Hello everyone.  In a bit of a departure from my usual posts, I offer you some original fiction. while no one else may find this amusing, or even remotely entertaining I rather enjoyed writing it. More episodes will follow!

Tales from Dearth

All people, places and events described in “Tales from Dearth” are purely fictional. Any resemblance to real people, places or events is unfortunate, but possibly accurate. No disrespect is meant, but some may be implied.

In the beginning there was the void. Formless, without shape, feeling, or energy; but full of potential.

Then, a consciousness emerged…a subtle presence that began to coalesce…flex and take action. A source. An origin. Slowly thoughts began to form in the void…thoughts that became actions, forms, shapes…

Then it sneezed, and from the mass of galactic snot that blew out from that god-like nasal eruption, Dearth was formed…

Sunny Valley

Sunny Valley is a place on Dearth. A coastal area that is not actually a valley, and not always very sunny. But, marketing is marketing and the name has stuck. There are four main centres in Sunny Valley – the largest being Coober, followed closely by Shacktown and rounded out by the two small hamlets of Tarville and Mud. The four communities have tended to grow together and overlap over the years, so that in some cases two sides of the same street will be in different towns.

The whole area is organized into the Greater Prefecture of the Sunny Valley Area (this name is meant to be said in an important sounding tone…maybe practice a couple of times). There is a Central Committee of the Greater Prefecture that provides a mid-level of government and bureaucracy between the towns and the Greater State Government. Each of the major centres also has a government, in a form you are mostly familiar with, including mayors, councillors, city clerks etc.

The mayor of Coober was, at the time, Jim Flatter. Almost an unfortunate name given his method for achieving political office: a sum of charming smiles, witty comebacks and a complete lack of knowledge about what the City government was actually supposed to do. Normally, this didn’t present Jim any problems as his council of 6 tended to reliably vote 4 to 2 on most matters, leaving him no need to vote on anything. However today, he had a problem. Two of his councillors were away at a convention for toilet bowl cleaners (a major Coober industry) and the remaining four were known to be in an even split about a rather contentious matter coming to the council that evening. Mayor Flatter would have to break the tie.

He was nervous. The matter at hand would decide the fate of a small wood near the centre of Coober. A small wood popular with local witches, but unfortunately privately owned. The wood had recently been sold to a bombastic troll (and that’s saying something) who intended to level the trees and build a rather garish casino. There had been sit-ins, broom rides to raise money and spell bees by local witches to try and buy the wood. But the troll would not budge, and had made all proper applications to the City of Coober to rezone the land, and build his casino.

Mayor Flatter needed advice. He considered approaching the City Clerk. Unfortunately, as is the case in most communities of Dearth, the Coober City Clerk was long deceased. You can imagine this made it somewhat challenging for City staff to understand what the City Clerk wanted any of them to do, but amazingly the slightest twitch, whiff of breath or minuscule movement of his corpse could be translated into all manner of directions and policy decisions. However, the one thing that was hard for even the clerk’s assistant to explain was how the clerk managed to be early for every council meeting. This is especially impressive given that his office was in the top turret of Coober City hall, and the council chamber was on the main floor, three storey’s below....

No, the mayor could not ask the clerk for advice. In fact, Mayor Flatter felt very uncomfortable and not a little bit intimidated in the clerk’s presence. Sure, the mayor was elected on his vacuous intelligence and artificially whitened smile, but the clerk had been able to hold onto his job for at least 15 years with no discernible pulse. A rather impressive achievement even for the most ambitious of slackers.

Then there was the City Engineer. While he was a cyborg, and not known to have a sense of humour, or emotions of any kind aside from anger, he was able to access each and every ordinance of the City at a milliseconds notice from his impressive robotically enhanced memory. Interpreting the ordinances was often a struggle for the City Engineer, but reciting them was never a difficulty.

Yes, Mayor Flatter would ask the engineer.

Knocking in the engineer’s door, the Mayor stuck his head in and asked, “Hello R3-5 Mike, do you have a moment?”

R3-5 looked at him quizzically, “I HAVE PRECISELY 2 HOURS, 22 MINUTES AND 48 SECONDS UNTIL I MUST DEPART FOR THE COUNCIL CHAMBER. HOW MAY I BE OF ASSISTANCE MAYOR JIM FLATTER.”

“Well now,” said Jim, “I am wondering if you could help explain the City ordinance that is to be altered so that the troll can build his casino on the witches wood property…I want to be sure I have all of the facts before tonight’s meeting…”

“ORDINANCE 3-8-5.167: CENTRAL CITY ZONING STATES THAT …(at this point Jim rather lost focus and began to daydream about one of the younger witches he had spied at the last sit in…he didn’t quite follow what he City Engineer was on about anyways as it had to do with the details of City government, something which his brain categorically rejected absorbing...) SO IF THE COUNCIL WISHES THE TROLL’S PROJECT CAN BE APPROVED AS POLICY DIRECTION.”

“Hmmmmm” mused Jim, “ I see, well thank-you very much, that was very enlightening, I will see you tonight!” Jim hastily departed, with one of his trademark smiles, and retreated to his office to think…

 

TO BE CONTINUED