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Bruce Holland Rogers

August 2009

The Lobbyist’s Tale

After my favorite bill died in committee, I went to the conference room to view the body. A dead bill weighs next to nothing. I cradled the downy corpse in my arms, gently stroking it and thinking of what might have been. I looked around, then hid the dead bill inside my coat and took it home.

In my basement, by the means of arts I dare not describe, I restored my beloved bill to life. When it first regarded me with its reanimated yellow eye, I felt a little thrill of joy and only the faintest twinge of unease.

In the days that followed, I fed the bill and kept it warm. As it grew, I eagerly watched its metamorphosis. The white down gave way to a shiny, golden coat. It grew four sturdy legs. I brushed it every day, first with a hair brush, then later, as it continued to grow, with a garden rake. I had never, in all my years of lobbying, seen a bigger, healthier, more beautiful law.

My plan was to sneak the law back to the capitol and into the herd of other laws before they were driven to the governor’s mansion to be branded, but I was worried. Would the others regard it with suspicion? Raised in my basement, my law would not smell like them. If they shied away at its approach, surely someone would notice.

So I delayed. Foolishly, I waited.

One morning, on my way downstairs to feed my law, I saw that a basement window was broken. I feared the worst. Sure enough, there was an agency in my basement, twining its six legs around the law’s four, humming seductively. They had already been at it, if you know what I mean. Eggshells littered the floor, and hatchlings scampered this way and that, out through the broken window to do who-knows-what mischief.

And that’s how it is. Oh, I’ve tried separating them, locking the agency in the attic and keeping the law downstairs. The law bellows for the agency until the windows shake, and the agency keens with a shrill voice that is bound to summon the neighbors. So I keep them both in the basement and do what I can to keep their progeny locked inside, too. But they are sneaky little things, these hatchlings. They’ve broken windows to get out. They can jimmy the locks. There’s really no stopping them.

My neighbors call exterminator after exterminator, and since they don’t ever see an exterminator at my house, they’ve grown suspicious. “All these little regulations,” they say. Then they give me a meaningful look. “They must be coming from somewhere.”

This story accompanies Bruce’s column on Flash Fiction of Event, which can be found here.

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About the Author

Bruce Holland Rogers

The eyes of Bruce Holland Rogers

Bruce Holland Rogers has a home base in Eugene, Oregon, the tie-dye capital of the world. He writes all types of fiction: SF, fantasy, literary, mysteries, experimental, and work that’s hard to label.

For six years, Bruce wrote a column about the spiritual and psychological challenges of full-time fiction writing for Speculations magazine. Many of those columns have been collected in a book, Word Work: Surviving and Thriving as a Writer (an alternate selection of the Writers Digest Book Club). He is a motivational speaker and trains workers and managers in creativity and practical problem solving.

He has taught creative writing at the University of Colorado and the University of Illinois. Bruce has also taught non-credit courses for the University of Colorado, Carroll College, the University of Wisconsin, and the private Flatiron Fiction Workshop. He is a member of the permanent faculty at the Whidbey Writers Workshop MFA program, a low-residency program that stands alone and is not affiliated with a college or university. It is the first and so far only program of its kind. Currently he is teaching creative writing and literature at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary, on a Fulbright grant.

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