A fable for our time
by Charles McKelvy
“Raise your right hand and state your full name.”
The prisoner at the bar raised his right hand and stated: “Chachmo Kelmo.”
The Grand Inquisitor lifted from his gilded throne. “Are you mocking the court, young man?”
“No, your honor. You told me to raise my right hand and state my full name. So I raised my right hand and stated my full name: Chachmo Kelmo.
Chachmo Kelmo. That’s my full name—Chachmo Kelmo.”
“Are you being smart with me, you scurly knave?” The Grand Inquisitor asked, continuing to fidget on his gilded throne.
“No, your most high, exalted, Holiness. You asked me to state my full name. I stated my full name: Chachmo Kelmo.”
“You are playing me for a fool, are you not? That’s not your name. It’s a riddle, isn’t it?”
“It’s my full name, Holiness. Nothing more; nothing less. Chachmo Kelmo. That’s the name I was given, and that’s the name I gave you, when you asked me to state my full name.”
The Grand Inquisitor sighed and settled in his gilded throne. Then he raised his cowl over his head and declared: “Send him down.”
“Death?!?” the prisoner at the bar groaned. “You’re going to have me broken on the wheel because I gave you my full name?”
“In a word: Yes.”
“I don’t like your name. That’s why. Sounds too entirely foreign to me. Too—oh, I don’t know—pagan. Heathen. Infidel. That sort of thing. Doesn’t sound right to me, and I am The Grand Inquisitor, and if I want to have some driveling fool like you broken on the wheel, then I will have him broken on the wheel. We’ll have no more Chachmo Kelmoes in this Christian nation while I am The Grand Inquisitor. Now send him down.”
And so they sent him down to be broken on the wheel and eaten by vultures, and so there were no more Chachmo Kelmoes in that Christian realm, at least not while The Grand Inquisitor was squirming on his gilded throne.