Reynaldo and His Tale:
It was a hard scramble, but Reynaldo the Squirrel and his traveling companions managed to climb to the crest of a ridge of hills, blissfully ignorant of the events on El Risa. They looked out, and below them was a small and peaceful-looking village surrounded by bucolic fields and pastures. As unwanted fugitives, they always took care to give ‘civilization’ a wide berth, even to such an insignificant piece of civilization as that village appeared to be. Reynaldo pulled out his S&W 500 and checked the chambers. You can never be too careful, as they say.
They proceeded carefully down the hill and began to cross what seemed to be an abandoned pasture. But there, amongst the tall bushes and over-grown weeds they came across a small herd of goats. But goats of such desperate appearance Reynaldo had never seen in his life. They had little fur, and their ribs could clearly be seen; they were covered with festering boils and surrounded by large and noisy flies. Even their horns (the goats) were broken off, or missing.
He paused before the nearest one and asked her very politely: Excuse me, madam Goat, but I couldn’t help noticing…
But Madam Goat didn’t let him finish: ‘I know, Master Squirrel, that we must look like Krugshit. But that is the price we must pay for our life of grateful service to our community and our fellow citizens.’
The squirrel looked perplexed. ‘Say what?’ he replied.
‘You see, we are too old and just plain milked out. So here we are, munching on thistles and thorns until we drop, and the buzzards or the wolves come for us.’ She went on: ‘But we don’t mind. We are herd animals by nature, and we have done our duty to our fellow beasts. And it is only now, as we approach the end, that we are given some peace, if only a piece of this weed-ridden pasture. Truly, life is good when you can sacrifice your life to the well-being of others.’
The squirrel looked truly perplexed: ‘Say what?’
The travelers bade farewell (and good luck) to the sacrificial goats, and proceeded up the other side of the valley. As they expected (and as was foretold by the Seeress in the 17th Dynasty of the Andeluviods), it was not long before Reynaldo began to tell this tale:
Once there was, in the not too distant future, a very progressive planet controlled by very progressive leaders (Would that all Leaders be so progressive). Now this planet was, is, and will be, very similar to other similar planets throughout this Cosmos and the next. On this progressive planet, let’s call it Sour-Eaus, there was, amongst many progressive countries, the Progressive Republic of Yerlava:
It was with no little satisfaction as Bob the Bureaucrat made his way to the hospital, briefcase in hand . Not only was Bob a bureaucrat, he was a loyal and happy bureaucrat. He loved his work (and, of course, was paid well for it). His official title was 1st Assistant Registrar for State Social Contracts. He expected soon to be promoted to 33rd Senior Registrar for State Social Contracts. Life was good.
And as Bob the loyal and happy bureaucrat neared the entrance to a National Hospital, he thought to himself just how privileged he was to serve the State. And, under the Social Contract, such service was his duty and his obligation. He hefted his hefty briefcase. ‘I hope I have brought enough contracts along with me today’.
You see, for the Progressive Republic of Yerleva was one of those advanced countries seldom found on this side of a sometimes unprogressive universe. Not only had it established a social contract for all of its inhabitants, it had taken the progressive measure of putting the contract into writing (all the better to avoid those bothersome critics who, at one time, called the Social Contract illegitimate, simply because there was no signed written contract between the
subject citizen and the State).
And now there was. And what a contract! It was over 250 pages long, and this in fine print. The contract consisted mostly of a list of obligations each citizen owed the State. Bob the Bureaucrat (happy and loyal that he was) liked the last section the best:
I, _____________, being on sound mind and body, do hereby renounce all pretensions to my being as an individual. I recognize and will honor all of the duties and responsibilities of a loyal citizen of the Progressive Republic of Yerleva, as described in this the Social Contract. However, such duties and responsibilities are not limited to the Contract, but may be amended by legislation or decree as the State deems necessary.
He entered the hospital and cheerily greeted all those he met. The elevator doors opened on the 13th floor: Obstetrics. There he would find his clients – newborn babies, as yet ‘un-baptized’, as he thought of it – tiny little beings, anxious to become loyal and responsible (and, no doubt, patriotic) citizens of the Progressive Republic of Yerleva.
He set himself up in his office, next to the new-born care unit and his first client was soon brought in by a nurse. The routine was just that – well-practiced and quickly and efficiently accomplished.
Bob started the voice recorder (just in case, in the future, our newly minted citizen should deny the proceedings), and read out in his deep and official sounding voice (one of the reasons he was hired for the job):
Do you, ___________, solemnly swear, on pain of punishment to… (And there he read out the last statement of the Social Contract)
Hearing no response he gave little baby X a light pinch, and thereby received a positive answer. ‘I hereby declare you a loyal citizen of the Progressive Republic of Yerleva, congratulations.’ The nurse applied ink to the baby’s right foot and Bob the Bureaucrat pressed it against the last page of the Social Contract.
Smiling to himself, he thought: One less troublesome individual for society and one more obedient subject for the State.
‘That’s heavy Krugshit, Reynaldo, but what does it mean?’, said Chuck the Chimp. ‘I mean, why didn’t Bob the happy and loyal bureaucrat read the baby his Rights, too?’
The others were too lost in thought to make a comment, even Oscar.
And Reynaldo – he thought the story was quite clear enough for even a moron from the Planet Kroywen to understand (And we all know how incredibly dense they are!), and required no further explanation.