I was listening to some sounds to get me in mood to write. I rely on Nickleback a lot. Listening to No Doubt again and Hella good, I look in a reflection. Who the Hell is THAT!? I almost didn't recognize myself. It seemed as if I was always waiting to grow up. I try not to, but regret living by rules of others I don't agree with. Trying to be what others want me to be and I get very angry. I love you, Daniel. You still owe me a couple of decades. I feel cheated.
The Flat Earthers
“Dr. Donkervoet again?” Peter kind of asked, “Is there something I’m missing?”
“No,” I answered. “You know he was my mentor, a genius, and from the Netherlands.” I smiled. “And I was madly in love with him,” I said that so casually as a person tells you it’s raining outside. Nine eyes were looking at waiting to give a punchline. I grinned, “We had a mad passionate affair for years.” I chuckled. "In my head. He was so smart, he would miss the simple tasks, such as combing his hair, but I didn’t care about that.” I grinned, “he was hopelessly in love with science, medicine, and his wife; and in that order.” I bumped Peter lightly, “And even if he was okay with the gender issue, I wouldn’t do that to him. He was a fantasy like the lengthy affair I had with Dan Tanna in Vegas and then Spenser in Boston. Spenser for Hire?”
Peter smiled and nodded once, “So, not real.”
“Which one?” I asked. “John Donkevoet or Robert Urich? I say they both were real from my perspective. I cried for days when John told me he was moving away.” I shrugged. “It felt real to me.” I pulled him in for a kiss. “If you are like Robert was, do me a favor.” I looked into his gray-green eyes. “Don’t let me wake up. I like this dream.”
Peter chuckled as he hugged me. “I’ll do that, but I feel like it’s my fantasy, not yours.” He put his forehead against mine, “YOU don’t wake ME up.”
“It’s a deal.” I nodded and then turned to Olek and Helga. “Now, what does asshiq mean?”
Helga smiled and Olek turned a little pink. And this is the odd thing. He spoke openly and honestly about things like masturbation but was embarrassed by...whatever, I didn’t know the translation for.
Helga’s eyes rolled and she said, “Quite literally, it means lover. The word here is used for someone who I am crazy about and going to love our whole lives.”
Olek nodded but looked away. “We use several.”
Helga nodded, “Like Mehbood, which means he has the heart of a poet.”
I chuckled as Olek turned a brighter pink, “Oh, come on, Olek!” I waved at Helga, “She loves you! It’s an achievement. Don’t be embarrassed by it.”
Olek nodded, “I can’t help it, but I am.”
“Olek,” I began and got serious a moment. “I know you to be a fair man. As a king, no one can claim to able to do the job better. I know you want justice more than anything else.” I watched as he nodded. “Comparing what you do with what happened in the United States doesn’t work here.” I waved at him. “The biggest difference is that you are a king. Worrying if we are following the law here is unnecessary. Here, you ARE the law.” Peter got me by the shoulders and walked me back and sideways to a chair in front of his desk and gently down to sit. “In the United States, there are laws about recordings used.” I shrugged, “I don’t know if there is a law written to regulate video and auto recordings.”
Olek nodded with that short laugh, “I know there isn’t.”
“Meaning,” I pointed out, “whatever we do will be fine. Recording someone without their knowledge can’t have it used in court,” I raised the finger, “However! You do this as normal practice and operation. You do it for you! Your tapes. Not to hold it against anyone, right?”
Olek smiled, “I do.”
“And you have other tapes you’ve made,” I said. “How many?”
Olek had to think, “Quite a few. Well over a hundred.”
“That’s great!” I said pounding the desk once, “That’s proof that this is what you do.” I grudged a nod, “If it did go to court in Makarovia the would be no restrictions as to whether any tape would be admissible. I say it needs to go to court.”
“Really?” Peter asked, “What’s the charge? His offense is being a rotten Human Being.”
I looked back at Peter, “That should be a charge we could make.” I grinned. “But I don’t mean a court of law.”
Helga smiled, “What court then?”
“The Court of Makarovian Opinion,” I smiled bigger. “We saw where there were millions of Makarovians that do approve of you and what you’re bringing to Makarovia.” I looked compassionately at Olek. “We now have a channel for Makarovia. We also have a website. We can load meetings online for total transparency. Honest Olek who doesn’t hide things.”
“When do you want to do this?” Olek asked.
“We can do it tonight,” I suggested and waved at the computer monitor. “It’s already digital. Loading it should be a snap.” I grinned at Olek. “We don’t even have to use his name. We say what day and approximate the time the meeting was,” I leaned in again. “People that know him will know who it is. I’m sure he told some people what he was doing today.”
“People could be unkind to him,” Olek objected.
My mouth dropped open in shock, “People could be unkind to HIM!? He’s unkind to YOU! YOU’RE KING!!” My head was shaking, “His family has done it for so long you have an adverse reaction before you meet with him.” I waved at Peter, “He knows the history well and told me a lot! Who the Hell does he think he is? You are his King! He’s your subject!! How did this thinking start?”
“It was drilled in my head my whole life,” Olek said. “Dad said being king came with a lot of responsibilities. He said people had the tier of monarchies reversed.” He smiled, “The people didn’t work for me, I work for all of them.” Olek grudged a nod. “One of the jobs is to defend them with your life.” He looked at the walls of his office, “Even the palace. It’s not just my home, but housing used as I work for Makarovia. We’re allowed to live here to do the job.” He smiled sadly, “Sometimes we have to decide things to protect people, even from themselves. You spoke about ignorance and the dangers that go with it. I see Klaus Orban has that kind of ignorance.”
“I understand.” And I did. “And how long do we let that ignorance excuse his treatment of you? There have to be consequences.” I waved toward the outside. “We won’t say anything, but other Makarovians will judge for themselves. They can hear the words and the manner in which they were given and that will give the reason for any consequence. It’s time we say, that’s enough.” I pointed the finger toward the floor and tapped the desktop. “This stops now.” I looked at Olek as he considered what I said, “They were so close to the border. They could have easily moved. Why didn’t they?”
“Like many families in Europe,” Olek said. “The home was passed down generation to generation. They didn’t want to leave home.”
“Instead,” I said, “They want their home to leave Makarovia.”
Olek nodded, “That’s basically it.”
“What’s the closet town to Tysa?” I asked.
I watched as Olek attempted to come up with that answer. His darted left to right as if he was really searching real files. “Kishodos?” He asked as a possible answer and nodded suddenly, “Yes, Kishodos is the closest town.”
“That’s in Romania,” I said to confirm.
“Yes,” Olek answered.
“Fine,” I stated. “As of…” I looked at my watch and pressed my calendar application. “Thirty days is usually the amount of time required. August first?” I asked, but went on. “To get things changed over in Tysa. After that, no other service will be given.” I held up my hand. “He pays for heat bill, that will remain. Electricity and like that are paid people regardless of their citizenship. That continues. Participation in anything Makarovian will not. He will not be asked to vote for anything Makarovian,” I growled. “He won’t be Makarovian.”
Helga came around the desk and sat, “That sounds a little vindictive.”
“Because it is,” I said, “I’m pissed off! Who appointed any of them to be the king’s conscience?” I took Peter’s hand but looked at Olek closely. “I really appreciate how your father raised you. Many royal families themselves don’t see it that way. All of the subjects are not a king’s or queen’s servants. The representative of any country should represent the best of the people.” I pointed at Olek, “You do that, Mom does it, Peter does it…”
Olek smiled, but he shaking his head and was about to say something. The years’ difference in age between them, but I saw an expression on Olek’s face I often saw on Peter.
“I know another Ivanov that has this false humility thing he does,” I squeezed Peter’s hand, but kept my eye on Olek. “There’s a look he gets just before he does it.” I grinned. “It looks a lot like the one on your face.”
Peter nodded, “He’s forbidden me to do it, but you’re king…”
“So, I can strongly suggest you don’t,” I said. “You’d never call me a liar, would you?”
‘No,” Olek said, “I’ve never known you lie.”
“I said you are the best to represent Makarovia,” I said logically, “If you deny it in any way you will call me a liar.”
Peter nodded, “He’s used that logic with me,” Peter shrugged, “So…”
“I don’t want anyone banished,” Olek argued loud.
“You’re not!” I said just as loud, “His Dad and Grandfather have never been a part of Makarovia. How can you throw out anyone who’s not here?” I shook my head, “The only thing Makarovian about them is the house they have in Tysa.” I rose and began to pace a little. “How well do you get along with Ludovic Ionhannis?”
Olek’s eyes widened, “Fine. I don’t speak much with him. He’s the Romanian Prime Minister, I usually deal with Ralucan Turcan. He’s the President of Romania.”
Yes, I had questions about that, too. Aren’t they the same office? Not really. In Romania, the President is elected by the people. The Prime Minister is appointed by the President, but can’t fire him. That hs to be done by the Legislature. The President handles relations with other countries, the Prime Minister handles all domestic issues. “Are you friendly with them?” I asked, “More than just cordial?”
Olek shrugged, “President Turcan and I are cordial. I’ve had a few friendly conversations with Ludovic.”
I smiled bigger, “You’re cordial with President Turcan, but had friendly conversations with Ludovic.” I repeated hoping he picked up the difference.
“Yes,” Olek admitted with a grin, “He and I were waiting for some report that was being delivered and we got to talking…” he shrugged, “We have a lot in common.”
“Great!” I said happily, “and Olek, you don’t have to defend,” I had to switch to English. I had had no idea what the word was in the other three, “A bromance with me.”
The looks were classic! Peter understood me perfectly and burst out laughing, Helga frowned and thought about what I’d said and Olek was getting ready to object.
I grinned at Olek, “Bro-mance.” I repeated slower and Helga smiled and laughed getting what I said. I went back to Makarovian. “With you straight men that are very close friends become brothers. Once in awhile, one stands above the rest. You enjoy the same things, doing the same things, and spending time together.” I waved at him, “That’s a,” English again, “bromance!” I looked at Peter, “Like you and Ted!”
“Or you and Dr. Wonderful,” Peter said back.
I looked away a bit, “Well, John and I had a bit more.” I said, “There were a few erections involved,” I chuckled. “All mine and untouched, but...” I looked at Peter. “What about you?”
Peter grinned sheepishly, “Not caused by him, but…” he suddenly looked at me, “Wait! You did?”
I crossed my arms across my chest and I smirked at him. “I was in my late teens and early twenties and he had this gorgeous science-nerd-daddy thing going on. What do you think? Shall we go over all the erections you got before me?”
Olek was nodding he grinned and waved us down, “I get it now.” He stood pulling Helga close. “President Turcan is like speaking a professor at school. Lou is my age and we like the same things.”
Ludovic was from Louis, so it made sense. “Will Lou help us out?” I asked, “All he needs to do is know about it.”
“You’re really banishing the Orbans?” Helga asked.
I shook my head, “No. What is your approval rating?” I looked at Olek.
Olek looked surprised, “My approval rating?” He also said it in a way that said he’d never heard of one.
“Yes,” I verbally pushed. I looked between Peter and then Olek, “Should I use a language other than Makarovian? I mean the rate of approval with Makarovians about the job you’re doing. The Royals in other countries have a poll that tells what everyone thinks of the job they do.” I waved to the wall at the kingdom beyond. “I feel VERY safe to say almost everyone approves. The renovations, the new tunnels, new businesses, and improved quality of life make that number very high. The royal family in England has one. King William’s rating is the highest of any, except for his mother. Prince Diana was over eighty percent.”
“How is that important?” Olek asked. “As king you make decisions based on what you know and hope it turns out well.”
I shrugged a nod, “Well, yes, it’s difficult to fire a ruler, but there have been some who have lost their jobs and their lives...like King Louis XVI, or Czar Nicholas. I’m sure there are many others that were disposed of.” I nodded at what I suspected. “Your approval is very high.” I smiled. “I don’t want to banish anyone, I’ll be counting on the approval of other Makarovians, especially in Tysa, when they hear what was said, Mr. Orban will come to understand that what they’ve been doing for generations has consequences. We won’t be doing anything to him or his family, the rest of Makarovia will. There is a tax on people who live in Makarovia.” I stated more to confirm what I knew.
“As in most countries,” Olek said. “It’s deducted from his income from their wages.”
“You do that to cover everyone to protect them from tragedy,” I said just to be sure. “From fire, storms, and that sort of thing.”
“You know that,” Peter said, but he was nodding as he caught on to what I was saying.
I nodded, “I don’t want any to hurt him or any member of his family, but there are things that will happen if he leaves the community. He’s part of a community, but all standard updates will stop. No more waste disposal, he will no longer get help if there’s a fire…”
‘Their home could burn down!” Helga said worriedly.
I nodded, “If it was a house outside Makarovian territory, it could burn down.” I hated what I was thinking, “Any lives at stake will have priority. We save lives. Then, we care for the property of Makarovian citizens. We keep whatever fire restricted to the house of Klaus Orban. We need to protect Tysa, Makarovia from Klaus Orban.” I shook my head. “I don’t want anyone to suffer. I don’t want anyone to be mean,” I pointed at the door Klaus left through. “He is going to understand enough is enough. It stops now. He can ally himself with Romania, but there’s a cost. Taxes that are normally withheld won’t be. The services those taxes cover will also not be taken. For a while it will seem good. Until the garbage isn’t disposed of. All meetings, posts, or notifications for Tysa or Makarovia, he won’t be included. I would like your friend Ludovic to present some for some numbers if Mr. Orban chooses to be Romanian.”
“That’s what he wants,” Olek said.
“Is it?” I asked. “I’ll paraphrase this, but a wise man said, frequently, what we want is not the same as having.”
Olek chuckled, “Grandpa again?”
“No, as a matter of fact,” I looked very serious and said. “This time, it was Mr. Spock on Star Trek.” I mimicked the words of Leonard Nimoy. “It isn’t logical, but is often true.”
Peter shook his head at his brother, “I swear, I had no idea he was a Trekkie.”
“I beg your pardon,” I said offended to Peter. “I like Star Trek, the original series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager...movies. I think it’s a great show.” I turned to Olek and Helga. “Never once have I put a Starfleet Uniform on or put on Vulcan ears. Am I a Trekkie or Trekker? I don’t know.”
Peter stood next to me. “Can you do that...thing with the hand?” He tried to get his fingers to separate as they were supposed to.
“Since I was six,” I raised my hand in the Vulcan Salute. No struggle on my part. “Live long and prosper.”
Peter looked at Olek and Helga, “I had no idea,” he grinned hugging me. “I knew about Rudolph, Frosty, and the Santa Clause movies, but…”
“I think every member of the royal family and staff member be required to commit the episodes to memory,” I said bouncing a little. “It teaches diplomacy and fair and equitable treatment regardless off gender, race, or even species! It is a great show! All of them!” I waved my hands out. “Hell, once they got rid of the WASP censors, they have senior officers married to members of the same gender!! They had a fit when Captain Kirk kissed Uhura! A white man kissing a black woman!?”
I had said WASP in English.
“Wasp?” Olek asked. “You don’t mean the insect.”
Peter smiled and answered for me, “White Anglo-Saxon Protestant.” He looked at me, “Right?”
I patted Peter’s arm, “Very good! You got it!” I looked at Olek. “I hope to shock Klaus Orban and get him to see reason.” I took Olek’s hand, “You are a damned good king. You are a phenomenal human being and I’m now related to! You have a great perspective on authority works! But in the end, you are the boss. All of this stops or we will have to banish him.”
“Because he doesn’t like me?” Olek asked.
“No,” I answered. “Not just that, but because he’s poison. He’s poisoning everyone around him. The rotting fruit or vegetable spreading the poison ruining everything around it! To save what you’ve got, you need to get rid of it!”
Peter pointed at me, “THAT was something your Grandpa said, wasn’t it?”
I acknowledged with a short nod, “You betcha.” I looked at Olek again, “How is it he’s allowed in here?”
“My family has never done anything else,” Olek said, “Any citizen will be granted an audience with the king or queen.” He shrugged, “Or both.”
When the office door burst open, it was a little startling. Not because it happened but who had done it. Yuri was almost out of breath, but the expression was a very happy and excited one. “You’re not going to believe this.” He rushed to Olek’s desk and grabbed a remote there. Pressing some buttons and the pretty mountain-meadow image went away and an image of a young woman, perhaps in her late twenties, smiled. Yuri hit another few buttons, freezing the image and it flickered. I couldn’t imagine anyone in the civilized world didn’t recognize the three letters in the boxes. BBC. Below those boxes said “World News.”
“...when a video was received over the airways.” Them image was an overhead shot looking down and quite a few people dancing. I recognized where the dancefloor was. The Grotto. We saw the crowd part a little as two of the figures began to dance. The song “Hella Good” began.
This was when we had been asked to do it a second time and could they film it for later. We said, yes they could. Try as I might, I didn’t fully understand modern technology, but what shown was the moves Peter and I used for our “no touch’ dance. One of the first shots was off to our side showing the moves and complexity. I never saw anyone take that picture and the others. During the same dance but different angles. He hit some other buttons and a man said, “où les princes nouvellement mariés ont fait un peu d’audace et un peu risqué…” Again Peter and I were dancing at the Grotto. The show was in French! I don’t speak that one yet. Another change, but this wasn’t a news program. The background setting behind the commentator was wild with colors swirling. The commentator at best was twenty-five. Unlike the other two, he wore a t-shirt, a nice one, but still a t-shirt and said, “hat die Welt wie eine Flutwelle getroffen…” It was German and the show was obviously a music entertainment program and we did it again as we moved on the screen.
Peter waved at the screen. “Why is this important?” He saw my face and quickly nodded, “Yes, I know what you tell me. We’re the first legally married couple of royalty.” He was physically waving down the replies he knew were coming. “A novelty. I got that.” He waved at the screen. “We were at a local club, we danced. Why did it make the news?”
“Because you two are living an extraordinary life, Peter.” Mom came into the office. “I heard most everything while I was in my office.” She pointed toward the wall which beyond it was her office. “As open as we are and are finding out more of the world are open is…the world as a whole isn’t used to seeing people like you living normal lives and doing ordinary things in extraordinary ways.” She smiled as the dance on the screen continued. “I was impressed with the moves the two of you demonstrated. The novelty of the wedding, the extraordinary life and now being at the forefront of everybody’s minds, they hang on everything you do.” She looked at Yuri. “The Consortium isn’t manned by fools, but who better to infiltrate us than the Orbans.”
Olek’s eyebrows rose, “I hadn’t thought of that! He could have placed .listening devices and cameras while here.”
Helga looked frightened, “Or even bombs.”
Mom held her hand up, “Don’t lose perception here. The extent of distrust with that family goes back a while. It’s not widely known outside of Makarovia.” She shrugged delicately. “That could be used if found out.”
“The Consortium could use them to spy on us?” Olek pondered.
“Very likely,” Yuri nodded. “The open-door policy used by Makarovians can easily be abused.”
“Did he even once veer from his path to see you, Olek?” I asked.
“I don’t think so,” Olek replied.
“Okay,” I nodded, “Being a rotten Human Being doesn’t automatically mean he’s a traitor.” I thought out loud. “But we don’t have to take a chance that he’ll find out. Starting with the taped discussion.” I looked at Peter. “We know where their house is?”
“We do,” Peter nodded.
“Talk with Prime Minister Ludovic Ionhannis,” I smiled. “Find out if he’ll go along with this. I’ll post the taped conversation on the Makarovian Webpage. Only the date and time will be entered. Enough people around know he was coming here and may even know why, but not what was said.”
“Be clear,” Olek said to everyone. “This not because he disagrees with me.”
“Does he disagree?” I asked. “I haven’t heard the tape yet. They’ve disagreed with the Ivanovs for generations. I don’t know what they are, but it stops.” I pointed at a globe on a shelf. It was more for decoration and seldom used now. I turned it so Europe, East Europe, and Asia were front. “We are Makarovians. Many countries in East Europe make up our people,” I grinned, “A lot of it Russian. I’ve not known many Russians to back down from anything.” I looked at Olek and Helga. “We’re telling everyone the truth. The Earth is round and part of something bigger than just this one little world. I intend to take him, show him the truth, and DARE him to say it’s flat!”