whether or not people liked him. A quick study of those closest to him will demonstrate this, boiling down as it does to a search for anyone close to him at all. He could apparently take or leave his sons, barely acknowledged his wife, and defined a friend as a wealthy person of advanced years whose political and financial goals coincided with his own. Yet still this quality does not make him unique among men, especially among rich and powerful men. Nor does his seemingly oxymoronic desire for worship: History is rife with similarly polarized personal motivations. In fact, no single popular image of the wealthy or powerful can fully encompass him, not selfishness, not greed, not lust for acquisition. Indeed, although a cursory gloss of his career reveals evidence of these traits, such evidence is but a symptomatic resemblance; in most ways Zweibel was utterly without normal human appetites. The quality that sets him aside as a figure for the ages, the motivation for his single-mindedly antiheroic drives and ambition, is in the final analysis, nothing less than a vast and enduring hatred for humanity. If he thought of none save himself, if he gathered all to himself, if he kept all for himself, it was not out of self-love, but out of overweening enmity for all others.

In this light, certainly a tribute of biography seems absurd, not to mention any desire to pen one. Some explanation is thus in order, an explanation which might prove an illustrative example of the man. Upon rising to the office of governor of this great state (which state it is has yet to be explained to me—a circumstance which shall soon become clear to the reader), Zweibel, before converting the entire area into a gigantic strip-mine, established a monastic order for the sole purpose of chronicling his history in the event of his passing. This brotherhood took in foundlings from across the state and cloistered them in the vast sub-sub-basement of Zweibel's 632-room mansion, raising them within the synthetic Eremitic Order, and, being that the general population was enslaved in the pit mining of borax, most male children were donated to the basement monastery as soon as they started on solid food. Therefore, I have lived my entire life in this set of dark subterranean rooms.

When T. Herman Zweibel was launched into space three years past, an armed expedition of Swiss Guard financed by the executors of his will were surprised to find the last of us here. We had taken to living in a vast armoire, waning pale as moles, subsisting on candles, obscenely literate after decades of poring over the vast stacks of books Zweibel had confiscated from peasants and consigned, alongside ourselves, to purgatory. Upon learning that, under the conditions of Zweibel's will, we were not to be freed but pressed at once into the service of maintaining this baffling electrical document, all save myself committed immediate suicide. This superseded the necessity, detailed in the will, to eliminate all of the Brotherhood but one, so suppose I must count myself lucky. I have been down here 67 years, or at least for 67 “years supply” boxes of candles, and would not have survived the instructions in that proviso.

And now an anecdote—not that anecdotal history is legitimate, but history and truth have the same relationship as theology and faith, that is to say, none; and an old, albino, imprisoned man may gain nothing by lying about those long dead, or launched into space; so I beg indulgence in this matter.

I met T. Herman Zweibel only once  [ 1 | 2 | 3 ]