“Finally! So, the doom. Blood raining from the skies? The slain Children rising up as an undead scourge and tearing the city down brick by brick? The Red Woman herself descending from on high and unmaking Mazat-whatever with a wave of her crimson hand?”
“Nope! They legislated themselves out of existence.”
Howard stared at Josef, his face an expressionless mask. Josef met his look with a wide grin, and Howard’s eyebrows furrowed. He folded his arms across his chest and frowned.
“See, once they outlawed the religion of the Red Woman, they started banning other practices that might have led to civil unrest. What was once a free market, an open and accepting place became a rigidly controlled theocracy. The traders and merchants began avoiding Mazat out of fear of breaking some law or another, and then the whores and craftsmen and moneychangers left, and then–”
“No. Stop right there. Just stop. I’m done. I’m done with this ridiculous story. This pointlessness. This word salad excuse for a fable. Good God. Were you just trying to waste both of our time?”
Josef smiled. “Was I? Why do you feel that way?”
“And now you’re a Rogerian psychologist. Wonderful.” Howard rolled his eyes, sipped at his beer. “Really, what was the point? Why tell me such a long rambling story? Just to irritate me? Don’t you know me at all?”
“Great. Well. Now I’m annoyed. So thank you for that.”
Howard finished his drink and waved to the waitress to bring him another. He let his eyes follow her as she moved across the room, smiled as she set the glass before him, smiled still as she walked back across the room to tend to some other customer.
Josef chuckled softly. “You’re welcome.”
And that’s the story of the doom that came to Mazatweidon! Thank you for reading, and be here tomorrow for something completely different!