The start of a dalliance with a pseudo-ancient scenario. I may have to continue this one; I can feel the accusing gaze of a thousand generations of ancestors burning into the back of my neck…

“What will he have us do now? Bake the house, paint the horses, hang the children out to dry? What has he imbibed now, to addle his mind and give us such ridiculous orders?”
“Be quiet, Labi, or you’ll have them thinking you as mad as he!”
Labi grudgingly accepted the point, but not without comment:
“Then at least I might recline on purple silk couches and converse with the fruit in the bowl, write it down and call it poetry.”
The approaching footfalls of two guards appeared in hearing, and even Labi this time briefly ceased his chatter. His workmate, Callid, held his comment and made a show of industrious sweeping, eyes on the floor as the guards passed, as was expected. When they were out of earshot, he replied in a low voice:
“Well, you may try, ‘sir’, but you will be dragged from your quarters clutching at your stolen silks and wailing as they feed you salts of mercury and render merciless terrors round your more base orifices – they are not understanding minds, our masters.”
“As well I know, Callid, I do stop and listen from time to time,” Labi retorted offhandishly.


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