The Static King

I set out to write about someone who acted like a king. A self-confident, a proud, a mechanical king who had his heart replaced by a machine. I did not know how to start the story and it occurred to me only along the way that it was the heart which had to be replaced, as it was the most sensible choice after all, because heart, as we learn, represents humanity more than anything else, does it not? Then I thought: why not make the king a boy? Who does make a better king than a boy? A boy, who had his heart replaced by a machine of metal, plastic and tubes due to some accident or other – it does not really matter, let us be honest. The only thing that counts is how he deals with the situation, the things he fears he might become with his humanity having been replaced and thereby what sort of king he would become. He, the Static King, whose name has been stolen. I do not even know why I am giving you this piece of information, because you, like I just said, simply do not care. What is important, is the emotional and intellectual satisfaction you get out of those kinds of stories, do you not? So, did he even want to be a king in the first place? Am I right to go steal a name and give it to him? He sits upon his white-sheeted hospital bed just like upon a throne, true enough, an array of nurses and doctors at his disposal as his subjects [they had wound a string of lights around his head]. He is a broken king, I have been told. He frequently holds his hand to his chest and listens with his fingertips for the clanking of the cogs and wheels beneath the bones. Imagine, just i m a g i n e the horror, the abysmal horror he must have felt when he learned of the rattling in his chest, the coldness even below absolute zero, waiting for him like a bottomless pit with no chance of looking away from this hole. An irrational, primal panic. They had scooped him out like some sort of lantern and put an electric light inside of him, like an old TV glowing from within with noisy static, so that there was white light coming out of his eyes, mouth and ears, when he opened them in the dark. He had trouble keeping the static in, when he had his eyes clamped shut, so hard was it hammering against the insides of his eyelids. His gaze commanded respect, not many could bear looking into the noise for too long. So, what happens with the king? Is he waiting, while the doctors and nurses are rushing around him in his neat little room all day long in fast-forward motion? Is he waiting for something to happen? What is it that can even happen now that he is the way he is right now? Have you ever wondered what it must be like to be waiting like this for . . . I don’t know what? See? Even I do not know, how should I? I only forced a name upon him that was not mine to give (but I took it nonetheless). Apart from that, well, I can only t e l l you, for I think that there is still something to tell here, in this place. Time does not matter, it is the place.

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The Static King

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