Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Day Four-Eighty-Eight: Get up there, you

Dad killed a grizzly bear that set off the bells this afternoon. Headbutted the thing so hard it fell over dead. A real shame, that - grizzly bears are so damned nice when you get to know them.

Tension. High tension. High-octane tension. I don't know what an octane is, but I overheard it in a conversation. I like the word. Octane. Octane. Rhymes with… mock…tane.

If they can make up words, so can I.



I may have taken the stand today.

And maybe I'm stalling so I won't have to talk about it.

"I call Dragomir the Mayor to the stand!"

This came from the dough-faced prosecutor, standing far below me, when today's trial commenced. He pointed up to me as if he'd known where I was hiding all along. Which I guess he did.

I ducked behind the balcony and stared, wide-eyed, at Ed. "C… can he DO that?"

"Any man / of any land / and any band / may take the stand." He shrugged.

"Dah! You're no help!" I turned to Eve. She doesn't leave my side anymore. "Help daddy. Daddy doesn't wanna go do any witnessing"

"Dragomir the Mayor! I know you're up there! Would the bailiffs please escort the mayor to the witness box?"

Eve patted me on the head. "Go, daddy. Say hi to the platypus for me."

Confused, still frightened, I cocked my head. "The what?"

"DRAGOMIR, GET DOWN HERE!" Pagan's old man bellow rumbled up to wage war on my eardrums. "BE A FUCKING MAN!"

Still whining, but eventually relenting, I allowed two slave bailiffs to lead me to the witness box. I spent the long descent down the manor's main staircase staring at the jury box, having completely forgotten that, yeah, there's a platypus in their ranks.

It was staring back. Wide… beaked. As if it'd just caught me with my pants down and my thinger hanging out. What a weirdo.

I'd feared that I might be called to testify. I feared, but with each passing day it seemed less and less a possibility. I figured, y'know, that they would get all the IMPORTANT people out of the way - and since I'm the mayor, I'm, like, important. If they weren't going to call me on the first or second day, they weren't going to call me at all. Colour me a dunce for that logic.

The prosecutor paced in front of me. "Hello, Mr. Mayor."

"H… hi." I looked to the ceiling. Anything to ignore Jeffrey. (Or the gawking platypus.)

"You were a guard in Jeffrey's castle. Correct?"

"… y… yeeeeep."

He motioned to a glass of water at my side in the witness box. "Go on. Take a drink. Calm down. This must be nerve-wracking. I'm sorry I didn't warn you in advance, but I wanted honest testimony. Politicians are known for playing tricks, you know!"

The court tittered politely at the prosecutor's lame joke. Far more nervous than amused, I laughed so hard that I nearly drowned while drinking the water. It took five minutes to restore order.

"Aaaaanyway…" The prosecutor waited patiently for the bailiffs to finish cleaning the snot off of my cheeks. "You were a guard. And as a guard, you saw… things."

I nodded. "… yeah, lotsa… things… like, like, this one time, I saw Cedric, like, picking his nose, and I was all 'Oh man, the cap'n? Hunting for goobers? Maybe I can use this to get a promotion -"

The court genuinely laughed this time. Pagan did not, and he knocked my floppy hat off with his gavel. "Take this seriously or I'll have him treat you as a hostile witness."

I cringed. "What does that mean?"

Pagan smiled cruelly. "It means he can torture you. With candles. And spikes. And whips. And your own entrails."

My eyes turned to twin moons. "… r… r… really…?"

"As far as you know, yes." Pagan sat back and motioned to the prosecutor to continue.

The prosecutor cleared his throat. "You were once party to a New Years' plot masterminded by Jeffrey, were you not?"

I thought back. "… no?"

"Perhaps you've forgotten." The prosecutor smiled indulgently. "Perhaps the name 'Grylock' will jog your memory?"

Twin moons. Yes, the name did the trick. Immediately. "OH! Oh. Oh. Yeah, I… I guess I did something along those lines."

"Would you please tell the court what Jeffrey had you do to Grylock, whom, I would remind everyone, was the ambassador of the goblins at the time."

I did. Slowly, stutteringly, I described how Jeffrey had used me as a chauffer of sorts for Grylock. How I'd unwittingly taken him from one bad situation to another, culminating in a cold, bare-bottomed vigil at the top of the king's tower. Locked in a stockade, no less. Yes, I remembered that quite well - though I failed to mention Grylock's act of revenge.

Thanking me for telling the story, the prosecutor smiled. "Jeffrey did not tell you what he had planned."


"He made no indication that he would humiliate Grylock, ambassador of the goblins."

"… no."

"So you were, as you mentioned before, innocent of personal wrongdoing. Because Jeffrey used you."

"… I… I guess he did…"

"He did!" The prosecutor waved his hands in the air. "He did. The king knowingly and scornfully used his own man to commit a sick practical joke. No less, he committed it upon the representative of a foreign power! A dangerous foreign power! I'm sure most of us here remember the goblin siege late last year!"

Murmurs of agreement from the crowd. Most people remembered it, alright.

"We had just made peace with the goblins, and Jeffrey was foolish enough, EVIL enough, to try and spark another war."

I held up a hand. "Well, uh, in fairness, didn't Jeffrey and King Gok set up that war to, uh, 'test' our castle? 'n its defences?"

"Perhaps they did!" The prosecutor grinned coldly. "And what was the result of that? Loss of life! Damage to the castle! Thousands of gold in repair costs! Surely his lordship could have chosen a less dangerous way to prove his realm's worthiness!"

Still doing my best to stare at the ceiling, I looked at Jeffrey. His head was low - but he had a tiny smile on his sad face. The face of a man whose horrible plan is working.

"This 'king' is a monster." The prosecutor jabbed at Jeffrey. "And he knows he's a monster. Monsters must be put down, before they can spread their sickness to good, honest people. No further questions, your honour."

The trial continued. Jeffrey's lawyer wasn't interested in talking to me. Edmund went up next, and he told his own tales of Kierkegaard's apparent influence over Jeffrey - but for Rolo, and his client, it's far too little and far too late.

Poor Jeffrey.


Dragomir the Co-Mayor

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