Thursday, October 16, 2014

EC 432 / 6 Smartass John
Eso A.B.
Smartass John and Crazy Jane
Scene 5: Traversing the Empire of Allelluia
Translated by © Eso A.B.

Synopsis: Smartass John and Rozinante have to cross the Empire of Alleluia in order to get to Sun Mountain. Everywhere man and horse turn, they see Kind Taxes at work: The first of Kind Taxes decimate animals life and the wood. When former woodland is turned into arable land and is used to grow grains, families are turned into bonded labor. When the land is exhausted, King John First Evermore the Kind Tax Collector, turns to printing money. At the foot of Sun Mountain, Smartass John finds an ancient oak, where hundreds of men and women have lined up to climb a ladder to hang themselves. Even so, no citizen of Alleluia ever revolts, because the Alleluia Lottery lets everyone hold a lapful of money for a minute and gives free turnip soup with a dab of sour cream as a consolation prize.

The Poet:
If Smartass John believed
That the Devil’s Own Boots
would pave him and Rozinante
the way to Sun Mountain,
he was mistaken.
He had forgotten that he had to pass
through the Empire of Alleluia
headed by King John First
Evermore the Kind Tax Collector.

If God in His wisdom
created the World a livable place,
with a wood and a dale
where everyone could shelter,
King John First
Evermore the Kind Tax Collector
outwitted wood and dale
and stole God for himself
de jure by way of first making
himself God de facto
with the help of a sword.

As Smartass John and Rozinante
came to a large wood, they heard
the “bang, bang” of shotguns.
Wild pigs, some limping, some bleeding
Some of suckling age
crossed their path.
pack of men blowing horns
and twirling bullroarers followed.

Smartass John:
What are you doing!?
What crazyness is this?

A Hunter:
We are collecting the fur Tax
for King John First
Evermore the Kind Tax Collector.
Beside, these pigs have a nose
for turnips and raid our gardens.

Just then a caravan of wagons
filled with furs of reindeer,
wolves, bears, beaver, fox,
all skinned and still stretched
on tanning racks,
so many square crosses,
passed on the way to Alleluialand.

The Poet:
After Smartass John and Rozinante
exited the wood,
they came to a plain.
There was no tree in sight.
Hundreds of castrated oxen
pulled hundreds of plows
guided by castrated men.

Smartass John:
What occupation is this?
I live by the Baltic Sea
and all mine are fishermen.

A Plowman:
After the bear and lynx
were killed for their fur,
King John First
Evermore the Kind Tax Collector,
discovered that it pays
to cut down the wood
and sow the land with grain.
For every ten sacks of grain that I raise,
I get to keep four,
The King collects six in Kind Taxes.
Lest I flee with the six,
a Super-law, neither God’s or mine,
keeps me tied to the land.

Chorus (right):
What does God say about it?

Chorus (left):
God may be bought and sold
in a democracy.
The democratic majority
overrules God.
It is only the Devil
and a minority who
are opposed to taxes.

The Poet:
Then Smartass John came
to Alleluialand itself.
A large factory
with a tall smoke stack
stood in the centre of Alleluia.
Hot air blew money
out the chimney.
Men, women, policemen,
and bank clerks
were catching all the bills
that came drifting down.
The law, the holy writ
of Alleluia, let them keep
what they could snatch
out of the air.
After all, King John First
Evermore the Kind Tax Collector,
wore the ‘Order of God’ medal
on his chest.

The citizens of Alleluia
were a happy lot.
King John First Evermore the Kind Tax Collector,
Held every Friday an Alleluia Lottery.
Every participant gets to hold
a million airs in his or her lap
for a minute and free turnip soup
with a dab of sour cream as a consolation prize.

Smartass John bought
Alleluia Times and read:
“Last year Alleluia enriched
citizens of Alleluia by a trillion airs.”

Smartass John:
As Smartass John and Rozinante
approached the foot of Sun Mountain,
they met columns of refugees
with empty water bottles
begging: Water! Water!
The government is taxing
even the water from the sky.
It is illegal to save urine
and drink it tomorrow.

Chorus (right):
Having exhausted all money,
King John First
Evermore the Kind Tax Collector,
encouraged creativity
and sponsored Colleges of Conceit,
which drummed wisdom into
heads of fools.

Chorus (left):
Alas, at the edge of Alleluia
next to an old oak tree,
a long line of bondsmen
with their tax bills
in one hand, and
a thick rope in the other
stood in line to climb
and go hang themselves.

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