Chapter XL
by General (Uncle Claude) Xxaxx
& General (E.J. Gold) Nunan PFC 1st Class Ret.

“Ja Mere, before you leave there is something else that we should talk about. Something that may not be related to the current affair, but I think it is an issue close to your heart.”

“Pray continue.”

“Little Roy is getting later and later in arriving for his guard duty. He has been particularly lax of late.”

“So far Woo, you’ve said nothing particularly attention-grabbing. You know yourself that it’s a strange relationship that develops between egghead and goober. The goober is combination guard, student and companion.”

“Yes, I know they are guards; but more than a few eggheads have been executed because of tales told to a bossperson by goober guards.”

“True, Woo, but for the record it’s not certain whether the goobers involved truly understood the consequences of their tales. No goober has ever been seen after his or her egghead had been dealt with. They have not returned to their families or been reassigned to another egghead anywhere on the planet. If they had been reassigned the cownsil would have been told. I have posted a standing reward for any information leading to an interview with a goober after arrest and execution of his or her egghead.”

“You know as well as I do, Ja Mere, most likely the goobers innocently related an incriminating tale. I doubt any goober could appreciate the cruelty and duplicity of Citizins and bosspersons.”

“Yes”, Ja Mere thought to himself. Recalling tales of bosspersons’ quick rise through the ranks of Citizins.

Sociology of Bubbler Status and Rank: Bubble status is primarily based upon hue and intensity of bubble color. The relationship is directly proportional to depth of color. Bosspersons start life as most Citizins. At or about age three the pigment levels quickly rise to an asymptotic limit by age seven. From this period they quickly rise in social rank due to his or her extremely bright bubbles. This continues until shortly after the thirtieth year when the bosspersons bubble turns black and swollen. When this occurs a streak of cruelty unprecedented amongst Citizins is manifest. From this point on a bossperson maintains complete and total dominance in any social hierarchy they participate in.

Speaking aloud, Ja Mere shares his thought for Woo’s benefit as well, “Yes, cruel, sadistic, violent, hating machines that are quite clever in his or her own way — that describes a bossperson. And, apparently, we can’t out wait them. Only one death of a bossperson has ever been recorded — that was a taxi accident. Otherwise they seem to live forever.”

Mortality of Citizins — Subnote Class Bosspersons: There is no record of any bossperson dying from disease or other natural causes. The only recorded death can be attributed to the malfunction of inertial systems in an urban-taxi.

Woo corroborated Ja Mere’s observation with one of her own: “The bossperson population has been increasing at an alarming rate, the past few years. At last census there was a total of five thousand six hundred and fifty four bosspersons, world-wide.”

“In my work on the savantism of the goobers, I’ve also made extensive investigations into the formation mechanism of bosspersons. The brightness of their native bubble is a known and necessary element of the formation of a bossperson, but it is not sufficient — there is another cofactor apparently required. I have not been able to isolate that cofactor.”

“You’re right about that, I’ve seen plenty of Citizins with bright bubbles that have not undergone bossperson conversion. They still have a vibrant, brightly colored pink or blue bubble.”

“And doing well,” Ja Mere added, “if you can stretch your definition of doing well to include life as a bubbler.” Remembering the time Ja Mere paused from this line of conversation and inquired of Woo, “As much as I like to discuss my own work, you asked me to stay for a more specific reason — am I not correct?”

“Yes. Thank you for reminding me. With so much happening of import sometimes the little distractions are too much of a welcome diversion. Getting back to the point, Little Roy’s behavior has been just a little too weird of late. The goober is up to something and it’s not a fifth a day.”

Humor, Ancient Twentieth Century — Ref: “Hey, buddy, what are you up to? A fifth a day. “ Apparently referring to fractions caused a humor response. This is most possibly based on the human reaction to rejection of the non-confrontable. It is common knowledge that fractions were the bane of twentieth century mathematicians.

Woo continued, “Something has occurred, something that has had a profound impact on Little Roy’s behavior patterns. I don’t know if a bossperson has gotten to him, or perhaps we are seeing the results of Drak’s interference. As interested as you may be in Drak’s interview with Little Roy’s, I am equally concerned. Why did Drak have to go around me, and why take such extreme measures to keep it a sekrit? I would have granted him an interview with Little Roy, if only he’d asked. I am convinced that Drak actually tried to keep it a sekrit from me. If not for Little Roy’s unique time sense, I wouldn’t have any notion of their meeting. I don’t like it, and would like to to examine Little Roy. As we have discussed earlier, specific barriers have been established against magical penetration; we will have to resort to something from your bag of tricks — something that will have escaped Drak’s precautions. Perhaps you can get a line on what is happening. I know we’ve talked about this little Maginot Line end-run before. After Little Roy’s refusal to turn us in, my intuition is screaming that we shouldn’t delay.”

Ja Mere tried not to burst into glee. Even though this was perhaps the break he had been waiting for, his friend was obviously distressed and one shouldn’t be too overjoyed when in the midst of such deep piles of trouble — at least one shouldn’t show too much joy. “You can count on me, Woo. Have Little Roy stop by my apartment sometime this evening. I’ll try to get back to you with a report late tonight.”

“Good. Since he’s been so erratic in his guard duty, I’ll stop by his suburb on one pretext or other and send him over. I’m not sure how. Just play along with what ever excuse I’ve concocted when he gets there.”

Ja Mere waved to Woo and headed to the door to leave. “Open please.”

“What’s the magic word.”

“How about sledge hammer?”

“Well, you don’t have to get huffy about it, I was just about to unbolt myself and open.”

“Of course, you were. I appreciate your fine dedication to duty and enhanced sense of enlightened self-interest.”

As Ja Mere was walking out the door it closed behind him, catching Ja Mere on the heels.

“Glad to be of service.”

“Open please, I’ll be leaving as well. And, in case you were wondering the password is ‘swordfish’.”

“Glad to be of service.”

This time the door opened and closed without a problems. It might be okay to bite the hand that feeds you, but one should try to refrain from nipping the hand of a wizard. Their ways are mysterious, and they are swift to anger. Or, at least that’s this door’s experience.


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