Thursday, September 1, 2011

251 pages in

From Guard! Guard! by Terry Pratchett, HARPERTORCH, 1989.

It wasn't telepathy. As far as Wonse had always understood it, telepathy was like hearing a voice in your head.

This was like hearing a voice in your body. His whole nervous system twanged to it, like a bow.


Wonse jerked to his feet, overturning the chair and banging his legs on the table. When that voice spoke, he had as much control over his body as water had over gravity.


Wonse lurched across the floor.

The wings unfolded slowly, with the occasional creak, until they filled the hall from side to side. The tip of one smashed a window, and stuck out into the afternoon air.

The dragon slowly, sensuously, stretched out its neck and yawned. When it had finished, it brought its head around until it was a few inches in front of Wonse's face.

What does voluntary mean?

"It, er, it means doing something of your own free will," said Wonse.

But they have no free will! They will increase my hoard, or I will flame them!

Wonse gulped. "Yes," he said, "but you mustn't --"

The silent roar of fury spun him around.

There is nothing I mustn't!

"No, no, no!" squeaked Wonse, clutching his head. "I didn't mean that! Believe me! This way is better, that's all! Better and safer!"

None can defeat me!

"This is certainly the case --"

None can control me!

Wonse flung up his finger-spread hands in a conciliatory fashion. "Of course, of course," he said. "But there are ways and ways, you know. All the roaring and flaming, you see, you don't need it..."

Foolish ape! How else can I make them do my bidding?

Wonse put his hands behind his back.

"They'll do it of their own free will," he said. "And in time, they'll come to believe it was their own idea. It'll be a tradition. Take it from me. We humans are adaptable creatures."

The dragon gave him a long, blank stare.

"In fact," said Wonse, trying to keep the trembling out of his voice, "before too long, if someone comes along and tells them that a dragon king is a bad idea, they'll kill him themselves."

And this is where we are today. Focus on Federal debt is a bad idea. But bring up the idea that private debt is the problem, and they'll kill it quick.

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