There is an island, at least I think it is an island, it may well be a peninsula or a land locked continental state; I crossed no borders to get there, nor any sea that I can recall, one minute I was not there and then I was there and once there I thought of it as an island but one without any sea views or any boat to escape by not that I or any-one else on that island thought of escape for there was no-where to escape to that we knew of. We often inspected an unreliable bright place in the sky that constantly changed shape or position and sometimes vanished completely leaving us with little doubt that it offered no reliable refuge and what should happen if we arrived there on a day when it chose not to be there. How silly we would feel and how silly we should look to anyone who happened to be casually glancing that way at that time. And there was not a sea between us and that bright place upon which we could launch our hastily constructed balsa wood rafts necessary for an escape. And anyway none of us could swim and what should happen to us if some tsunami chanced our way and tossed us from our rafts and caused us to regret our foolish actions.
The island is a republic, or at least I imagine it is a republic for it has as absolute ruler a fraudulently elected despot of unimaginable cruelty and sublime poor taste.
We live in crude dwellings while the Emperor lives in a palace constructed from the bones of our dead ancestors, the chandeliers that illuminate his grand rooms are formed from the delicate skeletons of stillborn children, we light our hovels with crude oil lamps that hardly light our hovels at all.
These oil lamps are each contained in a small pink cube manufactured from some strangely terrible material that reeks of fear and whimpers. Each cube, on one facet carries a cameo of the emperor in full regalia astride an unknown beast of his own design.
We have no beasts on this island, the emperors ate them long ago so we are resigned to imagining strange beasts, invariably forged in our nightmares.
We are each responsible for our own pink cube, we must tend the lamp and trim the wick. We must ensure the lamp never falls from it single strand of silk that rots in this tropical climate and must be replaced every hour on the hour, we have no clocks so must estimate the passing of each hour, we are natural comedians in that we have an innate sense of timing. We are not permitted to laugh under any circumstances. We take our comedy very seriously indeed!
The only law that we can rely on states that should one lamp go out or should one pink cube fall and smash on the packed earth floor below then the entire population of the island (save the Emperor) will be put to death. Put to death by whom we do not know but the threat alone is enough to keep us constantly tending our pink cubes (snatching cat-naps and meals (we have no sex lives to speak of) between re-stringing and wick-trimming) to ensure that they remain aloft and alight.
Fuck this for a game of soldiers. We are all going to die anyway, is it not better to die a free man and with dignity rather than tending the pink vanity of a bully and a tyrant.