Dictator Island Chapter 1

Posted on by Owen Lynch

Ever since he was a child, Generalissimo Carlos van Witteboom-Diaz hated Wednesdays. Wednesdays were the day that they had music class, every week for every year of grades 1-7, until civil war broke out and school ended for Carlos permanently.

Until that happy day, each Wednesday Carlos’s class sang dumb songs about animals on farms and love and life in the country, and Carlos’s voice would squeek and crach until he could bear it no longer and refused to sing another note, at which point he would be forced to sit in a corner. But that wasn’t the worst part. The worst part came after the singing, after the tears of shame had started to dry. The worst part was the recorders.

These recorders had been carved by hand out of wood approximately a millenia ago, which might have made them more valueable than your standard modern plastic recorder in another context, but as they were, it created two key disadvantages.

The first was that they had begun to splinter. One Wednesday, Carlos had been sent to the Nurse’s office with a wood splinter in his gum lodged by a involuntary twitch in response to a particularly shrill and out of tune E♭, and the wound had festered for months; he had been unable to eat anything that put up more a fight than a refried bean.

The second disadvantage of wood was that the slobber from all eight grades of the school never quite seemed to dry. Carlos suspected that a small fraction of the town’s budget went towards recorder-slobber related illnesses.

But even refusing to let the filthy thing go anywhere near his mouth did not exempt him from its torments, for he was still forced to be in the room as all the other children push tortured air through the decrepit pipes, tortured air that only though of escaping the lungs of his oblivious classmates and venting all of its trauma and heartbreak approximately 3 inches away from Carlos’s ear, like a soap opera star that had aged out of the profession but had not lost a single decibel of her voice.

So one of Carlos’s first acts as Generalissimo was to ban both recorders and Wednesdays. He didn’t ban singing, seeing as that would be rather difficult, but it was well known that anyone who allowed singing to come into his presence would suffer a rapid loss of favor, which typically came accompanied with several other unpleasant things.

His advisors were quite happy with the recorders ban, which was easy to implement because nobody other than sadistic music teachers really likes recorders, but the Wednesday ban was trickier.

They first tried to rename Wednesday to Carlosday, but the Generalissimo said through icy gritted teeth that anyone so foolish as to think that the name of their great Generalissimo should adorn that cursed day did not deserve the air in their lungs, and that put an end to that plan.

The next plan they tried was to remove Wednesdays and add Carlosday to the end of the week, so that their week would still sync up with the rest of the world even though they used different names. But Carlos would have none of that either; it would ruin Thursday.

Finally, they gave up and did everything on a six day schedule. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday were the days of the week in New Barcelona, and all tourists and multinational corporations doing business with country would simply have to print two copies of all of their calenders and schedules.

On Dictator Island, where nobody responded “how far” when ex-dictators asked them to jump, Generalissimo Carlos van Witteboom-Diaz celebrated his first Wednesday in 31 years, 8 months, and 22 days by beating his butler, who had brought him breakfast in bed while whistling a old song, senseless with his oak walking stick, before the U.S. Marshall posted outside kicked the door off its hinges and tackled the 73 year-old to the ground.

This website supports webmentions, a standard for collating reactions across many platforms. If you have a blog that supports sending webmentions and you put a link to this post, your blog post will show up as a response here. You can also respond via twitter or respond via mastodon (on your preferred mastodon server); through the magic of brid.gy all tweets or toots with links to this post will show up below (subject to moderation).

Site proudly generated by Hakyll with stylistic inspiration from Tufte CSS