III – Journal Of A Depressed And Nervous Roman

Dear Journal:

Things started out a bit differently today. Instead of just walking out of the door, I carefully opened it – peeked out to see if anything really strange was happening – then, cautiously, started out on my daily walk. There had been rain in the early morning hours and everything smelled clean and fresh. Even the paving stones had a slight sheen to them that said to me “It’s a new day!”. Thus, with heart lightened, and humming a little tune, I went forward to do my errands.

I had purchased a fish at my old market stall (lunch) and a handsome Grecian vase down the row. It seemed that the morning was going along as it used to. Then I reached the Forum. As I entered the square I walked into a riot zone. People were running everywhere and squads of grim faced Praetorians were rounding up anyone they could catch. At one end of the court there stood a group of men huddled together as if for mutual protection. I recognized some Senators in the group. They seemed safe enough as the Praetorians left them alone. Then it struck me. What, and why, was the Praetorian Guard doing playing round up? That was bully work, normally a task appointed to the City Watch. Also, why were people being corralled in the first place?

My thoughts were interrupted by the sight of a HUGE Praetorian looming in front of yours truly.

“Papers, citizen?” This fellow didn’t talk, he rumbled.

I quickly fished out my I.D. and handed it to him. He looked at the paper, grunted in a Gallic sort of way, and gave it back to me.

“No trouble or out ya’ go!” I gulped a yes sir and the guard lumbered on his merry way.

As I stood in that square trying to decide what to do, what occurred next froze me in my spot. With the ringing of trumpets and the thunder of drums, who should appear but Caesar himself. Dressed in the height of imperial fashion, he still looked rumpled. The rumor was that his mother still dressed him in the morning. Cruel slander, of course. Caesar strode to the podium, grabbed the sides of it with both hands, and proceeded to give his morning oration.

“My fellow Romans. I come before you with grim tidings. Our Intelligence operatives in Parthia have uncovered a new weapon being built in secret and without our knowledge. It appears to be a newer, larger catapult with an incredible throwing range. Because of this discovery, and because I say so, my administration has had no choice but to declare this catapult a weapon of mass destruction. Although no one has actually SEEN this horrible weapon, nonetheless I am forced to take direct action against the Parthians. Today, I have sent off orders to the legions on the borders of that terrorist state to begin the invasion of Parthia IMMEDIATELY! This operation will be known as “Crush and Mangle”. We will make the world safe for Romans everywhere, whether anybody else likes it or not. There will be no questions today as I didn’t have time to be properly coached. Until tomorrow, good day.”

As the last shouts of “Ave Imperator” died down, I stood rooted to my spot in horrified disbelief. What had just happened? What was his inner circle telling our fearless leader? Surely, it had to be them. Caesar would NEVER do such a thing on his own! At least, I hope he wouldn’t. As the square began to empty, I shook myself free of shock and got the Hades out of there. I ran home and slammed and locked the door behind me. I may never go out again. What is Rome coming to? I’m going to bed. I feel safe there. Your friend, a depressed and SCARED Roman.

Chapter IV

Published in: on July 29, 2009 at 6:18 AM  Comments (3)  
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