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The Allthing

November 22, 2011

Godard Berman knew he had to make some time to explain to his daughter what had happened. It was to be expected. People are not born with the knowledge of the Way. That was why it was taught.

In fact, that was really the reason things had turned out that way for the…

He reminded himself not to even think the name. Once a family was gone, they were really gone. No one was to even refer to them again. They no longer existed. No, more than that: they had never existed.

She, being only nine, had not yet learned to discipline her thoughts to that degree, though at least she had done the correct thing by coming to her father and not mentioning the fact that her former schoolmate—who had never existed as of last night—would never be seen again—even though she had not ever existed as things now stood.

Yes, it could be confusing for a child. Berman was fortunate to have a good wife who had bore him a child who at least knew where to come for answers that she could not find or understand in The Book.

This was little different from when any citizen would come to a godard for advice, as they frequently did. He would administer to their needs. They would of course make their offerings.

Dinner was finished and Berman had asked his wife to visit with neighbors so he could have his private chat and help to ease little Rebecca’s mind. He sat down across from the fireplace, decorated simply but clearly, for the coming Christmas holiday. Branches of holly, not plastic made in China, as he had so often seen in public school as a child, but real holly, grown in West Virginia by a family headed by a godard there.

He refused to spare his family important traditions and yet he did so without being garish or overdoing it. Simple and subtle, a gentle but firm hand was always best. They didn’t need a tree, for example, though Godard Berman never spoke ill of those who chose to do so.

He looked away from the decorations and into the eyes of his beautiful Rebecca. So many questions he could see there. This was likely to be one of several conversations. He would have to start slowly, cover the basics, and once she had shown an understanding of those, they could move on to explaining the more advanced topics.

He was momentarily choked up. His little girl was growing up and was showing interest in the Way. He was proud of that and wondered if the fire hadn’t happened for this great blessing to occur.

“So, you want to understand.”

“Yes, father.”

“Very well. First, you must remember that, after we’ve had this conversation, you can never speak—or even think—of those people again. They never existed. Do you understand?”

She nodded slowly. He continued.

“I know, it’s confusing at first. Think of it this way: remember the lessons, but forget those who were punished for violating the Way. This way, you can advise your husband one day on the proper thing to do but not be corrupted by the influence of those who…never existed. Clear?”

“Yes.”

He looked away again, this time briefly into the fireplace. He quickly decided that was perhaps not the best place to be glancing given the topic, and when he spoke at first, it was a little too loud, a little too animated. He adjusted back to normal when he reminded himself that there was nothing to be ashamed of in defending the Way.

“They refused to abide by the rules as set forth in The Book. Some tolerance is always accepted. We want people to be free. That’s why we also talk a lot about the Constitution. But, these people, they went to far.

“When Daddy was a little boy, there were…well they were constructs of the Federal government…”

“You mean like robots?”

He chuckled.

“No, honey. They were like clans except instead of being ordained by the Allthing and the Saints, it was a… written agreement that allowed them to exist. The government had people like the godards once. They would come and tell people what they could and could not do. When the Revolution happened, we put a stop to all that.

“Now, these constructs…they were called corporations. They were evil. Evil because they had all the rights of human beings, but they could do whatever they wanted without being punished for it. That was one of the reasons why the Revolution happened. They robbed people.

“And that’s why we did away with the government. They were just telling people what to do, but allowed these things to hurt people too. There really was no other choice apart from slavery. Would you want to be someone’s slave?”

“Nope.”

“Of course not. Well, that’s why we have godards and various ranks. They are chosen by the people in the community who are fit to do so.”

“Are old people fit to decide?”

He hadn’t really seen that one coming, but it wasn’t so far off topic to ignore or deflect it.

“Well, some are and some aren’t. Those who worked and saved up all their lives live well and still contribute to society are respected and have a say even if they don’t necessarily have jobs now.”

“And the ones at the edge of town?”

“No. They aren’t involved in such decision making. Even though those old folks there didn’t work hard enough to save for themselves, however, that’s why we go and give them food on Christmas. It’s a chance for them to repent. People who work hard should have no obligation to help those who won’t. But we do it anyway because we are good people.”

“And the fire?”

That was what she was really wondering about. They were back on topic.

“Well, once we got rid of the corporations, that included these kinds of corporation called banks. Banks basically held people’s money to protect it from robbers, but the banks themselves created a lot of rules and confusing laws through the government in order to take it away from people. They also would loan out money when someone needed a lot for business and didn’t have it when they needed it. Like if you wanted to bake some cookies to sell, it’d be like going to the store and saying, ‘I’ll pay you for this sugar, flour, vanilla, and eggs, after I sell the cookies I make.’

“Once we got rid of those, though, we had to figure out what to replace it with. So, now, instead of going to something called the Bank of America—”

“That’s a weird name!”

“Sure is! You are a smart girl.

“Once we got rid of those, we decided that the master godards would be the ones to give out money when people wanted to do some business but did not have the money to buy everything they needed to do so. The godard would be reimbursed with a profit because he didn’t have his money for his own use. The borrower would make some as well off of what he made and sold. It’s win-win.

“Now, when someone cannot pay back the money they borrowed, that’s when the godards get together and decide the punishment.”

“So…when…mmmfmfff,” she did not say the name, she knew better, “could not pay the money back…”

“Right. It was decided that they had nothing of value to give in recompense. So, the house was set alight with them in it. Now, I know you must miss your friend, but it was the right and Godly thing to do, honey. You will understand that one day,”

Rebecca sat quietly gazing into the fire. She did not look afraid at all, merely as if she was absorbing it all.

“What did people do in the olden days when there was a fire?”

“The ‘olden days’?!? You think your daddy is old?”

He tickled her and they laughed before they continued.

“Well, hon, the government forced people to pay taxes for a thing called a fire department. Whenever there was a fire, the fire department would come and rescue people even if those people weren’t deserving of that rescue. That’s why it’s always up to the godards to decide that, as we are appointed to do so.”

“Okay, I think I get it now. Thanks, Dad.”

“You’re welcome, baby.”

He kissed her on the forehead and waited for her to head for bed. He sipped some scotch by the fire before tiptoeing quietly to peek in and listen to her reciting the Prayer before going to bed. She held The Book in her hands while she bowed her head and spoke.

“Dear God, we thank you for sending your only child to show us the Way through The Book to remind us how things should be. We thank you for the blessings of being born white and not poor. We thank you for AIDS and other diseases that only afflict the wicked. In Her name, amen!”

He watched as she carefully placed the book back on the shelf next to the golden symbol of spiritual power on her shelf. The bull had always been lucky for prosperity and prosperity was the measure of how much God loved us.

He reminded himself that soon he would probably have to take her to get her own copy of The Book. He could barely read the word ‘Atlas’ on the worn out paperback copy on her shelf. It was the least he could do. His little girl was growing up.

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