The Boy Emperor: An Unfairy Tale

Once upon a time, a young and popular emperor came to town and proclaimed that the people should no longer buy from local grocery stores — they must now buy only from him.


The Boy Emperor set up a food stand so everyone could buy his better and cheaper food. The poor people who had little or no food were promised plenty. Even adult children would get subsidized food. Boy Emperor assured the people that his food was tastier and healthier than the inferior stuff the local stores were selling at unfair prices — even though the people had been satisfied with the price and quality of local groceries for many years.

Folks lined up with anticipation to get his better and cheaper food. Many people believed in Boy Emperor and thought they were better off because he made many promises. And after all, he had fleeced the filthy rich people in town to share their wealth with the poor people — and the poor people praised Boy Emperor for all his promises.

This was the first time Boy Emperor had ever run a store — or anything for that matter — and it took a while to get things up and running — and the line was getting longer, and some of the little kids were getting hungry. Finally Boy Emperor opened for business and the first customers were ready to purchase food. Unfortunately, the cash register was from China and he couldn’t get it to work — and the line was getting longer — and hungrier. Many of the people still had faith in Boy Emperor — but a few radicals started to grumble and wonder what’s taking so long.

Eventually Boy Emperor got the cash register working — occasionally — and a few people (three) got their food and walked away wondering why such a small basket of food cost so much more than the larger baskets they used to get at the local stores.

Unfortunately the cash register worked only in fits and starts — and the line was getting longer and longer and hungrier and hungrier. Eventually the grumbling got to the front of the line and Boy Emperor smiled and told the people to be patient, his minions would fix the cash register — after all, you can’t expect a new system to work perfectly right out of the box.

Well, after many of the people had gotten really hungry — and the line stretched beyond the city limits — and grumbling was heard all along the very long line — Boy Emperor took pity on his subjects and made a compassionate speech telling them he felt sorry for them, but if they would just be patient, they would soon be better off than with those greedy grocers.

But the grumbling continued and Boy Emperor had to take drastic measures. He told his subjects they could shop at the local stores for a while, but only until he got the damn cash register working. So some of the hungriest and grumbliest of the people left the line to shop locally. Alas, when they got there, the stores had gone out of business because of Boy Emperor’s original proclamation.

Boy Emperor gave more speeches and his minions continued to tinker with the cash register. And the line got longer and longer and hungrier and hungrier and grumblier and grumblier. So Boy Emperor gave even more stirring speeches promising that the system would work if only the radicals would quit grumbling, wait patiently in line and hope for change.

And everyone lived hungrily ever after.

The End ?


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