THE OLD TRIUMPHATOR "Pass me a toga, young Mark. Look for the purple and gold one. It reminds me of the old days. The time when I rode in a fine chariot through the streets of Rome with the spoils of war. I offered sacrifice and tokens of victory at Jupiter's temple on the Capitoline Hill. On that day they called me a Vir Triumphalis - a man of triumph. "I heard them talking about you, great-uncle. They call you the old Triumphator." Mark spoke quietly. "Gray hair is well earned. Life is incomplete without a triumph." He emphasized his words in arms of old age that might still have the vigor to proclaim a whole Senate in a single gesture. "So, this was your King for a Day. Was it really almost divine?" "No, the caveat is as old as the ritual itself. There is a need for balance." "Balance?" Mark raised a deferent glance. "Yes. A slave had to follow me around and keep on calling out - Respice te, hominem te memento  - Look behind you, remember you are only a man. But even today, they acknowledge my presence. They walk mostly backwards when they leave. It's not really bowing. More of a little nod." "Yes great-uncle. I don't think the attendants would ever dare to turn their backs on you." "I hear someone is coming. Is he bringing something important for the Triumphator?" "It's a man in a white coat. Looks like your laxative. I'd better go now great-uncle but I'll back again next week. Will you still be the same old Triumphator?" As he left, Mark was careful to say very quietly to the man in the white coat, "but next time he goes online on Google he might be Napoleon or even Attila the Hun." The Old Triumphator was published in Twisted Endings, March 2014.
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Copyright  Colin W Campbell A Sarawak based writer.
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