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TEN COMMANDMENTS FAIRY TALE NIGHTMARE
by Harry Willson

This dream I'm about to relate was long and complicated, and very frightening. The chief of police of Washington, D.C., is frustrated and perplexed. That is, I am, because I'm inside his head. I am he. I have his task, of enforcing the laws. "They are unenforceable!" I hear him cry. "It is ridiculous!"

"They were once the law," an ominous voice intones. "And they are once again the law. You must enforce the law!"

The chief is a bulldog type, essentially honest and proud of his work and trying to do his duty quietly. In my dream, I follow his thoughts as well as his actions.

"I'll begin with those that are on the books already. We do have laws against murder, theft and perjury."

He goes over to the Pentagon. "Mr. Secretary, you're under arrest!"

"Whatever for?"

"Your agency here is in violation of Commandment SIX."

"What is Commandment SIX?"

"'Thou shalt not kill.'"

"Don't be silly."

"I am not being silly. I have sixty-seven counts here on the warrant. They include unprotected civilians in Iraq, in Sudan, in El Salvador, in Panama, in Nicaragua, in Libya -- "

"I don't have time for clever jokes and games."

"Neither do I. So come quietly. We'll stop off at the offices of the Imperial Tobacco Company on our way downtown."

The scene faded. Then the chief went to the office of the Chairman of the Board at the headquarters of Lockheed/Bechtel.

"Sir, you're under arrest!"

"Whatever for?"

"Your company is in gross violation of Commandment EIGHT."

"What is Commandment EIGHT?"

"'Thou shalt not steal.'"

"Don't be silly."

"I am not being silly. I have forty-three counts here on the warrant. They include unjustifiable cost overrun charges, evasion of corporate income taxes, violation of labor contracts, evasion of personal income taxes -- "

"I don't have time for clever jokes and games."

"Neither do I. So come quietly. We'll stop over at G.E. and Westinghouse on our way downtown."

The scene faded. The chief drove over to the White House.

"Mr. President, you're under arrest!"

"Whatever for?"

"Perpetual, continuous, unceasing, relentless and unending violation of Commandment NINE."

"What is Commandment NINE?"

"'Thou shalt not bear false witness.'"

"Don't be silly."

"I am not being silly. I have seven thousand six hundred thirty-two counts here on the warrant. They include the following 'I performed all required duties.' 'Saddam has weapons of mass destruction.' 'Our mission has been accomplished.' 'Social Security is in a financial crisis.' 'I have never made a mistake.'"

"I don't have time for clever jokes and games."

"Sure you do, but I don't. It took a great deal of work to prepare this warrant. Someone had to keep track of every sentence you utter. Your predecessors are all under arrest, too. So come quietly. We'll stop off at the newspaper office on our way downtown. They're wanted for publishing your false statements without identifying them as such."

The scene faded. I couldn't tell in my dream where he was exactly. A fancy penthouse, combination home and over-luxurious office. A soft- bodied man in a mink bathrobe answered the door.

"Sir, you're under arrest!"

"Whatever for?"

"Gross violation, and encouraging the violation by other people, of Commandment SEVEN."

"What is Commandment SEVEN?"

"'Thou shalt not commit adultery.'"

"Don't be silly."

v "I am not being silly. We have tailed you and have incontrovertible evidence of your own activities. Also we have reason to believe that the books you have published and the movies you have produced have contributed to illegal behavior by millions of other people." "I don't have time for clever jokes and games."

"Neither do I. So come quietly. We'll stop over at Video Productions on our way downtown."

The scene shifted to the headquarters of the largest retail business conglomerate and interlocking directorate in the history of mankind. The chief was led into the chairman's inner sanctum by a gorgeous secretary.

"Sir, you're under arrest!"

"Whatever for?"

"Gross violation of Commandment TEN."

"What is Commandment TEN?"

"'Thou shalt not covet.'"

"Don't be silly."

"I am not being silly. The warrant accuses you of coveting your neighbor's cash, and of conspiring to obtain it by conniving to cause your neighbors to covet each other's material possessions -- wife, servant, ox, ass, everything. You and your business encourage and thrive on covetousness."

"I don't have time for clever jokes and games."

"Neither do I. So come quietly. We'll stop by Madison Avenue on our way downtown."

The scene faded again, and when the haze cleared I was again unsure exactly where we were. A comfortable home appeared, but at times it took on the appearance of an institution filled with old grey feeble men and women. A middle-aged man answered the door.

"Sir, you're under arrest!"

"Whatever for?"

"Gross violation of Commandment FIVE."

"What is Commandment FIVE?"

"'Honor thy father and thy mother.'"

"Don't be silly."

"I am not being silly. The warrant accuses you and your company of abusing your elderly parents and encouraging others to do the same. Neglect, illegal transfer of possessions, virtual theft and starvation -- all constitute dishonor."

"I don't have time for clever jokes and games."

"Neither do I. So come quietly."

It was a Saturday afternoon. The chief was led into the offices of the Electric Company by the week-end watchman. A skeleton crew was working. By chance, the president of the company was at his desk.

"Sir, you're under arrest!"

"Whatever for?"

v "Violation of Commandment FOUR."

"What is Commandment FOUR?"

"'Remember the seventh day, to keep it holy. In it thou shalt not do any work.'"

"Don't be silly."

"I am not being silly. This is the seventh day, and you are working, and a crew is working for you, here and at the generating station."

"You want me to turn the power off? In homes and jails and hospitals and theaters? I don't have time for clever jokes and games."

"Neither do I. So come quietly. We'll stop off at the Gas Company and the Waterworks on our way downtown."

The chief approached the national headquarters of the Moral Majority. "You're under arrest!"

"Whatever for?"

"Gross violation of Commandment THREE."

"What is Commandment THREE?"

"I thought you would know. 'Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.'"

"I never did."

"You do it every time you use the syllable, 'God.' You use the name of the Source of Justice and Power and Love in all the cosmos, but you mean your own dinky little narrow-minded, impotent, lying, unjust, tin-horn, ecclesiastical, money-making idol."

"I don't have time for silly jokes and games." "Neither do I. So come quietly. We'll stop off at the offices of the Christian Broadcasters on our way downtown."

The scene did not stay in focus, so I was not sure where we were. And the figure the chief was trying to arrest seemed to shift. At times I saw Steven Spielberg. At other times it was Andy Wharhol. Then at one point it was Jacques Cousteau.

"You're under arrest!"

"Whatever for?"

"Violation of Commandment TWO."

"What is Commandment TWO?"

"'Thou shalt not make yourself any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth."

"Don't be silly."

"I am not being silly. Images are forbidden. And that includes moving images. Likenesses. Portraits. Photographs."

"I don't have time for silly jokes and games."

"Neither do I. So come quietly. We'll stop over at Kodak and Microsoft on the way downtown."

The chief was in his office, at his desk, in the dark, late at night, alone. He and I conversed in his head, that is, in my head, in my dream.

"Why did you do it?"

"The Congress passed the Fundamentalist Amendment, making the Ten Commandments the law of the land. The polls showed that eighty-four percent of the citizens were in favor of it." His voice sounded squeaky and desperate. "How can I enforce it? I haven't even tried with Commandment ONE!"

"What is Commandment ONE?"

"'Thou shalt have no other gods before me.'"

"Oh-oh."

"What about Security? And Success? And Mars? And Mammon/money? Or Moloch/cruelty? Not to mention Jehovah and John-Paul and Buddha and John-Madden and Madonna and Eros -- my God, there must be thousands of them. Millions. It's hopeless." I had to agree with him. And I vowed never again to eat pizza and sauerkraut after 10:30 in the evening.

* * *
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© 2005, Harry Willson

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