- Books, Literature, and Writing
A Strange Compromise: An Allegory
After a hectic day, when a weary soul longed to pass through the reinvigorating portals of sleep, a surprise lay in wait for me. Glancing through a few pages to welcome sleep's train, I was arrested by a few lines. Tired, but still trying to read, as habit dictated, I found myself repeatedly reading the same lines. As to when sanity prevailed and sleep triumphed, I know not. However, when the breakers of sleep swept me away from the known into the unknown, I found myself transported to some faraway land. By clear recollection, this was the land called Peace, or Peaceland as its inhabitants loved to refer to it.
This land was a bundle of contradiction: while bearing a name called Peace, its sterling fortunes had drastically waned and wilted. Yes, they used to be undisturbed and secure for a long time, with Order as their king; however, for a while now, a puissant nemesis named Chaos had arisen, and was a constant menace to the people. His main target was to unsettle King Order. Moreover, the whole of Peaceland has had to bear the brunt of his vinegary rage and pernicious pressure; and such was the pain inflicted by Chaos that Peaceland paled into a shadow of its former self and glory. The disconcerting result: the people were irritated and perplexed.
But there was a method in the madness of Chaos, as he employed allies such as Sabotage, Subterfuge, and Pillage. His withering war of attrition succeeded in only making Order's position precarious with every passing day. And then arose Face.
Face loved her make-up. It was her favourite asset, as it enabled her to change into whatever her caprice instructed. By some freak connection running along consanguineous lines, Face was related to Chaos. And in a secret tryst, these two mapped out a peculiar plan.
One bright Tuesday morning, Face turned to her choicest asset, decorated her lineaments with irenic colours, and gallantly entered the market square. It was a market day, and with her noisy amplifier at full blast, she chided and decried the works of Chaos, chanting "Death To Chaos! Death To Chaos!" Her intent chants grew so fervent and passionate that others broke from their trade and equally joined in acclamation and approbation for Face; and together they thunderously rained a myriad of malediction and a vat of vituperation upon Chaos. The more they chanted at the top of their voices and thumped the ground with their feet, the more frenetic Face became in her leading acts, even weeping in the process and allowing her make-up to reveal slight shades of hitherto unseen colours and layers.
The reverberating echoes of that arresting uproar together with the knowledge of Chaos's deeds began to unsettle the reason of the people. It was fact and sound teaming to do their best work as they blurred out calm sense and conscientious judgement. As a result, a revolting impact was etched upon their impressionable souls. They all left the market with minds decided—their communal decision accentuated and crystallised by other things that Face claimed.
The threat to Order's position worsened, as increasingly, the people saw in Face, a better person than they had beheld in the former. With their affection for Face deepening, and being enamoured of her charms, and also pandering to zeitgeist tides that were sweeping other corners of the terraqueous globe on which they existed, they danced like reeds in the wind, as they beat a large track to Change's door.
For the records, Change was a problematic figure. Once the most trusted person in Peaceland, her valuable stock had been badly dented; for time and again she had always promised what she could not deliver. And yet, because Pain was her faithful companion, people still resorted to her; and with every encounter, she gave her trademark pleas and promises to live up to her name. So this time around, and as always, the people still flocked to her, being led in their march by Hope, the town's chief priest.
Yet, isn't it a trifle intriguing how the people of Peaceland could always find it in their heart to forgive Change after letting them down on numerous occasions? Perhaps, it's partly because, by a deft stroke of great fortune, and without other viable competing alternatives, circumstances keep contriving to make her the most desirable option.
On a beautiful Friday morning, with all the people gathered at the Town Centre in response to a planned call, Change rose up in consuming gusto and consummate aplomb and began to address the charged crowds. She recounted all that the people had poured into her large ears. It was a heated meeting, and even when Patience stood up to speak, the people shouted and heckled him. They did not want to have anything to do with him. In a palpable frenzy, they kept screaming: "We are tired! We can't wait any longer!"
The appalling bedlam and increasing commotion that ensued was expansive, so much so that Order, their leader scarcely managed to live up to his name, in function.
Nonetheless, with the people finally restrained, and a serene shadow of calm imposed, this was to be the final gesture of Order to the people. Change resumed her speech, and declared that Order has been deposed based on the interminable insistence of the people. She even added that her full ears demand this path be taken.
Thus, Face, the starter of the market square chant was now enthroned as the new leader. Her accession was carried out to bewildering fanfare and raucous exhilaration. And so she took the helm. But would Face ever grow to dislike her maquillage?
A few months down the line, Chaos was almost disappearing off the radar, as per the former secret tryst with Face. Peaceland was becoming the Peaceland of the past. "What an amazing turn of events," the people mused to themselves, even serenading the praise of Face. They were over the moon; life and business were back to normal; Peaceland was buzzing with fragrant excitement in the once febrile air. The good times were back!
On a certain day, in the dead of night, Face convened a secret meeting to review her earlier agreement with Chaos. In fact, it was Chaos who demanded the meeting, with Face pleading she had forgotten they needed to meet. And right there, the terms were revisited.
One Saturday afternoon, the people of Peaceland heard an unusual broadcast. With Chaos almost becoming a forgotten figure, Face told the people that in the spirit of the name of the land, she has chosen to offer amnesty to Chaos. She justified it as a pardon brought on in view of the happenings in the last few months, citing the truth that Chaos had considerably scaled back his operations, and allowed sanity to prevail in Peaceland.
And so it was that Chaos was forgiven in the eyes and ears of the public in a comity of trust. Nevertheless, this was not to everyone's taste, but then Face remained popular having silenced the deafening sounds of Chaos. As she was the darling of Peaceland, the people were willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. Moreover, she said many other things to present this as a sensible decision.
Yet, Face will always be Face, and Chaos will always be Chaos.
The agreed smorgasbord of reward offered to Chaos was supposed to be honoured in tranches. Hence, a while after the pardon, Chaos was offered a position of influence to ensure that he was gainfully occupied, so as not to destabilise Peaceland again.
And yet, as time went on, Chaos failed to handle his enviable employment with the level of care and practical nous that was required—his inherent weaknesses letting him down. But, could he ever acquit himself in such a new bailiwick? Accountability at the borders and harbours was becoming a pretty kettle of fish. Things started taking a downward turn, and Face being Face started growing frustrated as she heard the kvetching of people who had not long ago been kvelling.
Ever a people-pleaser, Face was getting concerned about her popularity ratings, noting that Chaos's ambit was of key importance to Peacelanders. And in a moment of truth, during one heated argument with Chaos, her brooding irritation changed her pleasant demeanour to that of a feisty foe, firing Chaos on the spot.
Several who had never really liked Chaos—reformed or not—and had looked askance at him, cheered this decision; for in truth, they had continued to secretly nurse their former hurts from past deeds. But, was Chaos ever going to sit still?
His fall from grace tore into and shredded his stoic emotions, inciting him to craft his next move. Finally, he drafted his plan of choice—he would not sink alone. Chaos resolved to spill the beans being full of crushing rage amidst seeing Face feted by the people. His pain grew, his angst enlarged, his anger exploded, his new low-life adding to his season of harrowing discontent: in essence, he became green with scorching envy!
Soon, the first Peaceland Leaks appeared:
File: The Peaceland Leaks 
Date: In the year the crops failed
Location: Near the gorge by mountains Suffering and Pleasure
Face meets Chaos...
Chaos: I, Chaos "The Destroyer," dislike Order. In fact, I loathe him, and do not agree with anything he does. I believe he is being influenced by the Other Powers.
Face: Like you, I hate Order. I think I should be the leader of Peaceland. Would you help me?
Chaos: Well, I could deepen my nihilistic paths, and turn Peaceland upside down. The more I do so, the more the people of Peaceland will grow to hate Order. It will be your best shot.
Face: That sounds a good idea. Work your best efforts.
Chaos: Sure, I always give my best! But what shall my reward be?
Face: Amnesty from past works, gainful employment, and considerable influence.
Chaos: Are you suggesting, Chaos in suit?
Face: Not really, but if you choose to; or you could choose something that you enjoy.
Chaos: My preference is manning our borders and looking after our ports.
Face: No problem! Consider it a deal.
Chaos: Breach of contract; serious consequences.
Face: No worries!
Meeting ended with Roller, an imported drink, popular among the elite in Peaceland.
Face being Face, she will agree to whatever conditions she knows she cannot keep, simply to get what she wishes for. Every path is always on her cards.
And if the people of Peaceland were shocked by the first tranche of leaks, they were in for more explosive surprises.
Two more leaks emerged in quick succession detailing more intricate plans that explained how Chaos, as Face's cat's paw, was to carry out his plans to the hilt, and how Face was to play along. Chaos widely bruited about these in Peaceland, being urged and stirred on by his festering pain and implacable anger. Peaceland was scandalised!
So it was, that at a bound, Face swung from praise and pleasure to being pilloried and proscripted; yes, she went from hero to zero.
Once again, the people started crying into the giant ears of Change. She could not believe that the people had returned to her—actually concluding that she had perhaps bound them with hoops of steel—considering the number of times she had disappointed them. Nevertheless, she listened with a beamish smile to their perdurable complaints.
Moreover, Patience having been denied his voice for so long had become mute. This time though, he found his favourite friend, Truth, to speak on his behalf. And when the townsfolk had again convened, Truth rose up in the glare of a sea of moist eyes and pursed lips, and gave a searching speech:
"My fellow Peacelanders, I speak on behalf of Patience.
"He cautioned you to be wary of Face, but you will not listen. Indeed, you enjoyed the kisses of an enemy more than the rebukes of a friend. (For Order was quite strict and loved to discipline the people who stepped out of line).
"Only if you had paid attention to Patience, then you would have been able to screen out the claims of Face; but you shut him up. (For not only had Face connived and colluded with Chaos; she had defalcated the resources of Peaceland, and done far worse than any of their past leaders).
"Perhaps, if you had been careful, you would have noticed that at her first chant at the market square, when she began to cry, as her tears washed her make-up, various layers underneath emerged for perceptible eyes. Nevertheless, you were in much hurry; Chaos's havoc hastening your steps.
"Now, as you seek your next leader, be more patient and realise that, all that glitters is not gold..."
And having said many other things, Truth ended by quoting from the Good Book: "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil."
Hearing from other speakers, and displaying a suspicion of compunction, the people dispersed for their homes, as they thought out their next strategy to seek a new leader for Peaceland.
Sadly, with my alarm ringing, and a full bladder caving in to gravity, I awoke from my unusual sleep, and resumed my necessary duties for the day ahead. THE END.