“There must be something that I can do,” the new Emperor said insistently to his counselors. They were sitting around the round table, discussing how they could win more love for their new Emperor from the unusually-large number of commoners in a new village who were threatening to revolt.
He had gathered his wisest to find out what they would say to him now. But none had a suitable way to win the public’s love. The Emperor sighed and commanded his adversors to go out into the streets, interview commoners, and find out what would make the Emperor popular among them.
They ranged across the land, talking to everyone regardless of status or class. Once they had gathered enough information they came back to the Emperor who was waiting expectantly in his chambers for them.
“We have reached a conclusion your Excellency. You must change your gender,” his senior advisor told him.
“What?!” was his first reaction. “Whatever on Earth do you mean?”
“Well sir, we are in a modern age, and as you know the people do not like the notion of an Emperor,” his second advisor claimed.
“Indeed sir they much prefer democracy because of the perception of having their voices heard. But that aside, what would show them that an Emperor can be open-minded is to show them just how progressive you are,” the first advisor added.
“Progressive?” The Emperor said in confusion. “But changing gender? Why this and not anything else? Do we really have so many advocates for that sort of thing in this kingdom?”
“Unclear sir, but they were the most triggered people out in the streets and we would like to appeal to everyone, even the lowest common denominator, so this is truly the best thing for you.”
The Emperor stroked his magnificent beard as he regarded himself in a mirror. He was a man, a very formidable man, the idea of gender change seemed preposterous but what else was he to do? If both his advisors were suggesting this, then…
“This will be a metaphorical change yes? I wouldn’t actually have to dress and speak like a woman?” the Emperor asked.
“A woman?” Both advisors seemed confused but then seeing the Emperor’s own confusion they smiled and corrected him, “Think bigger, your Excellency; there are six hundred and sixty six genders to choose from! Surely you can do better than just a woman.”
“Six hundred…” The Emperor said in shock. “Well… I wouldn’t even know where to begin.”
One of the advisors produced a scroll with all the genders listed and handed it to the Emperor. “There you see, you have your trans and your trains, your non binaries and your hexadecimals, your pansexuals and your potsexuals. It’s all very standard stuff really.”
The Emperor rubbed his temples. “What’s this one? Flim?”
“Yes sir, there is Flim and also Flam,” the first advisor said.
“Not to be confused with a Flimflam,” the second advisor added.
“And definitely not the same as a Flimflam Shamalam,” the first chimed in.
The Emperor looked even more incredulous and boomed a hearty laugh. “Surely you jest yes? This is all a joke?”
“No, sir, this is very serious indeed,” the advisor said. “And they all have pronouns to go alongside them as well. You will have to learn them all sir.”
“All of them?!”
“Of course, you don’t want to address a Shamalam the same as a Shamalamadingdong!” the first advisor exhaled.
The other agreed. “You can usually group them into categories,” he said, showing him. “Here you have your appliance based genders, you have here animal based, nonsensical-based and even the Nerf dartgun section! I really enjoy those!”
“Did you say nonsensical-based?” The Emperor asked.
“When you choose one of these we will reveal it in next week’s parade,” the advisors told him. “We’ll leave the list with you and you can decide which one you’d like.”
The Emperor rested with his head in his hand. He could not choose one of these absurd things on this list before the parade tomorrow. He figured he could just make up whatever he wanted and the people would cheer for him anyway. Soon word began to spread throughout the Empire that the Emperor was going to choose another gender.
Other rumors began to spread as well that if anyone didn’t recognize the gender and applaud it then they would be treated as against progress, as bigots and Nazis. Everyone was very scared of offending another and so they all went along with it and agreed that whatever the Emperor came out as, they would applaud it.
Then came the day of the parade where the Emperor stood and announced to his people his new gender.
“It is with my pleasure that I announce that I have switched genders to an XLE Toyota Camry,” he pronounced to widespread applause. They stood and clapped and whistled and cheered and whooped and no one wanted to be the first one to stop and so they kept going until the Emperor finally called for silence.
It was only then that he could hear the laughter. Not wanting to associate with the person everyone backed up leaving a gap in the crowd where a young lad was doubled over in laughter. The Emperor asked gently, “What’s so funny, son?”
The boy composed himself and said loudly and clearly, “That’s not a gender, that’s the make and model of my Mom’s car!”
The others in the crowd thought about it and how absurd it really was and the Emperor smiled and then burst out in laughter as well. And now everyone was laughing, except for the ladies with the blue hair in the back of the crowd. They fumed alongside those who also identified as Toyota Camrys, who raged and made car alarm noises.