Vignette:Smile for the Camera

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Smile for the Camera
Peranthrun, Commonwealth of Merandy and Curgovina
April 12th, 1979

arl fiddled with the newspaper, his stoic face hiding growing frustration as the sound of vigorously rustling paper filled the car.

“Are you sure you need help with that?”

“I’ll be just fine, Godemar. My fingers are just a bit fat.”

“You’ve been at this for longer than I expected.”

“I know how to open a newspaper.”

“I hope you know how to read one, too.”

Karl sighed at the retort. “I don’t suppose you have a Goetic-language newspaper here at your disposal?”

“Alright,” Godemar chuckled haughtily. “I’ll stop poking fun at you.”

The car inconspicuously sailed on the city’s freeways alongside the hundreds of thousands of commuters. The rumble of the wheels on worn asphalt provided a soothing bass for the occupants inside; the hum and whirr of the engine were accompanied by the sound of the morning weather forecast coming from the radio.

“Can you believe it? The protests at home are making waves here.”

“Karl, we see Alvak students and workers on our television screens at least once a week. If your so-called government doesn’t take care of them, we’ll be seeing them daily. Someday, they’ll be on breaking news as they either cheer in victory or lie slain on the streets of your capital.”

“Godemar, don’t be so harsh-”

“I’m being serious here, Karl. Tell your general friend to give in to their demands. Elections never hurt anyone.”

Karl sighed. “The Chancellor is a tough nut to crack. I’ll talk with him, but don’t expect anything drastic, alright?”

The brakes squealed as the car stopped outside of the banquet hall. Both men gave their ties one last tug and prepared to step out into the crowd of cameras.

“Smile and wave, Godemar." Karl calmed himself with a short breathing ritual. "Just smile and wave.”

He chuckled, quietly this time. “I know.”

As Karl planted his two feet on the ground, he smiled and waved, trying to look polite.

He only saw the gun barrel pointed at him as he fell to the ground, clutching his broken heart tightly.

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