The kings return
Of course Hobbes had been right, and so we asked the kings to return. There was no great accord; they had been waiting all the while. They hardly had to be called, twice really, before they began to arrive with tempered expectations, waiting in the wings, as it were. They were dressed modestly, timelessly, in classic suits, dragging not a stray garment between them. They brought laywers, each of them, though these were summarily dismissed when the kings came to believe that, once and for all, they were being asked to return. What use does a king, himself the product of divine laws, have for a lawyer? And the hourly? The kings would negotiate themselves.

The first king asked that a cow-pecked beggar be brought before him so that he could offer forgiveness, and he was willing to wait the three days before such a man (cowbird, you see) could be found, a man who was gangrenous beside and given to bouts of cursing, when he was not incessantly sneezing. The king laughed at the man's insults—which would have seemed fair only the day before—and the king, transfigured by the encounter, lept from his throne to kiss the man on his head and promise him a lifetime of good fortune, before having him led outside. We were sure he was shot, and that the bullet may have taken more of his sickly flesh than it would have otherwise, but we could not be sure. Right away affairs began to straighten themselves out. The people, previously divided on the contents of their phones, banded together along broader moral lines. The law finally had orientation; it was no longer perceived as arbitrary, able to be picked apart by the modern French and their descendants. Intent, agency was taken out of it all together. The good became knights and the bad knaves. Everyone was a de facto defender of the crown, unless you stood in opposition, and for that there were the knights. Off-duty knights carried buckets of water to wash the feet of peasant girls, carefully removing and then reasserting their sandals.

The second king was concerned primarily with decoration and emroidery, and we left him to this, at reasonable expense. He asked for several quilts of eiderdown, a perfect imago populi, and bid stubborn prayers at the monasts who produced them to his tepid reception. Public architecture improved markedly, evened out according to some because the great buildings did not jut this way and that any longer, but from the bottom-up, were indeed markedly improved.

The third required constant motion, a resonant tinkering with the way of things, keeping children busy tacking his decrees on public buildings. Men and women were often arrested for yesterday's crimes, held until tomorrow, and released pending a further change of fact. 

Times as they were had become more interesting, and yet a careful stasis crept in at knee-height. There was a locus of popular sentiment, one person to be defended, and only one who could rightfully take offense at us. Most of us would lead decent lives now, forgetting old crimes, because crimes could only be committed against the crown, of which there was not a single one before the kings returned, not for many years. Taxes were radically simplified. The number of hungry decreased, somehow, though many of us grew more scant. We all summered in the shadow of a palace.

The day will come, of course, when we are at war over swamps and ridges that will extend the domain of our kings, fighting at the imagined feint of a rival monarch, who has insulted not only our king but our god, because the churches will have split by then, too. But we know that Hobbes was right, and that peace is possible again, and that the divine right lasts only till death, at which point our fate will again change, but not in its extracorporeality, where it counts. We will not be forced to choose; we will live.
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