The crackle of feedback drowned out conversation about delayed flights and overpriced food. “For your safety and the safety of those around you, please do not leave any monarchs unattended in the airport terminal. Any monarchs left unattended may be removed by airport personnel.”

 

A lone man in a gray pinstriped suit marched through the oncourse. An wobbly sceptre kept an irregular beat next to his shoulder. Two armed guards closed him down. “I’m sorry, sir, but you’ll have to come with us.”

 

The man squinted at his inquisitors. “Jolly good, my honor guard has arrived. Step lively and hold those bayonets straight.”

 

“Yes, your majesty.” The guard shook her head. “He’s the third one this week. What happens after we drop him off at the clink?”

 

“Not our problem, is it? Sometimes it’s better not knowing.”

 

*****

 

A briar patch of blonde curls danced atop of a six-year-old head. “Mommy, mommy, can we take that one home? He has a gray coat and sceptre like I wanted.” Cell bars pressed parallel streaks of grime into her cheeks.

 

“Sweetheart, don’t you and your friends play ecclesiocracy? Bishops are the next row over.”

 

“No mommy, constitutional monarchy.” Leather sandals stomped to punctuate her certainty.

 

Gentle fingers pried the child off the bars. “A crown prince is a lot of work. You have to take him on parade every day. Plus visit sick children and go to tennis tournaments. Are you sure you can handle that responsibility?”

 

The girl gyrated like she was hooked up to live current. “Yes, mommy, yes. Aisha has a pet king and we’ve already arranged a state visit.”

 

The jailer turned an oversized key. “He’s all yours, ma’am. Been here a week without a prime minister claiming him.”

 

The crown prince ruffled the mop of curls. “Young lady, let’s go call parliament into session.”

 

 

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