Why the Spokesmen Wouldn't Speak, By Ramblin' Gamblin' Willie

Copyright 1985, 1986 by Gregory S. Swann. All Rights Reserved.
Direct inquiries to CIS I.D. 75115,1341.

Why the Spokesmen Wouldn't Speak

By Ramblin' Gamblin' Willie

         Here's an interesting story: The Mighty Whazis blurted something he
meant to say with a glare while responding to the Inquiries of the Grand
Inquisitor. I wasn't there, and I forget the topic of the Inquisition, but it
could have been anything, couldn't it? Exploding rockets or rampant corruption
or budget shortfalls or the Moscowimp Syndrome. I remember from video that
the Whazis seemed sorely provoked, and, though I don't know for certain what he
blurted, it sounded to me awfully like a certain folk-slander generally
addressed to a not-present third-party, a colorful expression one can enjoy
hearing throughout central Illinois.
        At first it was not clear to The Inquisitor what was said, but one of
the Whazis' many Spokesmen cleared things up right away: he revealed that
what the Whazis had blurted was 'lousy snitches', an intended insult to the
Inquisitor. This was in keeping with the Whazis' temper that day, so it seemed
to placate the Inquisitor.
        But then one of the Spokesman's Spokesmen made known, under cover of
anonymity, that the 'lousy snitches' line was a PR ploy. The Whazis'
Spokesmen wanted to make the Whazis look tough for the coming budget battle,
so they led with trump. What the Whazis had =really= blurted, this Spokesman
revealed, was 'rags to riches', a reference to the success of the
Whazis' Grand Economic Plan.
        But one of that Spokesman's Spokesmen secretly contradicted this: the
Whazis had blurted 'holed-up in ditches', a parting reference to the
Embattled Antras, for whom relief was sought from the Raging Zeros.
        But no!, said a Spokesman from the Whazis' 'kitchen cabinet'. The
blurt was a prayer to the Allmighty: 'loaves and fishes'. Not only was the
Whazis =not= peeved with the Inquisitor, he was wishing upon that worthy the
greatest of miracles. The Inquisitor was not convinced. For one thing, he
Inquired, what would he do with all those fishes? It was whispered that
someone in the camera crews had a suggestion, but a Spokesman quickly
hushed =that= up.
        But then one of God's Spokesman's Spokesmen quietly made
public that the blurt =was= a reference to the Lord: the Whazis had praised
the Lord for the abundance wrought of Faith and Family: 'rags to riches'.
        The Inquisitor was almost convinced: the fact that the same
report had come from two different Spokesmen was compelling. But then he
reviewed the videotape and came away certain that the Whazis had blurted
=that= phrase. That he had deliberately repeated the expression one might
expect to hear from a tired farmer, when money is dear and grain is cheap,
just after the men from Sears have repossessed the dishwasher.
Well, how can I say it? The Whazis suggested that the Inquisitor
had canine forebears...
        A Spokesman for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Everything
Except People quickly tromped on this suggestion, however. The Dogs regarded
the intimation of bestiality as an insult. Or so their Spokesman said.
        The Inquisitor missed a stride on this announcement. Wasn't he
Inquiring on behalf of the Dogs, among others...?
        So he was taken completely by surprise when a Spokesman for a Senior
Bureaucrat announced via the Inquisitor's confessional that the
=true= blurt was 'sags and stitches', an allusion to Mrs. Whazis' legs.
        The Inquisitor had a good laugh over that one, so a Spokesman said to
be quite close to the Whazis let it out privately that the Whazis wasn't sure
=what= he had blurted, but that it might have been 'Whazis glitches'. Get it?
Get it? The Inquisitor was not amused.
        It would be more accurate to say that he was angry. He had grown
accustomed to straight answers to his Inquiries, and make it snappy, mister.
In all the Speakings of the Spokesmen, had he gotten =one= straight answer
in explanation to his Inquiries? Had he been offered =any= argument to
contradict his own conclusion that the Whazis had blurted that the
Inquisitor's mother was furry, four-legged, and great fun on camping
trips? The Whazis is permitted quite a lot of latitude, actually. And even
the lowliest Spokesman has some freedom to Speak. But no one--=no one!=--gets
away with =that!=
        The Grand Inquisitor scheduled a Grand Inquisition for that Sunday, to
which all Spokesmen, from the Whazis on down, were commanded to attend. When
they were gathered, the Inquisitor looked upon them sternly: was it true?
        In the room full of Spokesmen, no one spoke...
        A fire raged in the Inquisitor's eyes, so blinding it seemed to blot
out the glare of the battery of television lights behind him. He
watched in contempt as sweat broke out on the foreheads of the cowed Spokesmen.
He took a secret pleasure in seeing the Whazis squirm in his seat at the head
of the assembly of silent Spokesmen.
        Finally, when the tension was almost too much to bear, a young
Spokesman rose from the back of the crowd. This alone was uncharacteristic
of Spokesmen, a breed most often found in herds. And stranger still,
he spoke above the rose, outloud, publicly, so everyone could hear--and
see. He spoke to the Inquisitor as no Spokesman ever had before: with his
identity =known=.
        "Why should we speak?," he inquired of the Inquisitor. "Why should
we ever speak at all? You'll just twist it around so that at least one of us
gets slaughtered!"
        "Mister Whazis!," the Grand Inquisitor demanded. "Is it the
position of your administration that the Grand Inquisitor is a liar?!"
        "I didn't say that!," the Melting Whazis pleaded. "He did! He
did!" He pointed to the young man. "He said it, I didn't!!"
        "Yes," the Inquisitor replied. "And he presumes to question the
Inquisitor." He jerked a nod toward two beefy thugs. He pointed at the Lone
Spokesman. "The White Room."
        Whazis said, "Allow me." He got up and grabbed the youth by the arm.
He dragged him over to the Inquisitor's henchmen. "Listen..., I hope you won't
make too much of this. It's such a small thing..."
        But the Inquisitor was already gone, and the newsboys were already
out in the streets, hawking their headlines into Portacams. "Whazis'
Spokesman calls Inquisitor a liar!", "Impertinent youth enrages His
Holiness!", "Whazis' Spokesman denies link to renegade!"...
        The 'Mighty' Whazis, quisling to the tyrant of his own
publicity, waddled back to his chair. He settled into it, sighing
with satisfaction: the 'sons of bitches' issue seemed to be forgotten... Now
on to more important matters, like this upstart Spokesman, who had dared to
speak. Well, the Inquisitor knew what to do about =that= kind.
        The Mighty Whazis smiled. He loved the Inquisitor...