Sunday, July 3, 2011

Remember John Prester

Watching fireworks on a festive night in the month of Swelter, a visitor to the City might be asked: “Do you know the story of John Prester?”

It’s a trick the locals pull on tourists. The truth is no one remembers John Prester--not really. You sometimes feel like you know it. Or knew it--but it only lingers there almost on the tip of your tongue, just beyond memory’s reach. It’s a good story, that one; you just can’t recall.

There are hints, maybe. Are the fireworks just simple celebration, or do they carry some other significance? Surely there’s something to the giant puppets paraded through the streets--the “Mugwumps” with their motley dress, straggly goatees, stovepipe hats, and leering grins? What about the wooden toy guns the kids mock shooting them with? And what about the tune played by the street musicians and marching bands? Who doesn’t hear that with a twinge of deja vu?

When did all this start, anyway? When did John Prester and his crew save the City (surely that’s what they must have done) or nearly destroyed it (well, that’s a possibility, too)? Maybe it hasn’t happened yet and the celebration isn’t the ghost of a memory but the sign heralding what’s to come?

Ah well, let the City raise a glass to John Prester, anyway, whatever he did--or will do. A bastard bold enough to almost get remembered deserves that much, right?


scottsz said...

Dare you mock all the jesters!
Remember John Prester!

As the stars did conspire,
for dark powers raised higher
Oh, Evil severe!

Prester's bravery surly
slew the Others quite early
and with laughter sincere!

With jocular tales,
the demons couldn't but fail!

So our humorless days
are kept far and away
by the secretive jesters
who honor John Prester!

Tallgeese said...

Thank you for my Sunday Morning Mievillian.

Trey said...

@scottsz - Ha! Five kinds of awesome. :)

@Tallgeese - You're quite welcome. :)

scottsz said...

@Trey: I may have overshot... I was just trying to keep the audience from throwing tomatoes!

Awesome post, Trey. I love the mysterious aspect of celebrating an event that's prophecied. Very cool!

Trey said...

@scottsz - Thanks. Nah, I don't think you overshot--John Prester demanded commenoration in verse. ;)

ze bulette said...

Very nice encapsulation.

I will bring you the length of Prester John's foot!

christian said...

Scottsz for the win. Nice!

Trey said...

@ze bulette - Please, no hair from Great Cham's beard, though. ;)

The Angry Lurker said...

That's excellent by Scottsz.

Canageek said...

John Prester, any relation to Prester John? Or is that so obvious that the answer is 'of course'?

Jim Shelley said...

I vaguely recall bumping into a rather intense young woman in the city who wrote a what she claimed was a magical philosophical treatise which she said people needed to read to prevent some devious plot by the Reds to take over the city (or world.) Devos Flinched I think she called it. In it, characters spent a good deal of time asking eaching other Do you know the story of John Prester?

Needles said...

By the fireworks glare do men despair for moments brave & true. The motley crew that few knew are gone & thus we despair that glare where memory & time meet. The end comes the deed is done but few know from whence it came. Now all is gone in the silence there left in its passing flame. So all is gone & forgotten.
The passing of Prester John

Trey said...

@Canageek - Hard to say. If only we could recall what John did we might could determine how he related to our wandering Christian king of the east, Johannes Prestyber. ;)

@Jim - Interesting...but of course it could be misinformation as part of a Red plot. It bears investigation.

@Needles - Another bit of poetry! You and Scottsz are bringing it today! :)

Unknown said...

Bravo, Scottz.

In the setting, people should sell tee-shirt with John Preston's iamge, and post cards and what not... all for the tourists.

Harald said...

Happy belated JP-Day!

scottsz said...

@Grumpy: Prester-ware! The shirts and corsets glow brightly when the wearer laughs!

Trey said...

@GC and @Scottsz - Of course, one would only buy John Prester merchandise from a licensed distributor--not those hobogoblins on the corner with the best price.

@Harald - And to you too, Harald. :)