The Power Of…

You fill in the blank. And please, no Huey Lewis and the News, okay?

At the moment I’m thinking of the power of my pocketbook. I’m finally convinced I have to bite the bullet and get a new analyst. My computer, that is. I won’t go into the story of how it happened, but Dr. Compaq and I have been together for a long time. I like my machine. But ever since that damned virus…well, I need a new machine and my pocketbook is telling me it’ll have to wait. But Dr. Compaq has developed a habit of crashing right when I’m in the mid

Just kidding. This time, anyway.

So…what is power, really? Is it just the fact you can smash someone to bits if you feel like it and everybody knows it? Or is it something a bit more subtle? I think the essence of power lies not so much in what you can do as it does in what the other fellow thinks you can do. Take the IRS. Today, the chances of an individual being audited are pretty slim (though that might change in the future). But what is it that keeps you honest when calculating the tax you owe, or the refund due? (No snickering, please). We all know the hell the Service puts people through when they’re audited. I’m going to assume that most of us are honest when it comes to declaring income and deductions (no snickering, please) but do we do it because it’s the right thing to do, or because there’s that one chance, however small, that we might end up in IRS Audit Hell? More than that, IRS audit manuals aren’t exactly on the bestseller’s tables in your local bookstore. That’s assuming they’re available to the public at all. Anyway, are you honest because you don’t know the criteria an examiner uses in flagging a return for a closer look? For all you know, they might choose returns by sacrificing goats. So is it the fear of what the Service could do if it decides to check your return that keeps you honest, rather than the fear of that it will?

That’s the question I’m trying to answer with respect to Kurt. No, not his taxes–he’s got enough lawyers at his disposal to keep the IRS at bay for eternity (unlike most of us). But the tryst did something to him. His vampire regent’s abilities have been lessened–not gone, but lessened (I’m still figuring out how much). And the tryst itself–all concur that it didn’t work very well on the city’s humans. But it worked well enough so that zots have a bit more confidence in remaining alive if they’re discovered. So Kurt’s in danger of losing his iron grip over Seattle’s zots, unless he can show them he’s just as badass as he was before. And if he isn’t…

Can the power of prestige keep Kurt on top? Even though he no longer has the vampire regent’s powers he exhibited in TAW? Like the IRS, Kurt is hated and feared by other zots based on their collective past experiences. Will the past be enough to sustain Kurt’s hold over the city’s zots?

I’ll let you know. But meanwhile, what are your thoughts about power–what it is, what it isn’t?

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