Author : Dylan Otto Krider
Qualifications for the office of Head Chieftain were demonstrated by the battle of wills: Each was given a vehicle of equal weight so they could drive headlong toward each other; the one who didn’t swerve was chieftain. A head-on smash prompted a run-off between the next two top candidates (even if one of the first candidates survived, they were unlikely to be in any condition to execute the duties of office).
Chieftain Boer, however, had all the benefits of incumbency, having won enough games of chicken to convince any possible rivals of his resolve. But it was not by his courage, but his wits that Boer had persevered. What Boer did was ingenious: he held out an anti-theft club so that everyone saw it, and fastened it to his steering wheel, locked it, then tossed the key outside the window.
Boer had presented his challenger with a choice: he could let Boer win, or they could both die. Until then, either side always had a choice. One might love life just a little more and turn at the last minute, but no amount of bravery or love of power could change the fact that Boer could never back down, even if he knees did start to buckle. He would be Chieftain, or both die.
At first, Bower, the former Chieftain, did not accept the situation, and refused to take the incumbent’s right of non-compete and abdicated his office. He wanted to call his bluff, but as the two vehicles hurled towards each other, even courage could not stare down a locked steering wheel, and at the last moment, he turned, kissing the corner of Boer’s front bumper, and rolling across the desert floor.
No one had challenged Boer since.
Boer had proposed one last opportunity to compete for office before he did away with the competition completely and granted himself lifetime control. If no one challenged him this year, no one could ever challenge him again.
Wits had given Boer his office, and it would take wits to remove him.
Fenster lacked the natural athleticism needed for politics, so no one ever suspected Fenster of having ambition. He was the clan cook. Nobody thought of him as more than that. Most of all Boer. But Fenster knew Boer, once young and ambitious himself, had grown fat and comfortable. The only thing that engaged him now was only on to power.
At the Tourney of Dominance, Fenster stepped forward. “I challenge Boer for Chieftain,” he said.
The crowd laughed.
“You challenge me?” Boer said. “Very well.”
They brought out both cars. Boer put the club on the steering wheel, locked it, and held up the keys to the audience for show, then tossed them aside.
Fenster pulled out his own club he had been hiding in his coat so Boer couldn’t find some way to back out. The audience gasp. Boer’s confidence drained from his face. This would be a competition to the death. Fenster locked it deliberately and showed the keys to the audience. And then, with one swift motion, tossed them aside.
Fenster strapped himself inside his car confidently, Boar less so.
The horn sounded and both vehicles hurtled at one another. Fenster had his arms crossed. He only needed his foot on the gas.
Boer’s eyes were golf-balls, Fenster could see them just before Boer’s car turned away at the last moment. Boer, not one to leave things to chance, had another set of keys. Boer didn’t survive this long by leaving things to chance.
But an aspirant would.