Power

He placed a small box onto the table.

Ornate carvings it had none;
Gilt and gold was not its thing.
In fact
It was hard to see the colour really;
It was almost hard to see.

But it was there:
A small box, sitting
on the worn green leather top
of a wide wooden desk, before
the most powerful man in the world.

“It’s yours, if you want it,”
The traveller said.
“It has the power to create
anything you desire;
the power to control people;
it has the power to meld and mend
consciousness itself
and as such,
it creates reality.”

The traveller sat back:
“It’s yours, if you want it.”

“What’s the catch?” asked
the most powerful man in the world.
“There must be something.”

The traveller shrugged:
“I have one myself.
And no-one needs
more than that.”

There was a moment’s pause
Where the man’s hand itched to reach out,
And snatch it,
And be damned with what else.

“What do you want?” asked the man.

“You have a choice,”
the traveller said.
“My asking is only curiosity,
But I want to know what you’d do:
You can have this,
I’ll give you ten;
Or I’ll give you one for everyone
On the face of your planet.

The decision is yours.”

The man thought,
in the way we often do,
not rationally or logically
but dreamily,
excitedly.
He played out hopeful scenarios,
Pursuing an end to a point of comfort:
If everyone had one,
What would that be?

The endless consumption;
Street corners riddled with drugs
And debauchery.
The population losing focus,
Chaos reigns.
The lecherous mob,
drowning in their luxury;
Humanity sinking into sand.

Or he could manage it,
Help them,
Distribute it fairly,
And see the future through.

And he knew what he must do.

The traveller left that afternoon,
His ship slipping silently into space,
And the man was left holding his box:

Ornate carvings it had none;
Gilt and gold was not its thing.
In fact
It was hard to see the colour really:
It was almost hard to see.

And it never seemed to work.
And he often looked back and wondered
If he’d simply chosen wrong.

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