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The Vainglorious Man Who Wanted to Rule: a tale of reality distortion and resistance

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Once there was a vainglorious and mediocre man who wanted to rule the land. So he used his talents for trickery and promised the people that he would make their country great and powerful, if only they would let him lead. He’d defend the land from foreigners without and suppress the influence of evil woman within. He scared people enough that they chose him as their leader.
The vainglorious man set himself up in the capital city. He made his home in a opulent mansion with servants at his beck and call. He postured and blustered at them, and they scurried to obey his whims. His lackeys could not recognize the man’s insecure bullying for what it was, for he had the power of appearing strong.
Realizing that he couldn’t fool everyone by intimidation alone, the vainglorious man used different tactics on the capital city’s inhabitants. He developed reality distortion fields and forced everyone to use them. Through these devices, the capital denizens perceived the world as rich, prosperous, safe, and successful — all thanks to the vainglorious man. He had surrounded himself with unquestioning adulation, and life was good.
Then he began to hear reports of the girl. They started as whispers, but soon gained momentum; soon news of her exploits was on everyone’s tongue. Even among his most fervent admirers, gossip surfaced about the young woman and her agenda of democracy, transparency, and honesty in government. She was on the road straight to the capital city and the vainglorious man’s door.
No one really knew where the kid had come from. The first news of her appeared in a remote rural district that had, until lately, been under the authoritarian rule of one of those nasty women that the vainglorious man so despised. Citizens of that district claimed that the girl had pulled a deus ex machina and neutralized the dictator, but the vainglorious man couldn’t believe the word of such credulous people. The girl was probably the mascot of an underground terrorist cell that had chosen that particular moment to demonstrate its might. The formerly oppressed citizens mistook her for an assassin just because she happened to be nearby. Surely she could have done nothing.
But other incredible stories joined that one, and a picture soon emerged. Despite [or perhaps because of] the calamity that had left with pretty much nothing left to lose, the girl was fearless. Nothing stopped her. A lion menaced her pet, so she yelled at it and punched it in the nose. She entered an opium den, the ambient drugs of which felled even the fiercest of beasts, but somehow she, a mere kid, emerged unscathed. The vainglorious man was forced to revise his opinion. She was no mere figurehead, but a frighteningly competent agent, perhaps even the leader of the resistance herself.
Later stories confirmed the young woman’s disturbing militancy. In yet another district, yet another nasty woman had brutalized her way into command and compelled the once-free inhabitants to serve her. This second autocrat kidnapped the young woman in an effort to gain the terrorist’s strength for herself. I mean, who wouldn’t? the vainglorious man thought. The kid clearly had an almost magical invulnerability.
But then, something happened; the vainglorious man was not sure what, as intelligence was unclear on this point. In any event, the young woman spoke truth to power, and the second autocrat essentially shriveled up and melted away. No longer under her tyranny, the citizens of the second autocrat’s district enthusiastically supported the girl. They sponsored a flight for her and her friends that brought them even closer to their target: the capital city.
There was the real problem with the kid, the vainglorious man mused. –Her friends. With a combination of charisma, kindness, and straightforward friendliness, this death-dealing terrorist charmed suckers effortlessly. He could sort of understand how all those bumpkins, sick of being under the thumb of their respective nasty women, easily transferred their affections over to their savior. Less comprehensible was the rumor that non-human animals [besides the dog] now followed her, and even inanimate objects [?!] supported her grassroots democratic movement.
Now the vainglorious man had grown up in Tornado Alley, and he knew well those whirling storms for which his region was named. Intense in their focus, relentless in their pursuit, they swept up everything with irresistible force and destroyed all obstacles in their path.
In a skin-tightening clutch of terror, the vainglorious man knew then that there was a tornado bearing down upon him now. It would shatter his sphere of fawning flatterers, lay waste to his reality distortion devices, and destroy his illusions. In short, it would reveal him for the trumped-up humbug that he was.
And the Wizard of Oz feared that tornado, for her name was Dorothy Gale, and she had the power of truth.

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