Monday, July 4, 2011

516 - A Dung-Cart Load of Cartoons

I’m sitting in the gallery ‘cause they called Ailadas to come to the Hall of Assembly right now and he was in the middle of lecturing me on the new elections and how they conformed to Ilesias the Great’s ideas on how the people supported the Imperator and he said come along rather than getting into trouble with the new faib team like yesterday and get thrown in to the fountains even if it was private and even if they didn’t pound my backside red and blue and they told me if I could skate that fast I could help them train and Ailadas said I should come and listen to a debate.

But this wasn’t a debate.  It was a bunch of men getting up and saying sillier and sillier things about whether my brother even existed.  And he was sitting right there in the guest chair taking notes and coughing a lot.  Though I knew it wasn’t really coughing.  He was laughing hard and trying to be polite.

One Assemblyman laughed so hard he actually slipped off his chair, cushion and all and everybody pretended it was just a slip… as if they all weren’t laughing behind their fancy-ass combs and a few fans even.  They have to pretend that this petition is a ‘legit-i-mate’ complaint that they need to debate.

A couple of Ass-men – I heard a servant call them that in the laundry last week and I thought it was funny – they looked like this petition thing -- that was dumb, stupid and just plain silly -- was a piece of candy in their gloves.  Like they found it in a fingertip when they put their gloves on in the morning.

The one, Assemblyman Ruar, pointed out how silly it was… I liked him.  He looked like he had ‘a sensible head on his shoulders’ like Kaita used to point out to me.  Like that road Sereniteer we met, who I named my bear after.

They ask Ailadas if Minis were the same fat kid he taught in the Marble Palace and he solemnly swears that ‘yes, he is the same second thresholder I taught before the Sack’.  And grandfather had to swear that yes he was the blood-father of the Imperial Concubine who was Minis’s mom.  And Pages were running around to leaf through these massive books to check.  The gold covered books and the evil covered books too.  Why are they wasting so much time on this?  I start picking at a sliver of a crack in the stone railing in front of me, then pull out my pen and find that the marble takes a nice scratch… and that ink soaks in.

I’m working on the ‘r’ of ‘Ili was here’ when Grandfather gets up and waits for people to quiet down.  I put the hood on my pen again.  I’ll have to re-file the nib… or get another.  Grandfather will shut all these stupids up.  I know.

“Honourable Members of the Assembled Representatives of Arko,” he starts out very carefully.  As carefully as if he were talking to Dadthefatguy.  “I have heard a number of arguments this afternoon, and been asked to give my testimony about the actual physical existence, identity, veracity of my own grandson.  I suggest to you all that if you doubt his existence you should perhaps inquire of him whether he exists or not.”

People laughed at that, though a little nervous because of Grandfather being Grandfather.

“However.  In my function as Imperial Pharmacist, I might remind you that if you doubt this actual, physical person’s veracity there is a simple Arkan solution.  You may request… and he has acquiesced… to the administration of truth drug.  However.  As I understand this new ‘electoral mandate’, the petition has sufficient signatures to require it be given serious consideration in the house, which it has received.  But to require the use of my skill in administering truth drug or any other of the pharmacopeia to either and Imperator or an Imperator Elect, does this not require a full, Empire wide referendum?”

He cleared his throat as people thought about this one, sounding kind of like an annoyed Ailadas presented with ‘cretinous, credulous, wastes of skin and mind’.

“Now, given the size of the Empire, I do not doubt that should I choose to do so, I might find enough people of voting age within the borders who would be willing to sign a petition to turn the sky pink, should I be so inclined.”

There was a smattering of little bits of laughter at that, but they didn’t understand my Grandfather.  He was just going to make his point. “Yet such things are not even presented to the Hall in any seriousness – for good reason.  I suggest that the Honourable members of the Assembled Representatives give this petition the attention it deserves and turn its august attention to more important matters."  A lot of Assembly people looked a little twitchy about that idea, as if they were sitting in ants.  I got ants last week when I sat down in the woods and it really made me jump.

Either that,” he said quietly. “...or spend the monies necessary for a national Referendum and present this petition to the eyes of the world as if we took it either gravely or earnestly.

There was kind of a damping down of the funny and a bit like everyone took a breath, thinking about how that would look to everybody else in the world. I, as a voting Arkan, would not like to see this kind of thing taken with any kind of gravity, or our brand new elected government will be taken equally as sincerely by other rulers of every other nation on the known Earthsphere.  Thank you for hearing me.”

He sat down as the Ass-men and women got really quiet, thinking how other countries would look at the Empire… and at them, for taking shen like this solemnly.  And maybe spending all that money on something this stupid.  I could see Intharas scribbling away in his chair. Other writers too. I bet there’s going to be a dung-cart load of cartoons printed about this one.


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  2. How is the little tripod-kitty doing?