h0m-R crooned before the Gods:

Ulysses sat at his giant desk slurping a lip scorching half caf mocha soy latte as his Number Four clone Gary paced back and forth on the koala skin rug.
“Ithaca’s opinion poll numbers are dropping, Uly. People are not happy with the direction the City is going. At this rate, we’ll have to open another gladiatorial arena next week.”
“How are our approval ratings among gladiators doing?”
“Bad. We losing at least one per performance.”
“Dammit. They’re some of my biggest voter base Gary!”
“Well…We could tell them to fight less….mortally.”
“No, that’ll never do. With all their forced video game playing regimens their agression levels are out of control at this point.”
Gary braced himself for either a tongue lashing or verbal abuse:
“Your Majesty…”
“Out with it Gary! I can see that you’re nervous. Remember I know you like myself.”
“Well, some of us have been thinking that we could work to improve your image…stir up voter approval.”
“That’s a much better idea than that crap you suggested last week…what was it?”
“The idea that you could change your policies to help the people of Ithaca?”
“Yeah. That was crap.”
“Admittedly, yessir. That was crap.”
“Change my image…Like lose weight?”
“Oh gods, Uly no! Just rebrand you. For example, we’ll release some official statements that you are ‘husky’ and ‘keeping up a healthy appetite’ stuff like that.”
“And what about when I piss on people’s legs?”
“We’ll tell them it’s raining.”
Ulysses put his fingertips together. “Excellent.”

A week later, Gary ushered into Ulysses’ office a tall thin woman with a face chiseled out of acid rain bleached stone.
“King Ulysses, the Great and Terrible!” Gary announced.
Ulysses pushed a few buttons behind his desk which triggered fireworks, a Pink Floyd lazerlight show, and the release of several dozen doves which were then quickly sucked up by the room’s hovering Roomba.
“If it pleases your Kingness, I offer myself and my services to you.” The woman bowed.
“I like where this is going.” Ulysses muttered and his Kowakian monkey-lizard court-jester Fallacious Crumb cackled.
“I am Clarice Starling. I am here to ask you some questions.” She said with an accent that sounded like a Wytheville Virginia IHOP waitress who’d been eating Silly Putty and downers throughout her graveyard shift.
“You must be from the advertising agency we hired to rebrand me! Welcome!”
Clarice tried to object, but before she knew it, Ulysses had her wrapped under his arm and was shuttling her out the door.

“Allow me to show off the beautiful land we call ‘Ithaca’.” Uly said grandly to Clarice as they slowly glided among skyscrapers in a golden gondola. “It is a land flowing with milk and honey. The milk has not been FDA approved yet, and ‘honey’ is what we call black tar heroin.”
“Mr. Groan…” Clarice started.
“Please, Clarice. Call me Uly.”
“Please, Uly. Call me Ms. Starling.”
“Please. Only platonic friends and professional relations call you Ms. Starling. I’ll call you Clara-Bell.”
“How long is this gondola ride and where is it taking us?”
“Life is about the journey. Not the destination. Or at least that’s what I tell my lizard monkeys when I take them to the veterinarian.”

They walked the parapets of the astronomy tower and gazed upon the shining city of Ithaca.
“Well Clarice–have the hams stopped screaming?”
“What?!”
“Your hams…hamstrings? Have your hamstrings stopped screaming after climbing all those stairs?”
“Oh. Then yes. They have.”
“Clarice, you’ve got to help me. My city is slowly turning on me. I’ve got to find a way back into their good graces.”
“What about your wife? Maybe you should first think of her. If you can have a healthy relationship with her, maybe other things will fall into place.”
“I married Penelope so I wouldn’t have to worry about personal relationships or my physical appearance anymore. She”ll stick by be through thick and thin. I’ve no doubt about that.”
Clarice held her gaze on him as his face congealed into stubbornness and self-chosen ignorance.

Later that night Ulysses and Penelope had retired to their bed chamber and were readying to get into their hybernation tubes. Penelope was reading a cheap romance novel and Ulysses was nursing a cognac from the breast of an alcohol servo-droid.
“How’d it get on at the office dear?” Penelope asked in her routine manner without looking up from the yellowing pages. 
“Horrible. Just horrible. It turns out the woman who was going to be our Public Relations and Marketing developer was really a Federal Agent investigating me for tax evasion.”
“Oh! That was how they finally got Al Capone.” She looked up albeit briefly.
“That’s what she told me too.”  
“So what happened?”
“The transporter beam got ‘accidentally’ turned off halfway through her trip back to Athens and now her brain is in a grecian urn and the rest of her is in a cask of amontillado.”
“Convenient.” She snorted.
A few minutes later….”Uly, why were you hiring a Marketing director?”
She met a silence which usually meant he was calculating a lie but this time was different: he was mustering resolve to tell the truth.
“The City’s opinion poll shows I’m down into a 70% approval rating.”
“Ulysses S. Groan!”
“I know. I know. That’s no way to rule as an iron fisted tyrant.”
“That’s not what I was going to say. Ulysses. I was going to say–It doesn’t matter what Ithaca thinks of you. It matters what you think of you.”
“Oh god here we go….” he muttered and Fallacious Crumb cackled from behind the folding Japanese changing screen.
“If you are doing the best you can for the people of Ithaca, then you have nothing to worry about. A clean conscience is the best reward.”
“I’ve got it….”
Penelope was about to smile when Ulysses finished his thought–
“We’ll find a way to go to war! Everybody loves a good ol’ fashioned war!”
“Oh god here we go…” she muttered and Fallacious Crumb fell asleep.

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