Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Microstory 1413: King Trashcan

In the beginning, there was chaos in Springfield, Kansas, Durus. The mayor died immediately, and the council was in shambles. There was no one to lead the survivors; at least no one willing to do it who could command the people effectively. This was the truth as a blacksmith whose real name has never been important saw it. The reality was that Councilwoman Hardt was a military brat who followed in her parents’ footsteps. So she knew how to stay calm in a desperate situation. She was fully prepared to remain in charge of the town while they figured out how to survive in this dangerous new world. Smith had other plans. Being a leader was not in his nature. He was a simple worker who was leading a simple life when the Deathfall happened. He had never set his sights on public service, which made sense, because he never did serve the public. He was selfish, manipulative, and entitled. He didn’t care about the town, or even about maintaining his power. He was just sick of living in his crappy studio apartment, and wanted to spend his days in luxury. Taking charge was the only way to do that now. There was no more money, and no more order. If you wanted something, you had to take it, and be prepared to go up against anyone who stood in your way. Fortunately for him, most of the townsfolk did not see this as their situation. They were horrified and exhausted, but they felt the best way to get through it was to work together. To them, no money meant that everyone was on the same level now. Their naïveté made it easier for Smith to walk all over them, and be the only one willing to do whatever it took to stay on top. He wasn’t particularly intelligent, and he didn’t really ever have any kind of master plan. He just kept trying to take as much as he possibly could while pretending to have everyone else’s best interest at heart. He was good at putting on a show, and even when people pointed out his hypocrisy, there was nothing they could do about it. He appealed to the audience that first started listening to him; the ones that were the most distrustful of Hardt already. Not surprisingly, his most loyal followers were composed of nearly all men. They took the town through passive-aggressive threats, rather than identifiable force. And when someone tried to call them out on it, they lobbed these feelings right back in the detractor’s direction, gaslighting everyone nearby into thinking this person was the crazy one. Most did not care for his rule, and would have rather seen someone like Hardt keep them safe instead, but rising against the establishment was difficult, and prone to failure. His loyalists called him President. His critics called him a tyrant. But history would know him as the worst leader Durus ever saw. He was universally hated, even by the misogynists of later years. He was King Trashcan, and this was the beginning of the despotocratic Smithtatorship.

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