
(and so angrily that a number of the
Imperial Advisors within ear-shot
dropped their pants on the spot
without even doing this on orders
from above). "Then,"
the New Little Emperor Mao continued
explaining what he wanted to have done
with the poor fellows:
"Take all the Imperial Advisors down
a peg (and then another
... and another peg)... bringing them down
until it hurts, Terpsicurryend
... all the way down, down, down
from being Imperial Advisors
(since from now on I'm going to advice myself).
Let them get other jobs if they want to:
Senators or some such.
But they will no longer work for me!"

"That would have been my advice
as well, Your Majesty!"
Terpsicurryend mentioned, while the Imperial
Advisors pulled their pants back up
... and their hearts back in their chests.

So: "Strip these fellows
of everything they are or have,"
Terpsicurryend ordered: "And then
chop them down again & again
until it hurts!" (While
the former Imperial Advisers trembled anew,
and far, far worse than if
they already were being chopped to bits.)
"Strip them of all their Imperial Advisors' honors
and expensive clothes!"
Terpsicurryend continued: "And then
stuff whatever's left of them into my cabinet!"

"Your cabinet, Terpsicurryend?"
Marvelled the New Little Emperor Mao:
"Isn't it kind of cramped in there already
without all these former Imperial Advisors
fitting in there as well
or as uncomfortably?"
(All the time the poor former Imperial Advisors
were standing there well within ear-shot
shaking, and shaken
a lot worse and worse than ever.)

"Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh!"

The poor Mad Old Emperor's
former Imperial Advisors cried
(in their heads,
and without daring to utter a sound
which might have been heard by
the New Little Emperor Mao
--and again attracted his attention their way).

"Will you be stuffing them
in new drawers, Terpsicurryend?"
The New Little Emperor Mao coyly
asked Terpsicurryend
while the Mad Old Emperor's
former Imperial Advisors trembled
& fussed & stewed. "Or will they all, to a one,
be forced into the crumbling old one
you now keep all your garlic in?" Asked he
... wondering which
of his newly minted (and perfumed) Prime Minister's
cabinet drawers might prove more accommodating.

Only, "In their new drawers,
of course, Your Majesty!"
Terpsicurryend let the Mad Old Emperor's
former Imperial Advisors off the hook
(sooner, no doubt, than the New Little Emperor Mao
himself would have done this):
"As long as we're going to make them
my brand new Cabinet & Government Ministers
we might as well give them all new drawers
... and new shoes, and shirts, new hats, and
coats,  and the rest
... all of them brand new and shiny
--Don't you agree, Your Majesty?"

"Yes, Terpsicurryend!"
The New Little Emperor Mao agreed:
"We can't have them wearing their poor old uniforms
in their brand new and better paying jobs!"

And that's how the Mad Old Emperor's
former Imperial Advisors all
became Terpsicurryend's brand new
Cabinet & Government Ministers
(and how, every last one of them, got
brand new outfits down to their drawers
... and socks, and shoes)
... after they were revived by the doctors, of course,
for their first official order of business
had been to faint dead away
--every one of them
... and their dogs and cats (even without hearing of it).

Mao's Cooks Cow.

Now, one really slippery mad day...

"I feel like a great big chicken," said
the New Little Emperor Mao to his servants:
"Stuffed and glazed!" And who were they
to say differently if that's the way he felt?
So they brought him one.

"And a glass of milk on top of it,"
the New Little Emperor Mao added:
"I might wish to play
a musical instrument later, and
you all know milk helps to build
trombones." (Which
he had only heard of
casually in a milk industry ad once.)

Then, while the New Little
Emperor Mao was dining
on his glazed chicken
--for it was a really, really big one
--his favorite dish (not fish,
which was slippery & slimy
and so it always reminded him too much
of those around him)
... the New Little Emperor Mao
somehow got it into his mad little head
(definitely not: little mad)
that he immediately wanted to find out:

"Pretty much," said he
while hanging on to one of the wings
of his chicken, "as much about everything
as I can find out!"

And, to start out with, he
had a special "take-out" order (from the kitchen,
for): "The cooks!" sent out
(not from the kitchen, but
from where he was); that:
"All!" ... of his many, many cooks
be suddenly brought there (where he was)
so that they could personally explain to him
the problem which more than any other problem
in the whole entire universe
was most probleming him
just then. (This, naturally, being
the foul problem of chickenglazeology.)

And so... In & in & in & in
(short order) came
the veritable smorgasbord of
his many, many cooks:

"Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh!"

All of them painfully
fluttering & flickering high
atop the very hard-nailed
edges of their poor little ten toes
each and every last single one of them
(even those with wives),
their strained toes
a-popping just like popcorn (all
a-snapping & a-crackling)
... since by now everyone around
the New Little Emperor Mao
had learned (and without having to be told
even once), mostly from that great
Imperial survivor Terpsicurryend,
that it was better all around
for every last one of them
to be on their toes
around the New Little Emperor Mao
(so as to not suddenly come up short
by one's head, especially).

And so... On & on & on & on... did all
of the hundreds and hundreds
of cooks in the Imperial Palace
file into the Great People's Hall (where only
the New Little Emperor Mao was allowed
to set up his bouncy little eating bureau
--because he was, by himself, the Great People):
On & on & on & on
... they came now,
making ever greater & greater circles &
circles inside even greater circles
of Imperial Guards encircling
the New Little Emperor Mao's
bouncy little eating bureau
(upon which he liked to pound
& pound so much)

... many and many of them taking great pains
to keep on their toes (all the time
they were daintily balancing themselves
gingerly atop their wiggly wiggling wigglies
hurting & hurting so)
... accompanied,
the whole, whole lot of them, by loud
snaps! & crackles! & pops!
& crisply rising from
practically every point in the crowd
upon which each cook stood:

"Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh!"
They all cried,
only without making a sound.

And then: "I want pretty much to
know," the New Little Emperor Mao
demanded of his cooks
(once they had ceased tiptoeing in
and were, to the last one of'em, in place
swaying & shaking and grabbing each other
to keep themselves from falling
heads-over-toes from atop
their crunchy crunchies all crunched):
"I want pretty much to know, O cooks,"
the New Little Emperor Mao
demanded to be told, as he pounded & pounded
upon his bouncy little eating bureau:
"How you glaze my chicken!"

And never was his pounding
anywheres near as loud a pounding
as his grilled cooks' own churning hearts
were taking just then:

And, "I want pretty much to know it now!"
The New Little Emperor Mao cowed loudly.

Crunchy! Crunchy! Crunch!

.... went everybody's toes
(sinking under the pressure)
as all the bedeviled cooks
huddled & wobbled and
.... finally after much:
"Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh!"
(Only, in their heads alone.)
And even more:

Crunchy! Crunchy! Crunch!

... from their crackling & popping
toes (all snappy, but also all
very, very blue)
... the huddled cooks pushed & pushed
out of their wobbly wobbling huddle
their very fat Head Cook (I dare say:
the lean Funny Bone Cook and
the mean Elbow Cook
most prominently doing the pushing,
both of whom were very shamefully high,
up on their toes, themselves
--although they were both quite very, very low
... and, neither of them, fine people at all).

Well, the fat Head Cook
(hurting very, very much
more than the other
slinkier cooks) toed his way
back and forth for a minute
in order to regain his composure
(on his awfully squished & fat toes
long, long since out of snap
or pop)... and finally stopped
like a frozen heart-shaped ice-sculpture
and spoke to the New Little Emperor Mao:
Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh!" (After this thought.)

"Your Majesty," said he: "To glaze a chicken
we simply let it hang around the kitchen
while we work on the other birds after--"

"Yes," the New Little Emperor Mao interrupted
his very fat Head Cook:
"I can see where if that doesn't glaze it
nothing will
--I suspected it had to be something like that."

"Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh!"

Needless to say the New Little Emperor
Mao didn't find this glazing recipe
either pretty or much: "Nope,
nope, nope, nope!" He said
to his pounded and pounded cooks:
"Not pretty at all! Or much..."

Then the New Little Emperor Mao called
for his Cabinet & Government Ministers
(including his shifty Prime Minister
... the very tall and very, very toady
ole Terpsicurryend
--of lately, the one and only advisor which
the New Little Emperor Mao
allowed to even speak at all,
although he still would not listen
to him, of course).

And so, in! came he
(along with all the many, many other
toey Cabinet and Government Ministers
who followed him... in tow):

In! In! In! & In! and,
"Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh!"

.... came the long, long file
of Cabinet and Government Ministers
daintily dancing toe-to-toe
while balancing themselves (or trying to)
gingerly (up!) on their wiggly
wiggling wigglies all (their corns
a-popping & a-snapping & a-crackling so!)
hurting & hurting & hurting
... Crunchy! Crunchy! Crunch!

Some of the Cabinet
& Government Ministers came in
twitching painfully & squirming
and looking like monstrous skyscraper-tall tenepedes
atop their teeny tiny little ten toes
(each) all in a row (because
a lot of them weighed a lot,
having gotten exceptionally fat indeed on their jobs,
and others of them were too old now
to be going about on their toes
like that): "Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh!"

Nevertheless, in came the Cabinet
& Government Ministers
wobbling & fidgeting
like thin plastic political fishes
squishing themselves through
the rolling sea of opinions,
every one of them (while filing in)
bending back and forth quite tipsily.

On & On & On & On!

 ... they all stepped in, every one of them
atop their strained, tingling tippies
(yes: toes) making ever & ever greater
& greater circles & circles
around the circles & circles of cooks
encircled by the Imperial Guards
encircling the New Little Emperor Mao's
bouncy little eating bureau (on which
he liked so much to pound
& pound)... every last one of them:

All! gracefully and dutifully kowtowing
(gingerly) as they went about
tipping over themselves back & forth
... except for a handful of show-offs
who were high-kicking it all over the place
with their stately better-educated legs
(and toes)... being very, very young,
some of them, and others of them being
very, very lean and mean even
(mostly over Cabinet & Government Ministers
directly under them):
"Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh!"

And, perhaps, additionally:

1: (too) three or four (of them)
who had become quite good on their toes
and were seen actually almost toe-skating
with a wild abandon (throughout
the Great Hall of the People)
... spinning around the rest of the painfully long
ranks of the filing Cabinet
and Government Ministers (as wildly as tops,
since they were on top, of course)
although they were all --up--
on their bottomest bottomest (toes,
also, being real low folks). And...

2: Terpsicurryend!... that shiftiest
nimble-toed toadiest Prime Minister
(albeit he was the only one)
... with his devilish twinkle & spark
(and never a snap or crackle
or a pop-o-toes heard out of him):
"The Great Prime Minister
Terpsicurryend!" (A fellow who
had become so good at going about on his toes
that he now soared & soared
tall-toed above the rest of'em
... as if his toes had been doing cartwheels
everywhere he went on them
or were wings over which he soared
around & above everybody in that hall
(and some even swore,
though none of them audibly, that he flew
just above the floor
full of'em
as if the rest of them had all been nailed
down dead as heavy stone statues to the floor):

Naturally, Terpsicurryend was always the last one
to flitter & to flutter in
(to) anything, because he was the First
Cabinet & Government Minister
--And although people wondered
how he happened to be
the only Imperial Advisor to have escaped
the crushing of the cockroach
and all its ill-fated supporters,
no one ever dared to whisper their wonder aloud
because Terpsicurryend was always too creepy
and silent on his toes
... and liable to be suddenly
found standing right behind them
listening as they talked!

Ah, but what a nimble-toed toady
indeed was the tall Prime Minister
Ah, truly a wonder to behold!
So swiftly shifted and shifted he
from one issue to another issue,
one opinion to the next opinion,
one side to the other side,
and, especially, toe to toe
... that nobody could tell when he'd shifted,
or when he was going to shift next at all (so
nobody ever knew where he might be going to go
or was coming from
at any given moment). That's
how shifty was the New Prime Minister
Terpsicurryend: the very last
final Cabinet and Government Minister
to tippy-toe-it in
(to) the Great Hall of the People
(so artfully & lightly cunning), "Oh!"
(Cried they all.)
So slippery and subtle was he
that he seemed almost like a passing glow!

"Terpsicurryend!" They all hailed him
whenever he came or went
(with the same awe one reserves for
a great wind that has blown one flat).

"Terpsicurryend!" They all cried
when he passed by them
like a winged whisper
... his snatching arms (with their long, long reach)
outstretched "out there"
as if he'd been the one, single,
AND ONLY flake
in the whole of the snowstorm
that was the Imperial Court's
many shivering & trembling saplings bent low
with his very heavy snow!

And, "Terpsicurryend!"
They all thought now (but dared not
speak it aloud, just in case
he might think they had called him):
"O me, O my! It's Terpsicurryend!"
(Indeed.) Tallest
and best politician of all
(famous now for having survived the crush
of the cockroach to become Prime Minister)
... and who had been the very first fellow
in the entire Imperial Court to learn
the art of walking on the razor's edge
(around the New Little Emperor Mao)
on his toes (no less)
... some say from having thoroughly
studied the New Little Emperor Mao
back when he'd been originally hired
by the Mad Old Emperor's Wife
to read "her dear little son" fairy tales
in his No No Room.

And, one might ask:
just how good on his toes was
the tall Terpsicurryend,
Prime Minister? Well, sir,
he could touch ground with his forehead
whenever he kowtowed
in front of the New Little Emperor Mao
without once stepping down
off his nimble toady toes:

That's how good
was the tall Terpsicurryend,
Prime Minister.
A remarkable fellow, really, whom
nobody ever heard coming or going,
because he was usually up!
on his toes whenever he was up
(on) them! all! (rather
always unnervingly showing up
unexpectedly and as sudden
as a ghost
everywhere he showed up,
since he always took great care
to trim down his toenails
so he wouldn't be heard scratching the floor).

And, you might ask:
just how good had become Terpsicurryend,
first and foremost of all Cabinet
& Government Ministers
... the tallest Minister of all
with the longest reach of all
Cabinet & Government Ministers
(once he let go with
his long snatching arms outstretched
AND slinking about on all ten toes)?

Well, no one could ever tell!
... That's how good
nimble-toed Terpsicurryend was
(on his toes)
when he was up! (So good
that nobody could really predict him).

"Oh!" Many & many others tried
to beat the tall Terpsicurryend
at staying on their toes
... but no one, not a one of them
could ever even hope to beat
the Prime Minister Terpsicurryend
at staying on their toes (and so
they all fell but he and he alone): "Oh!"

Deer might well hoof it
at a stag-party better than anybody.
Zebras, mules, donkeys
... and horses at a turkey-trot
were probably all "all right."
(While, at the quick-step,
fire-walkers might be just dashing!)
Moths could be scorching! at a skirt-dance!
But no one (not a one), and
not even one single one of them
could out-toe Terpsicurryend
when he was up! on his toes:

Not all of the world's flowers
at their pollenaise
could beat Terpsicurryend.
Nor all insects alive jitter-bugging.
Not even a single one
or all of "Doctor? Sue!" sez
many "Who sez?" doing the "Who'll I?
Who'll I?" with
their "Who? La Ooops sez!"
could out-toe Terpsicurryend
... when he was up!

"No?" No! Absolutely: Not
all of the earth's reddest
and most hottest
flamingos (all of'em)
one-stepping it! Nor
all of the land and all of the ocean snails
& slugs together
doing the twist could ever hope
... to out-toe Terpsicurryend.

Not even the world's best
card shark shuffling!
Nor that clumsy guy Humpty Dumpty
at the walltz!  [sic.]
And certainly not merry pop-pins
... chim-chimney shimmying
balloons at a party.
(Nor Poe's raven rapping.)
Not even thirty thirsty dogs
at a tap-dance
could out-toe Terpsicurryend
... when he was up!

No way, oh no! Not even
a three-legged stool-pigeon
tripping on the light fantastic
while skipping rope
could out-toe Terpsicurryend
... who (when he was up
--on his toes): Boy! was he up!

"Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh Awhoh!"

... Went the full chorus of Cabinet
and Government Ministers
now, all up! on the razor's edge.

"Ta! Ta-ra! Ta-ra! Ta-ta!"
... Went all of the New Little Emperor
Mao's Tootsy Tooters
blasting all that moved
or anyone who tried to step on
the magical toes of
Prime Minister Terpsicurryend
when he was making his entrance
into the Great People's Hall.

Everyone (with the exception of
the New Little Emperor Mao) bowed
to Prime Minister Terpsicurryend:
All of those safe, safe retainers
... who could be counted on
to always stay where they were.
And all those everybody-elses
with edgy radar ears and but
an iffy crumbling toe-hold
nervously nibbling and munching
upon the cracker of Doom: Everyone
now went Crunchy!
Crunchy! Crunch! (including
all of the stuttering Cooks
and stoutest Guards, even
... every last one of them
oddly unarmored now
so they'd be (up)
on their toes much trippingly lightly
and ready to fall (up!)
on everybody & everyone who dared to move)
... while their Prime Minister Terpsicurryend
was tiptoeing into the room.

"Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh!"

... Went the sweaty wiping
& brooming staff (and
the library pages
whose ladders were all soft-nailed).
So too all the upstairs "Help!"
(who, naturally, had
to take on extra weight
when they took the stairs
... at a tip-toe).

"Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh!"

... Went all of the clever clever maids;
and even the dumb waiters.
And so too went the very worse one off
... the bellhop (who
was also the heavy)
and who only had one good leg
between his two.

All! now went: "Awhoh! Awhoh!
Awhoh Awhoh!" (in their thoughts)
one & all
... as they'd been a long time already on their toes (all
snapping & crackling: Crunchy! Crunchy! Crunch!)
... making
a terrible racket
except when the New Little Emperor Mao up
& spoke.

Then... a Quiet quite quieted
that Great--smelly toey--Hall
of the New Little Emperor Mao
which was somehow quite quieter
than all that had ever, ever been quiet
in all of history before!

"What is it, Your Majesty?"
Asked, of his New Little Emperor
Mao, the perhaps (and but only perhaps)
tall (although he was
most definitely shifty) Prime Minister
Terpsicurryend (whom everyone
thought might've really been only
the smallest person on earth
and who but looked tall
either because he had mastered the art
of standing on his toes
ways heads above everybody
... or by making sure that
heads which were above his
were chopped off), all the time
he was casting about a fishy shifty eye
over the whole wobbly wobbling bunch
of everyone he delighted in dazzling so!
with his talky, talky toe-skating it around them
like the sharpest, sharpest blade ever
over the thin ice (he himself liked to spread
under everyone to make it slippery and slimy
wherever he went... always (up!)
on those twinkly ten toes of his
so nimble that they made one dizzy
(to watch him hoping
--although he never did-- that he'd fall
finally): Crunchy! Crunchy! Crunch!

Then, suddenly, while
everyone was almost half-asleep on their toes
keeping their eye out for Terpsicurryend's dancing:

"Boil all the cooks!"
Cowed the New Little Emperor Mao
just like that
to his fishy & shifty Prime Minister
... sending all the cooks
into a frozen scalding shock:

"Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh!"

... Went the long circle of scalded cooks
--brewing themselves right up!
to their utterest ten lower extremities
and many more panics than that:
Every one of them, every last one,
now really REALLY low.

Then the nimble-toed toady
tall, tall Terpsicurryend, who
himself liked to raise false hopes
before dashing them (because
then they dashed harsher),
Prime Minister Terpsicurryend asked
the New Little Emperor Mao
in a very, very long-drawn-out and very
maliciously sweet tone (that made it
sound like the cooks' slow roasting
would never ever be over
& done with), Terpsicurryend asked
whether the New Little Emperor Mao
... whether he preferred, "boiling the cooks
with the sea? Or, instead," deliciously,
and much more maliciously,
whether he'd prefer that he,
"boil all the kooks with decay?"

It all left the poor cooks wondering
whether they'd heard their sentence
spelled out correctly
... or whether they'd need a dictionary now
to make any sense of their deaths:
Had working in such a stinky toady place
reduced them all
to kooks ...
and could they breathe a little easier
now (knowing
it is impossible to boil all the sea)?
Certainly few of them had a "k"
in their names. It was all quite puzzling
(as was always the case
with the New Little Emperor Mao
and his Prime Minister Terpsicurryend).

Yet, "Boil the cooks with the C!"
The New Little Emperor Mao cowed anyhow.
To a chorus of, "Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh!
Awhoh!" from the cooks.
"And, oh!" (Crunchy! Crunchy! Crunch!) did
the New Little Emperor Mao
creaminally add then: "Not
a high high-C but the bottomest,"
(leaving the cooks all wondering:
perhaps the C-bottom?),
"Yes! For the highest high-C
might crack some panes
--And I would like them all boiled
with every one of their pains
as intact as possible!" (A sentence which
hurt the cooks no end,
and bothered a few grammarians.)

"Very well, Majesty,"
Terpsicurryend agreed
(up!) on his toes. Even as he spoke
... nimbly toe-skating it
about everybody with his usual abandon
all across the entire Great Hall
of the People... where
only the New Little Emperor Mao was allowed
to set up his bouncy little judgments bureau
(on which he also bounced his eats
--because he & he only was the People).

And as he skated
about the Great Hall of the People
Terpsicurryend's long-reaching arms
sometimes stretched out
as if he were going to snatch!
somebody. While, at other times,
they remained coiled
inside his sinister thick cloak
as if he was hiding some body, or
perhaps he had a couple of snakes in there
which he might unexpectedly unleash
against anybody:

That's how he liked to flow
around everyone... ceaselessly
spinning & winding about like a top,
since he easily topped everyone
except that one short little boy on the Throne:
Everybody else around Terpsicurryend
was always left standing in place
(as if they had been flat-footed
even up on their toes)
... each & every one of them
looking like a frozen frosty tiny
(stalag)mite stuck in-place wherever it was
with a quite scalding look
of shock in its pale pale face!

While... always slippery & slimy (up!)
on his red-hot lowest lowest (you know
--yes: toes... toes, yes),
Terpsicurryend forced everybody
to keep an eye on him
as he raced around them
until he made them all dizzyingly dizzy
... because, no matter what,
it was always better to keep an eye on Terpsicurryend
--and better still both (of'em) on him
--when he was making every eye in a room
skate right along with him like that
... as if he'd been pulling them all
on a long, long string over the thin, slimy ice
he spread under everybody
to not catch them when they slipped
(ironically, since that was exactly
what he really wanted all along)
and to instead let them sink to the bottom!

"Sire," once again did the fishy
& toady tall Terpsicurryend ask
the New Little Emperor Mao:
"Did Your Majesty happen to say to me cooks?"
(Turning up the mean temperature on the cooks
cooked already
so meanly): "Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh!"

"Or did Your Majesty happen to say to me
This time completely searing
all the already half-frizzled and wimpy
Cabinet & Government Ministers, who shook
& shook! down to their sodden
knocky knees (thinking he was thinking of them).
Although not a single one of them
dared to come down off their snappy snappy toes
--to tears.

"I happened to say to you: Cooks!"
Meowed the New Little Emperor Mao,
the only person there who didn't have
to constantly keep an eye out
for the toe-skating Prime Minister (and so
was never made dizzier & dizzier by
the fishy & fishing mad top Prime Minister
as he was top-toeing it
all over the Great Hall of the People
he dazzled so).

 Albeit the New Little Emperor
Mao said (what he'd said)
a lot quicker than his fishy
& fishing Prime Minister would have ever
let anyone off (of) his hook.
"Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh!"

In any case: "Ah!"
Rose a great sigh of relief
from the chilled out Cabinet
& Government Ministers. And it was so
very profound a sigh of relief
that it just about blew off the roof
of the Great Hall of the People,
naturally from underneath.

Of course, this good news for
the Cabinet & Government Ministers
was sour stuffing indeed in all the bellies
of the woefully wobbly cooks,
who all sighed then sadly resigned
... so ill with the chills of their own inner-shaking
that the roof which had flown up,
on the political crooks' hot aired
sigh of relief, now fell
down to its old proper fit
without even so much as a puff!
(floating down on their unstirring sigh)
... although with a great load of icy
"Crunchy! Crunchy! Crunch!" still
(since it wasn't off long enough
to let in the Sun to
undo Terpsicurryend's
everywhere-spread slimy thin ice).

Prime Minister Terpsicurryend
then shiftily smiled
all over the woefully wobbly cooks
(all of whom shook & shook
while grabbing at each other for support
... and to get hold of themselves),
and then he started in on them:

"Although it's not yet time for the Cabinet
& Government crooks, O cooks,
it's too late for you," the Prime Minister spoke
while he stood tall on his toes
(in spite of the fact that
some thought he was a very lowly toady
really): "Although you sputter, didder,
waver, although you flap & flop,"
said Terpsicurryend to the corns a-popping
(and now greenishly/bluishly snappy)
snappy cooks, even while he was all this time
signaling to the Imperial Guards,
who all came somberly & lightly
(without their normally heavy armor)
tippy-toeing it quietly
behind the loudly rattled cooks
... and immediately started rounding
& rounding them up
from their lowest lowest circles
up to their most upstandingly crackly little ten toes each
--even the ones that were quite downright floored:

"Although you rile, wag, welter, and twitter,
although you rock & roll,
patter, or you pitter," said (really really up!
now) Terpsicurryend, quite enjoying himself
so much that he seemed to rise
higher and higher (on his toes) than ever before
... as he spoke to the cooked, cooked cooks:

"Although you all! all! all!...
Still will you cooks be--soon or sooner--
all! (properly, properly) ... boiled!  That's all."

And so they were too,
every last one of them (properly,
properly boiled), although as painlessly as possible
... which was done
with two great big ugly boils per cook
(plastic or foam rubber,
depending on which kind
was preferred by each cook)
... which boils all of them were ordered
to instantly glue to
their cheeks (one boil per cheek per cook).

This was how it was done:
One boil was glued to each cook's cheek
(all raw and rare... looking)
and then another boil was
glued to his other cheek
(all pitted and charred
to the point of looking like a pox).
A most horrible sentence indeed!
One which, nevertheless,
those cowardly but clever (and lucky) cooks
all got around of
by simply and naughtily
gluing all these bogus boils to
their, by now, already quite over-cooked
(and so) hard-boiled chicks
 instead! (Of which, chicks,
every good cook ought to keep at least two each
simmering on the side
--At least if they are good
... and whether they are cooks
or crooks). That's it.
And now let's go on to the following cow.

Mao's Red Chaos Cow.

On another quite really mad red-letter day
(which days especially were days
the New Little Emperor
Mao figured he was bored
... and so he didn't do much outside of
--with all of his nastily inky pinkies--
through his Red-bound Little Book
of Favorite Fairy Tales
while sitting at his bouncy little reading bureau)...

For no better a reason than
that his Red-bound Little Book
of Favorite Fairy Tales
was bound with a very red binding
didst the New Little Emperor Mao then & there
make up his new little mind
that the best thing that could happen (in real life,
illogical as it may sound), was
... that everything (and he meant EVERYTHING
when he said everything)
ought to be bound by a red
as red as all of the red
binding of his Red-bound Little Book
of Favorite Fairy Tales!

And so the pinklishly New
Little Emperor Mao quite shortly
inkly (upon white paper)
sent for his nastily shifty Prime Minister
Terpsicurryend to personally hand him
the red little new wave of naughtiness
he next wanted him to more than pinkly
nastily spread for him.

(Crunchy! Crunchy! Crunch!)

And so, again...
In! & In! & In! & In! (and,
"Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh!")
came the long file of Cabinet and Government Ministers
(one more time)
all daintily dancing toe-to-toe
while balancing themselves (or trying to)
ever so gingerly (up!)
on their wiggling wigglies (all
of their crunchy, crunchy
corns) a-popping & a-snapping &
a-crackling so! hurting & hurting
... with more, "Crunchy! Crunchy! Crunch!"

"Oh!" Some of the Cabinet
and Government Ministers came in painfully
twitching & squirming
like monstrous skyscraper-tall tenepedes
atop their teeny little ten toes each all in a row!

Others of them came in ("Awhoh!
Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh!)
... wobbling & fidgeting
like thin, thin plastic political fishes
squishing themselves back & forth
through the rolling sea of opinions
all around them
(every one of them on their toes).

On & On & On
& On they all! filed (in)
atop their strained, tingling tippies
(yes, toes), you know:
making ever & ever greater
& greater circles & circles
inside of the circles of Imperial Guards
encircling the New Little Emperor Mao's
bouncy little reading bureau,
on which he so liked to pound
& pound... so many!

Finally, lastly of all: In! came
the shifty nimble-toed toady himself!
... with his devilish twinkle & spark:
He twinkle-toed in as usual with him
(toe-skating on top of it all)
... with never a snap, or a crackle,
or a pop-o-toes,
Terpsicurryend always entered last
because he was, after all, the first
of all! Cabinet and Government Ministers
(the reason they all had to bow
to the thin tall Prime Minister
--except for the New Little Emperor Mao).

And to him now the New Little Emperor
Mao cowed: "Out!
Out! Out!" (to the horror and shock
of just about everyone,
for they all thought they'd be able to rest
toes in place for a while).

But, O no! It was not
what they'd all begun to believe (at all)
& all had been hoping for
since Terpsicurryend had been made Prime Minister
(that they'd live to witness Terpsicurryend's final fall
at last from power).

Rather, it was: "Out! Out! Out!..."
(with all none-red colors!)


That was what the New Little Emperor
Mao now declared red-hot(ly):
"All (of'em) are banned!"
(Followed by a shrug from everyone,
since they were used to
hearing their New Little Emperor speaking
the craziest things by now.)

Well, the New Little Emperor
Mao made it clear now
that it mattered not to him whether
those other colors merely held title to
the surface (or even to the
thinnest of veneer) of every object
or even of whatever human beings
they might have been on
(or might have 'just been renting space' there)...

Whatever: "Out! Out! Out! Out!"
cowed the New Little Emperor Mao now
as he glowered back at them all
(from way down where he stood near the floor,
as he was very small
--and some citizens even had bets going
that he was even smaller
than his Prime Minister Terpsicurryend);
however, from down there where he stood,
he now ordered them
to: "Leave nothing but red
upon red upon red upon anything
at all in the land whatsoever!"
And then he asked: "Understood?"
And, quite oddly,
even those who didn't have a clue
(what he was talking about
agreed) with him right on the spot.

Everybody always agreeing with him
always pleased the New
Little Emperor Mao so!
And so he then handed his Red-bound
Little Book of Favorite Fairy Tales
to the toady-toed tall Terpsicurryend (who
was always bowing so low to him
that he could easily smell his toes
moment to moment), and he told him:

"From now on I want everything
(and also everyone) bound
by a red
red as the red bind of my Red-bound
Little Book of Favorite Fairy Tales!"

"Consider it all-reddy done!"
Terpsicurryend replied,
bowing and scraping the floor
with his nose.
Then the Prime Minister immediately took off!
on all toes
like some devilish whirlwind
to do exactly as the New Little Emperor Mao
had just ordered him to do.

In no time at all
Terpsicurryend had hired, secured, or
mustered (volunteered
or commandeered) a hundred hundred
times a hundred
hundred times a hundred hundred
red-colored red red inbred-red red-painters.

Then he gathered them all together
in a pointlessly red square
(which looked lots like a circle too pink)
and therein
he empowered them all
in the name of the New Little Emperor
Mao's Red-bound Little Book
of Favorite Fairy Tales to, "Untiredly
and untiredly" ... paint the town red,
all quite literally, including
all else (and that also included
everyone besides in it too).

Thus Prime Minister Terpsicurryend
chartered them then & there,
and he also accredited them (and,
from then on, personally administered
them) as... what to call them,
what to call them?... Ah, yes: The Reds!

"Bind all (all! over) with the red!
red! red! O my faithful Reds!"
hollered the now redder-n-red Red Prime Minister
to his brand new inbred-red
red painters. And he so roused them
that they just about almost preferred
being Reds to being human beings even.

Upon which Off! scampered all
those hundred hundred times a
hundred hundred times
a hundred hundred Reds... every last one of them!
Although only from number one to
the twelfth was sent off powered
with a paint gun (its aim uncentered somewhat):
Each (and all of the rest
of them, really) went off shouldered only with
a sloppy-red brush-off
(mostly). Albeit every one of them
was sent off well-armed with
a couple of red-topped
slop buckets of red paint
... to which there was in reality nothing at all
(but red fairy tales) since
they each had but only two arms each
--or sum it all up yourself
if you think none of this adds up.

In any case, all throughout the Land
of the New Little Emperor Mao
suddenly all! was red-colored
and re-colored red, and red-tinctured
on top of it by all of the Reds
who, just as Prime Minister (and now also Chairman
of the Reds) Terpsicurryend had ordered)
... covered red everything
& everyone (especially those
who deferred, demurred, malingered
--and whether they were illiterates
or had formerly read themselves).

All poor souls & even all of the better-off ones
were quite suddenly
(and without any warning) mastered
and overpowered, of course:
Even each of the ones that parred well
was well pared, or at least
... somewhat dithered
(either with a fine, fine brush
or by having a full bucket of paint
clumsily dumped on their heads).

Nothing escaped the Reds, either:
All colors but red were suddenly barred.
Also all tasty caramels
and candies of every other color.
Marooned sailors abroad
were not permitted to return,
nor any purpled tourists (
unless they came back completely in the red,
of course). And no more imported limes,
lemons, oranges, maize or rice
--From now on only red apples & radishes
(no pork, fish or chicken
--if not red dished)
... only the rarest rare beef.

Overnight all lilies and all snowflakes
were veneered!
(And it was quite shocking to wake up to this
Monday morning.)
Practically every green tree was red-lined.

Redwoods were outright felled
one after the other one
(as they knocked each other
just like bickering neighbors,
and even unjustly).
Even cinnamon suddenly turned into rust.
And smutty things were made to turn lurid.

Everything unpressured became hectic!
Reds painted red all of the blackamoors.
And all of the white hot hates.
All shy children were red-blushed.
While all of the loud ones were
(down to the last one) quickly red-hushed.

Everything was forced into the Red (except
lobsters, which were steamed into it).

But things previously referred-to quite clearly
now were all slurred!
Things long-lost started turning up red too!
And even red snappers were snapped up
before growing much
beyond mere whipper-snappers.

Not even gladness or blueness were spared:
Both were reddened! And so too
were those dark spots
that float out in front of people's eyes:
All were Red! Red! Red! Red!

A hundred hundred nosy (big-nosed) red painters
spent days & days coloring red every pea
in every individual pod & pot.
While a hundred hundred eerie (big-eared) red painters
spent nights & nights turning red themselves
(from their own hairy tops to their nailed-down toes).
And no matter how much it hurt!

In fact soon most people were
either turning themselves in
(to) Reds
or were busily reding themselves...

Terpsicurryend managed to flush out
a hundred hundred
of his slush-funded red painters
(all with enormously sticky brushes)
out of his personal toilet of reserves
and onto every (green-leaf-in-every-back) tree
that filled the once (never quite) lavishly democratic land
(just to plunge everything into the red).

Then he put a hundred hundred red painters
with drippy (long-suffering debit) brushes
ever so patiently to paint red every last
well-tongued droplet that trickled down every last
(economically grudgingly Republican) faucet.

He even had a hundred hundred
sour swift-sauntering & sloshing Reds
with very flat feet rushing & rushing back & forth
at the sweet-shored coast
trying to squishy-paint red very broadly over
every last thin wave
which petered out & in from the ocean
with fat red sloppishly thick brushes
and lots of salty & sloshy
outs & ins, and ins/outs
... while ever hurryingly trying to avoid
being given the big brush-off themselves by the waves'
petering-out ins & outs, outs/ins in-rushings...

People stared at each other incredulous
over all this, naturally.
But, what could they do?
It occurred to some that perhaps a top leader had
gone mentally fuzzy (so high up there
as they were). Although
no word ever was bared over it
either ill/or/good-temperedly out in the open.
And, in any case, for a long, long while,
it didn't seem to matter all that much
that everything was being turned redder
and redder day by day
by the Reds. After all:

Flickers still flickered as red as ever.
And flares all red-flared.
All well-feathered lovebirds still twittered
enamored as ever. And, while the entire country
was still quite securely bordered on every side
... her fields were, every last one of them,
just as neatly pastured as they had been of old.

As of old, land was yet cleared as completely of stumps
as before (and was also as thoroughly-manured as ever).
Lighting yet thundered afterwards in every storm.
Flowers flowered.
Hearts (and mosquitos) all fluttered as ever.
Small forest creatures fared fine and furred.

Mooses were still going about as suitably antlered
as they had ever been.
The snakes slithered as lowly as ever. And
all the claviers were, every one,
as well tempered as they had ever been.

Endless & endless books kept being authored
by the unlettered.
And some of them were even still
turning up dog-eared.
The dullest folks
uncovered people's most colorful secrets.
And carnivores still tendered their toughest steaks.

Brave bearded bald men
still were (almost all of them),
well barbered.
While bold women were being quite as coiffured
as before. Brazen kids were still having to be collared.
And everyday boot-lickers & all sundry politicos
still pandered all over the place.

Boos still scared, of course.
While déjà vu recurred just as new.
Why, even the soundest of wooden floors
yet floored as silently
the unexpectedly splintered.
Even the tiniest little snail's chamber
was chambered
without it bothering people much.
And it also seemed as if every last single cinder
in every last single red eye
was, well... as cindered as it ever had been!

In fact, many became Reds themselves:
All of the uninsured,
for example (and all
of the overly-insured as well); as well as
all those hotheads who, no matter what,
always swaggered or warred
... now they all turned themselves into Reds.
And also, of course, the bored.
And all people of little-note also turned Reds.
As did all the admired too much
(most of which already were).

Certainly all the unjustly ignored became Reds
(as already were those
who had justly deserved to be).

Second bananas who but co-starred
were soon Reds too;
as were all orientals,
and every brunette.
So too with the freckle-faced
& the fair-haired
... all turned red quite suddenly
(excepting maybe red indians
who fared best there, naturally,
being already quite red to begin with).

But it wasn't only the ill-humored
folks who turned Reds. O no!
Even good-natured people
were soon turning themselves into Reds:
All of the high-pressured turned Reds!
All the hard hunkered also. And even
quite limbered wimps were soon Reds!

Reds! suddenly were all of the goodly-liquored
(those with the red-eye especially most of all).

But even those sobered
by what was happening to the country
all turned up largely sobered up red!

Citizens who had slumbered
while all this was happening
eventually woke up... only to find themselves
naturally (or even abnormally) turned into Reds.

Some people trying to get away
(with something) changed
their first names to Fred
(but that's just the way some people are, I guess).

In no time at all
there didn't seem to be anywhere anything
that was not either already quite red
or quickly reddening:

Everywhere everything everyone encountered
was suddenly red red red red
... And so that was how Redundancy became
established as the State Religion
(even if redemption was only to be found
in, and but only partly
--and most usually quite costly--
in confession!
whether taken without permission or given under duress).

Red overpowered the Law,
quickly itself becoming the Law
... until even people's jewels glittered
only by the law of the Reds.

Then by the Reds' Law only
all hammers hammered from then on,
or limousines were chauffeured.
Tanks, by the Law of the Reds,
became armored.
Toasts buttered.
Phones answered!
Foods flavored.
And red-hots, in fact,
were devoured with relish by Law.

By the Law all anchored oared or motored boats
were soon moored and tethered
(all red) and all! were very well harbored too
... by Law.

Subjects people yet mastered,
now they mastered but by Law.
All of the rivers meandered, yes,
but now only meandered by the Law.

Computers by Law ciphered.
Kites soared just fine, except
that they did so now by the Law.
Although all welts, still weltered well,
and whether by the Law or not.

All new bruises scarred just fine.
And suddenly fires could only be
smothered by the Law.
Rockets yet retrofired
but they did so by the Law.

By the Law...
lawnmowers still whirred (and
murdered the green grass).
While musical notes
were (every last one of them)
measured & metered by the Law.

All baseball games were lawfully umpired
(some overly lawfully, in fact). And suddenly
it wasn't merely that people's best sofas
were slipcovered
but that even their least hopes glimmered
only by the Law
(as well as all of their better hatreds).

And yet, very amazingly,
many people seemed quite untouched by this
everywhere-red Red Law
that now covered everything
... not even by a shred (of it):

Some people still went about properly attired
without the Law chasing after them.
Most children were still ever as good-
naturedly mothered & fathered
without the Law having to hound their parents.
Babies were still dry-diapered.
And most little misses remained well mannered
(even as short-tempered little boys
bothered & bothered).

Too: The rich were still pampered,
cultured, and ill-bred.
While the poor were just as finely paupered
& ever as masterfully guttered as they ever were.

All choirs still choired, yes.
And the old were all still retired.
Golfers yet puttered about
and muttered as before.
All of the tired were as tired as ever.
Cowards remained just as chicken livered.
While neighbors snored as loudly.

Volunteers still volunteered.
And doctors doctored.
Surgeons sutured.
Gamblers wagered.
Lakes still shimmered.
Whole entire teams (and a few
same ole guys) scored as of old.
All of the wall-paperers still wall-papered.
And tinkerers still tinkered.
Lecturers lectured.
Laborers labored.
Bickerers bickered.
And "nothing ventured"
was still "nothing gained."
Why, some anemics actually became
red-blooded again.

Criminals were still fingered,
just like in the good old days.
Teachers with the most short-comings
were still tenured (first).
And daredevils & ad-men
conjured their all-fired-up tricks
still as unhindered by their audiences' IQs.

Winos went about as plastered as ever.
And all ghosts still appeared!
(Although the infamous Cheshire Cat
still disappeared.)

 Gesturing idiots still gestured.
Litter-bugs littered.
Kissers yet puckered.
And even the Good-Humor Man
still remained somewhat good-humored.

Small kittens yet purred & purred.
While crybabies were still whimpered
& blubbered as before.

Dissidents prospered so
that they toured & toured
about the countryside as much as tourists
although much quickered along
(especially after the Reds secured
Law & Order everywhere).
And, once timely remembered by the Reds,
people with untimely memory lapses
were sorely sought after
& even more sorely still helped by the Reds
--down to their raw nerves--
until neither hide nor hair
of anything of them was left
(except completely unremembered).

And yet,
even under the unrelentingly red storm,
most people still showered!

Some folks even acquired a taste
for the red and prospered:
Those in high places were flattered:
Nimble-toed Terpsicurryend certainly
recolored his credo red
and so still sauntered higher & higher
on his now redder'n'red toes
(popless yet, and snapless & as crackleless(ly)
... toeing the new red line.

Gangsters meanwhile racketeered as never
(as the red was assured everywhere
--without many questioning any of it any longer).

Still, all things considered,
even the reddest of diehards
eventually discovered, red-faced,
that long-standing milk still soured.

Liquids & pores still either poured all
or were all pored out.
Outnumbered armies yet offered to
AND (sometimes even as ordered)
quickly surrendered without getting mired
down ifs, up buts, or
having to be widely captured while running away:
For well-prepared, well-armed armies
still won over well-armed but unprepared ones
... and even over the well-prepared but unarmed armies!

Sufferers yet suffered, of course.
Suckers were still suckered.
And the tortured tortured.
All the politicos slandered each other as of old.
While the helpless were still massacred.
The frozen martyred.
And peeping toms peered keenly as ever.

Poets were inspired
by the Red around them (but still bitched
that the Reds themselves interfered
with their inspiration).

None of which the state ever explained:
Truths (and even some facts)
were quite heavily obscured.
Sweat, for example, still perspired,
but the state insisted it was (all) crystal clear!

At first the people were merely
mildly bothered by all this.
Although much pestered,
as usual, folks yet persevered,
hoping this sudden red-laundered fad
would eventually fade away,
petered-out over all that was being slobbered,
squandered, smothered
and snared.

Some of them believed that perhaps
the state had merely momentarily blundered
(maybe one of the least-all-wise of the leaders
had erred). Others of them
just sniggered & snickered under their breath.
Although nobody openly sneered
(at) or caricatured the red!
which the New Little Emperor Mao so adored
to spread over everyone now.

However, the country's economy
quickly fell dead-sick AND festered:
Credit went into the red, of course.
Merchants & businessmen became terribly angered
(as customers dickered all they bought.
Doctors became quite sore
as all of their patients were cured.
And huckstered souls were soon being jailed
for having smeared red
on paper (when, by Law, only official Red Smears
could be clearly authored).

But no one openly complained:
Even good actors soon re-tutored themselves
to be prepared to act as if they actually cared not
(and not even down to the most irreducible whit) that
they were all being staggered
by the everywhere-splattered red.

Now red herrings were all over the place.
But, naturally,
even the most innocent
were still being caught red-handed!

Ah, but... such purebred(a) red
eventually began to redden people's
outlook: A few winos were completely sobered.
But all of this red! red! everywhere, everywhere!
severely embittered and bewildered everyone
and stirred their reddest hatred
--It was too much--
too much for people!
--all of this "Red! Red! Red!"

Everywhere everyone started to see red! red! red!
(even though inbred & unlettered
but officially quite honored speakers
blathered & bleared the "Red!
Red! Red!" all over them night & day):

"Red! Red! Red! Red! "they cried out
all the day long & long throughout the night
... trying to keep everyone fettered,
and bored, and chaired
in their 'proper' place
until they could all be totally inured.
But all it accomplished was
that it started sounding to everyone like some
dull dredge of their once quite brilliantly colorful minds.

And so much so that some brains
actually just ruptured! over all this:
It wasn't long before old people sputtered
about quite aimlessly
the whole day long
(and gibbered to themselves out loud).

Young folks, on the other hand, mostly
just stammered & shuddered
uncontrollably (pretending it was their dancing
that was rocking and rolling them like that).

Wanderers wandered aimlessly
all over the place.
And even though the most focused
of the photographers yet pictured,
everywhere one looked now
wonderers also wondered (even if
but in wonders whispered
behind zippered lips)...because
suddenly everybody became awfully scared
of being whiskered off by the Reds
and skewered (at least,
that's what was heard
was being done to dissenters in those days).

And so most people
simply shuttered and cloistered themselves
in themselves in themselves
in some dark & cold corner of their locked-up brains.

Just about everyone glared & leered themselves
into silence.
Although they all cheered
when they were ordered to by the Law
... everyone despaired now desperately
... everyone became beleaguered and bled (because
was the only true self-expression still tolerated).

As for the rest: Nobody dared to do anything
... absolutely convinced that, if ever they did,
they would most certainly be murdered
& slaughtered (and maybe even
all clobbered as badly as
those who had been injured even worse
& worst still... before they too
finally became expired and/or neutered)

All throughout the Land
the poor, poor battered people became
inwardly shattered as
... bloated & foul-smelling grievances went unaired.

Goods seemed to be manufactured (mostly) wrong now.
And evil dark rumors rumored all over the place.

Trees which could not be sheltered from the Red
... all withered.
And even the warmest breeze
became blustered cold & dead!

Both low-lying drunks & high-flying lawyers
were alike disbarred.
Suits once perfectly tailored many times before
now weren't worth much any more
after they went (even just once) un-tailored.

Money actually became un-desired
because people ceased wanting things.

Now most lips blistered.
And most bones fractured.
Speeches once with some meat in'em
were all suddenly very badly butchered.
Tires were all punctured.
And most hamburgers charred.
Bull-fighters were gored.
Umpires jeered. Lions roared.
And closets suddenly became
awfully, awfully cluttered.

Chinese Checkers became checkered
... which tipped the balance of power,
of course; and causing such a great prejudice
and bigotry throughout the Land
that before you knew it
nobody wanted to be black.

Such layered a red over everybody
angered the overly-censored people
until they actually shivered visibly
under the red red red!

Suddenly across all the Land
the best of the best were the worst bettered,
while the worst were quite smartly
battered and floured (yes,

Still, everyone hungered for the day
when they might be
able to get out of the red
and into some rich(ly) uncolored democracy
(with a true blue market-economy).

Even the stars above
very slowly started to become fainter & fainter
(as they all became red-shifted).
While the rainbow (yes,
the rainbow) just wasn't the same rainbow
after it too became varicolored.

Things couldn't have gone on like this forever.
And, of course, they didn't:
The whole chaos of red came to an end
one day when the New Little Emperor
Mao got it into his new little head
to inspect all of the red red red
with which he was trying to bind everything
and everybody.

Terpsicurryend was toe-skating
redsplendently as ever
in his red robbed cloak
with all of his red-painted toenails (about everyone,
like tap-dancing claws) around & around them all
... spreading his thin thin ice under them
that day as usual.

When, "Is everything but everything
bound by my red (and everyone)?"
Asked the New Little Emperor Mao
of his shifty Prime Minister (who
knew full well what the New Little Emperor
Mao always meant
no matter how logically he might never put it).

"Everything but everything indeed!" The toady-toed
Terpsicurryend assured the New Little Emperor Mao:
"Everybody but everybody too."

And to make it clearer:
"Everybody's now strictly monitored. Sire!"
Adding all this on his lively lively fingers:
"Those found to have abhorred the red
have all been nickel & dimed
cornered, and half-dollared,
and then every one of them... dead-centered speared;
after which they were all quartered
(again, bit by bit), and,
after two bits, every last red cent head-severed!"

Then Terpsicurryend wiped
a fatally slimy thumb full-length across
his slippery red red neck "finally"
while all the other countless Reds in attendance

"In fact," Terpsicurryend ended:
"The last living dissident is a certain
Wi-Ixyuzo (so pronounced Weda-Y)
recently Lord High Pronouncer of Sentences
(a previously unheard-of unknown)
whom our glorious Reds posted to his present high post
because no one else seemed at all comfortable
in that high a position,"
ending it all to boot with a tootsy low grin
& a high chuckle (topped
with a toady-toed high-five... of his toes,
every one of them stretched way, way up).


Answered the New Little Emperor Mao to that
(like a little monkey getting into the swing of things),
"Except I don't see him present presently."

It made his audience gasp at the gaffe.
But Terpsicurryend quickly ordered
that Wi-Ixyuzo be brought
before the New Little Emperor Mao
rather instantly
so that the poor fellow might be
personally convinced to turn himself in
(to) the Reds (or to redden himself, as it were).

Out! & Out! & Out! & Out!

... went an especially toady tootsy troop
of red toadies to fetch Wi-Ixyuzo.
And then In! & In! & In! &
In! they all quickly retoed it
--I mean, returned--almost immediately
... dragging Wi-Ixyuzo tightly tied up
to a pole over their heads
(as that was his very official high position
... as the last living dissident)
via yards & yards, and bows & bows, and
endless thin slivers & slivers
of painfully obvious red tape
looking like some huge fat silk worm
a la shish kebab
--And this was the post
to which he had just been rigged-elected
by the crooked vote
of the Red-twisted election-riggers
... just so they could leave him twisting
in the breeze up there.

Everybody gave out a great big holler of horror
because, unlike everybody else there
(including everything)
Wi-Ixyuzo remained unbound by the red
of the New Little Emperor Mao's Red-bound
Little Book of Favorite Fairy Tales
... wrapped up as he was in
a marvelously manly long-
bloodless muu-muu (which was actually
mostly a kind of Pacific clear aquamarine)
very plainly visible even under the red tape
with which the Red-twisted election-riggers
had recently bound him
(to his very official and high post
as the last living dissident
--and which they had to preserve
because if there had not been at least one dissident
... how could they have kept their dissidents-hunting jobs?

Still, the sight
of Wi-Ixyuzo in his muu-muu (while tied
to his post) jarred so much
with the new red decor
of the New Little Emperor Mao's red red Court
that it threw the New Little Emperor Mao
into a terrible cow
and he pounded & pounded
down on his bouncy little judgments bureau
(because it would have been so much more complicated
to pound & pound up
it) while he demanded that Wi-Ixyuzo tell him why
he was the last living dissident alive
anywhere in the whole of his red
red Land yet unbound by the red
of his Red-bound Little Book of Favorite Fairy Tales
(with which he intended to bind the whole world
--eventually-- and everything else beside).

After a long deadly hush,
the ever peacefully wrapped (up
in his long-bloodlessly manly muu-muu
... under all the painfully obvious red tape
tying him to his very official position)
Wi-Ixyuzo simply smiled politely
at the New Little Emperor Mao
and, just like that,
very calmly explained that he, Wi-Ixyuzo,
was the last living dissident yet living
& unbound by the red
of his Red-bound Little Book
of Favorite Fairy Tales (with which
the New Little Emperor Mao
intended to bind the whole world,
and everything else beside), because... if he,
like all the other dissidents
who had 'gone' before him,
also found himself as 'gone' as they... then
a lot, but a lot, but a lot
of those red red Reds
would find themselves out of
their cushy, cushy jobs
... and that had to be about the very, very last thing
the Reds wanted
wanted wanted (since: "State police jobs
in a dictatorship depend almost entirely
on there being at least one
living dissident they can allclaim.") [sic]
Words which the New Little Emperor Mao
had never until then heard
from anyone excepting
the person he now heard them from: Wi-Ixyuzo.

"Besides," Wi-Ixyuzo concluded politely
(although a tiny bit smugly,
for he was most tightly wrapped up
in his quite high official position
of last living dissident):
"I am certainly not the only thing alive in the world
still left unbound by your red red red, Your Majesty!"

O my!... this last claim by Wi-Ixyuzo
really upset the Reds
because it might mean that they
had not been doing their jobs
as well as the New Little Emperor
Mao always demanded
those who worked for him do them!

"And," to farther further all the Reds' horror
(all-reddy every one of them
wobbling & trembling
over their ever unstabler & unstabler woes,
not just merely overburdened toes)
... Wi-Ixyuzo then told the New Little Emperor
"There are countless many other things besides myself
which I could spend the rest of my life
numbering & enumerating,"
(an absolutely unbelievably dangerous thing to say
within ear-shot of the New Little Emperor Mao,
who was known for shortening the lives
of those around him), "And numbering
... things which can never be bound
by the red of your Red-bound
Little Book of Favorite Fairy Tales
--And not even in the slightest smallest bit!"

Well, after hearing this,
all the Reds practically had a collective fit
and right away began to convulse!
rows upon rows upon rows of them
--without rising much, naturally, actually,
as they were already all up on their toes
(as high as they were ever going to go on them)
... like some unrailed human rollercoaster
(and quite derailed besides)...

"Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh!"

"What's this? What's this!?"
cowed the New Little Emperor Mao
now at Wi-Ixyuzo: "What in this whole Land of mine
is not yet all completely red-bound?
or bound-red?! AND never can be!!!"
(Pounding & pounding down
on his bouncy little judgments bureau.)

"Where could there possibly be
in this whole Land of mine! mine! mine! mine!
anything I could not bind to me with my red!"
(Saying he.) "If I so wanted to
--That... I would really like to see & find!"
(Logically sailing the sea to his find.)

And yet, "Why, lots & lots!"
Wi-Ixyuzo told him confidently,
although also politely, even
rather calmly Pacific clear aquamarine.
While ("Horror! Horror! Horror!"), hearing this,
all of the Reds not only perspired sweat
but actually started to really, really sweat it out
(fearing that the last living dissident
Wi-Ixyuzo really might have some overlooked
true blue Truth --up his sleeve--
which they might have somehow failed to snuff out
with their stuffy, stuffy red).

"Just to name only a single one,"
the last living dissident Wi-Ixyuzo pointed (out)
off-the-cuff: "One which just happens to be
right in front of your eyes," (as if
pointing out they were all blind): "Your Majesty!
And one which is not only still now not red, but
never can be made red by anyone
--and also (only) happens to be
about the biggest anything that exists,
being bigger even than your whole entire Land
plus the whole entire world beside
--That is: the blue sky! Your Majesty."

"Agh! Agh! Agh! Agh!" screamed
the Reds in shock (with a scream
that blew off the whole roof
--so full of hot air were they).

Then... Crunchy! Crunchy! Crunch!

All-reddy by then, some of the quicker thinking Reds
had begun to run for it
(around & around the Great --and now,
suddenly roofless-- People's Hall)
in a red hot panic
even as Wi-Ixyuzo continued speaking
aquamarinely calmly.
Although few of the running Reds got very far,
since the Great now roofless Hall of the People
was always kept encircled by ever & ever greater
& greater outer circles & circles
of well armed
& much better looked-after Imperial Guards.

Terpsicurryend was, meanwhile, all this time
... almost inconspicuously going "snippy,
and snippy, snippy" (quite
unnoticed by anyone) snipping away
at the thin silken slivers & strings, threads,
and bows & bows of painfully obvious red
tape with which the much panicked Reds
--under the order & writ of Weda-Y
(once High Lord Pronouncer of Sentences
but more & more now only a stutterer),
with which Weda-Y had posted Wi-Ixyuzo
to his officially rigged high post.

"Yes, the blue Sky!" Said Wi-Ixyuzo
pointing up! with his freed left leg
(the first limb of Wi-Ixyuzo which that toady
tall and now snippy snippy wise
ole Terpsicurryend had cut off
entirely--of red tape), yes:

"The blue sky which is still as blue
and as unblushed by your red, Your Majesty,
as it was always." Wi-Ixyuzo concluded:
"And which always so shall remain!"

And that's when they all saw
that it was exactly as they had feared:
All! all! all... TRUE enough!
(Wi-Ixyuzo's true blue truth
was indeeed the Truth.)

Suddenly it was very clearly blue to everyone
--they could all easily enough prove it to themselves
by raising the eyes on their heads
--painfully, obviously (because
so many of them were still attached
to their old positions--not the eyes but the Reds).

Unfortunately for the woefully wobbly Reds,
not only was it utterly roofless overhead
but, also, not very especially cloudy.

"Ah!" For a long, long time
most eyes there were raised to the sky
above (and, in that cricky stance,
more than one Red there also
was suddenly swept away with religion and prayed).

Then all the Reds hurriedly conferred in a huddle
--most of them kippered & jarred--
every last one of their collectively strained noodles
very, very much impaired & stuck numbly
on a chorus of, "Incredible! Incredible! Incredible!"

Well, sir, they all very quickly found
that what they saw way above
themselves indeed concurred
with Wi-Ixyuzo's observation
(that the blue sky was still rather blue
and, moreover,
likely to remain that blue
for a long time to come
no matter how widely snappy-toed
the red line was towed down here below it).

Certainly Terpsicurryend could find
no words to deny a Truth
so sadly staring them straight in the face
right out of the blue like that
--And no one suggested
for even a back-stabbing moment
that they all close their eyes to it.

However, shiftily & shiftily, Prime Minister
Terpsicurryend slowly & slowly
began to shift & shift aside ever so slightly
--But almost quite suddenly!
he was standing all the way over to the other side
(the side that seemed to be winning, or Wi-Ixyuzo's).

Before the blink of an eye (in real time)
Terpsicurryend had already freed Wi-Ixyuzo
of every shred of painfully obvious red tape
that had once bound him.
Then Terpsicurryend offered to fan him
(for it was getting really hot around him
now that the Heavenly blue light of
Truth had finally come into the Great Hall
of the roofless People...
and was beginning to melt the thin slimy ice
Terpsicurryend had spent
practically his entire career as Prime Minister
spreading under everyone but everyone).

Meanwhile the New Little Emperor
Mao was so hopping mad
that he unexpectedly hopped
right up on the toes of some of the Reds
who (now with Popeye eyes
& dropped jaws every one) had all been
very nakedly left behind by the tall
& thin Terpsicurryend's really swift shifting
(Terpsicurryend being the first Red
in the whole mob of'em to notice
that the once unstoppable red tide had turned),
and even before the melting of a single thin
drop of his slimy ice
Terpsicurryend had already turned around
on all toes quite, quite thoroughly--

"You!" cowed the New Little Emperor Mao
suddenly, pointing at the shaky shaky Reds
(who could do nothing but stare
... on the outs) red-faced
while feeling very, very blue "inside"
--And, in fact, every Red there
now seemed paralyzed right down to their stomachs
with a fear none of them could digest:

"Go! immediately up to that blue sky above,"
the New Little Emperor Mao ordered the Reds
(who were mostly just pinks by now
--all the blood having drained out
of their heart-to-heart deeply buried looks):

"Go! up & up & up!"
The New Little Emperor Mao ordered now
while quite seriously pounding & pounding
down & down upon
his bouncy little judgments bureau: "Go!
And paint me red! all of that wild-blue yonder up there!"

Only, nothing at all happened!
("Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh!")
... All of the Reds just stared & stared
--And not one of them so much as flinched
a well hitched moustache
or twitched even a single unbalanced eyelash!

The only Reds who moved at all
were the ones who then suddenly fainted away
(without stepping down off their still very tippy tippies
--toes, as you know by now, of course).

It was as if none of the Reds knew which way was
up! up! up!
so they merely stayed put there (where they stood)
all ... down! down! down!

"It cannot be done, Sire,"
suddenly spoke the much bolder & bolder
last living dissident Wi-Ixyuzo, as calmly as cake,
and almost as warmly & sweetly:

"I assure Your Majesty
that not only can it not be done, but
it also ought not to be tried," said he,
sounding, all by himself, already like a majority!

While, for his part, Terpsicurryend
was at that very moment
precisely nowhere to be found
inside that roofless People's Hall:
He had momentarily
(although quite suddenly) shiftily stepped out
after the Good Humor Man
to fetch Wi-Ixyuzo a cold-blooded treat
(things in that now overly sunny Hall
having gotten hotter'n'heck for everyone,
and for Terpsicurryend himself most especially of all).

"O Sire!" Implored some of the runnier Reds
(who had by now sensed
the catastrophe that was slowly but surely
dripping down over them,
leaving them all half like vampires
out in the sun too long).

Then more of the Reds implored (of)
the New Little Emperor Mao: "Oh!
It cannot be done! Sire!
No! No! No! No! It cannot but cannot be done!"
So, "We beg you to listen to Wi-Ixyuzo!
O, Wi-Ixyuzo, Sire! Wi-Ixyuzo!"

And, "So?!" Cowed
the New Little Emperor Mao back at'em
(all dark with clouds):
"So it cannot be done--right?
Well, even if my red subjects
are too disloyal to do as I ask:
We'll just have to see about that!"
Said the New Little Emperor Mao
still pounding & pounding
down on his bouncy little judgments bureau
at Wi-Ixyuzo and all his new-spun red supporters
(but not "suspenders")
huddling like rats
around the feet of Wi-Ixyuzo for protection
(Wi-Ixyuzo's suspenders were much higher than that):

"What I see as right
(always) IS right in my eye!"
Cowed the New Little Emperor Mao:
"I'll just have to do it all myself!"
Then he snapped!
at the whole stunned mob: "Outta my way!"

And that's when the New Little Emperor
Mao angrily up & grabbed
a bucketful of red paint
away from one of the nearest Reds
... a fellow who had not yet skedaddled
far enough away from him
(either because of fat toes
or because, having toadily toed-it too close
to the New Little Emperor Mao previously
... while the New Little Emperor Mao
had not yet been as hopping-ly mad as he now was
... he had not yet begun his fleeing).

But, anyhow, with a mighty toess! did
the New Little Emperor Mao angrily empty out
that full bucket of paint
--just as hard as he could've (up!) at the still blue
yonder staring him down from above so defiantly blue!

And, of course, you don't have to be any special genius
to know what happened next:
Any run-of-the-mill genius will have figured out by now
how the whole thing really
but really backfired
(down) against the New Little Emperor Mao.

In fact, this particularly horrid cow
of the New Little Emperor Mao
pretty nearly almost injured his eye
(both of'em in fact), as...

   ... Chaparrrrrrrah!!...

        ... the New Little Emperor
Mao really got it back: all! all! all!
of that goopy, goopy red paint he had thrown
--up!-- at the blue sky above him: Oh yes!

The full weighty splatty Splat!!
of red paint went up (all right),
but only half as spankingly high
as it immediately afterwards
came back down all all! all! (over him)...

    ... Chaparrrrrrrah!!...

... it fell exactly where the New Little Emperor
Mao stood wide-eyed with shock
and, unfortunately, open-mouthed
too smack-dabby-dab dab-under it!
And in no time at all it very numbly splattered him
with every last red speck & fleck of it...

"Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh!"

Although one did have to admit
that in one thing at least
had the New Little Emperor
Mao indeed been very, very "right"
... In that all he saw as right was indeed right
in his eye --both of'em, frankly.

But, one might ask:
What of the shifty & toady tall Terpsicurryend,
who, after all, had been the Number One Red
--The reddest of all the Reds:
Did he, after this
very unfortunate wad of red paint fell!... fall?

Heck... No!

Terpsicurryend, who had (long ago
by now) come back into the Great Hall
of the People after having
literally run down the Good Humor Man (as,
being off-duty, the said unfortunate
Good Humor Man had somewhat ill-humoredly
refused him his popsicles)
... by now Terpsicurryend had already assured Wi-Ixyuzo
of an endless supply of popsicles (any shape,
colors, or flavors that'd please him)
... cold-bloodedly, all on him
... which for the rest of this scene
Terpsicurryend kept peeling of wrappers
and sticking into Wi-Ixyuzo just like clockwork
(with such regularity
that it eventually left poor Wi-Ixyuzo speechless
& very numb-lipped,
because he was much to polite to refuse him).

You might also ask: How did
the shifty & tall Terpsicurryend,
once reddest of all of the Reds,
once the most prominent Red of all,
once the pushiest pusher
behind all of the falling-est falls
(of just about everyone who fell
in the Land of the New Little Emperor Mao
... how did he stay on the ball?

Well, so shifty
was (his own best friend) Terpsicurryend
that even before that splatty
Splat!! of wet weighty red
paint which the New Little Emperor Mao unleashed
against the up & up
--while yet leashed by the leash of gravity down here--
had so much as but touched the least longest eyelash
of the New Little Emperor Mao's red red face--

Nay, nay, nay, way before then...
even before that wad of red paint
had so much as begun starting back down
towards the New Little Emperor Mao
where he stood open-mouthed and wide-eyed right
smack under it...

But, nayer, nayer yet... before even
the very first littlest droplet of red had gone up
half as high
as it was ever going to be going above him, and--

No, even nayest still of all--long, long, long
before that splatty Splat!!
of weighty red paint
had yet emptied out of the bucket with which
the New Little Emperor Mao had lashed out
against the blue yonder above him
--And maybe even long, longer before this
even (or any of it, maybe)
... already the tall & thin Terpsicurryend had
quite formally (and with time to spare
even for a dash of his own little sort of
odd ceremony): yes, even before it all,
Terpsicurryend had long, long since
formally turned a wholly different shade
away from red (and to one about 57 shades off
from the now rather unholy color red).
Including... promising Wi-Ixyuzo
his absolute full political support (and
he was himself already
sporting Atlantic aquamarine denims),
had already ordered the arrest
of the reddest Reds, AND
had already had time enough to spare
to turn down and overturn
several overly enthusiastic "not guilty"
verdicts which had been granted
on appeals to some Red Justices
who had themselves not yet been brought to justice.

Terpsicurryend had also by then turned up
at a few premature executions
(to personally pull the plug)
... and was by now himself leading
the almost united Loyal
Opposition to the Reds--As well as
indirectly directing
the disorganized & treasonous ones...

Yes, by now Prime Minister Terpsicurryend
had had enough time, apparently,
to sign, seal & have delivered
several crucial emergency decrees as well
--Among them one stating that all the Reds had
(mostly) been card-carrying members
of a criminal organization
--As well as many other decrees restoring the old
traditional names of ancient cities
which the Reds had quite over-impulsively
renamed "Fred," et cetera...O yes: "Fred,
Jed, Ned, Ted," or even yet "Ed" (some of
them), simply because those names all rhyme with "red").

And (just as immediately)
Terpsicurryend issued several even more important
official decrees rechristening a number of
his uncles, cousins & sundry relations
... who from then on would be once again known
by the names they had been known by
previously: "Dicks" (all) again now
to the very, very last one of them. And--

   ... Chaparrrrrrrah!!...

That is how shifty ole Terpsicurryend,
Prime Minister, was
(up!) on his toes tall as ever
when he was up (on'em) all. And
--Boy! did he ever have to be up! now
(for this one).

So much so
that in order to save his position of real power
Terpsicurryend was forced to quite 'selflessly' hand over
to the speechlessly humbled
& now very much popsicle-impaled Wi-Ixyuzo
his wordy (unworthily words-only)
title of "First Cabinet & Government Minister"
et cetera & et al

"Blah, blah, blah..."
Terpsicurryend recited (and the rest of it):
"I'll give it to you later," (but
really), "Oh, all... Blah, blah, blah..."
Leaving Wi-Ixyuzo very utterly flat-footed,
humbled, and quite frosty/frozen-lipped.

As for the New Little Emperor Mao
... his head goopily & gooily stuck
in a bucketless bucket of paint?
Well, he cried & he cried for a while.
Then he wiped & he wiped & he wiped
AND he wiped (instead of crying
... after he realized that the more he cried
the goopier his mouth became).

Even a week afterwards
red paint was still coming out of his ear (both of'em)
and right out of his mouth too (puke, puke, puke!).
And he at last had a belly full
of red fairy tales--literally,literally,
literally--At least for now.

He even had his latest barber cut off! his head
--of hair: And, yes, his whole entire head
except for the few eyebrows & nose hairs
still sticking (it) out bravely (those he could savage
--not salvage) because it was
(Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh!
... "Oh!") so very painful
to pull & to pull every last little speckle
& speck of dried paint
off each & every single individual hair
(all of'em) that
by doing it this painstakingly painstaking way
... he was just losing too many barbers,
I dare say: "Oh!"

Crunchy! Crunchy! Crunch!

But: "Brrr...
How will we ever get rid of that many many Reds?"
Asked the now red tape unbound
and even more Pacific aquamarine than ever
Wi-Ixyuzo (by now completely dumbfounded
& always seeming to be dribbling
raspberry-frosted sludge like a fool
every time that he opened his shivering, shivering lips).

For the idealistic Wi-Ixyuzo,
once the last living dissident ever posted up,
was now really, really frostily over-popsicled
by the shiftily toady toed Terpsicurryend
having "selflessly" and "at his own expense" humbled him
down to the wordy, wordy
higher and securer post of, "Theeee
eeeemotionless Principled (and) Primed Minister,
Sole Head of..." (whom is Fully Stretched Out
Way Out In Front of the Rest
of the Other--Wiser--and more cautious)
"Cabinet and Government Ministers,"
(by a snappy long thin neck) in delicate fine print
(and Chinese Latin) et cetera & et al...

As Terpsicurryend assured the shivering
& slobbering out-in-the-cold Wi-Ixyuzo:
unlike all the other hypocrites,
Wi-Ixyuzo clearly never had been red
(even though he might yet be made to turn bluer
at his brand new higher and securer post
--as well as several other shades, later on),
but, "Let us leave all those nasty little details,"
(for) "Later on (a-head),"
Terpsicurryend assured Wi-Ixyuzo
... that his attention should rest
squarely upon some other hotter subjects.

"Brrr--Your Majesty," shivered Wi-Ixyuzo
to the New Little Emperor Mao:
"How can we possibly rid ourselves
of that many Reds?" (making sure
that they were way out of ear-shot
of the numberless Reds still red around them).

"Brrr--There are so many & so many
many many of them, Sire!"
A task which certainly also stumped
the New Little Emperor Mao.

Yet, "Leave it to me," whispered suddenly
the warming-his-hands Terpsicurryend
(for he was an expert at robbing them) all
together (or even one by one by one),
while he shiftily wormed his way back in
between the hot head of the New Little Emperor Mao
and Wi-Ixyuzo's frozen lips)
... and easily out-talking the frostily frozen-lipped
& flat-footed Wi-Ixyuzo now (into
again appointing him Prime Minister)
all over again (and even over him).
After which Terpsicurryend informed his two "superiors"
of the brilliant plan he had drawn up
to get rid of every last single one of the Reds
down to the very last one:

"We shall simply make them all ambassadors! Yes,
we shall make every last one of them
ambassadors to some far away place
(from which they will find it extremely
but extremely difficult
ever again to return to this place)."

A plan with which the now North Arctic aquamarine
Wi-Ixyuzo coolly concurred
--for the very last time (as
that ever-after flat-footed & popsicle-floored
poor Wi-Ixyuzo, once The
last living dissident and--momentarily--Head
of the Government), suddenly became
forever-after frozen-out
and in that shape
was hastily carried away... some say
to Terpsicurryend's refrigerator,
where he is to be found to this day
turning on/off the little light bulb that goes on
whenever one peeks past the door
for a little looksee (and goes out afterwards).

Meanwhile the New Little Emperor Mao
(himself once again warming up to
his friend Terpsicurryend) was soon cowing:
"Yes: Gather me up all the Reds!"

And this he pounded & he pounded
down on his bouncy little judgments bureau
in anticipation of catching the whole mob of'em
--which by now had completely run
(away) like a red spreading panic:

"Gather me up all the Reds!
Every last one of them!"

Even as many & many new barbers were
(all about the New Little Emperor Mao)
trying ever so delicately, and tenderly,
and gingerly (and absolutely
certainly as painlessly as if their lives depended on it)
... still trying to remove every last little
speckle & speck (of red)
off the New Little Emperor
Mao's once spottily shiny crown
--and most especially of all
off his few remaining eyebrows
& nose hairs still bravely sticking it out.

"Oh, gather me up! Gather me up Reds!"
Repeated the New Little Emperor Mao.
And: "Especially
the ones named Fred, Jed,Ned,
Ted, or just plain ole Ed!"
(Now that none of the Reds were
even remotely related to the shifty-toed
tall Terpsicurryend--Who was himself again
the most powerful man in the kingdom,
and second only to the New Little Emperor Mao).

Pound! Pound! Pound!

Terpsicurryend then took off on all toes
to snatch up! in the long, long reach
of his outstretched arms
all of the Reds he could get his hands on.

This he did rather quickly, clearly before
most of them could un-red themselves
& start blending back into the colorless background
that was everybody else's
otherwise ordinary bleak lives.

In! & In! & In! & In! now came
the long file of no longer favored Reds
brought back in chains by the unchained Terpsicurryend
(every last one of them
red-faced, and each one of them
also very, very blue indeed):
All of them daintily dancing toe-to-toe
while balancing themselves (or trying to)
gingerly down (really low now)
atop all of their wiggly wiggling wigglies
every last one of them hurting
& hurting so! (Even worse,
now they were all chained in rows & rows.)
Although ever, as always
... atop all of their a-popping corns
(a-snapping and a-crackling):

Some of the Reds painfully squirmed & twitched;
while others, black & blue,
fidgeted & flagged back & forth
quite on the razor's edge...

Nevertheless... on & on & on & on
their toes (all of them chained
down to the littlest) they yet filed (in)
crushed atop their strained & tingling tippies
(toes, yes) making ever & ever greater
& greater circles & circles
inside the circles of the always better looked-after
and, this once, very heavily armed
Imperial Guards (as there were so many,
many Reds, after all) encircling
the New Little Emperor Mao's
bouncy little judgments bureau.

Finally (in) toe-skated that shifty tall toady
(good ole Prime Minister Terpsicurryend)
last of all, with his devilish twinkle & spark
still quite toe-topped
(and never a snap or a crackle or a pop-o-toes)
... Terpsicurryend, ever as before, still entering finally
because he was still ever as before
the First Minister (even though
--oddly-- he never once stood still at all)...

"Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh!"

And to his ever-shifty Prime Minister
Terpsicurryend (dazzling everybody,
as well as making everyone there dizzy
with his swiftly ceaseless shifting
ever from toe-to-toe, position to position)
did the New Little Emperor Mao now call
... to surprise everyone with the bouncy little judgment
they had both officially forged
as punishment for the many crimes
they had both inspired the Reds to.

Then a king-sized Quiet quite quieted that smelly
toey --and roofless-- Great Hall
of the New Little Emperor Mao which was quite quieter
than all that had ever been quiet before!

After which Terpsicurryend
concentrated all the many, many Reds
into one clump-like tightly-packed center
(at the lowest, lowest place of all)
which he then had encircled with
higher & higher, greater & greater circles
of Imperial Guards...
just so he could speak down to them from (atop
his toady toady toes)
while he stood atop the whole of them lumped.

All! of the Reds shook & shook in horror
grabbing & grabbing each other
(to get hold of themselves)
as Terpsicurryend came down harder & harder on them:

"Although it is not time yet for your heads,
O Reds," (since the Reds higher-ups,
including himself, highest of all
and other Cabinet and Government Ministers
(his buddies), had all escaped
quite untouched by their fall):

"It is already too late for you, lowest
of the lowest Reds," said
the smooth tall toady Prime Minister Terpsicurryend
to the now crackly, popping Reds
(not just only their low corns then a-crackling
but they themselves also
getting blacker & bluer all over) as he pounded them
with his ever more & more colorful Words
--ever by now some Reds having
already turned entirely green
or being well on their way to snappily greening
(although none of them happily), and bearing it all:

"Although you sputter, didder,
waver, although you flap & flop,"
sassed the Prime Minister
& Judge Terpsicurryend shiftily
signaling to the Imperial Guards
to press down harder on'em
(this time every Guard pressing down
very, very heavily on the Reds
extremely well armored...
having been granted a special flat exception
--to the feet-- so many & many Reds) soberly
tippy-toeing after the loudly rattled & reeling Reds
... rounding & rounding them up
into even lower & lower and more
& more concentrated and encircled centers
of gummy terror rounding down (to their lowest
"Oh!") even the most upright squarely floored of them...

"Although you rile, wag, welter
& twitter, although you rock &
roll, pitter, or patter," now
Terpsicurryend insisted really, really (up!)
on (his toes now) fully enjoying himself
again (being over them all & everybody):

"Although you all! all! all!" He hollered
(always higher & higher
above the desperately shrinking & sinking Reds):
"Still will you Reds be, soon
or sooner still (as you know)... all (of you)
will be properly promoted ambassadors now!
That is all."

It shocked the Reds so much to hear this
that they immediately scattered
and, in a flash,
just as immediately turned up again
in grey business suits (every last one of them)
... suede suitcases
and fine Italian shoes (to a one)
ready to collect their official marching orders.

And so they were all indeed (all! of them)
immediately properly confirmed ambassadors
by the low but tall and shiftily thin
Terpsicurryend-led (smaller and toadier-still)
Imperial Congress... which afterwards
immediately called upon the King of the Sky
to be "elevated to the post of Chief Dog-Catcher,"
(a typical parliamentary device).

Terpsicurryend then
appointed (on the spot) a delegation of Reds
to be sent (as proper-enough ambassadors) up
to Heaven (to petition the King of the Sky
to accept His "awesome new elevation"
(down here on earth)
to the post of Chief Dog-Catcher.

Then the New Little Emperor Mao
and his Prime Minister Terpsicurryend simply
kept on (endlessly) sending (up!)
such delegations of Red ambassadors
one after the other delegation (after the other)
until --they vowed-- until
either the King of the Sky up there
finally accepted the post of Chief Dog Catcher
(down here) or they
--Terpsicurryend and the New Little Emperor Mao--
finally ran out of Reds down here to send
in such delegations up there.

And so it was too (the Land of the New Little Emperor
Mao eventually ran out of Reds).
And so the New Little Emperor Mao
and his Prime Minister lived happily ever after
... for the rest of that day as well.

P.S. Only don't think that all of the Reds
were found guilty and condemned
to be ambassadors
for the rest of their little lives, of course:

No, a jury actually deadlocked on two Reds
here & there (and headlocked
on another three every so often).
However, more often than not
... bailiffs always managed to
get the juries off those three
(usually) by means of clubs (cruises,
and carrots) & very heavy sticks.

But eventually--after the Red Chaos (cow)
of the New Little Emperor Mao
--the Land recovered.
Even though the frustrated people did
break out into a very (very loud and colorful) riot
which took a long, long, long time
to be finally all brought under control again.

In fact, many months afterwards
people could still be seen walking around
all black & blue;
large numbers of them tinged a moldy moody hue
still (as well as
over their new outwardly pinkish rosiness)
about their old ruddy dyed.

Mao's Flies Cow.

On still another quite buzzingly mad day...
the New Little Emperor Mao was bouncing one
of his famous glazed chickens
--an especially tough and rubbery one--
alongside a bowl of wonton soup
which he had just about nailed down
(on his bureau of eats)
with a great big heavy mallet
... when for no apparent reason
a fly just up & slipped on his glazed chicken!
Immediately after which it did an uninvited
and quite uninviting double-splits &
Splash!(ed) right into his bowl of wonton!

Well, the New Little Emperor Mao's round little balls
just about popped through his
eyeglasses. And since he didn't have to fear
that making a fuss over the fly would
make everybody else also want one,
he went ahead and made a great big imperial
foamy/frothy stormy fuss
about the unfortunate fly (which by then was
desperately trying to float calmly over his agitated wonton):

"Help! Help! Help! Help!"
The New Little Emperor Mao mocked the fly
over his splashy splashy bowl
of overly fingered wonton
and the itsy bitsy helpless fly
hopelessly trying to teach itself to swim
at the really, really last possible instant.

Alas, the soup waves were way over
two fingers or more too high
for its itsy bitsy strokes (although
there were many, many, many of them).
And, so: "Brr, brr, brr, brr!" It sunk into the soup
--because the New Little Emperor
Mao refused many, many times
to allow his personal Olympic swimming instructor
to risk his life over it
(as, hanging --and not just swimming--
around the New Little Emperor Mao
sometimes could prove fatal
not merely to flies but also to people).

"Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!"
The New Little Emperor Mao laughed
at the dizzily drowned fly.
And for a long, long while afterwards
the New Little Emperor Mao found it all
finger-lickin' good enough to his liking.

But soon a rather unsettling memory
made him puke it all up
(for he suddenly recalled that
only that very same morning he had caught sight of a fly
--and why not possibly maybe even this very same fly
which had gone in for
such an uninvited fatal dip in his wonton soup
(after all, all flies looked alike
to him)... caught it settling down to
a considerably detailed all-over exploration of
a long, long past it banana
he himself had done with eating a couple of days before
and so threw on the floor out there
where passing dogs might've licked it!

"Agh! Agh! Agh! Agh!"
The New Little Emperor Mao cowed
... turning himself inside out at the thought
(and aghing loud enough to bring up Terpsicurryend
running in on all toes
to see what all the Imperial aghing was about):

"Agh! Agh! Agh! Agh!"
Did the New Little Emperor Mao try & try to explain to him
now, very, very moved (although for a long time
"Agh!" was all his tongue could bring up)
... so that, not knowing what else to do,
Terpsicurryend hurriedly sent out
for "ANY agh at hand" (domestic
or imported), erroneously guessing
that perhaps the New Little Emperor
Mao was simply very dissatisfied
over a sudden lack of 'agh'
with which to break his fast over that particular morning.

"Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh! Awhoh!"

But, no, no, no: "No!"
The matter really turned out to be that:
"There are too many flies!"
The New Little Emperor Mao then sobbed & sobbed
& sobbed all over him:
"There are far too many many flies in my Empire!"
The New Little Emperor Mao cried out.

And, "Heaven help us!"
Terpsicurryend started praying (on his toes)
even as he was (on his head)
wondering where on earth anyone
could have possibly unearthed
another mummified old maid like the infamous May
Kneefliez ... who had once, very long ago,
been keenly trying to trippy-toe Terpsicurryend
all the way down to the altar, and
whom he still suspected even now to be sticking after him
(even after forty years or so) worse than athlete's foot!

But, "No, no, no!"
The New Little Emperor Mao sobbed:
"There are too, too many flying flies,"
(while visions of numberless May
Kneefliez old-maids menacingly ticked
about the head of poor life-long bachelor Terpsicurryend
like numberless Captain Hook crocodiles
jockeying for air space around him
looking like gigantic gnats)...

"Or maybe not enough eyes,"
the New Little Emperor Mao interrupted
the old-maid-daymare terrors of Terpsicurryend,
where he shook & shook
--Since now the New Little Emperor
Mao distinctly recalled
how he had also glanced away
from his bouncy little bureau of eats
--that very morning--
leaving totally unguarded his wonton bowl
(and allowing Terpsicurryend to realize
that the subject was not waspy old maid
bugs but many-legged little insects).

"Thank God for that!" thought altar-weary
old Terpsicurryend. However,
other more immediate problems had to be faced:

"Egads! Egads! Egads!" the New Little Emperor
Mao cried out suddenly to Terpsicurryend
--Who instantly turned around
and put through to England a tall emergency order
for a load of their most premium 'egads'
... before the New Little Emperor
Mao could more calmly muse to him:

"Who knows how many flies might have
violated (or even worse, downright
desecrated all over) my many, many
bouncy little eats
during those unguarded moments
this morning! Not to mention,"
(and the New Little Emperor
Mao then fell to tears--just about)
... "over my lifetime right up to --this--
the first instant of my total and absolute enlightenment!
O why, why do we have to be so ignorant
until we wise up?!"

"Agh! Agh! Agh! Agh!"
The New Little Emperor Mao aghed anew (and
puked a bit more--for, as he was immensely rich,
he could always afford to be immensely loaded
with puke's best building blocks).

But, of course, no one but no one
(and not even the New Little Emperor Mao)
could ever hope to puke quickly enough
to catch the toady-toed jumpy & spry Terpsicurryend
unguarded... and at the very last instant
Terpsicurryend toe-hopped aside
for the sake of maintaining his toes high & dry
(since his toes were his life, so-to-speak).

"If that's agh," sighed the still squeaky clean-toed
and tall Terpsicurryend,
"I seriously doubt even France stocks
the best of it for any length of time!"

But, "Too many flies!" Sobbed
& sobbed the New Little Emperor Mao
as if he would never stop. And then
he suddenly cowed up dryly: "I demand
that everybody & everyone kill and find every last fly
he/she (and they) can kill & find!"
(horridly and illogically--although rather politically correct,
in the end, at last as always,
trying to make sense... to tall-toed Terpsicurryend).

Immediately upon which the New Little Emperor
Mao drew up--not threw up--
and signed right then & there
in front of his Prime Minister Terpsicurryend
a quite formal declaration of War... on Flies!

"Before a nation gets into any proper war
(whether a war be proper), Your Majesty,"
the sensible side of Prime Minister
Terpsicurryend wanted to make sure
that the New Little Emperor Mao understood:
"There are--at least--
two fellows any Head-of-State
ought to talk things over with."

Naturally the New Little Emperor Mao
immediately wanted Terpsicurryend to produce
these two so-called fellows for him
(as he was always keen on having all
of his high affairs of state properly worked out).

"Summon the Reverend!"
Terpsicurryend screamed (as he was hoping
that a talk with a good reverend
would convince the New Little Emperor Mao
to be less of a war-monger
than he currently was bent on being).

Unfortunately, the reverend in office that day
was but just only the semi-good Reverend
Greenstamps ("Rather keen on redemption,
you know,"): Alas,
a man all too easily swayed
emotionally by anything
having to do with politics & patriotism,
especially. And who, being informed
that the Nation was hell-bent on war,
apparently thought it his duty
to push the matter right over the brink
and so he threw a small, "Holy
cow!" into the political fires.

Then the semi-good Reverend Greenstamps
saber-rattled a few inflammatory
words of fiery militant encouragement
for the troops; and topped it all off
with a mightily (and totally unanticipated)
whacking of a bug
that had settled too close to him
... with his pocket Bible (scaring the
beejeegees out of all the ladies present there,
including most of the gentlemen too).

This was a bug which--unidentified at first,
and unidentifiable afterwards--
a bug which maybe hadn't even been a fly at all.
(Which I mention here
just so there'd be no doubts in anybody's mind
as to on whose side was the Armmighty whacker.)

"These are nothing but bugs!"
The Reverend Greenstamps's homily went on & on:
"So: Kill'em! Kill'em! Kill'em all! I say
unto thee: Kill'em! Kill'em! Kill'em!"

"Take out the Reverend!"
Terpsicurryend interrupted the semi-good
Reverend's well-intentioned attempt
to de-humanize the enemy,
"And fetch in the grave-digger instead!"

Terpsicurryend felt certain that this next
fellow would surely give pause
to the New Little Emperor Mao's eagerness
to plunge the Nation into war (even if
it was a very limited mopping-up police action
against an essentially primitive
and technologically unsophisticated race of beings).

All eyes then turned towards the top of the stairs,
where a dark and sinisterly
stooped figure stood against the massive crystal entrance
to the People's Hall below him.

Inexplicable storm clouds hung just above him,
making the innumerable sum
of everything around him gloomier
& gloomier the closer & closer he got to one.

Even the bright marble stairs he now took
down (with him) as he took them down
took on a terrible gloom--since he spilled the bucket of tar
he's been carrying with him
with great care ... until he slipped, of course.

Curtains which had fluttered brilliantly
and lightly before he passed by them
suddenly dyed into somber shadows & dark
streaks of blacks, as everything around him
assumed an appalling lumbering pall
where he dragged his corpse-like twisted & pained body
(always surrounded by
an overwhelmingly chilling mist
sucked from the very ground
under every step he plumbed).

"It's the grave-digger!" Everyone sighed
in horror, stepping back
from the ghastly sight
and the flicking flying globules of spilt tar
which the grave-digger's shoes sucked
off the carpet wherever he walked
-as if on a couple of toilet plungers--
spitting wads of blackness
over everybody/thing with every step he took.

The Grave Digger
seemed to push aside the crowd like a harvester
grimly ripping through a field of wheat with his scythe
--Although he never touched anyone
(for they were quicker than wheat on their toes)
... and everybody there made every effort they could
to avoid being touched
all over their expensive clothes
by his cheap... tar. And so,
"The grave-digger! The grave-digger!"
they screamed as they scattered before him.

Now, this was a man whose very name
flew in the face of his profession:
"Sire," Terpsicurryend announced him then:
"The Imperial Grave-Digger
Messier Claude Clodkloppur," while the New Little Emperor
Mao and all those in the crowd
that also heard his name spoken aloud
let out a brief muffled little laugh.

"I," Terpsicurryend told the grave-digger,
"Shall not repeat your name again,
my good Messier Claude Clodkloppur,"
to the sound of another brief
muffled little laugh, "(as per your instructions)."

"But you said it again, Mister Prime Minister!"
The grave-digger objected to Terpsicurryend.

"Yes, but," Terpsicurryend defended himself:
"You must agree that this time
I couldn't help saying Claude Clodkloppur,"
(accompanied by yet another brief
muffled little laugh): "However, do not worry yourself
about it, Messier Claude Clodkloppur,"
followed by another brief muffled little laugh:
"I will not say
Claude Clodkloppur,"
(another brief muffled little laugh), "Again!"

"But you just now again said
Claude Clodkloppur many times!"
Messier Claude Clodkloppur pointed out
to Terpsicurryend
(to the sound of yet another brief muffled little laugh).

Terpsicurryend denied having said
Claude Clodkloppur again, to another
brief muffled little laugh, of course
(apparently just so the grave-digger would insist):

"You did--You did say Claude Clodkloppur!"
Which naturally
was followed by still another brief muffled little laugh.

"Perhaps I did then," Terpsicurryend assured
the grave-digger, "Perhaps I did say
Claude Clodkloppur," and another brief
muffled little laugh. "But from this moment on
I commit myself to not say Claude Clodkloppur,"
(yet another brief muffled little laugh)
"... again, Messier Claude Clodkloppur!"
(Followed by another brief muffled little laugh.)
"It's your own fault: For IF
you simply stop forcing me to say Claude Clodkloppur
and Claude Clodkloppur all over the place,
Messier Claude Clodkloppur,
I will never need to say Claude Clodkloppur
again!" (To the accompaniment of
four separate brief muffled little laughs.)

Finally the New Little Emperor
Mao put an end to all the muffled little laughs
with a brief: "Nobody laughs again on pain of death!"
And that was that,
regardless of the logic of expecting anyone
who had a pain of death to laugh about it.

"Thank you, Your Majesty," said the grave-digger.
Then he bowed so low
that the handle of the shovel he always wore
down one of the legs of his trousers
(and which was not necessarily the thing
that most made him walk funny, or
that made him trip
every time he took a flight of stairs)
... the handle of the shovel down one of the legs of his pants
stuck out behind him
in such a way
that the crowd was left wondering for a long time
just where it was he was hiding the rest of it.

But now the New Little Emperor Mao demanded
to be told just what sort of a bird was
... a grave-digger (for, just as Terpsicurryend suspected,
the New Little Emperor Mao
had never heard of death outside of fairy tales
... and he expected this grave-digger
to now quickly familiarize the New Little Emperor
Mao with the subject
in order to help remove any thoughts of war
from his new little head).

"He's a... sort of... miner, Sire!"
Terpsicurryend started to explain.
Which got the New Little Emperor
Mao quite excited (since
the New Little Emperor Mao himself was also a minor
exactly like the grave-digger).
But, "O, no, no, no, Sire," Terpsicurryend tried to clarify:
"He is a miner... by trade!"

"Incredible!" The New Little Emperor Mao said
to this: "You mean
this fellow gets paid money just for being a minor?"

The New Little Emperor Mao
could barely contain his growing interest
(since he was the richest person on earth):
"I get nothing but yelling and paddling
out of being a minor --from my Momma--
not to mention long stretches in my No No Room.
And he gets paid!" While Terpsicurryend shrugged
(knowing when not to correct his emperor).

"He looks awfully old for a minor, though!"
The New Little Emperor Mao eventually observed
... suspiciously: "Tell us," he said to the grave-digger:
"Are you the oldest minor on earth?"

And the grave-digger reassured him:
"I am the oldest 'miner' I know of, yes, Sire."

Terpsicurryend then hinted
to the New Little Emperor Mao that perhaps
that was simply because the grave-digger wasn't
really a minor too (after all).

Only... the New Little Emperor
Mao replied to this hint
that the grave-digger seemed to him
a lot older than two. However,
"Isn't it marvelous," he told Terpsicurryend,
"How our wonderful form of government
works for everyone!
I have been a minor all my life
and this is the first time
anyone's told me one can actually make money by it!"

(Never mind.)

The New Little Emperor then asked the grave-digger:
You seem extremely old for a minor--Tell me:
Just how long have you been one?"

"I assure Your Majesty I am not one,"
said the extremely confused grave-digger,
half-way to figuring out the confusion
(but unfortunately not all the way there yet);
and inadvertently gaining the New Little Emperor
Mao's respect for his honesty
(as the New Little Emperor already could see
that the grave-digger looked
much, much older than one
or even older than a two-year-old).

"I have only been a 'miner' seven years
this month, Your Majesty."

"Seven years in a single month!
Now that's productivity there, Terpsicurryend!"
(From Terpsicurryend merely a teethy smile
of mostly helplessness.) "Well,
you've done much better than have I,
young fellow: I've been stuck my age
all this past month, at least
--as well as for a number of months
now I think of it! No wonder
he looks much older than his years, eh Terpsicurryend!"

Then the New Little Emperor Mao
asked the head-scratching grave-digger:
"What were you before you were a minor
(seven years all this month now):
Surely you're not going to try to tell us
you're only seven years old!"

"Ah," cried out the grave-digger at last
(pretending he had been shown a path
he might follow to some logical conclusion):
"Your Majesty is quite correct there:
I guess one could say I practically had no life at all
before I was a 'miner' (as you put it).
And so, as Your Majesty says,
one could say I am certainly seven years old!"

None of this making any sense to anyone, naturally
they all thought it was business
as usual in the Imperial Palace.

"But look at me now!"
the grave-digger burst out in sunshiny smiles and song
(almost): "Here I stand before you now
with a great big wife," (which,
as the grave-digger talked on & on...
was making the New Little Emperor Mao
angrier and angrier): "With seventeen
bigger & bigger-getting children;
and with a huge beautiful house--to boot!"

"Stop him! Stop him!"
The New Little Emperor Mao suddenly interrupted
the boastful grave-digger,
after wasting his time carefully looking all around him:
"This fellow's an obvious liar--"
(At which outburst Terpsicurryend's pretended smile took on
a terrible look of it turning genuine.)
"If he had brought a house as huge as he boasts of,
beautiful or not, I'd see it.
Seventeen bigger & bigger-growing children
would be hard to miss
(and less so the bigger they grew).
And a wife to boot (or whatever they do with wives
these days)... we'd hardly miss that,
would we now, Terpsicurryend?!"

O yes--everybody agreed
with the New Little Emperor Mao. And thusly:

"Take the filthy liar out!" Cried out
the New Little Emperor Mao: "Take him out!
Take him out, out, out!
I have never heard anybody ever
being such a shamelessly obvious liar
before in my life!"

"And with a wonderful profession as well!"
The grave-digger was still telling everyone
even as the Imperial Guards were dragging him away:
"I am truly blessed!
What more could an honest God-fearing,
hard-working fellow ask for--I ask you--
Except maybe a plague, or a war maybe."

And it was not until well after the grave-digger
Claude Clodkloppur, all his gloom
(and slews of brief muffled little laughs)
had been kicked all the way out of the Great Hall
of the People that the New Little Emperor
Mao pointed out to all
that he took it as a good omen
that even the grave-digger seemed quite in favor of war.

"Oh, what an infinitely lucky fellow is that one,"
then the New Little Emperor Mao
commented: "Although I wouldn't have liked
to have had to sit down to supper with him
--or for that matter lunch (did you see...
he was carrying a shovel in his trousers):
Betcha he's one fellow
who can really put it away at a table. But,
he was an awfully good omen, wasn't he,
Terpsicurryend? Here we are
planning a lovely little war
and here he shows up as if to show us how much life
someone can pack into even a single month!
Do you realize
that if the fellow lives to be but a single year old
he'll live to be eighty-four, Terpsicurryend!"

The New Little Emperor
Mao's next order of business
was to settle on who
his Prime Minister thought the country should get
to conduct the war:

Terpsicurryend thought & thought
about all of the many & many come-backs
to this really-tempting question: ("War?
Music? Busses? trams? Buzzes most definitely!")

Being so toady himself,
Terpsicurryend was probably a natural for the job (of
going after flies somewhere out to the right field),
especially with the kind of tongue he had
--which tongue, by the way, it was rumored
... could trip anyone
with but a single word
AND no matter from what distance...

Still, like the good politician he was,
Terpsicurryend quickly started tracking down
somebody else on whose shoulders
he might dump this little job
--because Terpsicurryend was even more
naturally wise enough not to want to
have anything whatever to do with anything
that even remotely smacked of chance
(or any other kind of gamble
--which war always was, of course)
... and not even if
it was a war going by the glorious name of
a largely lopsided lip-smacking limited police action
against wee tiny itsy bitsy
helpless hopeless little bugs, either.

"Well, then," said toady tall-toed
Terpsicurryend confidently:
"How does Admiral Kanuddle sound
to Your Majesty?"

"Very wimpy!" Answered the New Little Emperor
Mao. "But,
isn't he the fellow who never bathes
in order to avoid the temptation
of becoming a pick-pocket?"

"That's the Admirable Kabootall you're thinking of
there, Your Majesty,"
Terpsicurryend corrected him
(about the only fellow alive who could hold his breath
and do such a life-threatening thing as to correct
the New Little Emperor Mao, AND
yet remain breathing): "And he is not a pick-pocket,Sire:
He is a sneak-thief."

"Is he now!" The New Little Emperor
Mao cried out angrily.

"Yes, Sire," answered Prime Minister Terpsicurryend:
"By his own admission
(after our police gave him no choice
but to admit this, of course)."

Then, after the New Little Emperor
Mao had handed down to the unlucky-enough-to-
(the only but much-talked about sneak-thief)
Kabootall... one
of the New Little Emperor Mao's usual
substantially illogical substantial sentences,
Terpsicurryend (who by now knew enough
not to correct his New Little Emperor more than
maybe once or twice in a row)
immediately ordered that the Admirable Kabootall
was to be picked up immediately
and taken where he could begin
serving his sentence (illogical or not).

"On the contrary," Terpsicurryend assured
the New Little Emperor Mao
next: "Far from being soft-in-the-head,
the Admiral Kanuddle is so extremely hard-headed
& tough-brained that he once even sank an entire enemy fleet
with his head alone!"

"With his head alone! Terpsicurryend?"
The New Little Emperor Mao marvelled,
unbelievably impressed: "Did he cut it off himself,
or did he have it done for him?"
(as well as somewhat annoyingly intrigued
by the vague notion that he might yet have
been corrected many more times
than just once or twice
by his uppity mere Prime Minister
Terpsicurryend... not that long ago
a mere teller of fairy tales...
and not that longer before that
a mere motley clown).

"Yes, Your Majesty: With his head,"
Terpsicurryend cut it all off
for the sake of getting on with the story:
"Admiral Kanuddle convinced
the sailors of the enemy fleet that there was gold
buried under the timbers of their vessels
--And he even sent over a couple-o-dozen loads
of pickaxes to help them
dig it all up with his compliments!"
(No puns here, sorry.)

"How did he do that, Terpsicurryend?"
The New Little Emperor Mao asked.
And Terpsicurryend answered that
Admiral Kanuddle had got the enemy sailors wondering
why it was that their own admiral was so
adamantly opposed to their digging into the timbers
of their vessels IF THERE WASN'T gold
hidden down there.

"Remarkable, Terpsicurryend,"
marveled the New Little Emperor Mao,
who then demanded to be told why
Kanuddle wasn't hailed in all the schools
as one of the greatest naval heroes in history.

"Because," Terpsicurryend informed him sadly:
"Unfortunately, Admiral Kanuddle
was too convincing for his own good
and lost his own fleet when his own sailors
jumped ship to help the enemy sailors
dig up the gold buried under their ships
--The enemy's Admiral was then able to swim over
to our Admiral Kanuddle's fleet
and single-handedly captured Admiral Kanuddle
and all his ships right out from under him
--One moment Admiral Kanuddle was high & dry
sobbing on his bridge, and next moment
he was all wet
& swimming for his life like a frog."

"Don't you mean 'swimming like a frog
for his life,' Terpsicurryend?"
The New Little Emperor Mao asked
(noting that none of his biology textbooks
had ever described frogs
swimming for Admiral Knuddle's life).

"Well," replied Terpsicurryend,
with a shrug, "either way
... it kept him out of the history books."

In any case, "I don't think that trick
would work on flies!" The New
Little Emperor Mao then mused. And that
was the end of Admiral Kanuddle's career
(as an admiral:

"He spent many years more swimming
at the seaquarium," said
Terpsicurryend, "Much to the puzzlement of its patrons
--As well as their admiration,
for he always insisted on
going down in his full admiral's uniform
(and he had earned tons of medals...
which eventually led to his retiring unexpectedly
one day right in the middle of a performance, by the way).

So, "How about Bob Gabanga, then?"
The New Little Emperor Mao proposed
afterwards: "Whenever Bob Gabanga shows up
I am always overwhelmed
by an impulse to hug him!"
Gushed he: "Bob Gabanga! Bob Gabanga! Just
the mere mention of his name is enough
to send me rushing to his kitchen where
he fabricates those marvelous
world-famous oversized ga'bangers." [His
commercial name having been fashioned
from "gag bangers" ... so big they were.]

"Ah! Yes, Your Majesty,"
Terpsicurryend added skeptically: "But,
do we really want our armies led
by someone so lovable? No! Sire. Besides,
Bob Gabanga is much too busy
making those wonderful oversized Gabanga Bangers
of his (and which, bearing his name,
make everybody so love him). He is essential
to the National Interest
right where he is right now... whipping up
all those fabulous
world-famous Bob Gabanga Bangers."

"Well, that's all right then!"
The New Little Emperor Mao agreed.
"But what a shame:
I have always really but really loved them!"

"I think we should try to get
a person with some war experience,"
Terpsicurryend insisted: "Now, I have it on good authority
that we could get our hands
on the body of General Viruskofcoff
from the Russians very cheaply now."

"The Russians haven't run out of wars,
have they Terpsicurryend?"

"The Russians never run out of wars,
Sire," Terpsicurryend assured
the New Little Emperor Mao: "But
I hear they've run out of patience with Viruskofcoff."

"Old General Viruskofcoff?"
The New Little Emperor Mao marvelled,
as if he had never heard of him:
"But, is he still alive, Terpsicurryend?!"

"But of course he isn't, Your Majesty!"
Terpsicurryend assured him:
"If he were alive it would cost us dearly.
I was thinking that perhaps we could
prop up his body
with a broomstick or something
and have him lead the war for us from that position
(I hear it worked with el Cid)."

"My bookie?"

"No, Sire, that was a different el Sid."

Then, "No to Viruskofcoff!" Apparently
the New Little Emperor Mao
wanted a livelier general to lead his War on Flies.

"How about General Viruskofcoff the Fifth then?
Old Viruskofcoff's grandson,"
proposed Terpsicurryend: "He's still alive."

"What's the good word on the grandson?"
The New Little Emperor Mao
asked Terpsicurryend;
who assured him that General Viruskofcoff the Fifth
had been the toast of Paris
ever since he had moved back to Russia from Paris.

"Is that good, Terpsicurryend?"
The New Little Emperor Mao said to that:
"I mean, anybody with enough bread
can be the toast of Paris--Isn't that
rather... a crummy reputation
to have, Terpsicurryend?"

"Think about it, Sire," Terpsicurryend replied:
"General Viruskofcoff the Fifth
can be had very cheaply now."

"I don't think I'd want anyone
leading my armies who can be
had so easily, Terpsicurryend.
Although his price tag certainly makes him
attractive indeed. However," the New Little Emperor
Mao then asked Terpsicurryend,
"if he is but Old Viruskofcoff's grandson,
shouldn't he be the Third?
I mean: Why is this Viruskofcoff... a fifth?"

"He's a bit punchy, Your Majesty,"
Terpsicurryend explained:
"Every now & again
he goes a few rounds with Comrade Vodka, and--"

"Isn't that  what we need,"
the New Little Emperor Mao interrupted
his Prime Minister when he heard this:
"A fighter? What commends him best?"

Terpsicurryend searched the General's biography,
and then: "It says here
that he never goes to the zoo
without bringing along with him a bag of his own feces
in case he monkeys start anything."

"That sounds like our man, all right,"
said the New Little Emperor Mao:
"A fellow who is always prepared for anything."

"In any case," Terpsicurryend assured him
General Viruskofcoff the Fifth was
--every three days or so--
a reasonably sober fighter too.

"To your knowledge, Terpsicurryend
... has he won any wars?"

"None so far, Your Majesty,"
Terpsicurryend was happy to report:
"But I heard that he has survived
in Moscow for years on rubbles
--Anybody who can do that
can certainly win a little thing like a war!"

"Sold!" And then it was only a matter of
how soon General Viruskofcoff
the Fifth could join them--

"Either on the fifth or on the first
of the fifths (to reach him) I suspect,"
Terpsicurryend tried to figure it:
"Since he's coming here straight from Moscow
he will probably take a lot of defrosting
--Let's make it the second fifth at least.
Meanwhile," proposed Terpsicurryend:
"Until Viruskofcoff the Fifth gets here,
we'll put Corporal Flikaflay in charge of the war."

"Freak a flay did you say, Terpsicurryend?"
The New Little Emperor Mao asked.
"Ah!" But, no, Terpsicurryend had said Flickaflay:

"Sire: Flickaflay."

"So it's not flick a fly then, Terpsicurryend?"

"Aye, aye, aye..."  Terpsicurryend replied.

"I then? Dear Terpsicurryend:
Then it IS freak a fly, is it not?
Flick a fly?" (Flickaflay, Flickaflay.)
"Flick a flay? And it's not flick a fly?"
(Aye, aye, aye.) "Aye say you
Terpsicurryend? That it IS flick a fly?"

"It is not! Flickaflay!" Terpsicurryend replied.

And the New Little Emperor Mao yet insisted:
"If it's not freak a flay." That, "It IS flick a fly?"

"But it IS Flickaflay! Flickaflay! Flickaflay!"

"If it is flick a flay--Why, oh why do you say
it that way... when I say Flickafly?"

"It's not I who now say that is it flick a fly.
No, not I, I, I, I."

"But you just said flick a fly, Terpsicurryend,
and it's not! Then you're all I, I, I."

"Yes, O sire: I said indeed that it's I.
But it's not flick a fly --Truly,
it is still Flickaflay! Flickaflay twill be
always! And not: flick a fly"

"Terpsicurryend, if it's not flick a fly,
then it IS fricassee?"

"I, I, I, Sire: I, I, I, I...!!!"

"Well, then have it you way, Terpsicurryend:
Let it be fricassee! fricassee! fricassee!"

[C'mon, you knew this mess'd
eventually end up in a fricassee.]

And so it went on for a long, long, long, time
(with their war planning):

"Flickaflay!" & "Flick a fly!"

[Editor's Note: No, no, no no! This is, like,
so totally unbelievable--Everybody
knows how hard it would be for the Chinese
to pronounce, "flick a fly!"]

& "Flick a fly!" & "Flickaflay!"
... even as the flies themselves were buzzing
the field of battle (which
in this case included garbage & dust bins
(here & abroad),
and dumps, and all manner of disgusting
places and addresses).

"What do you think we ought to use
to concentrate the enemy flies
where we can get at them properly?"
The New Little Emperor Mao asked Terpsicurryend
once they received word that
General Viruskofcoff the Fifth had been
properly expelled from Moscow.

"Poo-poo!" Terpsicurryend said at once,
and without hesitation.

This disappointed the New Little Emperor
Mao, who had been
thinking more along the lines of
rotten Gabanga bangers. But, "Poo-poo,
poo-poo, poo-poo! Sire." Terpsicurryend insisted,
standing firmly on his poo-poo.

"We're out of rotten Gabanga bangers
again, aren't we?"
The New Little Emperor Mao asked
skeptically: "That's it isn't it?"
Since all Gabanga bangers
--even the worst of them-- were very dear
to the New Little Emperor Mao.
And so said he now to his Prime Minister Terpsicurryend.

"That's just the problem, Sire,"
Terpsicurryend replied: "Gabanga's bangers
are simply too dear to use on the one hand,
while poo-poo's a lot cheaper
on the other hand. Not to mention the fact that
there always seems to be a lot more of it around--"

"And so," Terpsicurryend was soon admonishing
the Imperial Armies: "We're off!"
Congratulating every solder in line
for a fly-swatter and a handful of poop
(and taking the opportunity to explain to them
that these were fly-swatters and not spatulas).

"Sire," finally Corporal Flikaflah
(as that was his name, after all) said
in his usual loud voice, for he had grown terribly obese
on all the country's war-planning
and was famished to start in on the war (proper),
chomping at the bit to fight the flies:
"Are we going to talk the enemy to death,
or are we going to grab a handful of poo-poo
and fling it at them like men? If we're
gonna talk about it let's talk about it; but
if we're gonna do it let's get it done already!
Folks," he told everybody else,
"these guys are just gonna do
what they've been doing all along--And that's
just talk about it. See if I'm wrong about this?"
And he would have said more
but, suddenly:

"Okay, men!" Terpsicurryend quickly seconded
the Corporal (surprising him
so much it's a wonder
he didn't fall down dead on the spot):
"Each one of you now has his fly-swatter
and his handful of poo-poo,
so let's hit the road!" (Immediately after which
Terpsicurryend had to organize
a great big clean up of the road
--since it was impossible for the Army to use it for its march
against the enemy with all that poo-poo on it.)

Only then could the thousands upon thousands
of hastily improvised swat teams
(of peasants) chase themselves silly
up & down every front street & back alley
they could come up on or go down with...
all over the Land of the New Little Emperor Mao
waving their thousands upon thousands
of fly-swatters with the one arm (and,
to attract flies, every one of them
also went about flicking something
truly disgusting... which they were all
made to carry with their other one arm
each) in a quite mad, mad stir
(and with so very little training that,
to their regret, many of them swatted the poo-poo
before they even got to the flies).

And yet, eventually the Grand Army began going
after every fly they could find
strolling (especially, since
the strolling flies were easier to swat
than the ones which were on the wing
and thereby out of reach).

Still, for some reason or other,
all the poo-poo they were spreading about
to concentrate the flies
actually began to give rise to more and more
... and a whole lot more flies
than they were putting down.
With the net result that
before they knew what'd happened
... the entire country found itself very literally
buried under a million, million, million,
million times more flies than
they had originally started out with
at the beginning of the War on Flies!

"Call out the Army reserves!
Call out the Navy reserves!
Call out the Air Force reserves!
Call out the National Guard!"
The New Little Emperor
Mao soon cowed & cowed in panic
(fearing his whole country was going to be
conquered by the numberless flies
which his own commotion was hatching);
never realizing
that the very people he had just sent out
chasing after the flies
(and who were now spreading poo-poo everywhere)
... once had held the job
of maintaining everything clean
enough to keep flies stupid enough to prevent them
from multiplying (and thusly adding
to the problem instead of dividing it outright
... or at least subtracting it
from all the other problems they otherwise faced).

In any case, "Call out everybody you know!"
The New Little Emperor Mao hollered in panic
when he was informed that his armies
were greatly outnumbered
to begin with, and were being
even more greatly outnumbered
every time the whole thing was numbered.

"Now we're in for it,"
whispered those Imperial Guards who were
also dipping into the coffee canned coffers
of the National Guard budget,
thinking they had escaped any possible bloodbaths
which the regular Army might have been swimming in
during the War on Flies.

"Agh! Agh! Agh! Agh!"
screamed the armies & armies
of a hundred thousand times a hundred thousand
sad fly-swatter-happy peasant soldiers
as they ran back & forth all over the Land
of the New Little Emperor Mao
in quite huge (really gigantic) fly-crazed mobs
forever spreading their poo-poo
and flicking their busted fly-swatters
from village to village
to village without numbers
... and yet ever & ever
overflowing with never-ending
more & more multiplying & multiplying flies.

And, "Agh! Agh! Agh! Agh!" screamed
even bigger big city swat teams
by the thousands times thousands times
thousands moving & dancing
(like somebody had poured ants & molasses
down their army pants)
... although this was mainly due to
their scratching and scratching
before washing their one poo-pooed hand
instead of with the proper back-scratchers
which Terpsicurryend had promised them
at the start of the war.

But even though, on the one hand, all the mobs
unquestionably did away with
many thousands upon thousands
upon thousands flies, especially
when they could catch them strolling,
and won every battle
wherever they went,
jogging and huffing, overall
the War on Flies merely/only
opened up more living space
for thousands upon thousands
and thousands of more & more flies
to build up their families out of the poo-poo
(on the other hand)
that the Imperial Armies kept flinging about
everywhere they fought,
so that the net results were...
wider and wider fronts constantly opening
for the War on Flies which was every day
(and soon even minute by minute)
being widened & broadened more broadly
& wider the wider it broadened.

Every war bulletin that came from the front
was soon filled with calls for more
& more arms to be raised
in the War on Flies... half of the arms
swinging swatters and the other half
spreading poo-poo (all of which
only allowed for more and more flies to afford
much bigger & bigger families)
... and which, in turn, then called for
more calling for more armed troops,
making for more & more flies
without any end in sight).

The whole thing quickly ended up
spiraling out of control
upwards & upwards throughout all
of the hopelessly infected-with-flies Land of
the New Little Emperor Mao
as if a tornado had ripped up the place
... until there wasn't one spot on the entire map
over which mad mobs of filthy fly-swatting
& poop-flinging Imperial Armies
weren't storming after ever more
elusive clouds of numberless flies (and then
being chased back in the opposite direction
by the same filthy and stinking mad clouds of flies
which they had so recently been chasing
the other way before).

People everywhere soon began dreading the sight
of these half-filthy half-fly-swatting circuses
of wide-eyed crazies coming to their towns
... and dreading it a lot more
than they had dreaded the old
odd occasional couple of flies
normally to be found hanging around
their towns in days gone by.

And not just because the armies
of fly-fighters bought their own
tons and tons of poo-poo wherever they went,
either (although
that is certainly enough
of a good reason for it right there)
... but also because the fly-fighting Imperial Armies
usually overly-excited the native flies
(which the local folk had managed to domesticate
through centuries of apathy)
and by the time the fly-fighters left their towns
they usually left behind
not just tons & tons of the worst
imported poo-poo imaginable
but also endless zillions
& zillions of the worst sort of
imported flies married to their own local flies!

This not only left them with more flies
than they had originally started out with,
but the flies which now remained with them
ended up possessed
of such outgoing personalities
that it took the local people
many, many weeks thereafter of playing
P.C.C.P. (pronounced pissy-sippy, of course,
or "Politically Correct & Conscientious Political")
speeches over loudspeakers
to get the darn flies calmed back down
to their normal near-somnambulistic
introspective nature once again
(after the crazy War on Flies circus
had stormed through their communities
and finally gone on their way to somewhere else).

In fact, between the din, dust
cloud & all the poop
flying everywhere,
it was nearly impossible to tell
where the latest swarm-o-people ended
and the next mob-o-flies began.
So that in no time at all
the people of the Land
of the New Little Emperor Mao were
as thoroughly pooped
as if the New Little Emperor Mao's war had been
against them
instead of against their flies.

Everybody was forced to become so
fly-swatter-and-poo-poo-swinging happy, O
so crazily carried away with the icky mad
aspects of pooping & popping flies
that when the Government finally ran out
of G.I. (Government Issue) poo-poo
(and fly-swatters too) people were ordered
to start going after flies with
whatever they happen to have at hand
--even, on the one hand
... all their shoes, coats and umbrellas, all their hats
of every sort & description and, on the other hand,
even their T-shirts & sweaters,
and soon even their rocks and underwear...
all of which naturally dealt a terrible blow
to the country's tourist industry,
since it is very, very hard to sell tourists on
a country of socks-handlers
with underwears full of flies.

Worse still, the entire Land
of the New Little Emperor Mao was rapidly falling
in the grips of a terror of
anything that had to do with flies:
Too many pop flies were capable of
emptying out entire stadiums
(sending every team in the league
to the showers en masse).

Open flies stampeded thousands
of skittish ladies, young & old alike
... or left handfuls of the more simmered sort
simply kicking about it.

Psychiatrists were swamped
by folks who were constantly being buzzed
by Unidentified Flying Objects, and
by people who were forever being bussed
to other planets (and coming back
endowed not only with greater racial understanding
but also with personally autographed
photos of Elvis).

Soon so many citizens of the Land
of the New Little Emperor Mao had
so many flying saucers hanging over their heads
that a law was passed
forcing everybody to toss teacups into the air
just to keep some balance
in what people were seeing up there.

The anti-flies feeling was very infectious too:
Overnight the Land of the New Little Emperor
Mao came down
with a rather pronounced flies-psychosis:

Instead of going for long "walks,"
people started going for short (in fact
very, very short) "flights" (most of which
required some medical intervention).

Where before... leisurely going after flies
had always been a kind of National Pastime,
now it practically became (with a vengeance)
the National Reason for Being:

Tse-tse flies were ordered put to sleep
almost at once
(even when there was no school tomorrow).

Venus-flytraps were janked out
like so many unbeloved weeds
(although a number of Venus-flytraps did find
employment as dancers
in a certain number of bars).

Houseflies were unceremoniously
kicked out into the street
(where previously it had been the custom to at least
hold a small impromptu farewell dance
all over the livingroom for them).

Horseflies were corralled.
And even butterflies were rubbed-out
by being overly-toasted down both sides
of practically every possible issue
(even at breakfast,
which soon wasn't breakfast any more
without at least one butterfly being roasted over it).

Fireflies were all put out,
naturally (and even unnaturally).
Although they soon replaced dalmatians
on firetrucks
(so many of them were getting on
that it left no room for the dog).

Flying fish were grounded.
Flyweights were mismatched
with doormats. Gadflies
were made into God's
at every opportunity (albeit
now everyone had to have
at least one gadfly for a neighbor).

Barflies drowned themselves,
naturally... in flit (which,
by the way, became the National Drink,
although people themselves usually
tended to stay away from it).

Spanish Fly was given
to a very horny, all-goring bull,
with predictable consequences. And,
unpredictably, people finally found out
that the reason why Rocky the Flying Squirrel was rocky
was what he'd been flying on. (Surprise!)

Fly-bys replaced planes' landing. And
Flynn (preceded by any first name)
became the most hated name in all the Land.

Anything & everything was now a flytrap
(especially ointments for the skin & hair sprays).
Because the air was so thick with flies...
dancers now danced too stiffly.
And nothing was small enough any longer
unless it was a flyspeck.

Pilots became just flyers.
While flying fish were the only catch to be had.
So longs were soon all done very, very briefly.
And a chief was soon just merely chiefly.

Outfielders became fly-catchers merely. And,
by law, nobody was allowed outdoors
unless it was to fly-in-the-teeth-of the law!

Fruit flies, on the other hand,
were soon spoiled rotten.
Even rather common folks became high-falutin
(all holding their noses aloofly).

Everybody, even people with
absolutely nothing to say, started talking
& talking for hours on hours
because it became unpopular to just talk briefly.

About the only good thing
that came out of this whole mess
was that legal contracts finally stuck
(since they were all quickly ordered
to be written only upon flypaper).

It wasn't long, either, before
the biggest fly-swatters were declared war heroes
and cemented into place as great big towering monuments
holding their poo-poo aloft, on the one hand,
and, on the other hand, their stuff-encrusted fly-swatters.

Alas, it wasn't long before fly-by-night operators
also moved into the light of day.

Worse yet, since it is commonly acknowledged
that flies only alight upon filth
(and all things rotten & degenerate)
it was soon more than enough
to have a fly land on someone
to identify that person
as somebody to be dumped (on):
And so, on and on: "To the dump! To the dump!
To the dump with'im!" you'd hear (a chorus
which quickly became the National Anthem
de facto).

Eventually every last living breathing citizen of
the New Little Emperor Mao's
fly-flipping Land seemed to be
destined for the dump while, "To the dump!
To the dump!..."
Everybody had to stand (for) it and salute.

And yet, even amidst this
fly-swatter frenzy, some people
still managed to prosper:
Some of the best swingers swept themselves into
very high positions of authority.
Those burdened with the biggest loads of poo-poo
climbed them to the highest offices yet.

Fliers, of course,
became the highest men of all
in the country (so you can imagine
the number of airplanes that crashed).
Flyblown specks suddenly became specks of all sorts.
And every very flat fat flapjacker
in a fell swoop
was turned into either a Field Marshal
or an In-House General.

Of course, all this endless waving
& waving about of arms
heavy with fly-swatters, on the one hand,
and, on the other hand,
things unmentionably disgusting
(enough to attract flies)
soon began to take its toll on everyone's arms:

Many, many arms eventually became exhausted
and limped right off people
everywhere as flaccid as wet noodles.

Before anyone knew what was what
(or even that that was that)
most arms couldn't even hold a candle
any more (to anything).

Some arms became as cracked
as straws sucked dry;
while still other arms
frizzled like splitended hairs.
Soon many arms started shattering like crystal bats
banging against the walls of Night;
and still many other arms
just gave way
and turned as wiggly as wimp jellied worms.

This was the Great Arms Glitch
... and historians still insist
that the Great Arms Glitch (in the War
on Flies) finally came about
when the New Little Emperor
Mao had to turn all his crooked
Cabinet & Government Ministers
into upstanding fly-swatters
(and poop-pushers) too... as soon as
the country started running short
of other people's arms.

Whatever the reason,
very quickly after the Great Arms Glitch
limped into the country,
the entire Land of the New Little Emperor Mao (which
by now was, in fact, almost completely running on arms)
began running short of arms, let me tell you
--And the more rapid the running, the shorter the arms!

As hard as it is for a people to remain competitive
running only on their arms,
it's even harder still
for a people getting shorter & shorter-armed all the time.

So, as the country became very, very, very short-handed,
what with people's arms dropping off like flies
... more and more resources had to be
devoted to the manufacturing of
more & more arms for the War on Flies!

Official Army Communiques now told the sad story:

"Help! We are running out of arms!"

"Use your heads."

"For arms?"

"However many arms you have
--Yes! Use four arms if you have them."

"We have but two arms."

"Is that in the entire country?"

"Sorry to hear you lost your (other) two arms.
Nevertheless, you fellows better
throw your backs into it."

"Great! First our heads & now our backs!
Where will it end?"

"How are we in the feet department, fellers?"

"Well, we seem to get more de-feeted
than we de-feet ourselves."

"Sir, we regret to report
that the High Command has concluded
it would be counter-productive to throw our backs
--into it, or elsewhere for that matter."

"Actually we seem to be moving feet pretty good--"

"Send the arms, not the feet:
We're up to our necks in the feet!"

"That certainly sounds very awkward
--but it's probably good for keeping your heads up."

"Can't you walk it off?"

"Fear not: Everything's falling off
without having to be walked off, yes."

"Are you getting anywhere?"

"No. We are all littered about
like sawed-off trunks."

"How did you manage to get that drunk?"

"Trees! Trees! Trees!
We are all stumpt without our arms."

"First you were tree trunks
and now you're stumps?!"

"Well, it serves you right
for climbing trees knowing you're so short on arms!"

And that's how it went
... every four of five days
all throughout the War on Flies
as the New Little Emperor Mao was forced
to call for more and more volunteers,
bigger & bigger military budgets, and,
most especially of all, arms & more arms!

"I'm sorry, but I happen to be
a little short-armed at the moment,"
quickly replaced "I'm sorry but I happen to be
a little short-handed at the moment,"
as the country's universal excuse
to avoid getting oneself mixed-up in anything
(especially the poop
which the War on Flies was turning into).

It finally got to where even the New Little Emperor
Mao himself realized
that he needed to get into
the international black market in arms.
Albeit here he got lucky, as a dear old friend
of his Prime Minister Terpsicurryend
just happened to be
the world's biggest international arms merchant
... the infamous Greek arms merchant
Papus Papapapapa!

Well, it was obvious
that the Nation required a steady supply of arms
(and the infamous Greek arms merchant Papus
Papapapapa had proven himself many, many times
to be the biggest arms-supplier
in the entire history of the planet earth
... he weighed nearly 600 pounds). So
the New Little Emperor Mao quickly sent
 for the great big gentleman:

"Sire, here's our country's biggest friend...
Papus Papapapapa!"
And, as expected: "Duck!"
yelled somebody in the audience.

But Papus Papapapapa was not
about to be crushed by a little joke:
He quickly brought in tons & tons of arms,
both long and short arms,
new arms and used arms
(and even some arms with hands
still attached to them,
since they had obviously been collected off
some very recent battlefield or other).

Some of Papus Papapapapa's arms were
very impressively pickled green.
Others were quite admirably manicured still!
Some arms were purple, or orange,
and mauve (and most arms
had a faint odor of formaldehyde about them)
... Papus Papapapapa explained
away the many-colored arms by stating that he
believed, as did everybody else
on earth at that time, apparently, and even as we
do today, that arming all sides
was the thing best helped the cause of world peace.

Most of Papus Papapapapa's
so very colorful arms were biological
in nature, although there were a few nuclear arms
mixed in with the rest
but they were rejected (out of hand)
due to the toes growing all over them
(and not only where fingers & thumbs
should have grown instead):

"Fine," exclaimed the New Little Emperor Mao.
Trying to ask next, "Where--?"

But here, Terpsicurryend anticipated
what his boss wished to know,
and said: "Papus Papapapapa would never
tell anybody where
he gets hold of his arms, Sire
--And," kowtowing to his little master
apologetically, Terpsicurryend emphasized:
"So, whatever you do: Don't ask!"
After which he had to swallow a very dirty look from
the New Little Emperor Mao, of course.

Still: "He's a jolly good fellow,
this friend of yours, Terpsicurryend,"
the New Little Emperor Mao insisted.
"And I am sure we can trust him."

To which praise the toady tall Prime Minister
Terpsicurryend added: "Yes,
Sire: Every time he shows up he has at least
a couple-o-dozen arms under each arm.
That's 26 arms in all; plus 24
under each one of those arms: 624 total.
Times 24 under each of those 624, which means,
obviously, that we can have our pick
of zillions & zillions of arms
every trip Mr. Papapapapa makes to our country
--and which not only explains, I'm sure,
why he is the world's most successful
arms merchant... but as well
the world's foremost purchaser of deodorant.
(It also shows that he doesn't do things

"Well, that's very nice then,"
answered the New Little Emperor Mao.
However, "We still can't finalize any formal deal
with Mr. Papapapapa
because all our Government Ministers
(down to even their secretaries' secretaries)
are out fighting in the War on Flies!"

"No problem there,"
Terpsicurryend glibly said to that:
"I happen to know where we can get our hands on
very cheap replacements for every one of them."

"No!?" Marvelled the surprised New Little Emperor Mao:
"Every last one of them, Terpsicurryend?"
Adding quickly: "How cheap?"

"So cheap," Terpsicurryend replied,
"that they don't even work for cash
--The replacements I have in mind
are willing to accept
a stinking little bit of cheese
as full payment in return for their work."

"Does the cheese have to be stinking, Terpsicurryend?"
The New Little Emperor Mao asked:
"That could mean a lot of expensive processing!"

"That's the beauty of it," Terpsicurryend boasted,
clapping his hands at once: "These are rats,Sire
--No way they can tell cheap from stink."

Straightaway (since Terpsicurryend had obviously prepared
the whole thing beforehand),
they were suddenly surrounded
by thousands and thousands of rats
--every last one of them kowtowing it up & down
before the New Little Emperor Mao
upon their teeny tiny toes each one
of them, as if every one of them had
spent a month or more rehearsing it
under no less a master at this
than Terpsicurryend himself!

"But why aren't all these rats
out fighting in the war?"
The New Little Emperor Mao wanted to know
(as he always remained
a suspicious little fellow at heart).

"They're rats, Sire."
Terpsicurryend explained the whole matter
to his little Emperor's satisfaction:
"Fit only for government jobs, I'm afraid."

And so, "Now," exclaimed
Terpsicurryend: "Not only
will we be able to pay off
our entire Government workforce with
all that surplus cheese
that's been stinking up the place for years
instead of with money, but
we'll also be able to upgrade every Government job
from the currently vacated one
to one with a warm body on it!"

A feeling which was much taken to heart
by the rats, who
immediately broke out in a great chattering of teeth
(not so much in gratitude
of their Prime Minister patron,
nor at being hired on the spot, but
at the prospect of the promised supply
of stinking cheese itself).

"That's the good thing about the rats,
Sire," Terpsicurryend explained
to the New Little Emperor Mao:
"They're not hypocrites!"

But, "They can't applaud, Terpsicurryend!"
The New Little Emperor Mao pointed out.

"The little darlings' little hands
were not made for clapping,"
Terpsicurryend explained.

"Nor for shaking hands,"
observed the New Little Emperor Mao:
"Now I see why they'll make
such wonderful bureaucrats!"

 "Cats?!" All the rats suddenly hollered.
And Terpsicurryend was very hard-pressed
to make them understand that
nobody had said anything about any cats.
Whispering to the New Little Emperor Mao:

"That's the one thing we must never speak of again."

"Sure," agreed the New Little Emperor Mao. And then,
said he to the rats: "You're all hired!" Upon which
all the rats rushed out en masse
to take over their new Government jobs
... without making a single sound!

"They're the best at that,
you know," Terpsicurryend boasted:
"That's why they also make such wonderful spies.
It's a shame we haven't found any use for spies
in this War on Flies."

"Indeed," Papus Papapapapa asked:
"But, how will they know which rat
goes with which job, Mr. Terpsicurryend?"

"Don't worry about that," Terpsicurryend explained:
"Rats have a knack
for getting the best job to be had, I assure you."

And, "In any case,"
added the New Little Emperor Mao:
"Since one rat in a Government job
is pretty much like every other rat in it
... it won't matter much which rat wears which hat,
now will it?"

Then the three of them were getting down
to the more important business at hand
(namely that of arms), when,
before they could get much into the business
of the price of arms, Corporal Flickaflah
(who was in field command of the War on Flies
until General Viruskofcoff the Fifth could make himself fit
enough to take the field himself)
suddenly Corporal Flickaflah burst in
to inform the Imperial Court
that the nation had just won the War on Flies!

"Well, imagine that!"
The New Little Emperor Mao cried out.

After which he ordered that the first
order of business for his new Government
of Rat Officials was to sack
General Viruskofcoff the Fifth (which
the Imperial Guards immediately did,
using a great big burlap sack
... inside which, legend says, the good general
was returned all the way to Moscow,
postage due). While, "The second order
of business for the Government by rats,"
was: "To stage a great national celebration.

"Marvelous, Sire!" Terpsicurryend second
the New Little Emperor Mao's
second order of business.

"We shall have a huge celebration,"
gloated the New Little Emperor Mao.
"With ice cream, cake, refreshments
and an endless supply of party favors!"

And that was when the Rat In Charge
Of National Celebrations had
to put a stop to that sort of talk right there:

Said the Rat in Charge
of National Celebrations:
"We only have stinking cheese
in the National Larder, Sire."

"Well," bemoaned the New Little Emperor
Mao: "I hardly think
we'd get very many guests for
a Stinking National Celebration,Terpsicurryend."

"Never underestimate rats,Sire!" The Rat In Charge
of National Celebrations
tried to cheer him up: "There is no end
to the amount of cheese we can bring into this celebration
--The National Cupboards are overflowing with it!"

"What, already?" The New Little Emperor Mao asked,
in awe of the rats' efficiency.

"Oh well," Terpsicurryend mused: "One would expect
any party organized by a rat
would turn out a cheesy celebration
even if some other fare'd been served."

Following which
Terpsicurryend immediately instructed the Imperial Guards
to throw away his old friend
the arms merchant Papus Papapapapa
the same way the New Little Emperor Mao had
thrown away General Viruskofcoff the Fifth
--And to throw him away
as far away as it was possible for a big fat
guy like Papus Papapapapa to be thrown away.
Which the Imperial Guards immediately did,
of course, much to the soreness of their backs
(and Papus Papapapapa's
own great big fat body especially).

"But, tell us, Corporal,"
Terpsicurryend then asked Corporal Flickaflah:
"However did we win the War on Flies?"

"Oh, that?" Corporal Flickaflah replied: "Well, sir
... quite simply, really:
We merely declared victory and went home."

Everyone was stunned (but
when the New Little Emperor Mao
told everyone that he too was stunned
they all wasted a lot of time looking for a bee
they might blame this on
... until Terpsicurryend ordered everyone
to recover their senses and they did).

"Didn't the flies object?" The New Little Emperor
Mao asked Corporal Flickaflah.

"There was a nasty bit of buzzing about it at first,
I'll give you that,"
Corporal Flickaflah was happy to report,
now he thought about it:
"But then we got rid of all the flies in one fell swoop
by means of a fiendish device."

"Ah!" The New Little Emperor
Mao exclaimed: "Now we're talking!"
And since he and everybody else wanted to know
what fiendish device this could have been:

"We renamed all of the flies 'walks,'
Sire," boasted Corporal Flickaflah,
much to the surprise of his audience.

"What's so fiendish about that?"
Terpsicurryend asked.

"Well," the good Corporal Flickaflah continued: "True:
All the flies are still there--aren't they? But
the rats passed a law
that anyone who says the flies as still there
should immediately lose his head!"

"Well," Terpsicurryend interjected:
"Considering that nobody could object
to the trick without losing his head,
it is... pretty fiendish."

"See! What'd I tell you?"
The New Little Emperor Mao commented
as he shook his head: "I like you a lot,
Flickaflah," he congratulated the good Corporal
... and immediately promoted him to General of the Army.

After which the New Little Emperor
Mao told Terpsicurryend to
have the Imperial Guards execute
the brand new General of the Army Flickaflah
on the spot--Although not on the spot he was
standing at the moment
(because it so happened that Flickaflah was standing right on
the New Little Emperor Mao's Momma's favorite rug):

"Take him out(side),"
Terpsicurryend further instructed the Imperial Guards--

This they quite instantly did...
immediately dragging away the brand new General
of the Army Flickaflah, who
kept hollering and screaming all the way
how he really hadn't meant,
"To say the flies are still there!"

But it was no use, of course:
"I mean, he just said it again,
didn't he, Your Majesty?"
Terpsicurryend pointed out.

And, certainly: "Heavens,"
agreed the New Little Emperor Mao:
"If we have a law that no one can say something
and we permit every Tom, Dick and Harry
to go around constantly saying it,
it wouldn't be very fair to everybody who doesn't say it,
now, would it, Terpsicurryend?"

"No indeed, Sire!" The Prime Minister replied,
inching up half an inch higher still
on his already overstretched toes.
"But, Sire," he continued:
"Whatever shall we do with all the returning troops?
There must be... millions and millions of them!"

"Put it to the rats, Terpsicurryend,"
proposed the New Little Emperor Mao:
"There must be millions and millions of them too.
It's only fair."

"Yes, Your Majesty!" Terpsicurryend kowtowed.
And then he reached into one of his pockets
for a bit of cheese
with which to summon the rats.

Mao's Rats Cow.

"Leave that to us!"

A sudden chorus of Government rats burst in on them
at a frighteningly silent run
(frightening everyone who hadn't even suspected
that the nation required so many
& so many rats to be run properly):

"And so silently!" Someone commented.

But, "Never mind that,"
the New Little Emperor Mao commanded:
"What shall we do about the millions
and million of returning soldiers?"

All the Government rats suddenly ran up the walls
silently and huddled on the ceiling for a few moments;
after which they all ran just as silently back
down the walls to the floor.

"All the returning troops will be immediately rewarded
with very important
Government positions!"
Announced the rats in a high-pitched squeal.

"Can we afford such a scheme?"
The New Little Emperor Mao asked
the particular pack of rats
which now formed his Imperial Government.

"Well," Terpsicurryend reasoned
(after consulting with some rats):
"Sire, the rats propose
that we put all the returning troops to work
on cheese making (which,
seems to have become of late
the biggest concern of the state)."

"And since, in any case," the Rat In Charge
of Speaking on Such Occasions
now spoke up: "Since, in every case,
the Government now pays all its salaries & debts
in cheese instead of in cash,
it will be as if the troops were coming home
... to make money!"

That sounded so sound
to the New Little Emperor Mao
that he immediately agreed
to the cheesy scheme and signed it into law
(by a bill the rats had prepared
while huddling on the ceiling).

"The rats certainly think it's a great idea,"
the New Little Emperor Mao pondered:
"But I wonder, Terpsicurryend,
whether the people be happy with it?
Will it make people happy?"

"Ha, ha, ha ha ha!"
The Chorus of Government rats suddenly burst out laughing:
"Of course it will," they all said at once.
Asking, "When people
wish to make each other smile,
what is the first thing on all their lips?"
They all asked, and answered all: "Cheese!"

Upon which they all ran out of the room
silently like...rats.
And not all of them through the doors, either.

"True enough," agreed the New Little Emperor Mao.
His own Momma had often enough
made him put cheese on his lips
at the children's photographer's.

And so it was that the Land
of the New Little Emperor Mao went
into the business of making cheese
on a level at which
cheese had never been made before
in any country in the world:

All the soldiers returning home
from the War on Flies
were soon slaving away
in the production of cheese (as well as
most of the Flies which had fought
on the opposite side).

And all the men, women and children
in the Land of the New Little Emperor Mao
were soon also doing nothing
but making cheese
under the direct supervision of the Rats
In Charge of Everything.

In fact, right away the Rats In Charge of Everything
wrecked the Nation's economy
by ordering every man, woman and child
to drop everything they'd been doing
up to that point and to instead do nothing
but manufacture cheese.

The only persons benefiting at all
off this cheesy craze were a few fat cows
that got rich off their milk.
Everyone else pretty much went bust.

Now when people complained to the Government
that the water or the electricity
wasn't running, all they got
from the rats was, "Eeek!Eeek! Eeek!"

Even when all they asked for
from the Government of the rats,
by the rats, and for the rats,was
but a simple passport
to escape to another country,
all anyone got for his/her trouble was:
"Cheese, baby: Cheese!"

Overnight Parcheesee became the only game
people were permitted to play
... as the rats not only took over the Government
but the lives of everyone
so completely that every person working for the Government
became known as a bureaucrat
--even if rats they weren't
(and since for all practical purposes
everybody in the country worked for the Government
now, overnight
everybody in the Land
of the New Little Emperor Mao was by default a rat
as well (or as well as they could manage it,
so much bigger than rats as people are).

All the just plain ole rats suddenly discovered
that they were now technocrats.
All the brats and all the democrats
too. (Not to mention
the new autocrats who once only used to be
grease monkeys.) In fact,
all the smartest Republicans were soon Democrats.
And eventually
even the highest-born aristocrats also
found themselves begging for jobs
in the cheese industry
from the rats they had once tried to stomp on
as they passed so high and mighty above them
while the tiny little critters
were playing in the gutter!

More national holidays were celebrated now
that the rats had taken over,
yes, but they were (all
of them) so concentrated
that there soon was only a single one
in all the calendar--And that one
was nothing more than a very cleverly disguised
concentration camp
into which the Chief Rats In Charge
of Throwing People Into Concentration Camps
threw anyone who objected to anything
rats said or did!

Coloraturas quickly became
the preferred opera stars in the Land
of the New Little Emperor Mao.
And poker was outlawed in favor of baccarat.

With time... ice boxed became refrigerators.
were turned into penetrations.
Bullet holes into perforations.
Politicians remained degenerate.
And, "rather," replaced,"O my!"

Orders very quickly became imperatives.
And witnesses corroborators.
Exams became explorations.
And petting always led to scratching.

Everything urgent became desperate.
And, not surprisingly,
the rats threw all snakes out of the country
(most of them rattled ones
... but especially the rat snakes). Moreover,
they also promoted interior decorators
into architects (while demoting lazy bums
all the way down to inveterate liars).

The Police became a fraternal order.
And potatoes
could only be made au gratin.
Suddenly people didn't so much talked as prated
... no longer so much boasted as exaggerated
... no longer so much bugged as exasperated each other!

Frankly, the Whole of the Land
was quickly becoming a bottomless black crater:
Evil-doers became perpetrators.
Sailors pirates.
The world of high fashion
was turned into mere decorations.
Cheap goods became cut-rate.Clocks
inaccurate. Even the smallest business
had to be a conglomerate.

Simple fires were soon conflagrations.
Pals became confederates.And,
while prayers became adoration,
even respect itself was replaced
with an odd sort of sinister admiration.

One could no longer walk by oneself
into a restaurant
because by law
everyone had to have separate checks.

Folks floored flat with a fever
were soon forced to run a temperature
in no time at all. And, overnight,
practically any "thing"
might be referred to as an apparatus!

Naturally, folks became extremely frustrated,
but what could they do?
By law all they could show the rats
was gratitude!
Now people did not count at all
(they were simply enumerated)
... even if they still had to take their shoes off
to go past ten (morning and night).

In poetry, alliteration replaced the rhyme.
While in the streets,
alterations became so common
that it was now against the law
to wear anything off the rack!

Elsewhere... junkyards and landfills
were turned into agglomerations.
Cheese was still grated,of course,
only now so were steaks, fish, liver
and veal (Parmesan)
... every last one of them.

Soon batteries were no longer made,
only regenerated.
And at least a doctorate
was soon required to operate
even a mouse trap (especially).

People still died, naturally
(and otherwise), but
now they had to do it
on their expiration date.

were deemed too extravagant
and were replaced by congratulations.

Cars could no longer be manufactured
with brake pedals
(only with accelerators)
... to speed up the accident rate.

Churches & cemeteries
were still consecrated,yes; but
pastors & grave-diggers alike
were now just simplyrated curators
(though paid like rats, just plain ole rats).

Still... everything free was still gratis.
Everything correct... quite accurate.

Inheritances & lawyers fees
were all prorated now. However,
standup comics
were only allowed to perform pratfalls.
And dog-eat-dog executives became plutocrats.

All the Imperial Guards were turned into paratroopers.
And speakers orators.
Judges were now magistrates.(Although
sprinters were quickly enough
forced to run the marathon.)

Instead of getting all burnt up,
now one was very coolly incinerated.
House painters were replaced
by more delicate illustrators.
Gluttons became immoderate
(even more). And karate
quickly put an end everywhere
to vulgar brawls
(while forcing simple chiropractors
to become bone-menders).

People were no longer knifed,
but deeply lacerated.
Mice, of course, were somewhat tolerated;
although not dogs or cats
(which were soon the focus of the rats' wrath
and... incarcerated).
Cheese makers became extremely venerated,
though (as were singers with a good vibrato).

Taxpayers were no longer screwed;
just slightly adulterated.
Although obfuscations never really ever made it
to declarations.

Clouds were still saturated with water,
of course; but
picnickers no longer cursed rainy days
(they only berated them).

Besides, people no longer attacked each
other at every turn
--instead they now waited to counterattack
the first time the other guy turned his back.

Oddly, the birthrate actually went up
even as more & more men were castrated.
Although, by law, waiters
could only serve ingrates now
(so all the restaurants were forced to
raise the cover change).

Literature at long last became lucrative
(as all the best books
were sold for firewood).
And illiterates actually became more knowledgeable
than people who could actually read
the rats-controlled official Government publications!

Criminals were exonerated if they ratted out others.
And the death rate fell to zero,
as people no longer died at all
but merely quietly emigrated
to the other side... in coffins.

Of course, now no one
was allowed to speak on the phone
except the operator (although anyone
could still pick up the receiver and listen).
In fact, soon people no longer spoke at all
and only iterated.

Everyone ate their rations now
instead of their meals. And,
instead of showing programs, television
channels now only showed the ratings
of the programs they might have otherwise run.

All things pejorative
became even worse, of course.
Although moderation was still admired
in all things,
it was soon by law made obdurate.

Sure, the meek became invigorated
(but quickly thereafter were, every
one of them, perforated
with machine guns for becoming too bold).

Soon artists were only allowed to work
on their inspiration
(not on their actual works).
And people & food deteriorated
... instead of growing old & spoiling.

Gratification replaced self-love.
Rates became all the rage
(in place of the services for which they paid).
Reasons were replaced
by rationalizations.
While the ratio replaced fair play.

The whole entire Nation of once free men
became as if incarcerated.
And, eventually, instead of blowing off steam,
people simply disintegrated!
They either became erratic on their own,
or outright evaporated
following a midnight visit from the Rat Patrol
(after which, those who turned up
... turned up eviscerated).

Madmen became irate; and, in that condition,
were liberated from the asylum
by the irrational (all of whom
had been promoted to new inside jobs).

All throughout the Land
of the New Little Emperor Mao
things sacred were desecrated.

Nothing was ever done again
on purpose, only deliberately.
There were some people who were
still considerate, of course,
but now only so with people
who cooperated with them
by being considerate right back!

One no longer talked; only elaborated.
Birds still migrated, yes,
but now they very quickly dehydrated
while flying over the scorched & shriveled Land
of the New Little Emperor Mao
so overrun by the rats!

Where, instead of doing things hurriedly,
now people did them desperately.
And where colorful clothes once ran
from being washed
... now they simply discolorated in place.

Sweat on folks suddenly became
punishable by death (unless
it was proven in a Court of Law
that it had been perspiration all along).
And then everyone was strictly forbidden
to even engage in breathing (unless
they could prove
all they had been engaging in was respiration).

Even the Imperial Family itself
found itself eking out a meager living
on nothing but cheesie leftovers
from the Bureaucrats
--as even the New Little Emperor Mao discovered
... after the rats reduced his Imperial Guards
to a handful of cheese-nibblers,
and this left them unable even to lift
their imperial arms to obey
or to even protect their Emperor from the rats!

Terpsicurryend himself
was eventually booted from office
and was forced to earn his daily cheese
by serving again as a motley clown
(this time to a rowdy Chorus of rats
who very rarely appreciated the high art
of his pratfalls): And therats proved
a very tough audience indeed
... and liked as not to throw half-eaten bits of cheese
at poor Terpsicurryend
whenever they thought his performance hadn't
risen to their high expectations for pratfalls
(and we are talking rats of very, very shot-stature here),
or even if they thought it funny
when Terpsicurryend fell flat on his face
and crushed his nose so it looked afterwards
like one of those fluffy pads
women use for dabbing talcum on themselves!

But... Where was Mao's Momma
during all this, you might ask?

Well, she was half way between
the Land of the New Little Emperor Mao
and the land of the Emperor Next-Door,
under the Tallest Tree in the World
... trying to talk
her husband the Mad Old Emperor down
(for he was very, very high) up there.

Eventually she did come back, however
--Immediately after she gave up
trying to get hold of her Mad
Old Emperor due to bird droppings.
And finding that her New Little Emperor
Son had allowed the whole country
to go to the rats... she ran
like a frightened little mouse (dragging behind her
all she could lay her hands on
--including her New Little Emperor Son
... who just kept going & going:
"Eeek! EeeK! Eeek! Eeek!" ... because
the rats had successfully talked him into
becoming a bit of a rat himself).

Anyway: Off ran Mao's Momma
as far as a hill above the Imperial Palace
... and there she and the New Little Emperor Mao
sat down in a very gloomy mood,
as all they could do there was to look back
at what once had been their Empire
(and now was just another place overrun by rats).

And so, "Rats!" they both exclaimed.
And then they settled down
to a friendly fight over how much
tree shade each should get.

There they were soon joined by
what was left of the Imperial Court
... half-starved former Cabinet
& Government Ministers, Imperial Guards,
and all sorts of servants from cooks,
gardeners, doormen and highly-placed
chamber maids... down to
lowly can openers
and those fellows who go mad
and, putting on tall furry hats, like to
spend the day leaning against a palace
pretending they work there doing that...

Up there did they all sit down sadly to contemplate
how badly it had all gone for them
... until eventually the Mad Old Emperor himself
came down from the Tallest Tree
in the World and showed up at the little overcrowded hill
just outside the Imperial Palace
where the New Little Emperor Mao's Momma
had taken everything (including refuge)
she was able to save from the rats
(including the New Little Emperor Mao himself).

"This is a fine time to show up!"
The Mad Old Emperor's Wife hollered loudly
at her Mad Old Emperor. And
he took out his pocket watch to note the fine time
it presently was (since, even as mad as he was
he had learned long ago
that it was always better
to agree with Little Mao's Momma).

Then the Mad Old Emperor told everyone
that he had been BORN AGAIN
... as he had obviously WASTED practically
a whole lifetime up the Tallest Tree
in the World: remember he had spend 'the rest of his life'
up there (up to this time).

"It's nearly suppertime,"
the Mad Old Emperor announced. And then
he demanded to be told:
"What are we having for supper?"

"Crow," said the Head Cook. A dish which
the Mad Old Emperor actually liked
and assured the Head Cook he was very keenly
looking forward to, actually:

"Hot dog!" Said the Mad Old Emperor
(as expected, having changed his mind)
all of a sudden. Or had he? In any case,
what everybody wanted to know was
whether the Mad Old Emperor finally
ever managed get the little silent acorn
atop the Tallest Tree in the World to talk:

"No. But," he assured them all:
"It was a hum-dinger of a listener!"

And what exactly was it
that had finally got him down
off the Tallest Tree in the World?

"Well," it turned out to have been
a funny little breaded troll
by the name of Fidel Enkaramao
who believed himself
a serious world-wide giant (and had once
been very big on the Island of Midgets
until they threw him out
when it was found out
he wasn't a big midget at
all but a little troll).
And those who could still laugh at this
were given a very dirty look
by Little Mao's Momma.

In any case, according to
the Mad Old Emperor's crazy story
... this little fellow apparently now had the job
of watering the Tallest Tree in the World
(as that was the biggest job he'd been able to land
in after he was thrown out
of the Island of Midgets)... and,
not knowing there was anybody up there
atop the Tallest Tree In the World,
Fidel Enkaramao had trained his hose
up (in order to hose down)
the Tallest Tree in the World and, by accident,
brought down the Mad Old Emperor
--without ever even having to utter a word to him;
but doing so with a great big splash
(which made the Mad Old Emperor
Fidel Enkaramao's lifelong friend on the spot,
of course, given the fact that
the Mad Old Emperor loved nothing
more than to make a great big splash
whenever he landed anywhere)... or,
"It might have been a very windy rain:
One of the two," concluded the Mad Old Emperor
(who was also afflicted with
a terrible memory--he always remembered everything
people wanted him to forget
and always forgot everything
people wanted him to remember
... and if you can recount
a more terrible memory than that
I'd rather that you keep it to yourself).

"Imagine that!"
The Mad Old Emperor's Wife said skeptically.
"But, never mind that," she interrupted
the Mad Old Emperor's story-telling:
"What are we going to do about the rats?"

The Mad Old Emperor consulted Fidel
Enkaramao (whom only he could see
or hear). Then, after a crazy
and one-sided discussion with the little troll
concerning not only the taste of rats,
but who would foot the restaurant bill,
the Mad Old Emperor turned around
and told everyone: "The rats are on me!"
(Although none of them could find a single rat
on him, no matter how thoroughly
they searched and searched.) Then they just dropped
the Mad Old Emperor on the grass
and became gloomy again...
as they tried to think what they were going to do next.

"What shall we do? What
shall we do?" Cried out
the New Little Emperor Mao's Momma
once it became obvious
that even the Mad Old Emperor
had no idea how
they were going
to get things back to normal again.

"Look what you've done," she then chided
the New Little Emperor Mao:
"I leave you alone for a moment and
you let the whole country go to the rats!"
Immediately upon which she promised her little son
that if ever they got
things straightened out again
she was going to put him in his No No Room
for the rest of his life
--Or, at least until he apologized good & proper.

Of course, the New Little Emperor Mao
couldn't be sorrier now.
It's just that now
sorry wasn't going to grate any cheese!

"Oh! I'd give anything to anyone who
could do anything to get this terrible mess
squared away!" Cried out and cried out
the New Little Emperor Mao's Momma.

 And, suddenly, a strange voice was heard
coming from under their feet,
saying: "I can
do something to get this mess squared away!"

Everybody turned every whichway
trying to see who had spoken,
but since they couldn't see anyone
they might blame for the ghostly words,
everybody turned to the Mad Old Emperor
as if to ask him whether it'd been
his little invisible troll friend
... or ventriloquism maybe. But
the Mad Old Emperor just shrugged;
and when he looked at Fidel Enkaramao,
the little troll just shrugged too
(something which
only the mad Old Emperor noticed
but which he nevertheless reported
to one and all in body-talk).

Curiously, that's the exact moment
when the old Prime Minister
(and failed standup comic of late)
Terpsicurryend suddenly showed up again
(rising like a corpse out of a grave)
... right there in front of all
the startled royals & the rest of them
--Only it was just that
the cave he had run away to hide in (after
he couldn't look another lousy piece of cheese in the face,
for his puffed up nose)
... happened to be under the very hill
atop which had taken refuge
all that was left of
the Imperial Court and Family.

"Madam," said Terpsicurryend
as he stepped out of his hole in the ground,
kowtowing politely as ever
(and tall and slim as a snake):
"I think I may have the solution!"

Then Terpsicurryend reached into the hole in the ground
he had just elevated himself out of
and pulled out what at first
looked to everybody (looking at it)
like a dripping dry wet towel sticky-full of fur
... by the scruff of its neck.

"What've you go there, Terpsicurryend?"
The New Little Emperor Mao asked
his former Prime Minister.

"It's a cat, Your Majesty's Son!"
Terpsicurryend claimed
(even though his claim was
pretty near impossible to substantiate
just by the look of the pitiful-looking animal).

"That thing!?" Asked the New Little Emperor
Mao's Momma,
skeptical as ever: "If you're planning on cleaning out
the Government with that thing
you had better have a humdinger of a cleaner
to go along with it!"

"Fear not," Terpsicurryend assured
the Mad Old Emperor's Wife.
And here he dropped the mangled mop of fur
to the floor... and, like magic,
four little paws suddenly popped forth
from the bundle of fur
and, before the mess had hit the ground,
there stood somewhat of a cat
looking like some creature newly arrived from
another planet... licking himself.

"Now, Cat," said Terpsicurryend
to the beast: "There are the rats!"
And he pointed to the Imperial Palace
some distance away:
"It's all up to you now!"

And, well, everybody really expected
the cat to march off,
having been given his marching orders,
so to speak; only
... this particular stupid cat just shrugged
(as if he couldn't believe
there were people in this world still
dumb enough not to know
that cats didn't take orders from anybody)
and then he sat down where he'd been put
with every expectation
that everyone there knew he outranked them all!

"Great!' Cried out the New Little Emperor
Mao's Momma:
"What are we going to do now,
Terpsicurryend?" And everybody,
including even the Mad Old Emperor's invisible
little friend Fidel Enkaramao (or
so the Mad Old Emperor told them)
was at a loss to explain
what Terpsicurryend would do next.

Everyone including Terpsicurryend himself,
who turned as if to go
the way he had come
... back into his hole in the ground.

Ah, but the New Little Emperor Mao
suddenly got into one of his cows
and, picking up Terpsicurryend's cat
and aiming the poor animal at the Imperial Palace
... he kicked the poor animal
as hard as he could in that direction
(which quickly had the cat taking a flying leap
right into his work).

Well sir, no sooner did the cat hit the Imperial Palace
with all the rats in it
than there came out of it a stupendous wail
... and it wasn't just from the cat hitting the Imperial Palace
when he fell, either:
Apparently there must have been a tremendous row
in there
between Terpsicurryend's cat and the rats.
With the results
that, quick as a kick, that one single mangy cat
disposed of all the rats
in the Government down to the very last one!

"My goodness!" Exclaimed the very impressed
New Little Emperor Mao's Momma:
"However could one mangy little cat like that
one get rid of so many rats all by itself?

"Well," said Terpsicurryend, with a wink
as wicked as if he'd been the cat's
very teacher on how to do that:
"That's a cat's professional secret, let's say
--and which secret all of us should respect.
However," he warned everybody:
"Whatever you do: Stay away
from the cheese! And I mean it:
(at least if you want to continue... living)."

And instantly the Mad Old Emperor was told
to pass a law forever banning cheese
from the Empire. Which he instantly did,
adding as well an amendment
to that piece of legislation against
kicking invisible little trolls by mistake
(as well as a second amendment
against doing it on purpose).

"Goodness," the New Little Emperor
Mao's Momma said
to Terpsicurryend: "That
is no innocent pussycat you've got there!"

"No, Your Majesty," replied
Terpsicurryend: "Only, please consider
that if he'd been a pussycat
the Rats would've had him for lunch
instead of their cheese."

"Well, lucky for us," said
the New Little Emperor Mao's Momma:
"At least everything's back the way
my Mad Old Emperor left it."

Which was also lucky, actually, as here it was
that the Mad Old Emperor again woke
from one of his many little naps
and asked to be taken to his Imperial Bedroom
so he could be put to bed there
... as he intended to retire
(from his office of emperoring)
and intended to let his little Son Mao
be Emperor from now on.
(And it was momentarily considered, since
everything an emperor says has to be considered
even for a moment, but quickly dismissed
... in order to allow the Mad Old Emperor's Son
to grow some
before he was made Emperor the next time.)

Turning to his little Son,
the Mad Old Emperor asked him
if he'd been a good little boy
while he'd been away.

"I couldn't have been better,"
his little Son told truth.

"Nor could he had been much worse!"
Everybody else thought
of crying out in a chorus.
(And this was as much a truth
as many there could have spoken
about the Mad Old Emperor's Son,
but they all refrained
from actually speaking it out-loud
... to spare their skin any pain
once the Mad Old Emperor's dear
little Son became emperor again.)

"That is quite true, Your Majesty,"
Terpsicurryend was only too glad to agree
with the future little emperor:
"Why, anybody could have been better, but not he."
Then Terpsicurryend asked the Mad
old Emperor what, if anything,
he might have heard from the Emperor of the Sky:

"Not a word!" The Mad Old Emperor said
to Terpsicurryend, explaining
how the darn little acorn
had been such a good listener that (although
it hadn't been able to do much about his oldness)
... it had most definitely cured his madness!

"No kidding!" Terpsicurryend marvelled at this.

And to prove the thing to Terpsicurryend,
the Mad Old Emperor introduced him
to his new best buddy in all the world
... the invisible little troll Fidel Enkaramao
(who, he now whispered to everyone, was so mad himself
that it made him sane--in the comparison).

"Ah!" Terpsicurryend commented:
"But only in the comparison, then?"

"One must take one's sanity
where one can get it,"
the Mad Old Emperor replied:
"That's why I must keep the little fellow with me
from now on for as long as I live:
If he leaves, I will have no choice
but to go back to being as mad as I was before
... compared to everybody else!
(Something which indeed
sounded quite sane to everyone.)

"Then by all means let's keep him around,"
reasoned Terpsicurryend.
And so it was that the country again got an Emperor
who wasn't as young as his Son
nor as mad as the Mad Old Emperor
had been up to then.

"Ah!" Sighed Terpsicurryend:
"Isn't politics wonderful!"

"Ah!" The New Little Emperor Mao then sighed:
"I sure hope the Rats didn't
redecorate my No No Room
in some stinky cheese motif
or such: It looks like we're
going to be spending a lot of time
in there, Terpsicurryend."

Terpsicurryend didn't like the sound of that.
"At least things will be back to
as normal as things can get around here,"
he sighed (so softly
that only he himself could hear it).

Immediately upon which
they all walked down off the hill
they'd all taken refuge on
and back into the Imperial Palace
with every intention of
living happily ever after.
And some of the walkers actually
did just that (especially
the walkers who kept right on walking
to the next country.)


Now just one thing alone
remains to be done before we're done
with this story: The former
New Little Emperor Mao, once again
just another Mad Old Emperor's Son,
quickly found himself
doing a long, long stretch
in his No No Room
at the insistence of his Momma
... as punishment for everything he had done
and/or failed to do.

And in the former New Little Emperor
Mao's No No Room,
as punishment for everything he too
had failed to do and/or done
as Prime Minister, Terpsicurryend was once again
forced to visit his "favorite" child
every day... bringing him treats
from the Good Humor Man--because, let's face it,
the now powerless little boy would once again
turn into a powerful emperor
(and now that Terpsicurryend was demoted
all the way back to a lowly Fairy Tales Teller
again... he was heck-bent on
once day becoming Prime Minister again, obviously).

"Are you happy, Your Former Majesty?"
Terpsicurryend asked
the dear little fellow immediately after
he read him a fairy tale
out of  the former New Little Emperor Mao's Red-bound
Little Book of Favorite Fairy Tales.

"Sure," the former New Little Emperor
Mao would reply,
after having been read the latest fairy tale.
(And this was pretty much
how the two of them spent their days
in the No No Room.)

Then, one day
after many and many days like those,
quite unexpectedly, the former New Little Emperor
Mao confessed
to his tall Fairy Tales Reader
Terpsicurryend: "You know,
I am tired of being bad.
SO I am going to be good for a change!"

Somewhat surprised, "I assume,"
Terpsicurryend asked (certain of this),
"That this will only be for as long as
you're here in your No No Room,
Your Former Majesty?"

But, "No, I assure you, my dear Terpsicurryend,"
the former New Little Emperor
Mao said to him (suddenly
producing from behind a great big cushion
a black-bound book entitled "Evil").
"You see: I am even studying
"Evil" (that I may know the thing when I see it)."

"Well," said Terpsicurryend studiously too:
"I've often heard it said
that he who studies "Evil" learns Evil"
(weighing the "Evil" book
which the New Little Emperor Mao handed him,
but not daring to take a peek inside its dark pages).

"Indeed," the little boy assured him:
"I intend to find out
all there is to it... so
I may properly prepare myself for it."

"I see," replied Terpsicurryend,
not really knowing whether
future emperors doing all this studying (especially
of "Evil") was really much of a good idea.

In any case, "Evil" aside,
before leaving the No No Room, Terpsicurryend
always tried to make sure
(and always made doubly sure
after the former New Little Emperor
Mao began boning up on "Evil")
... that he always asked the dear little lad
what flavor treats from the Good Humor Man
he'd like him to bring to him
the following morning when he reported for work.

"Mmmmm," mmmmed the Former New Little Emperor
Mao: "Chocolate."
Upon which decision Terpsicurryend bowed so low
to his future New Little Emperor
that he was able to come face-to-face with
a hangnail on one of his toes
which was not hopelessly crooked
(and he made a mental note there and then
to have it fixed immediately
upon his getaway ... escape ... break out
... exit ... from the Former New Little Emperor
Mao's No No Room).

"Chocolate it shall be, Your Former Majesty!"
Terpsicurryend spoke
even as he was twinkling out on all toes
(with the exception of the one toe
with the crooked hangnail at the end of it
--and which he held out
like a sore thumb
while he sneaked out)... knowing by now
that it wouldn't really matter how long the dear
little lad remained in his No No Room
... because the former New Little Emperor
Mao was the only little boy in the entire planet earth
who seemed to age always in the wrong direction (and
the longer he lived, the more childish he became).

However, Terpsicurryend was
already way ahead of the game
(in this game), and
already an old hat at practicing for that time
in the not-so-distant future
when the dear little boy would again prove much,
much too young to rule the state
--and so was again put in charge of it.

But for now...

"Terpsicurryend!" The Former New Little Emperor
Mao asked
the former Prime Minister:
"Before you leave, could you PLEASE
read just one more fairy tale
out of my Red-bound Little Book
of Favorite Fairy Tales?"

And, because the little boy had said 'please'
(although, personally,
I doubt it), Terpsicurryend brought
his nine scurrying toes to a full stop
amidst his attempted 'exit'
from the No No Room
and he then hopped right back
in the opposite direction he had been coming from,
and asked the dear little lad:
"Could I ever say no to Your Former Majesty?
No, say I. And not even
in your dear little No No Room!"

"Not if you're smart," replied
the former New Little Emperor Mao
truthfully: "But, of course:
What chance is there of that, eh Terpsicurryend?"

"Of my being smart, Your Former Majesty?"
asked Terpsicurryend.
And, "I will always be as smart
as you would expect me to be,
Your Former and Future Majesty."

"In that case," (and Terpsicurryend
really had stepped into this one):
"I want you to be smart enough to tell me
why men were put on this planet, Terpsicurryend?"

"Ah," Terpsicurryend fumbled with
the dear little lad's Red-bound Little Book
of Favorite Fairy Tales, trying to find his place
(being smart enough to know
that, with the Former New Little Emperor
Mao's questions, the correct answer wasn't
always so much the right answer
as the one which sounded most right
to the little boy):
"I imagine... men were put on this planet
so they could tap-dance,
Your Former Majesty!"
He finally was certain about it: "It is impossible
to tap-dance in space, as you know.
And none of the other animals here do it
as well as we men!"

"Imagine that!" The former
New Little Emperor Mao mused,
impressed with Terpsicurryend's smarts:
men were put on this earth to tap-dance, and yet
everywhere they must go about on their toes!"

"It's indeed a puzzle, Your Former Majesty!"
Terpsicurryend sweated
in return, tippy-toeing inside the No No Room
on his way to read
that final fairy tale he had been asked to read.
Although he needn't have worried so much:

"You are wise, Terpsicurryend,"
the former New Little Emperor Mao
told his Fairy Tales Reader:
"As soon as I become Emperor again
... I shall again promote you my Prime Minister!"

"Thank you, Your Former Majesty!"
Terpsicurryend replied, humbly
kowtowing (happy that his answer
had sounded like the right answer
to the future New Little Emperor
Mao). After which
he again picked up his fairy tales telling
more or less where he'd left off.
Beginning with,

"Once upon a time..."

Of course, this is where we came in, isn't it! So
this is pretty much where we shall leave now--

(Although if you still haven't gotten your fill
of the New Little Emperor Mao
and his best friend and Prime Minister Terpsicurryend
... you could always
go back to the beginning of the book
and re-read it and re-read it until you puke.)

-- 30 --