Debating (Chapter 28)
“We cannot underestimate the importance of the goddess’ temple on the citizens of Haringshude…” the male voice drones.
I am here, although so few of my colleagues are. After all, why would they be? This whole thing is pointless. It’s a waste of fucking time.
It’s the first day of debates on raising the budget for the temples. Sun streams through the large window behind the senator currently making his speech in support of raising funding for temples. Shocker. He’ll be talking for another thirty minutes before some other fucker uses his allotted time to say almost the exact same thing.
But who am I to judge? I am here for the same reason. Give a boring speech in support of an agreement that was already hashed out between the mayor, the senate, and the high priest. Its good politics to be seen supporting the temples, which is why most of this week will be taken up by senators giving their performances to a nearly empty room.
Dust motes float through the air, some landing on the few witnesses of this useless display, some on the rows of vacant chairs. Some even fall on the venerable High Priest who sits to the side of the stage watching these purposeless performances. Wearing all the robes, gold chains, and jewels benefiting his high status. Smiling to himself like the fucking creep he is.
I don’t know how to put to words how much I hate that asshole and the power he wields. He riled up my constitutes just to, fuck I do know, display his power. I mean, his fucking budget was going to pass anyways.
“...yield the floor to the honorable Senator Hertilz” A few claps follow.
I’m the next fucker in this fucking production. I make sure to grab my speech off the empty chair next to me as I stand. It’s full of enough platitudes sure to make the High Priest’s smile grow wider. The sooner I can get the old canker of my back the better.
I made James write it.
I make my way through the unoccupied chairs, step up to the stage, and shake the hand of the previous speaker. I bet he is going to go home now and celebrate the fact that he doesn’t have to do this again until next year. Lucky bastard.
Standing behind the podium, I clear my throat, “Most honorable High Priest and honorable senators, I am here today to voice my support for increasing the city’s funding for the Temples of the god and goddess. These two institutions, run by the honorable High Priest, are at the very heart of our city. Without the temple of the god, our young men would have no structure and discipline. Without the temple of the goddess, we would have no hope for correcting our past mistakes. Yet these two magnanimous institutions cannot function without appropriate levels of funding. The Temple of the god cannot offer classes in structure, host endangered youth, or offer outlets for our excess energy without funding. The temple of the goddess cannot care for its priestesses or put on festivals without funding.”
I glance up from my speech. My few colleagues present are busy reading papers or scribbling letters. The scribe is copying my words for the record that no one will ever check. Someone coughs.
I continue for a while on the import work of the temple. James really went above and beyond on this bullshit.
“I must thank the High Priest for his commitment to this important work…”
Clichés, truisms, and platitudes- the currencies of politicians.
“…I would like to reiterate my support for increased funding for the temples. Now I would like to yield the floor the honorable Senator Pera”
Fucking finally. I shake Pera’s hand when he reaches the stage. As I walk back to my seat I see the smug look on that asshole High Priest face.
It’s really too bad he doesn’t partake in the boxing matches at the temple of the god himself.
I am thrilled when I can finally sit down in my seat. It takes two more speeches before there is finally a break and I can escape into the hallway. Fuck me. The life of a politician can be a boring one.
Once in the hallway, I grab water off of one of the serving trays. Its madness that we can’t have drinks in the senate room- some nonsense about disrespect. It’s mainly tradition, or as Kin sometimes calls it, peer pressure from the dead.
I lean against one of the elaborate walls that make up the hallway, sipping my water, minding my own business as more should. Around me there are small conversations. Not about the temple funding, no that inevitability makes for a dull conversation, instead they discuss the latest news from abroad or the status of some road improvements.
I am half listening to those conversations, half thinking about how I’m going to navigate my relationship with Luke now that Ivy is here. Luke and I have been together for two years. We trust each other, have each other’s backs, we’ve been through some shit. Giving him up won’t be easy, but I don’t know if I can keep both of them.
“Senator Hertilz, may I have a word”
It’s Apothen. I didn’t even know he was here today, but he is a sneaky bastard. What he wants with me? I can’t imagine. I just hope we aren’t going to rehash the waste management crap again.
I follow his moppy-white haired head as he leads me down one hall to another before finally leading me into a small room. I shut the door behind us. His serious demeanor tells me this isn’t about the latest boxing matches or some easy shit.
He turns to me, his face serious, his thin lips in a frown, his thick white eyebrows drawn together. Its silent while I wait to see if this little chat is some nonsense he’s cooked up again.
“I want you to help me depose that fat bastard High Priest”