David Madore's WebLog: Gratuitous Literary Fragment #151 (executive)

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(Monday)

Gratuitous Literary Fragment #151 (executive)

The summon to the palace had been predictably unpleasant.

The interview before the monarch was as devoid of substance as it was ornate in ritual. After the High Chamberlain (or some similarly sounding official rank) had proclaimed the imperial edict elevating me to my new office and its ancillary titles, the tokens associated with these were conferred upon me in an almost sacerdotal ceremony. The Empress herself sat motionless and said very little, only to acquiesce in reply to a few of the High Chamberlain's forewritten questions as to whether I should receive this-or-that privilege whose meaning escaped me. As for me, there was nothing I was expected to do, except kneel or stand as commanded: my own consent in the matter was apparently irrelevant.

With the liturgy out of the way, I was left to be processed (I can find no better term) by underlings. The Empress's chief of staff gave me a list of names that I was asked to “consider” as part of the nominations I would soon deal out: the carefully chosen wording made it sound like a request, the just as carefully chosen tone of voice betrayed more of an order.

Within a short time, I found myself seated in the great council chamber of the Capitoline Tower (whose panoramic view over the imperial sector alone justified each intrigue ever used to rise to the position), next to the two dozen men and women who were to help me in fulfilling the task I had been appointed to. Whether they were old friends or allies to whom I owed a favour, experts whose capacities were too precious to be left unused, or part of the “recommendations” I had been handed, I felt I had had very little choice in selecting these equals among whom I was now first.

A wave of panic washed over me. I felt like an impostor as I recited: Her Majesty's government is now in session.

And this is how I began my tenure as the longest serving Prime Minister in history.

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