Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Beady Eyes of Mr. Zhang

It occurred to Mr. Zhang, as the dragon collected his eyes, that the situation was somewhat less than ideal.

"Sir!" he remarked, staggering backwards. "I must protest! You, at present, already posess two perfectly good eyes, which should be enough for any creature not of an insectile nature. You are reptilian, or draconic, as you prefer; therefore you have no use for my eyes. Return the one you have taken, and desist from attempting to remove the other; then this unfortunate matter will be at an end, and we will have no further need to quarrel."

"Ow," Mr. Zhang continued, as the dragon took his other eye.

"Dragon!" Mr. Zhang cried, shouting in the direction of the departing dragon. "This is a most terrible injustice; to take the eyes from a man who needs them, while you need them not. How can you justify your actions?"

The dragon paused in its flight; turned, and flew back to Mr. Zhang, hovering in the air before him with great flaps of its scaled wings. Mr. Zhang was immersed in its sulfurous stink with every breath it expelled. "In truth, I live life by a simple axiom," the dragon rumbled. "Might makes right. It is a simple law, and it allows me to conduct my affairs as I like them, without undue trouble or bother. I am greatest of all the dragons, and therefore the mightiest creature alive: thus there is nothing which may contest my righteousness."

"Your axiom is flawed!" Mr. Zhang hastily retorted. "A philosophy of life must certainly be judged by how well it fares for its user if all other persons also employed it; and certainly, in the very short term, such a test would fare well for you. But consider - what if some other creature, some rival dragon, gained strength over you? Or if you sired a mighty son, even more powerful than yourself? They would cast you down; they would render you unto dust, and none would remember your name! By your own philosophy this would be just. Can you accept this?"

"These scenarios seem somewhat unlikely," the dragon mused. "Am I not the most magnificent of all dragons, of all living creatures? Certainly nothing can overset my supremacy. Instead of seeking refuge in philosophy, I would advise you thus: do unto others as was done unto you. Take eyes from those weaker than you; thereby may your loss be reversed." And with this the dragon beat its wings mightily, once, twice; powerful winds buffeted Mr. Zhang, and no more did he hear the voice of the dragon.

"This is most unfortunate," Mr. Zhang remarked.

He considered. After a moment, he had a plan; decision was writ upon his face.

"Ho!" Mr. Zhang called. "Is any living creature about? I would have conversation!"

Presently, a chittering came from the underbrush. "A squirrel!" Mr. Zhang remarked, surprised. "Well, it is not what I would have wished... but it will do. Mr. Squirrel! As you can see, I am presently blind. Would you mind lending me one of your eyes, so that we could be on equal terms for the duration of the conversation? I will certainly give it back afterwards."

The squirrel chittered. Mr. Zhang felt a small object being pressed into his hand; he pushed it into his right eye socket, and found his vision - partially, blurrily, missing a few colours - returned.

"Thank you, Mr. Squirrel!" Mr. Zhang remarked, impeccably polite, as befit a gentleman of his breeding. "Now we may come to the subject of our conversation."

"Squeak?" the squirrel chittered.

"Squeak!" the squirrel remarked in some agitation, now without both eyes.

"Much better!" Mr. Zhang said, looking about with some satisfaction. "Not as good as my old, human eyes - but certainly it is better than what that dragon left me with. I suppose I will have to make do..."

He thought about this.

Some time later, he entered a small town; made polite conversation with an old lady walking down the street.

"It's good to see a young man like you so respectful of your elders!" the old woman remarked, leaning on her walker. "I was suspicious of you at first, I admit, with those strange beady eyes of yours... but you're a perfectly courteous and trustworthy individual after all!"

"Aaiii!" she screamed, moments later. "My eyes! He stole my eyes!"

"Much better," Mr. Zhang said with satisfaction. "Now - what's next?"

"Hello, sir," said the clerk of the eye store, looking up upon hearing the door open. "What sort of eyes would you like to purchase today?"

"I think I would like... all of them!" Mr. Zhang said, cackling triumphantly. He swept all the eyes off their shelves into an enormous sack, which he'd painted an eye on. (To avoid confusion.) Then he stole the clerk's eyes!

"Whyyy?" the clerk wailed. "You just stole like five-hundred eyes! You don't need mine! You total jerk!"

"Ha ha!" Mr. Zhang laughed. "Go steal your own!" Then he ran off.

(Part One of Two.)


Calvacadeofcats said...

i am most grievously offended by this hullabaloo

Calvacadeofcats said...

(not really)