Sunday, May 13, 2012
Who Killed Iron Joe? Part 4: Moon of the Red Grass Appearing
As a governor, I’m sure that Iron Joe was an excellent Danab, but he was a terrible human being.
He wasn’t that old, not by Danab or human standards, fueled by ambition like any politicians, the chance to be important and have influence, and to use his many connections and charisma to shape policy and the destinies of others simply because he could and apparently, or so many people besides myself believed, so he could ruin lives on a whim, all in the name of public interest and pretending to be interested only in that. It was funny that he only talked about the good that he did around election time, and the rest of the time we hardly heard from him at all, except at official functions and times of disaster, for the sake of continuity, or when he directly affected our lives with some decision we abhorred. I guess that’s not so different from most of his kind (and here I’m not thinking of the Danab specifically), but it’s a terrible way to make a living all the same.
The thing is, Iron Joe seemed to take some private glee in making life miserable for the inhabitants of Magnumtown. He could never outright admit it, of course, but his policies were so asinine, it’s hard to draw any other conclusion. He would pretend, in meetings with our leaders, even Magnum himself and Stringfellow, who everyone agreed was the more levelheaded of my brothers, that he was looking out for the best interests of our people, except in the moments where he slipped up, and exhibited an open hostility to our basic impulses and desires. This never seemed like appropriate behavior for someone who was supposed to watch over us, but then, that’s what you get when leadership is imposed by a faction that clearly does not have someone else’s interests in mind in the first place.
To speak of Iron Joe a little more personally, a little more specifically, I guess as Danab go he cut a dashing figure. His chrome helmet was always polished, and he wore his uniform sharply. I guess that’s all there is to say about that. The spikes on the helmet also looked sharp and properly menacing.
But we were never supposed to remark about that. His physical appearance was appropriate for his kind, just as ours was for ours, even though there was always the vague notion that any compliments we got were patronizing, that it was just as primitive as the rest of our ideas. Tell me how traditional ways, no matter where they come from, are a bad thing. I’ll wait.
No, Iron Joe wasn’t unpopular because of the ways he was a typical politician or a typical Danab, but in the ways he was both of those and he treated these distinctions like beacons against everything he saw in Magnumtown, as if he were better than his post, and that it was better that we conform without comment to the ideals he had no passion for but merely represented as the status quo that by default was an adherence we were either too stupid to comprehend or rejected for no good reason.
Is any of this making sense? If it isn’t, then I’m sorry, but that’s just the kind of perspective you’re going to have to deal with. I make no bones about the fact that as a rule none of us got along, my people with Iron Joe, and Iron Joe with my people, and yet that was the relationship we were all stuck with.
Of course, it should be noted that Fialkov probably still didn’t know at the moment of his death that he was known as Iron Joe. That was a nickname we gave him, and it wasn’t out of affection.
I have to keep reminding myself to call him Fialkov whenever I’m interrogated, because it would not be a good thing to address him otherwise, especially once the other name became public knowledge, because it will only make me look more guilty, and the spirits know how I don’t need that. Between you and me, I’ll continue calling him that, but it’s strictly off the record. I have no use now, as with ever before, of acknowledging him as anything more than the despicable person he always was.