by: RS Jacobs
He sat there, like so many of his porcine relations before him. Ensconced in polished brown safety, he stared straight ahead. There before him, glowing in brilliant light, was everything he cared to know about, and so much more. Looking ahead as he did, he took on the power of the Fates themselves. He could peer into the past, study the present world, and even discover the future. But there was more; he need not stop at observations of the fabric of time. He could observe, in a distant fashion, the private lives of his fellow man. Struggles, victories, sorrows; all were laid bare to his all-seeing eye. In mere moments, he could journey from forest, to desert, to the depths of space. This was his telescope and grabbing claw to every universe — all in one.
At his left hand sat a sampling of the fountain of youth, an elixir of immortality. It hissed audibly, seemingly seething with the energies of life itself. At his right, manna from Heaven; the odor so rich, it could be said one partook of it with the nose, rather than the mouth. Every now and then, he would take it upon himself to enjoy a taste of these culinary riches of unfathomable worth, then to sigh the sigh of a man liberated from his heavy load. With the world before him, and life on either side, this was no man who graced this place with his presence, but a king.
Without diverting his gaze from the wonders that darted about his eyes, this king of mammon reached, grasped, and finally closed a meaty hand around the weapon of his choice: black in color, smoother than river stones, and studded with glory, but no larger than a wizard’s wand. Despite the size of the thing, the incalculable power of this weapon could end whole worlds, then bring them back as if they had never left. This rod of power could seize the reins of time, and seize them it did. He used this tool of devastation to suspend all time as it stood, so he could observe the finer details, then all resumed as if uninterrupted.
The king was satisfied with the rod’s performance, and it was returned to its place. In its stead, he took up a tome endowed with the knowledge rivaling the Oracle of Delphi. For beyond even the power at the king’s disposal, was the wisdom of the tome. Details on its silky pages foretold things that even the king had yet to see, but that he would in time. Sights yet unseen, sounds yet unheard — that was the realm of this tome of infinity. The king studied its pages closely, taking his attention from the light for a few brief moments, to discern the nature of his inbound premonitions.
But what the king saw distressed him greatly. A dark expression twisted his corpulent face, and the tome was closed and set aside. Taking on a countenance most pensive, he stroked his grizzled chin and sat in deep thought. Reactions to what he had seen raced through his head like hunting falcons. But this pondering only brought him to realize the gravity of his findings, and his hand rose to his face, as if to keep it from falling off. The king thought of all he had observed, and of the feeling most satisfying brought to his body by the food and drink. He contemplated the power of the black rod, and the untapped prescience of the prophetic tome. When he could take no more, the black rod was brought up again, and the flashing lights and echoing sounds were dismissed. He closed his eyes, exhaled a slow, deep breath, and said,
“Five hundred channels, and nothing on.”