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The Triumph of the King of Crackland

The Triumph of the King of Crackland

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Published by Devon Pitlor
The stability of a new colony is ensured by a former prom king and his court
The stability of a new colony is ensured by a former prom king and his court

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Published by: Devon Pitlor on Nov 05, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/20/2013

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Ryder Rylan and Ariadne Clementis were the only couple to enter the
Scratchberry Inn and attract any attention whatever, and that was primarily
because of the pressed quality of their attire which contrasted sharply with the
shirtless asphalt haulers and over the road truckers who lurked at the twin
bars in the seedy inn. Most of them were men, and most were drunk enough
by four am to make sure that Ariadne saw them ogling her and heard their
coarse catcalls. A beautiful woman in a formal gown just did not walk into the

Scratchberry Inn off Route 84 at four in the morning with some pressed dude
carrying an oversized briefcase. But before any social class based violence
could erupt, a swarthy little man with a Smokey the Bear bib ushered them
past the early morning drinkers into a wood paneled room behind a secure and
above-all lockable solid oak door. Drinks and sandwiches were spread out on
the picnic bench which sat in the middle of the room. On the walls were the
dead heads of horned animals looking out from all directions. A few rifles and
muskets hung over the shuttered windows as well.

Inside, the room was the same dour assemblage that had visited the Rylan
Personnel Agency on Seventh Avenue only months before. There was the bald
guy, Florian, who looked like he could handle himself in any situation. There
was the thin stringy-haired and bookish girl, whose name had never been
offered nor requested. She still carried a stack of high school yearbooks with
her, but this time the Wampaugh annual was displayed prominently on top.
The most verbal person of the group was still the wobbly-legged Aurora, who
herself had never gained a last name, and sitting quietly in a ragged stuffed
chair in the far corner was the man known as Professor Aaron Arvicher.
Instinctively, Ryder knew that Arvicher was going to be the real judge of the
night's success. He handed him a ream of notes taken on a yellow legal pad
without saying a word, and Arvicher, also without speaking as much as a thank
you, buried his balding head into the notes. Silence reigned for a few moments

while Ryder and Ariadne settled.

"Nice prom?" said Aurora at length. "I went to one myself once. Horrid
affair. I didn't have a date either. So I danced with the girls. That must have
been over fifty years ago."

Then without warning she clambered out of her chair and shambled over to
the professor. "Well...Aaron?" she said.

"I think it is all here," mumbled the professor, still shuffling Ryder and
Ariadne's yellow legal notes. "They've got the other ones too. That McGreevy
beast and above all the Bastard's father, Taz somebody. That guy is going to
play a huge role, and he will probably love it."

"Not as much as good old Butch will love the role he's gonna have," spouted
the muscular Florian with a twinge of malevolence in his voice.

"As for the king and queen, Zack and Xenia, you've documented enough
tonight and before to show that they are convincingly mediocre. Look at these
Cs and C-minuses. We could not have asked for better. And from the looks of
them, they are spoiled and arrogant and don't give a shit about anything much
at all anywhere. That's what you wanted, right Professor."

Professor Arvicher nodded his head. He was still scrutinizing the file on Taz
Ten Zolan.

Then Ariadne opened her portfolio and brought forth a host of polaroid
pictures that one of her hired, strolling photographers had been taking all
night. She spread the pictures on the picnic table and each of the principals
walked around examining them while mumbling hushed words to each other.

"What do you think?" said Rylan suddenly. "Are you going to go with these
or do Ari and I have to attend another upriver prom?"

Aurora glanced again at the professor and the skinny girl. Both nodded
somberly. Almost as if speaking to herself, the girl said "Zack, Xenia, their
friends, their court, Taz, Butch and of course the Bastard."

Ariadne had not been raised in an environment where out of wedlock children
were automatically called bastards, so she burst out "Why do you keep
referring to the baby as a bastard? She has plans to keep it. Turn it over to
her family. She also has plans to marry Zack, and they have discussed
supporting the child as their own, but Zack doesn't like the idea."

Aurora adjusted her prosthetic leg and twisted her face up to address Ariadne.
"In some societies in history, the word bastard was a title, and a title worn
proudly in some cases. We're going to make sure that this bastard is well taken
care of, but Zack won't need to worry about that. He can fuck Xenia right
away if he already hasn't and make his own children. He won't need to worry
about the Bastard, but the Bastard will always be there, and so will his father."

Rylan could no longer restrain his curiosity. "Where?" he inquired.

"Oh, a place," said Aurora. "You'll find out about it soon enough, but for the
time being, I think your job is done. Of course, the Professor has the final say
and he may want.....”

"Well," he began, "they certainly look and act like a king and queen. About
this fucking. They need to get on with that right away."

"I think they already have," said Rylan confidently. "In fact, you can be sure
of it. A girl like that...a guy like him...."

"We know," said Aurora.

Then to the group at large. "Well, then it's settled. Your work with us is

nearly finished. We may need a touch up from time to time, some small
additional services, maybe some other personnel, but they will all come from
Wampaugh. Let's settle up and get out of this place. Graciela will give you a
banker's check for the rest of the commission, and we can go our separate ways
for a time. Everyone has a confidentiality statement on file. Be sure to honor
it and say nothing to no one. As for these kids, we will take it from here."

With that, the motley, ill-dressed group rose to their feet. The scraggly-haired
girl handed Rylan a check that briefly made his eyes bulge out and lose their
usual steely composure. But he was quick to hide that.

"It's everything we agreed on," said Aurora.

"Yes, it is and more," added Rylan.

Without leavetaking or handshaking of any type, the company parted, all
going out through a back door and to their separate vehicles without attracting
the notice of the malingerers in the front bar. The consortium members had
once again come in their scratched and dented F-150 pickup. Ariadne and
Ryder drove off, somewhat squeezed together in Ryder's late model Corvette
convertible. Fifty miles down the road, the couple found a quality motel and
spent what was left of the night and early morning in a clean bed celebrating

what was, in effect, a huge windfall profit. Scouting at a high school prom had
been a most rewarding endeavor.

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