This is What I Admire About You

You are the kind of monk, the kind of monk that comes out of his bunker or hiding place beneath the floorboards when the celebratory gunshots are still bouncing in Capital city. You will have pressed your scapulars, altered them to suggest some preference for the General and his forces. You will and then you are the kind of monk who will have walked to the monastery, the roof salvageable, the desks and beds torn apart into straw pieces, and you will arrange them and the writing papers into a new order that you will have been thinking over in the quiet frustrated nights before the revolution.

You are the kind of monk, that when the regional commander arrives, while the other monks are the kinds of monks who will have scattered, you will have stayed behind and walked earnestly and rigidly and with orthodoxy around the grounds waiting for him, appearing while you wait for him. You are the kind of monk who will have shown him around, expressed a moderated concern for the preservation of the Order, one which suggests a commitment to the General that rises above the slavish, perhaps to the useful? this will have been up to the perception of the commander. You will have expressed the great luck of your people that the General arrived when he did, the great luck of the Order as the degraded and decadent ranks have been cleansed, no you won't have used that word, remedied of burgeoning associations made by the unorthodox and experimental in this, the oldest of religions, yet allowing the excesses of the scholars to abate in the fields while they learn to tend crops with the peasants.

You will have suggested that as the new authorities, they should quickly demonstrate their new methods by appointing the new Abbot, that until this time you are prepared for the thankless administration that needs to be done, that you have your suspicions about many of the younger monks, your contemporaries who were lost to the same vulgarity as the King in his corruption. You will head the monastary as well you can while the decision is made, having suggested several names of sufficient orthodoxy and commitment to the the success of the new state, or perhaps only feckless enough to cower in front of it. The names will only be adequate, but your bated smile hides the implicit indictment of the as-yet-unpurged.

You will have risen, carefully not to the top, the top now a series of infirmities who insult the new paranoid and petulant state apparatchiks, lucky to find disgrace and retirement. You will have kept smiling and silent, writing doctrinal maneuvers, esoterica concealed in its meaninglessness.

When the King announces the formation of a true-government-in-exile, you will have been onstage next to the Bishops and the Abbots, far down the end, perhaps cut out from the official photograph. You will not have spoken or have contributed significantly to the prepared texts, but you will have been cunning enough to suggest something overeager, something fiery but insulting to the wary and tenuous new allegiances with the southern neighbors and your contributions will have gone unheeded, yet your commitment will have been noted.

As the Restoration Army wilds easily toward the capital from the enemies in the north, your monastery will have been safely in the south. You will have shifted your pastoral advice to emphasize the continuity of your god, that they remain regardless of this or that particular regime or collaboration, no, you certainly will not use the word regime, you will instead have said that the god supports the General in his desires to restore the nation to a former greatness, but your emphasis, the drawn out tones of "restore" and "former" will have nearby loyalists nodding toward you and telling you that they appreciate your courage, which you will have dismissed with a halfhearted congratulations for being the lucky subject of such a powerful leader.

The King will have returned to the palace grounds in the capital city to address his rightful subjects, in victory, while his forces move swiftly through the central provinces. Here will have been your only danger, "We have restored our dear Capital, liberated our dear people and land!," the soldiers will have shouted rom the Parliament windows, "Long live our King," they will have sounded jealous, "Quickly conquer his enemies and those who comfort them!"

The countryside in chaos, but the King's army is a well-disciplined front and crossing north will have become impossible. While the General's offices burn through the night, records and balances of the failed effort erased, in proportion the truth of their guilt inscribed into the street, you will have been discreetly moving about the ground, burying and burning the few documents from the last days, when your strategic overstatements were increasingly adopted by the hysterical dead-enders. When the bellow of the King's Army reaches the northern districts, you will have taken the few faulty rifles from the emptied armories and fired the General's bullets into your walls and ceilings, you will have burned part of the sacristy and carved a cruel blasphemy into your stomach.

You are the kind of monk who survives a purge, who will have persisted.

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