White Teeth, Gold Doors
White teeth shone neon against the gold doors as Caesar shook hands with his new ally. Each day he appeared before the people to receive their cheers, like a fire god who fuelled their passions and, in turn, his own. They were poor, thin creatures, always running on near empty, who needed daily refilling lest they begin to jeer. The stakes were high - this he knew, but it was all worth it. In this mutual fuelling of the passions was that thing he coveted most - more precious than his gold-guilded vessel or all of the treasure chests in his palaces. Power, power and more power. As he shook the hand of his once enemy who now submitted to him, he gorged in his victory, as though at a feast where the wine ran sweetly down his jowels, and the women with the long tresses pried him with more wild boar flesh than his belly could digest. To have not merely possession of supreme power, but more of it each day was the engine of life, the very thing that gave him meaning.
In another time, another Caesar looked out towards the horizon to the East. As the sun rose over the flat land, its fire fuelled his passions, which he gave to the people in return for their own. They too were poor, meager creatures ready to hear that they would never have enough and that the only worthy creed was more. Eternity must be theirs and they would reach for it on the Eastern horizon. In a clutch with the people, he had rolled like a conquering fireball across the land, sparing its riches and incinerating those deemed unnecessary. He had shaken hands with his enemies who had been fool enough to believe him, and devoured their handshakes with relish. Each one was food for the attainment of the only thing that meant anything to him. Power, power and more power.
One day in the past, one day in the future, power becomes weary of its abuse. It begins to fall apart, like a flower losing its petals. Power doesn't die, but recedes to the earth in waiting for a more or less craving Caesar.
A snow storm puts out the fire, leaving Caesar standing alone on a cold tundra without a horizon. Without power, he lets himself be buried by it like a helpless bird.
Caesar retreats behind the cold, gold doors and speeds to the top of his citadel to escape the people's jeers below. There he remains and tends to his neon teeth that have begun to him to look yellow.
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