Victory Over the Sun –by Peter Eisenstadt

The emperor awoke. As usual he was angry and surly, yelling at his attendants, calling for his grand vizier. As usual, there was only one topic on his mind. For weeks he had speaking about nothing else. “Screw the sun. I hate the goddamn sun.   What are we doing about the sun? Every morning what do people do? They think about the sun. Is it shining or cloudy?   Why are we dependent on the sun? It’s embarrassing. The sun gets way too much attention. People think the earth revolves around the sun. That’s just fake and biased liberal science. The earth revolves around me!”

His aides shrug their shoulders. You can’t contradict him. (It would mean your head.) All you do is to try to distract him. “Your magnitude and enormity, have you considered the situation in North Korea? What about health care? We still need to build that wall. Why don’t you visit your private garden and aviary, and listen to the royal birds tweet?   He’s not interested. “Yeah, yeah, that’s okay, those are issues. But they’re not important. My supporters, all 10 billion of them, want me to take on the sun. Remember, I’m the emperor, and you’re not.”

His aides speak among themselves:

—“How did this idiot ever become emperor?

—Don’t you remember? There was a contest to see who was the most incompetent person in the empire, the least prepared person to become the next emperor. He won. “

—“That’s a stupid way to pick an emperor.”

—“I suppose so.   But that’s the procedure in the Constitution. ”

–Well then, I guess it’s okay. But why is in the Constitution?”

—“I think the founders thought that good government makes people complacent.”

—“Well, we’re certainly not complacent now.”

The emperor hollered. His staff came running. “Damnit, what are going to do about the sun? My good for nothing predecessors, they just talked and talked about the sun. I’m going to do something about it. Why are we dependent on a foreign source for our energy? What if the sun cuts it off? This is a national security issue. We should produce all of our own energy. And I bet   the sun is behind all this talk about solar energy.   The sun is a goddamn environmentalist. And a liberal. You know, they say the sun shines on everyone, the rich and the poor, the good and the bad. It’s too neutral, too politically correct. From now on, the sun takes orders only from me, and shine on the people I want it to shine on. Here’s my Imperial message—unless the sun agrees to my demands in 24 hours, we will attack the sun with everything we’ve got. If the sun thinks things are hot now, just wait until we get finished with it.

—“But your imperial wonderousness, you do know that the sun is sort of a gigantic hydrogen bomb?”

—Not when I when get finished with it. It will be lucky to have enough energy left to be a candle on a birthday cake.

Throughout the Empire, the emperor had millions who joined his anti-sun brigades. Talk radio was filled with hosts who said they were tired of the fake energy of the sun and claims that it is behind this hoax about global warning.   Why do we get our light from an alien? They wore their anti-solar t-shirts: “Make the Earth Great Again,” “The Sun Won’t Rise Again,” “Let’s Leave the Phony Solar System,” “Sunlight: Go Back Where You Came From,” and of course, “There Goes the Sun.”

And one day, the emperor decided to attack the sun.   He went up in a spaceship. “We’ve given the sun it’s last chance. No more mister nice guy. The sun still refuses to respond to our demands. So I will be so much better than the previous emperor. I will be remembered as the emperor who conquered the sun. The sun emperor.   And the best thing of all, when I return, there will be no more of that annoying turning the clock ahead in the spring and back in the fall. No more daylight savings time, and for that matter, no more daylight!”

The emperor took off. The emperor fired a round of nuclear weapons into the sun. The sun, lazily, slowly awoke and was sort of annoyed. “What is this tingling feeling? Oh it’s just that idiot emperor who thinks he’s more important than me.” The sun sent out a few solar flares, swatting an annoying fly.

And that was the last anyone ever heard of the emperor. And soon, everyone forgot he ever existed. The next morning, at dawn, everyone looked as a familiar orb slowly lifted itself above the horizon, pervading the sky with its light, changing color from red to yellow, until it became too bright to look at. Everyone smiled, and everyone lived happily ever after.