Sunday, July 14, 2013

158. Luck

I found C.W. sitting at the kitchen table this morning. Actually, there was a young, blond-haired boy of about ten there in the most ridiculous outfit one could imagine—a long purple robe lined with Sable fur and five pounds or so of gold necklace around his neck. A ridiculous crown sat askew on his hand, as if ready to hop off at any second. I could only stare in disbelief.

“They found that man 'not guilty' who killed that young boy,” he said.

“I know. I heard.”

“Why? How?”

“ I don’t know. I wasn’t there.”

“You mean when he shot him?”

“No, I meant at the trial. Nobody was there when he shot him.”

“Too bad. They might have stopped him.”

“Maybe. But that is what the jury faced. It’s seems hard to get past the ‘reasonable doubt’ standard if when there were no witnesses.”

“But for the fact …”

I interrupted. “There is no ‘but for the fact’ rule in that state.”

“So someone aggravates you, you just shoot them.”

“Only if you aggravate them enough that they take a swing at you.”

He thought for a moment. “Perhaps it is best we not move there, particularly if Mrs. Big Dope were to come with us.”

“Just who the hell are you supposed to be, anyway?”

“Don’t you read the news?”

“Not much lately.”

“I will be King of England someday.”

“Oh please.”

He cocked his head to one side. As he did, the crown began to slip. He grabbed it with one hand and straightened it. “Explain monarchies to me.”

“It is a form of government whereby people are ruled, or nominally ruled, by a monarch.” I grinned. Tautologies make his circuits smoke.

“Say, a king such as I?”

“I think Great Britain enjoys a limited monarchy.”

“Meaning that its ruler doesn’t actually rule?”

“Something like that.”

“Doesn’t do anything?”

“Not unless they want to.”

“They get paid for this?”

“Oh, you’d better believe.”

“And I will get to do it?”

I played along. “As long as you don’t do something really stupid.”

“Like what?”

“Oh, say divorce one of the most beautiful women in the world in order to marry one of the homeliest.”

He pondered this. “Are we talking really beautiful?”

“Really, really. The kind dreams are made of.”

He straightened his back and assumed a royal bearing. “One will try to meet one’s duty as it is presented.”

“That’s the spirit.”

“So how is this monarch chosen, by tests of strength, ability, or cunning?”

“No, by inheritance.”

“Inheritance?” I could almost hear those Falloonian brain-gears humming. “You mean by luck?”


“So if my sperm-egg coupling had occurred, say, in rural Alabama, I might not enjoy the privileges for which I am destined?”

“Quite likely.”

“I might even be regarded simply as one of your history’s pedis memoranda?”

“A footnote, yes.”

“Like the lad in Florida?”

“Much like that.”

“Sad,” he said.

“Yes,” I said. “A real tragedy.”

He snapped his head toward me. “What tragedy?”

“The killing in Florida.”

Would someone please be so kind as to tell
Mrs. Big Dope that she must obey me
as everyone else does? - C.W.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” he snapped, straightening his crown. “I was referring to the great burdens that will be placed on me to behave appropriately.”

“Are you kidding me?”

“Hardly,” he said, and a cold tone took over his voice as his face froze into a stony and frightening stare. I waited.

“After all, one can’t be mentally distracted over the death of any young black boy who doesn’t show the proper respect.”

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