Copyright 1985, 1986 by Gregory S. Swann. All Rights Reserved. Direct inquiries to CIS I.D

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Copyright 1985, 1986 by Gregory S. Swann. All Rights Reserved. Direct inquiries to CIS I.D. 75115,1341. ___________________________________________________________________________ Why the Spokesmen Wouldn't Speak By Ramblin' Gamblin' Willie Here's an interesting story: The Mighty Whazis blurted something he meant to say with a glare while responding to the Inquiries of the Grand Inquisitor. I wasn't there, and I forget the topic of the Inquisition, but it could have been anything, couldn't it? Exploding rockets or rampant corruption or budget shortfalls or the Moscowimp Syndrome. I remember from video that the Whazis seemed sorely provoked, and, though I don't know for certain what he blurted, it sounded to me awfully like a certain folk-slander generally addressed to a not-present third-party, a colorful expression one can enjoy hearing throughout central Illinois. At first it was not clear to The Inquisitor what was said, but one of the Whazis' many Spokesmen cleared things up right away: he revealed that what the Whazis had blurted was 'lousy snitches', an intended insult to the Inquisitor. This was in keeping with the Whazis' temper that day, so it seemed to placate the Inquisitor. But then one of the Spokesman's Spokesmen made known, under cover of anonymity, that the 'lousy snitches' line was a PR ploy. The Whazis' Spokesmen wanted to make the Whazis look tough for the coming budget battle, so they led with trump. What the Whazis had =really= blurted, this Spokesman revealed, was 'rags to riches', a reference to the success of the Whazis' Grand Economic Plan. But one of that Spokesman's Spokesmen secretly contradicted this: the Whazis had blurted 'holed-up in ditches', a parting reference to the Embattled Antras, for whom relief was sought from the Raging Zeros. But no!, said a Spokesman from the Whazis' 'kitchen cabinet'. The blurt was a prayer to the Allmighty: 'loaves and fishes'. Not only was the Whazis =not= peeved with the Inquisitor, he was wishing upon that worthy the greatest of miracles. The Inquisitor was not convinced. For one thing, he Inquired, what would he do with all those fishes? It was whispered that someone in the camera crews had a suggestion, but a Spokesman quickly hushed =that= up. But then one of God's Spokesman's Spokesmen quietly made public that the blurt =was= a reference to the Lord: the Whazis had praised the Lord for the abundance wrought of Faith and Family: 'rags to riches'. The Inquisitor was almost convinced: the fact that the same report had come from two different Spokesmen was compelling. But then he reviewed the videotape and came away certain that the Whazis had blurted =that= phrase. That he had deliberately repeated the expression one might expect to hear from a tired farmer, when money is dear and grain is cheap, just after the men from Sears have repossessed the dishwasher. Well, how can I say it? The Whazis suggested that the Inquisitor had canine forebears... A Spokesman for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Everything Except People quickly tromped on this suggestion, however. The Dogs regarded the intimation of bestiality as an insult. Or so their Spokesman said. The Inquisitor missed a stride on this announcement. Wasn't he Inquiring on behalf of the Dogs, among others...? So he was taken completely by surprise when a Spokesman for a Senior Bureaucrat announced via the Inquisitor's confessional that the =true= blurt was 'sags and stitches', an allusion to Mrs. Whazis' legs. The Inquisitor had a good laugh over that one, so a Spokesman said to be quite close to the Whazis let it out privately that the Whazis wasn't sure =what= he had blurted, but that it might have been 'Whazis glitches'. Get it? Get it? The Inquisitor was not amused. It would be more accurate to say that he was angry. He had grown accustomed to straight answers to his Inquiries, and make it snappy, mister. In all the Speakings of the Spokesmen, had he gotten =one= straight answer in explanation to his Inquiries? Had he been offered =any= argument to contradict his own conclusion that the Whazis had blurted that the Inquisitor's mother was furry, four-legged, and great fun on camping trips? The Whazis is permitted quite a lot of latitude, actually. And even the lowliest Spokesman has some freedom to Speak. But no one--=no one!=--gets away with =that!= The Grand Inquisitor scheduled a Grand Inquisition for that Sunday, to which all Spokesmen, from the Whazis on down, were commanded to attend. When they were gathered, the Inquisitor looked upon them sternly: was it true? In the room full of Spokesmen, no one spoke... A fire raged in the Inquisitor's eyes, so blinding it seemed to blot out the glare of the battery of television lights behind him. He watched in contempt as sweat broke out on the foreheads of the cowed Spokesmen. He took a secret pleasure in seeing the Whazis squirm in his seat at the head of the assembly of silent Spokesmen. Finally, when the tension was almost too much to bear, a young Spokesman rose from the back of the crowd. This alone was uncharacteristic of Spokesmen, a breed most often found in herds. And stranger still, he spoke above the rose, outloud, publicly, so everyone could hear--and see. He spoke to the Inquisitor as no Spokesman ever had before: with his identity =known=. "Why should we speak?," he inquired of the Inquisitor. "Why should we ever speak at all? You'll just twist it around so that at least one of us gets slaughtered!" "Mister Whazis!," the Grand Inquisitor demanded. "Is it the position of your administration that the Grand Inquisitor is a liar?!" "I didn't say that!," the Melting Whazis pleaded. "He did! He did!" He pointed to the young man. "He said it, I didn't!!" "Yes," the Inquisitor replied. "And he presumes to question the Inquisitor." He jerked a nod toward two beefy thugs. He pointed at the Lone Spokesman. "The White Room." Whazis said, "Allow me." He got up and grabbed the youth by the arm. He dragged him over to the Inquisitor's henchmen. "Listen..., I hope you won't make too much of this. It's such a small thing..." But the Inquisitor was already gone, and the newsboys were already out in the streets, hawking their headlines into Portacams. "Whazis' Spokesman calls Inquisitor a liar!", "Impertinent youth enrages His Holiness!", "Whazis' Spokesman denies link to renegade!"... The 'Mighty' Whazis, quisling to the tyrant of his own publicity, waddled back to his chair. He settled into it, sighing with satisfaction: the 'sons of bitches' issue seemed to be forgotten... Now on to more important matters, like this upstart Spokesman, who had dared to speak. Well, the Inquisitor knew what to do about =that= kind. The Mighty Whazis smiled. He loved the Inquisitor... =W=

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