1412 c/o Jason Lee Norman

Never Been to Spain

It was decided, not in the high meeting rooms of the castle or the equidistant Stones of Mora but on the shores of the Baltic, that from this day forward no man was allowed to die. Women were also not permitted to expire and children, under the edict, were considered “little men and women” in the eyes of God and the crown. Animals could still die, and plumes of chimney smoke as well. All creations of man, whether practical or imaginary were allowed to fade, whither, age, and decompose according to the laws of nature but never to die in a flash of fire or rising water. Dogs could not die.

It was that day on the Baltic’s shore that the sun fought so hard to push through the milk of magnesia sky to give us warmth, because we were cold. We had just remembered the words of our beloved King who had promised us that he would not die until every one of us was himself or herself a king or queen. He died before fulfilling that promise.

Albert was our King and he was a King that we prayed for every night. He would not go to bed until all of his subjects were sleeping soundly. When it would rain he stood out on the balcony in his royal pyjamas until he was soaked from his grey hair down to his ingrown big toenail. He did this to feel like those of us who had leaky roofs and drafty rooms. He ate baloney sandwiches with warm mayo each day at lunch until every one of us had a goose, or turkey, or plump chicken on our table. All speeches were made on a Friday instead of a Sunday so that we could get off work early. The famous words from his last speech were, “No man will die until my work is done”.

He died writing the edict with his own hands by candlelight, to save power. A dried out ballpoint pen in his hand.

Our King was placed in a pine box and that box was put into a larger one of walnut oak. That box was then lowered into a tomb of limestone. The edict states that as long as there is snow, or hurricanes, or woodwind instruments that man would never again fear death. At the tomb we bowed our heads. The youngest of us laid a wreath. As long as there are empty pages, or bowls of soup, or hideous or beautiful things, that the edict would stand and we would no longer feel the paralysis of mourning. The messages came from as far as China, Ethiopia, and the Isle of Capri: The King is dead. Long live the King.