So, the Supreme Court seat that, if shame were still a thing, should have already been claimed, will (almost certainly) instead go to Judge Neil Gorsuch, a man I don’t know much about other than he’s pretty much that “this is fine” dog except in a courthouse rather than a cafe.


Marsellus Stricker tugged the hood of his oversized parka down almost past his brows. He thought maybe he had caught a stranger side-eyeing him. It wasn’t inconceivable. Ilba was a foreign land, the city of  Ityl within it was remote and its climate generally unforgiving. Distance and foul weather often discouraged the pursuing Rectifiers. Most of the time. Generally.

Stricker lengthened his stride against the chill, blowing wind and tried, as best he could through muffled ears, to listen for footsteps which might be approaching him from behind. Even through the thick down of the parka’s hood, his ears were sharp. They had had a lot of practice these past seven years. He turned his head swiftly to look behind him and beheld what appeared to be a figure ducking suddenly into an alley way.

He and his wife had been surviving in Ityl for nearly a year now. It was probably best to move on.

She had asked him years ago, early on in the great and overwhelming upheaving of the world, to say ‘no’ to the Regent; to decline the honor of becoming his Judex Summa. But Marsellus has turned her concerns away. Even at that early date, before he had truly and terrifyingly consolidated power, one didn’t simply say ‘no’ to the Regent. Besides, Marsellus Stricker had been for 35 years the consummate legal professional: diligent; ethical, often if not always going above and beyond what the Bar required of its practitioners; gracious in loss and magnanimous in victory; principled and just. He had represented the high and low with equal aplomb. He had heard cases both highly theoretical in their legal underpinnings and crushingly mundane and treated both sorts with equal solemnity. He had written article and article exploring the nuances and tangles of the legal world, seeking to provide light and elucidation with every word. If any of his contemporaries were more qualified than him to serve as Judex Summa, he could look himself in the mirror each night and faithfully attest that he could not think of any.

That the Regent’s manner was unseemly and his methods perhaps a shade less than legitimate were no matter. Stricker was certain he could help moderate the immoderate man.

But that was before the ceremony. Not the public one, the one that was unnecessarily filled with drama and pomp. Stricker had well anticipated that. But the private ceremony afterwards. When the Regent came to him in his room and displayed himself fully and utterly giving Marsellus Stricker the opportunity to view, in toto, the man, nearly more than a man really, that he was forever linked to and forever bound to serve.

From that moment, which had reordered Stricker’s world, he was forever marked, stained over by the Regent. He knew it, and so in some subtle, ineffable way, did everyone else. It was only the Regent’s power which kept the people, to say nothing of the unseen populaces, reigned in and contained. When the Regent’s power evaporated over that long six-week period close to a decade ago like so much morning dew, the Rectifiers began their chase, following like bloodhounds every person who carried a whiff of the now-gone Regent’s touch.

Stricker came to the door of the small duplex he and his wife occupied. Although it was a lonely building with the other half of the house was unoccupied and located on a tired, quiet street, Stricker had the distinct notion that just moments before his arrival there had been a great deal of activity. Yes, assuming he was not even now opening the door to a trap set for him, it was certainly time for him and his wife (surely, if this was a trap, they would leave her be. Use her as bait, perhaps but not harm her, surely, God please) to seek an even less conspicuous hole.

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