Up-to-date kings in meadows
by Alan Sondheim

"We've got a big meadow here! "Let's sign the Magna Charta! "Let's make a smaller one! "Ok, we need some rules. "Ok, let's make some rules. "We need a ball! "It's not a game. "Ok, well, you can't murder anyone. "We still need a ball. "Ok, we don't need a ball. "That sounds good. "Does anyone own this place? "I do. "I do. "Well, just kidding. "We don't really know! "I like meadows! "If a slave rapes a slave-woman, castrate him! "Where'd that come from? "Well, it's a rule. "Ok, here's one. If you're a woman and you're screwing wizards and sorcerers, you'll be killed. "That's a little harsh. "But think of it, wizards and sorcerers! "If you burn a tree down around here, you'll pay sixty shillings. "That's absurd. There are no trees here! "It's a meadow! "Well don't burn anything! You know, fire's a thief? "Why's that? "Because it takes what you've got. "But it doesn't keep it! "That's different. I think it eats it though. "We're losing track here. "Okay! If you steal a nun and you're fucking like crazy and have a kid and she dies, her inheritance goes to the king. "Would you forget nuns for a moment? You're always going on about them. Nuns, nuns, nuns. "How about this? Suppose you're a thief over twelve years of age, and you steal over twelve pence, then we'll kill you. "Suppose you've left? There's no reason to stay around with the goods! "Well, we'll look all over for you, at least until everyone's had a go at it. "What if you're looking for this guy and you don't have a horse? "Well then, go on foot! "What if you don't have feet? "You're being silly. "No, you're being silly. "Okay, but if the thief flees to a church or even my palace, no one can attack him. "What if someone does attack him? "Then we'll all hate him and he'll have to give up everything he owns! "Is this the Magna Charta? "Where's the ball? "We're not doing the Magna Charta and we're not playing a ball game. "Ok, here's a rule..."

Pub. May 2001