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The Leader: A leader learns a lesson, a bit late, unfortunately.
Posted by steve7699, Aug 18, 2011. 1755 views. ID = 4796

The Leader

Posted by steve7699, Aug 18, 2011. 1755 views. ID = 4796
This post was written in 5 minutes.
I hadn't written a complete story in a long time. Then I started reading an odd, yet fascinating collection of short stories called, "Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day" by Ben Loory. The stories were in a style I'd never tried. Well, now I have.

I wrote this for another website that has daily contests with a prompt and a one thousand word limit. This prompt was writing a story about getting lost in the crowd. Not sure how well this fits. Either way, I kinda like it. The fact that I actually wrote and finished a story in one sitting is so exciting it's well past midnight and I can't even think of sleeping. Write on.
This post has been awarded 12 stars by 3 readers.

One day an important, but not well-known, world leader was assassinated.

The leader was popular and he loved his people. He loved to be among them whenever possible. He also loved large celebrations. Combining those two great loves would seem to make sense. At least he thought so.

Once a month, every month, the leader made sure there was a large celebration in his small, yet troubled, country. The leader paid a dozen of his country’s smartest people for research.

It might be reasonable to assume that those researchers would be looking for ways to help feed the starving people (for there were many) of their nation. Or perhaps try to find ways to irrigate much needed water to their dry and cracking ground. Maybe those researchers could try to find ways to find money or people willing to donate money for medicine and education.

All of those ideas and other similar ones would be reasonable, even smart. But, they did none of those kinds of things. Instead, they looked for reasons for their country's people to celebrate.

For a while, it was easy. Every country has its heroes to celebrate. There are important dates in their nation's history, important discoveries, and other such things. But, when a country, or its leader, decides to have a large celebration every month, well, it gets much more difficult to find important reasons to have them.

In the beginning, his people enjoyed the celebrations. They were wonderful, so many people together and so happy. They would dance together and sing songs. The laughter could be heard for miles. The people wore radiant, flowing robes. Hundreds of vendors would be selling food and drink and icons of their new, kind, loving leader.

Oh, how the leader loved to see his people celebrate. Even from his high balcony, he could see the blinding white from their teeth. Their singing was soothing, lovely, and so rhythmic, like his mother’s voice when he was a child.

The leader would stand from the largest balcony of his palace and he would talk to his people. At first, his people would cheer and wave their nation's flag at every dramatic pause. Then he would go down to the streets and celebrate with his people. He would dance, sing, laugh, eat, and drink with them. And his people loved him for it.

But, soon things began to change. The speeches never seemed to vary much. Neither did the celebrations. Neither did anything else. When the leader would come down to join his people, they began to ask disturbing questions of him. Why are we celebrating again? What happened to the promises you made? Where is the food? Where is the water? Why aren't you helping us?

The leader became puzzled and distraught over the increasing negativity coming from his people. He couldn’t understand it.

What other country has celebrations like ours every month, he would ask his advisors and staff.

None, they would say.

Well, we must think of a new celebration, something we’ve never done before, to show them how wonderful our country really is. What do you all think of that?

His staff, fearing what might happen if they ever disagreed with their leader, agreed whole-heartedly that it was a wonderful idea. The leader instantly ordered them to begin making the arrangements. Nothing must be overlooked, he would say again and again.

One servant remained standing. It took many minutes before the leader realized that one of his staff wasn’t working. He spoke to his servant, asking why he wasn’t working on such an important task.

The man said nothing for a long time; instead he just stared at his leader with deep sadness. Finally, the leader became frustrated at this man’s silence and obvious insolence.

WHAT? the leader demanded. WHAT?

The servant remained silent, but shook his head. The leader was mystified by this man. He began to stare back at his servant, trying to figure out what this poor man wanted from him. The leader became alarmed when the servant’s breathing began to deepen and become more pronounced. When one, large tear appeared, the leader watched, fascinated, as it rolled down the man’s cheek.

The man finally spoke. It was a whisper really, but the leader was so focused on this servant, he heard him easily.

You really don’t understand your people do you? I always thought it was the arrogance of the rich and powerful. But, you really don’t understand us. Do you?

The leader became enraged. Don’t understand my people? How dare you. I walk among you every month. I eat, drink, sing, and dance with my people. How can you say such a thing?

The servant again shook his head, again with great sadness. Walking among your people and truly being one of them are two different things. I never realized how lost our leader really is. It’s sad, really.

Then the man turned and walked away. The leader was dumbfounded. He watched the small, quiet man leave the palace. After another minute, the leader became incensed and began to pace back and forth across the marble floor. I am lost? Don’t understand my people?

The leader ordered his guards to find the servant and bring him back. They came back later, saying they couldn’t find him. This only infuriated the leader more. He would find the servant. After all, the leader would know him anywhere. No one had dared disagree with him before. Surely he would stand out from his adoring people.

So the leader went down to the crowds. He looked and looked and looked. He couldn’t find the servant. The leader became confused. He had never seen his people like this before. No one was smiling, or singing, or dancing. No one was laughing. Everyone wore ratty, drab clothing. They were all…dirty.

It was this moment a shot rang out. The leader fell. It was impossible to tell who fired the shot. Everyone looked the same.

Copyright 2011 steve7699. All rights reserved. has been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work. For permission to reprint this item, please contact the author.

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This post has been awarded 12 stars by 3 readers.


Liz C
Nov 30, 2011
I love the anxious feeling you project as the story progresses. The shot grabs my attention. But does this mean nothing changes? Take me further. . . he isn't dead, but badly injured. . .
   ~Posted by Liz C, Nov 30, 2011

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