The Definition of Democracy

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

The king Badwrath was, simply put, imperious. He always wanted complete control and only cared about the responsibility that others had toward him, not the responsibility that he had toward others. None of the people who lived in Goodsville were especially fond of him. One night, as he was reading his book, a servant came up to him and said, “Your Highness, I don’t mean to bother you, but the toilet is clogged again, and, well, it’s your turn.”

“Ugh, again? The plunger’s right next to the toilet. It’s not that hard to just do it instead of complaining to me!” Badwrath shrieked.

“But, Mr. Badwrath, the toilet-cleaning contract I signed clearly stated that you would clean it every other day. Look, it’s right here.” He showed him the paper stating his rights.

Badwrath snatched the paper and ripped it up. “Forget the paper. I’m really into my book. Go clean the toilet.” This is why no one liked Badwrath.

 For years, Goodsville was at war with its rival country. They could never seem to agree on anything. At one point, Badwrath’s precious land was hanging by a thread. Goodsville’s population and wealth were being wiped out by the minute. Badwrath proposed an idea to the foreign leader to perhaps make a deal that would be a symbol of the end of their rivalry and the beginning of a new alliance.

Finally, he agreed to meet with this foreign leader to form a truce between the two, offering to pay a check worth one hundred million pieces of gold for their war to come to a halt. It was his chance to prove to the people that maybe he wasn’t so lazy after all. As he confidently strolled to the conference hall, he was approached by one of his servants. “Your Highness, did you remember to bring the check?” he inquired.

“Of course I did,”  Badwrath scoffed, looking away from his servants. “What makes you think that I wouldn’t?”

“Well, Your Highness, with all due respect, you haven’t been very responsible when it comes to… well… anything,” the servant muttered under his breath.

“Nonsense. I have it right here in this trusty pouch of mine,” Badwrath said.

He arrived in ten minutes, and the leader was already waiting for him.

“Alright, I’ll just give you this money and get out of here, I’ve got a sports game at 4:00,” he yawned. He reached into his pouch and searched for five seconds, and then he froze. His face turned pale.

Awkwardly clearing his throat, Badwrath said, “Um… I may or may not have left the check in my other pouch.”

“How many pouches do you have?!” the foreign leader exclaimed. “You can forget about the deal now. Back to war!”

The word quickly spread. The civilians were astounded that all because of Badwrath’s indifference, they wouldn’t get the deal they were hoping for. Without it, the city would fall apart. One of the people who was especially infuriated by the easily avoidable conflict was Tobias Rosner, an everyday programmer who lived a life just like anyone else. He gathered his fellow citizens and began to march towards Badwrath’s mansion, holding torches and spears.

It ended as any coup d’état would: by assassinating Badwrath. That was the end of Goodsville. Tobias, who stood in front of the thousands of people who aided him with the killing, declared in a loud, full voice, “I now declare this land Peoplaria!”
“All hail King Rosner!” someone in the crowd yelled.
“Oh, no, no, no. I named it Peoplaria because I want to bring the power to the people. I don’t want there to be a king. I mean, we certainly tried having one, and you can see how that turned out. Forget about me. Remember the people.”

“All hail everyone!” the same person yelled.

 However, the newly-formed Peoplaria was unable to function properly. Everyone wanted absolute power. Nobody was generous or forgiving. One day, though, Tobias proposed an idea. He used his programming skills to invent a computer - a magical computer, where you could choose to do anything you wanted to the city, and everyone would get a day to sit at this computer and take control of the territory.

“All hail computer inventor Tobias!” someone told him.


“Oh, wait, sorry. All hail everyone!”

This system of government had officially begun.

 This computer sat on the top floor of the town hall, in a dark room, with a main monitor and a keyboard, and multiple television screens with cameras of the entire city. This would let everyone, just for a day, feel important.

 First, one person decided to make everyone have to walk on their hands upside-down for a day. He pressed the “confirm” button on the computer and immediately, everyone flipped over and walked around upside-down. They carried items with their feet and ran around on their hands. Some people found amusement in it, while others became tired of it rather quickly. But even the people who despised walking upside-down preferred doing that over having a leader like Badwrath. At least they weren’t at war.

 Another person established a law which forced people to yell out “I hate lemons” every hour, on the hour. On this day, one man finally built up the courage to propose to his bride. He asked her, “I decided that now is a good time to ask you something. I need to tell you…” On that very second, the clock tower struck, and robotically, he and his bride both said at the same time, “...I hate lemons.” The woman ran away crying, and the man never saw her again. Most were not looking forward to having to show their distaste for the citrus fruit twenty-four times, so they tried taping their mouth shut, but even that didn’t work.

 The biggest problem that people had with this system was that it interrupted the tasks they did. People were being forced to hug everyone they saw or do pushups while they ate. Other than that, however, the city was fairly normal. It had streets swarming with people, markets with goods being sold, and parks with children running around. Over time, people began to get used to these strange laws that people creatively thought up and found ways to incorporate them into their daily lives.

 This was true, that is, until one day when a crazed man took it too far. He went right up to the computer and typed, “Make everyone fight to the death.” That’s when it all began. It went from everyone getting along to husbands fighting wives, brothers fighting sisters, even dogs fighting cats. The man sat there at the computer, arms crossed, laughing evilly. Over one hundred civilians were brutally murdered that day. At first, everyone thought, “What have I done?” They looked at their hands, wondering why they would be motivated to commit such a terrible crime. Then they realized that this was nothing compared to what happened as a result of Badwrath’s ruling style. At this point, they were desperate; anything was better than Badwrath.

 There was one person, however, who was not content with the way people’s lives were going. That person was Tobias Rosner, the creator of the computer and the founder of Peoplaria. He had yet to have a turn at the computer himself. He checked the waiting list for the people who were going to have the chance to be at the computer, and he was scheduled for one hundred years from then. “I will surely be dead by then,” he realized. “I have to have a turn at what I invented."

He went inside the building and went up the many flights of stairs only to find a guard standing at the door to the office.

 “Let me in,” Tobias demanded.

 “No, you have to wait your turn,” the guard denied.

 “My turn’s in a hundred years!” Tobias exclaimed, flailing his arms.

 “That’s your problem. It doesn’t matter if you’re dead or not. You wait your turn like everyone else.”

 “Listen, I created that computer and this whole system. I should be able to do what I want with it! I’m Tobias Rosner! The founder of Peoplaria and the inventor of the computer!”

“I was supposed to forget about you. I thought you said there wasn’t going to be a king and that everyone was equal here. Wasn’t the purpose of the computer to bring the power to the people in the first place? You’re nothing but a townsperson.”

 Tobias was furious. “Forget that. All the power goes to me! Now get out of here!”

 Before Tobias could do anything else, the guard took him away into the into the Peoplaria Prison. Tobias had broken the most important law in all of Peoplaria: trying to be in charge when not at the computer.

 After that, this system of taking turns went on and on, and will continue to exist for all eternity. Over time, everyone became almost the same, living the same life and doing the same things, except for that one day when they have control over anything and everything.

Submitted: February 17, 2018

© Copyright 2022 pzmit. All rights reserved.

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