By A Stoke Of A Pen : a short story by: GF Willmetts.

What was the old song? ‘War? What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!’

Whoever wrote it must have been a pessimist or a successful loser. It’s all about winning and certainly not to be on the losing side. You don’t go to war unless you think you’re going to win. Two possible winners? No! Ultimate only one can win and you need to be on the winning side. If you lose, then more often than not, you’re helped back to recovery by the winning side and so you’re a winner again but no one like’s losing. We’re all bad losers. No one wants to repeat what happened to Germany after World War One, although it looks that way with certain Arab states when their dictators were removed. Then again, they don’t see the bigger picture and think they are still fighting a tribal war.

Whatever the reason, in the old days, you would send your armies to fight the war for you. It would be driven by religion long before it became territory or like today, preservation of life from evil dictators. It gives leaders an excuse to send their military to go out and shoot something. If you were short of men then you would conscript them. The values of country patriotism would ultimately ensure they did the right thing. To lose would not only be the forfeiture of your life but of family and home as well. Well, that’s how the propaganda goes. Mind you, the ‘evil’ side rarely won. When they did, like the USSR, eventually their political regime folded on its own hypocrisy or was simply too large to support its own empire in the end and lost as well. That’s how the Roman Empire failed as well, although it’s not really history repeating itself. Any regime will eventually fall if it’s too big. That’s why galactic empires are never going to happen. Just too much territory. Even with suppression of the masses, the paranoid of fear can only go on so far before there’s an uprising. At the end of the day, as I said, war is only for winners. Do I look like a loser to you?

The problem tends to be war is so costly even when you haven’t got one. You have to train troops that are always in a state of readiness. When they get too old, you replace them with younger troops. Ready and waiting just in case there is an all-out war against our country. You also have to keep them up to date with weaponry to match any potential enemy and have sufficient strategies for any contingency. In less civilised countries, there is always the risk of a military general putting his head over the parapet and getting it blown off. But that’s not the way to win a modern war. You want to grip the enemy by the balls and make it impossible for them to win and give up without a fight. That’s the best strategy. A bit hard when they have their own military willing to jump into action and with similar thinking to yourself and your generals. A state of readiness also means showing off your military might and giving them experience in other war theatres warns any opposition what they’re capable of. It also allows them to spot your weaknesses as well. If you’re going to beat your enemy then you need a better superior strategy.

The easiest way to do is by economics. Wars aren’t always won or lost by the bullet. All countries have some sort of dependency on other country’s products. It’s a way to find weaknesses. Supply their fuels sources cheaper than they can do it themselves and their own means will soon atrophy because they won’t see any other way. It gives a massive weakness that can be exploited.

Then it’s all a matter to wait for the right time. It could be a disagreement, injustice or a slight. Not just to us but those who ally themselves with us. The means are irrelevant. It could be just as simple as them not paying their bill on time. A simple default to reveal to the rest of the world that we weren’t the aggressors, just the ones collecting the debt. No other country will raise a finger to their aid. It’s not a physical war after all. No use of troops. A cheap victory. They’ll think of themselves as stupid idiots and thank their luck that the same fate didn’t happen to them. One country falls and the rest will comply or risk being in debt themselves. I win either way. Banks could do it all the time but they love money more than running a country.

The ultimate weapon is the pen. Often used to sign agreements for peace. This time it would bring a simple victory and bring any country to a standstill by taking away its fuel source.


I look at my pen with some admiration. A work of art. I had it especially built for this particular purpose. After all, with this simple victory, this pen will become an iconic weapon to many as the media show it off far more than the person, me in this case, who used it. Was the single diamond on its grip a show of wealth or beautification? Too many diamonds would make it look like a gaudy babble, not the weapon it was meant to be. Let the media make up its own mind than be fed the information.

In the meantime, all it will take is one stroke of a pen to win this victory. You’re late with your gas payments. You’re in debt. You haven’t paid on time and haven’t the money there to pay. I own you. Your country is mine. Conquered and won. Here is your list of things I want you to do to running your country my way. You are now a puppet to my demands. A victory at a stroke. All hail the winner. All hail me.


© GF Willmetts 2013

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