Grasping At Straws

Children have drowned in buckets and toilets.

You are the straw that would break my camel.

Traversing the desert hundreds of days.

No food, no water, just an oasis.

Illusion of friendship always denied.

Grasping at, clutching an unreal image.

Abandoned when I needed forlorn hope.

The rest, they’ve forgotten. You’re not the first.

Only a parallel string universe.

My days are reminders of what I lack.

And my nights are relief until I wake.

I am falling behind, finishing last.

It’s time to be done; no future with smiles.

I’m so hungry, but my appetite fails.

Starving for fulfillment I’ll never have.

Embrace the end, there is nothing beyond.

Release will come when the coward is slain.

Learning how to let go, with no regrets.

Alleviate the pain and suffering.

Nobody sees the weight that crushes me.

Behind the wall of fake smiles and lies.

Internal reflections of what will come.

The calm of my descent from the living.

Consequences considered, not abrupt.

Minimize the disruption of impact.

For once I will be happy all alone.


The Fighter

Combatant. Fights without fear or delay.

Always engaged, ready to break the peace.

A struggle without fighting, not worth it.

Release the anger, you will feel relieved.

Cause matters not when there are expressions.

No handcuffs for rage, leave the guilt aside.

Smacks and booms and cackles of mad laughter.

Your descriptive ear hears the destruction.

I want it all, I want it now. Be done.

The silent hush is the boiling pressure.

No indicators, no prior warning.

Quicker than a whistle, you will see truth.

HOPE Columbine Memorial Library

By then it’s too late, he cares no longer.

Consequences, obstacles to feelings.

Love me not, forget me not. The Omen.

You were all warned. He was born a fighter.

You tied his hands, and thought he could be saved.

Ignorant fools. You know nothing of war.

A shock to the system that never leaves.

The circuits have been rewired at cost.

There is a worn path he rushes along.

Too quick to save the inferno he flashed.

At least the path within matches. Empty.

There was no alternative, wasn’t choice.

A collection of circumstances. Dead.

Parasitism and Suicide

It should come as no surprise to a student of historical materialism that societal recognition of suicide came with the dawn of the Age of Imperialism. In fact, English law first began to address suicide just as the British Empire began to expand its military campaigns into Africa. This parallel development serves as an indicator of the unhurried development of parasitism during the beginning stages of imperialism. Suicide is a cultural phenomenon that is a result of an exploitive culture. There is no cure for it other than the destruction of the system that allows it to prevail within society.

We all understand, through various experiences, that being a teenager is an emotionally tumultuous time in anybody’s life. It is well within comprehension that teenagers would be more prone to suicide attempts than other demographic categories. However, suicide is the second leading cause of death between the ages of 15-34, and increasing across all age groups, serving as an indicator that there is a psychological imbalance within such societies, which is only proliferated by capitalist culture. These numbers are heavily disproportionate to intuitive reasoning for the leading causes of death.

English: A chart of the most common methods of...

The growth of parasitic culture within a capitalist society intensifies abnormal social relations to the point of abuse by creditors and debtors alike. This is one explanation of the exponential increase in suicide rates in recent years. Abnormal social relations combined with the exploitation of natural competitiveness causes severe marginalization within capitalist culture and is why symptoms of depression are particularly problematic for individuals within these cultures. There are a host of other factors that contribute to suicide demographics, but they all stem from the existence of capitalism.

All of the recent school shootings can be attributed to the growth of a parasitic economy, especially with the economic stranglehold seen in bourgeois and petty-bourgeois regions where these shootings occur. It is ironic and a tell-tale sign that the same system that creates a culture of privilege actually does more psychological damage to the privileged than to disadvantaged people. Cases in point are the numerous school shootings in bourgeois neighborhoods, and the lack of similar massacres in proletarian communities.

The capitalist solution of course is to exploit the victims of suicide, creating monopolies on products that never reach the root causes of our problems, but seek to provide cyclical remediation of placebos. There are innumerable drug treatments for any type of imagined neurochemical imbalances or ailments. There is also therapy, an exploitive industry that grew from a lack of normal social relations and the increasing inability for face-to-face social interactions. Finally, there are hotlines to prevent suicide, but nothing to remedy the societal conditions that are so severe as to make a significant portion of the population feel as though non-existence is a viable alternative to struggle.

Death too Soon

Part One: Tribute

A hero to all, enemy to none.

Invincible; who we wanted to be.

But life was too much for your soul to bear.

You warned us, told us it would happen soon.

Then claimed innocence when you failed at first.

Who would’ve guessed that success was failure?

That fulfillment was hollow and empty?

And of course, who did you have to turn to?

Who could be a rock to hold a boulder?

So many questions. God without answer.

The labor we would trade was unfulfilled.

Others surrounded to create the hole.

So you sought an exit from the vacuum.

Consume, consume, the leech and parasites.

Then it is done and you were left without.

So something else filled what should have been.

Something so precious, but not meant to last.

Disparity known, but eyes closed shut.

Live in the moment, flip off the future.

Abrupt halt before hurdling forward.

It wasn’t for you, should have chosen else.

Chart showing he circumstances for suicide in ...

Part Two: Forgotten

Yet you’re not alone, not the very first.

Brother who held hands at the mountain peak.

A troubled past that was, came uncovered.

Or the sickness that destroys what you were.

Stealing your identity, missing whole.

Being better doesn’t mean being best.

Expectations held, always above you.

The ones you hurt the most are your regrets.

Erasing the past can’t fix next Thursday.

Ever seeking, but the system hides it.

That thing that would make us better people.

Sometimes life was over when mistakes haunt.

Little things that eat away every day.

Some of us never make it to the top.

Our God a cruel child, loving misery.

To weigh the burden, yet never make it.

Sometimes your promises meant all too much.

The system has left you misunderstood.

Frustration lies where fruit doesn’t harvest.

Eternal Reward

Leeds Road Community Hospital

One must assume that nurses make very good patients. That is, they must possess an acute ability to self-diagnose. That is why when Nurse Santania awoke this morning with a high fever, generalized weakness, a headache, and sore throat and watery discharge from her nose, that is when Nurse Santania knew she had a fever. Or at least so she thought. She arrived to her own hospital, asked the front desk to admit her as a patient, and was prepared to be given a healthy dose of one of the common treatments for flu. So the nurses attending her ran all of the tests, just to be sure, even though Nurse Santania had already provided the diagnosis. The results came back, and sure enough, the nurses sent her home with goodies in hand. The following week Nurse Santania took off, just to play it safe for the sake of her patients. Taking her medicine regularly, Nurse Santania continued to notice other signs developing during that week. She found herself with a cough and shortness of breath, seizures and lack of coordination, difficulty swallowing, mental symptoms such as confusion and forgetfulness, severe and persistent diarrhea, fever, vision loss, nausea, abdominal cramps, and vomiting, weight loss and extreme fatigue, severe headaches with neck stiffness, and a coma. She woke up, went to the hospital where they ran more tests on her, and a new prognosis was given. Nurse Santania was diagnosed with AIDS, and given two or three more years to live. But fortunately for her, a cure was in the works.

Theodore was about to happen upon an important discovery within the domain of medicine. After years of familiarity with his own body, Theodore had discovered something he believed to be unique amongst men in his blood. As most upstanding citizens do, Theodore often went to donate blood, yet every time he went the nurses would comment on the greenish color of it and be taken aback by the appearance, until a handful of tests were run and it was revealed to be a relatively normal sample of O Positive blood, normal minus the green coloration of course. Once Theodore read about Nurse Santania’s condition from the heart-rending support provided for her in the local newspaper, he knew what had to be done. Theodore put on his sports jacket, and began to walk to the hospital an untold number of miles away. He arrived, checked the address he had written down on a small piece of paper just to make sure it was the right place, and walked inside with his solution in hand: a single vial of his green blood, labeled in black sharpie “O Positive” on the vial. He approached the front desk, gave a quick overview of the situation, and requested an audience with Nurse Santania and her attending nurses. Tests were run on his vial of blood in order to reassure the nurses of its legitimacy, and then Nurse Santania was given more blood tests to ensure compatibility. Once the two were effectively linked, Theodore asked for one condition: to be allowed to present the vial to Nurse Santania himself. The condition was granted, and he entered her room, holding the vial up in one hand, he pulled back the curtain to reveal her in a weary but awakened state. He said, “Nurse Santania, your nurses just approved a transfusion with my blood to attempt to cure your condition. We thought it might help and that you might like it because it’s green. Even if it doesn’t work, at least it’s your favorite color.” With that, Nurse Santania smiled a large but weary smile. But her other visitor had other plans. The man standing across from Theodore, holding Nurse Santania’s weakened hand was a man in a suit who cut in, “Thanks, but we’ve already made an agreement. In exchange for my placebo, Nurse Santania has just signed paperwork to hand over her life’s savings to me. I’m afraid she won’t be able to afford such a transfusion. Sorry.” With that, Nurse Santania nodded her head in agreement, leaving Theodore standing there astonished. An awkward silence helped Theodore realize that he was no longer wanted there, and he turned around and left as the others stared after him. He tossed the vial onto a nurse’s cart as he passed, headed for the hospital exit, and began his walk home.


On his journey home, while passing through a city along the way underneath the warm afternoon sun, Theodore came across a construction site. There, a group of shirtless men were stacking tree branches in attempt to make a hut. Theodore stopped and asked what they were doing. One of the men stopped, looked at him, and answered, “We were contracted to construct a new hotel here. We were the cheapest bidders, so they hired us even though we collectively have no experience in construction. We’re supposed to have it done by the end of the week, but I don’t think we’re going to make it.” As he finished his sentence, the sticks fell again, resetting the project to the beginning once more. “Don’t worry,” Theodore reassured them, “I’ll help. But first, we’re going to need new building materials this just isn’t going to work.” The construction worker replied, “But, sir, we can’t afford any other materials. You see, they aren’t actually going to pay us until the job is completed satisfactorily!” Theodore replied, “I’ll take care of it.” And with that, he walked off down the street, through the rest of the city, and headed to an old stone quarry he knew of just a couple miles outside the city. There, he looked around for what would become the cornerstone of his foundation, and settling on a large stone he found, he loaded it on his back and make the trek to the city, all the way back to the construction site. There, het set down the stone in the middle of where he knew the building should go, the site now cleared of the sticks used earlier. And he began the track back to the outskirts of the city into the rock quarry for the next piece, continuing until the foundation was laid completely. The construction workers were curious and thankful, standing around wondering at what was being built before their eyes, appreciative yet inquisitively speculative at what was being laid out before them. Theodore continued hauling large stones back until the midday sun became dusk, and as the temperature cooled he was relieved, and continued hauling stones until darkness as the men trickled away back to their own homes, lives and wives. Now in the pitch of night, Theodore decided to pull out his head lamp and work on reshaping the stones with piece of sandpaper from his pocket. He worked the sandpaper, shaping the stones into a visually impressive construction. When the men arrived again in the morning, they were awed at what Theodore had  been able to accomplish, and stood there watching as Theodore resumed his trek now that daylight was once again in support of the project. Theodore continued at this cadence for an entire week, trekking to the quarry during daylight hours with the men standing by watching, and using his headlamp to work the sandpaper in the solitude of the night. Three stories later, to include sumptuous penthouses, formal dining rooms, maid’s rooms and wood burning fireplaces, and not least one particular group of astonished construction workers, Theodore completed the project. The head of the group, the man Theodore had been conversing with at the outset of the project called his employer who set a date for the grand opening ribbon ceremony. Theodore stood wearily stood watch over his project the night before the event, and opened his eyes in alarm when the ground beneath his feet began to tremble. He looked up at his enormous project that began to sway as the ground beneath it cracked open, suspending it in midair. Embarrassingly, when the first reporters began to arrive early the next morning, it was discovered that though the building was thankfully not damaged by the earthquake, but was now suspended in midair and inaccessible to anyone without powers of levitation. So the rest of the guests arrived, and then the owner, all displeased with this turn of events. They eventually left in disappointment, while the owner lectured the workers on what this meant to him and to their previously agreed upon pay. Now only the local magician was interested in a room, and since his price for a rental could not defray the costs incurred by the management company’s advertising campaign for the hotel, the workers would remain unpaid. Embarrassed and ashamed of the problems he had caused, Theodore apologetically left the media frenzy, walked through the air over the chasm to get to the entrance of the hotel, and went inside to find a room and take a nap.

South-eastern end of chasm

When Theodore awoke from his nap, he locked up his room and headed for the hotel exit through the hollow maze that was the unoccupied hotel. He walked outside, across the chasm and down to the ground. Nearby, on a stone park bench was a little girl with her face in her hands shoulders shaking from uncontrollable sobbing. Theodore sat down next to her not saying anything, waiting for an opportunity to console her. But she continued there, sobbing into her hands without looking up, while Theodore sat next to her, looking around and pondering what to say. Finally, after an hour of this, Theodore looked down at his feet and happened to glance at the puddle that had formed under the girl’s dangling legs. He said, “It looks like your feet are going to get wet.” The girl paused from her sobbing to look up at him briefly, then leaned over and buried her face into his shoulder, sobbing once more. Theodore reached his arm around her and she continued to cry into his chest. After a moment, the girl spoke. “It’s just not fair!” the girl said through her tears. “What’s not fair?” Theodore asked. “Life’s not fair,” the girl responded. “Boys,” she started before her weeping once again overcame her speech. She caught her breath and began again, “Boys won’t even look at me,” which began another fit of labored breathing through uncontrollable sobs. “One time,” she sniffled, “I saw this cute guy, so I smiled at him, but he didn’t notice, so I walked over to him and asked him what time it was.” Theodore was listening attentively as she struggled through her sobbing. “And you know what he told me? He said ‘It’s time for you to buy a watch. Now get lost little girl.’” The girl’s tears started to flow more strongly, “And he didn’t even offer to buy me one!” The girl broke into another fit of crying. Theodore said, “There, there, it can’t be so bad, can it? I mean you’re a very lovely girl.” As he said this the girl started swinging her legs, splashing the salty water that was now halfway up the bench. Theodore’s feet were already soaked, so he continued to console the girl, not always noticing the rising water level from her tears. “I’m just so sick of boys!” she shouted, burying her face deeper into Theodore’s chest. Theodore looked around, thankful for seeing nobody in sight, and wondered how to respond to this sort of outburst, being a boy himself and all. The girl, realizing to whom she had just spoken these words, looked up at Theodore and stated apologetically, “I suppose you’re alright though, not like my ex-boyfriend, who…” and the girl resumed her crying, shoulders shaking at memories unspoken. “You know,” she sobbed, “sometimes the boys ignore me when I need their attention.” She continued to cry, the salty water level around them was now just below the seat of the park bench, near Theodore’s knees. He was in too deep now to do anything but just sit there and listen, and try to console this poor girl with her broken heart and her tales of woe. “But sometimes,” the girl resumed, “they do too much.” The girl hesitated a moment before quickly blurting out, “He touched me.” Feeling awkward again because of his gender, Theodore continued to hold the girl tight, hoping to console away any feelings of ill that the girl may have toward him or his gender. “So now I’m tainted and nobody will ever want me!” the girl cried as if her fate were sealed.  Then she asked, “Do you want to get married?” With this sudden proposition, Theodore had to get up and step away. As he did, the park bench came unbolted from the ground and began to float away. The girl stared after him as she floated along, toward the hotel. Her tears had just filled the chasm caused by the earthquake, and now the grand hotel that Theodore built could now be accessed by boat. So Theodore set off in hopes of restoring business to the hotel, and would be sure to provide warning of the sobbing girl on the park bench.

Theodore decided to return to the hospital from which he came in order to check back up on Nurse Santania. So he headed back, picking up flowers, balloons and a ‘Get Well Soon’ card along the way. When he arrived at the hospital and walked through the entrance, he couldn’t help but notice the contrast with the harsh desert landscape outside of the city, beyond the doors he had just walked through. The hospital was clean, to such a degree that the hospital’s sterility made everything seem so new, regardless of how many years it had been taking care of patients. It was as if it were stuck in time, a time when everything’s okay, and nobody gets sick or dies. The walls were always freshly painted, the floor so shiny it didn’t ever need to be buffed. No matter how much foot traffic, no matter how many bleeding, sick, coughing, or mangled forms may have come through those hospital doors, it remained pristine for every visit. Perhaps the custodial staff members were simply more evolved than their primary and secondary school brethren. And surely none of the sports stadiums could hope for such a state, either. And don’t think for a second it’s about numbers, because surely people start dying every day, and their families must love them enough to come visit regularly. But that wasn’t why Theodore wanted to visit Nurse Santania again before she inevitably ascended to a place even more immaculate than this hospital, if that can even be believed.

Upon arriving to Nurse Santania’s room and delivering the gifts, placing them amongst those from numerous others, from families, boyfriends, co-workers, and the like, Theodore was disappointed to see Nurse Santania’s condition had not improved, despite the contract with the man and his placebo cure. Theodore couldn’t stand to see her suffer like this, so he left to go to the waiting room, thinking, trying to devise a plan to nurse the Nurse Santania back to the healthy condition that she deserved, that all humans deserve to enjoy. How cruel must be the death that takes so much away, that causes suffering for its patients, and their families by extension. But Theodore would not have it. He knew life could be so much more, and was determined to give it. But he knew it would require a sacrifice on his part, in order to appease that cruel god of the underworld. But he promised to himself that even Hell would suffer, if anyone from there decided to interfere. And then at that moment, he knew what to do. Theodore was fit, probably more so than his contemporaries and those slightly younger as well. Years of Adonis-like pursuit had helped him sculpt broad shoulders, a large chest, a solid abdomen, and even the vanity of flexed biceps and firm buttocks. But these would not help him directly now. But the effects of such dedication to one’s body is a long-term gift that older men seek as well, the improvements in overall health, from immunity to diseases to heightened cardiovascular functioning, it is those muscles unseen that actually benefit most. And that is what Theodore would sacrifice to help. He left the waiting room to enter the spotless latrines and began to cultivate his donation by taking his pocket knife from his side and making a small incision along the left side of his chest, cutting through sinew that he knew would take months to repair, sapping his strength before it would ever return to normal. But that is the sacrifice he knew had to be made. When he completed the incision to a certain length, he reached in and pulled out his beating heart. Looking at it beating in his hand, Theodore nodded to himself and began to head upstairs to Nurse Santania. When the doctors and nurses had seen what Theodore had done, they took the heart from him and assumedly prepped Nurse Santania for surgery. Someone took Theodore by the arm, and led him down the hall somewhere to sit and rest while his deed was carried out by the ever-competent care staff that surrounded Nurse Santania and made the hospital a place of hope and optimism that assuaged irrational and of rational fears alike with the same effectiveness.

But it didn’t work. As per usual, Theodore’s efforts were fruitless. It seemed to him that no matter how hard he tried, no matter how much effort he put into something, it was bound to fail. He could learn how to part the ocean, only to have to move a mountain next. And moving mountains can wear on a person. They’re heavy, and quite an inconvenience to have to push around. All he wanted to do was help, but sometimes he ran low on energy to give. Because even if he did learn how to part the sea, somebody else would outdo him by walking on water. How long can a person continue to do things for others when it never works in anybody’s favor? Theodore imagined that he could have been an oracle, but people would stop coming to him once they assumed they knew more than he did. If only he could communicate better, but no, nobody would ever believe Theodore the Oracle. But he knew he couldn’t give up, that he had more to give, and thus would yet give more.

So Theodore sat up in his bed, still quite weary from the loss of his heart, but began to attempt to devise a plan that would save Nurse Santania once and for all. So he reached over to his heart monitor, opened it up, modified a few capacitors, and began typing his plan on the heart monitor. He googled possible solutions or cures for Nurse Santania’s conditions, wishing all along that the Oracles were still around. But they had all retired already, having shared their knowledge with everyone, giving up everything they knew. Hmmm, ‘giving up everything’? Does that really work? Sacrifice? Well it surely must have worked for people like the Mesoamericans, with their angry gods always demanding an irrational contribution to their prosperity, in conjunction with the priests that coincidentally became prosperous as well. But that was in the past. He had to find a solution in the present. So what could our God want in exchange for Nurse Santania’s health? What sort of profit does our God seek from his cruel world? Then Theodore thought he understood. If our God created man in his image, surely he’d want an image of himself? Theodore could send him a picture, but how do you send a picture to our God? So he decided to send himself instead. Surely our God would appreciate the presence of another, as he’s seated on his lonely throne, ruling the world with chaos. And that’s what Theodore would give him. Nothing enough to appease him, but perhaps something to subdue our God’s wrath ever so slightly to give Nurse Santania back everything that our God had stolen from her. So Theodore took the pistol from the holster on his left hip, and gave his final gift to the world. Sure, his parents might be angry, but at least he had helped.


The span of the San Ivan River is a rich wildlife habitat that some claim as the most fertile region in the world. Its source is a spring at the foot of Mount Pedro. It then runs south through rolling grasslands, drops off at the Caliente Falls, flows alongside flourishing towns and villages, cuts through the Cowboy Mountains, and finally empties into Lake Triste. Trails trodden by Indians going from village to village have created ideal hiking conditions for any aspiring outdoorsman. The trails are easily navigable throughout each of the regions four seasons. Travelers can navigate the trails any time of the year, allowing them to see ice-covered falls, flowering meadows, sandy beaches, or blossoming trees. There are even 100-gallon water station barrels along the trails, placed for travelers as places to rest and replenish their water supply with purified water sources. Guides are available to explain the history of the region, beginning from the when the river’s path was first dug out.

Pidurutalagala (Mount Pedro)

Decades later, plant growth along the river’s edges brought civilization back to the region. Families began constructing homes within reach of the river’s shores, grouping into settlements with other families, until the entire region became populated. Women would travel to the river and gather water, while the men improved upon their homes or worked in small gardens. Children would play around all of them, until they were shooed away, when they would go play around someone else. Some of the men even began expanding their gardens into sustainable farms once the minor irrigation systems were built. Of course, none of this would have been possible if not for the man who dug the river, and when tour guides began populating this river oasis, they learned that his name was Ivan.

Ivan was thought to live near Lake Triste, where he took baths. After the market was built at the northern part of the river, he was also known to visit weekly for supplies. The men who had seen Ivan said he was always smiling, offering generously to give a hand for anything, but asked nothing in return. He would offer to work their farms, build their houses, carry their water, and even clean the children when they came back from playing in the mud. He never asked for anything, nor did he ever explain who he was or that it was he who built the river. He was simply content to work, and that is all they ever knew. The husbands told their wives of this great friend that was a friend without sustained friendship, and this made the wives, and the gossiped widows and girls, suspicious, because they had never seen Ivan. The husbands told how he could be seen around Lake Triste, or on his hikes to the northern Market, how much he smiled around at everyone while at that market, and even pointed to him when he was working with them. But the women talked amongst themselves about their husbands, because the women never saw Ivan. So the men became more adamant, taking their families to the beaches at Crater Lake for family vacations. There, the men would stop and talk to Ivan as he was emptying sandbags, help him carry more down to the beach, and then return to their families. Ivan would smile, and the children would stare at him, but the women would only frown in his direction until he let go of his smile and returned to work. The men wanted Ivan to be recognized, so they would invite him to dinner after a day’s work, but Ivan would politely decline the invitations, smiling and waving before leaving their homes, while the children quietly watched him and the women glared at him as he walked out the door. Ivan became discomfited once the mall was built, because every time he would visit there, per usual, the men would walk up to shake his hand and make small talk while the children looked at him, but the women were never so kind, always shooting him dirty looks that sheepened his smile away.

Eventually Ivan stopped going into public in order to maintain his spirits, but the men were disappointed. No longer did they have the help or kindness that radiated from Ivan, but now they spent their days working alone, and would go home empty, subjected to the full wrath of their wives’ incessant nagging that work wasn’t being done around the house, and the children were becoming unruly. When the first husband killed himself, the men knew something had to be done. Intolerable lives led the men to lobby for Ivan to return. They met together at night in the Trump Tavern that now overlooked the river from the foot of Lake Triste. Ivan was contacted, and with regret he gave his first speech the next day at the funeral procession, called the ‘Funeral Oration.’ But Ivan immediately disappeared again, and husbands continued to end their own lives in desperation.

The men then named Ivan the pharaoh of the San Ivan River region. As pharaoh, Ivan returned to the public, if only to give speeches on the state of the region. His orations were held in the highest regard by the men that heard them broadcast all over the San Ivan River region, and lifted their spirits back to fulfilling, functional lives. His first speech as pharaoh was called, ‘On the Crown,’ wherein Ivan discussed the succession and ascendancy to pharaoh, naming any man worthy, provided that he had prior experience. The men rallied to the speech, finding an enormous sense of respect for this egalitarian man that they had named theirs. The men returned home to their wives and talked of their aspirations to the new throne, once Ivan’s eternal reign ended. The wives scoffed, and having not heard the speech, began to presume that the pharaoh’s seat was a way to keep them out of power. They met together and gossiped, but forgot about the possibility of preparing a plan to unseat the pharaoh. Ivan, in his benevolence, began to issue sermons for the morality of the children. His first was the ‘Sermon on the Mount’. Understanding that he was not a god, Ivan concluded his moral teachings with ‘The Farewell Sermons’, and thereafter allowed parents to guide their children’s own morality. Once the San Ivan River region was declared the only freshwater resource left in the world, Ivan immediately stationed troops at outposts along the river to protect the region from invaders. Prior to sending them out on the very first watch, he spoke to them at their fort, giving each a bottle of water from the San Ivan River that would heal any wounds sustained.

Following the war, Ivan found other issues he had to deal with. Taking advantage of the possibility of war, a group had formed against his administration called ‘The Troubleshooters’. This group identified problems with Ivan’s administration, but offered no solutions. They gossiped about it loudly in places about the city, but no action was ever taken. The group eventually disbanded because of a lack of leadership and splinter groups forming. As a man who despised inaction, Ivan did not let their actions go, but rebuked the group for such devious intentions with his “Ain’t I a Man?” speech. The speech was given in front of a large double-arched hotel in the middle of the city. At the end of the speech, as Ivan waved to the crowd and began to walk away, shots were fired. He ducked, and was rushed to cover by his bodyguard. The shooter was immediately apprehended by the crowd and handed over to police, while Ivan was rushed to the hospital. Ivan sustained no injuries during the event, and once released immediately held another press conference to announce his resignation, to the chagrin of his supporters. His assailant was put on trial, and eventually declared not guilty by a jury and released despite what seemed to be overwhelming evidence. Ivan allegedly retired to a treehouse he had built, and was never seen or heard from again. Some tour guides point out his possible location, labeled outside with a sign that reads, “no girls allowed.”