Friday, October 1, 1999

The Littlest Dictator

Tommy was only five. He lived in a log cabin on the survival compound with his Mommy and his Grandpa. Grandpa was sad because he sat in a chair with wheels and couldn't walk. Tommy wanted to be dictator of the world but he wasn't. Tommy was sad, too. That made Grandpa angry.

"Why are you sad?" asked his Grandpa

"Because I'm not the dictator," said Tommy.

"You can be dictator if you put your mind to it," said Grandpa. "It ain't hard on account of folks are stupid."

"How do I get to be dictator, Grandpa?"

"Well," said his Grandpa. "First you put your picture on the wall. Make sure it's higher than any other picture. Then folks will think you're the dictator."

"What kind of folks?"

"Folks like these skinhead, Nazi idiots playing army men around this place," said Grandpa.

"Wow!" said Tommy. "What happens if they make me dictator?"

"You can tell 'em what to do," said Grandpa. "That's what 'dictator' means."

"What happens if somebody won't do what I say?"

"Then you can shoot him."

"Do I have to shoot them Grandpa?"

"No, Tommy. You're the dictator. You can tell other people to do that."

"Oh," said Tommy.

Mommy dropped a bowl on the floor. The bowl was blue and had a chicken on it. Mommy was shaking.

"You got something to say?" said Grandpa. "Like maybe how stupid that sounds -- like maybe I shouldn't talk like that in front of the kid?"

Mommy started picking up the pieces of the bowl.

"I mean I know it sounds real stupid when I just say it like that -- but it's exactly what these shitheads are saying, week after week. It's exactly what that kid is hearing week after week! And you know how stupid it is. But you tell me to shut up you'd have to tell them, too!"

Grandpa wheeled his chair across the room. Then he punched the wall. Mommy was crying.

Grandpa turned up his hearing aid.

"I'm all ears!" he shouted. "You got something to say? Now would be the time!"

But Mommy didn't say anything. She almost never did. She just looked nervous all the time.

Tommy remembered what Grandpa said. And thought about it for days and days and nights and nights.

Then, one day, Tommy had an idea.

It was really very simple.

It was just what Grandpa said, but Tommy was just a little kid, so he didn't see it at first. Now he saw it.

And he did what Grandpa said.

When it was way past his bedtime, Tommy scootched a chair across a room and took the cute little picture Mommy took of him in the soldier uniform with the funny twisted cross. He taped the picture on the wall. Mommy and Grandpa were asleep, so they didn't notice. The next day, he moved the picture so it was higher on the wall, but just a little higher so they still didn't notice. Day after day, when no one was looking, he moved the picture just a teensy-weensy bit. Tommy kept doing that. He moved the picture higher and higher until it was almost touching the ceiling.

Just like Grandpa said.

Then Tommy couldn't move it any higher. His arms weren't long enough and the chairs he could stand on weren't tall enough. So he stopped.

The next day, Daddy's militia group was meeting in Tommy's house. The men were loud and wore the same clothes. Mommy was in the kitchen making them fudge and grain alcohol. Daddy wasn't there because Daddy was dead. The evil One World Government had shot him. Daddy used to lead the group. His blood was pure, and that's why they shot him. Tommy should be very proud of his Daddy. That's what the men said.

Daddy's picture was still on the wall. Tommy's picture was there, too. But today, it was even higher than anything else on the wall, even Daddy's picture. The men were here today. But they didn't notice. The men were drinking beer and singing funny songs. That made Grandpa angry.

"I hate you Nazi sonsabitches," said Grandpa. "We kicked your ass in Normandy. If I get outta this wheelchair I'd kick your ass again!"

Grandpa always said that. The men used to laugh, but now they just kept drinking. It was just like Grandpa was a ghost and nobody could hear him. Nobody paid attention to Grandpa anymore.

"Look," said the Group Captain. He was the man with the funny scar that Mommy liked.

The Group Captain pointed to the wall. He pointed at Tommy's picture. All the men looked and stopped singing.

"Tommy's picture!" said the Group Captain. "It's higher than anything else!"

"Wow," said the men. "It is! It really is!"

Tommy stood up and smiled.

"That's right," said Tommy. "I'm the dictator now. "

"What the hell are you talking about, kid?" said Grandpa.

"You said if I put my picture at the top of the wall I could be dictator."


Tommy looked at Grandpa. Now Tommy was angry. Grandpa was being very impolite. Tommy didn't like that. Rudeness is bad. But lying is worse.

You said I could be dictator!" Tommy shouted. "You promised!"

Grandpa laughed.

"Aw, I was just goshing," said Grandpa. "You're just a little kid, Tommy. You're not the dictator."

"I am the dictator!" said Tommy "I am the dictator--and you have to do what I say!"

Grandpa laughed.

"I don't have to do what you say, kid."

Tommy turned away. Then he looked at the men. Then he pointed at Grandpa.

"Shoot him," said Tommy.

And they did.

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