A Long Time in Politics
Monday's child is fair of face.
Tuesday's child is full of grace.
Wednesday's child is full of woe.
Thursday's child has far to go.
Friday's child is loving and giving.
Saturday's child works hard for a living.
But the child who is born on the Sabbath day is bonny and blithe and good and gay.
Droit de Seigneur
Fair of face
At the far end of the table his wife, with a shaking hand, touched again the bruise on her cheek. He watched her as she sat, silent and anxious, waiting for the food to be served. The candles cast a sickly light on her face.
His housekeeper moved slowly towards him, carrying a heavy tray; she was close to term. He caught her low sigh as she bent over to fill his plate.
He looked with disgust at his wife and his mistress and asked himself peevishly why they could not be bothered to look pretty for him any more.
Full of grace
Riding demanded precision, great skill, a delicately poised interaction between body and mind. He came over the crest of the hill, wind rushing past his ears, and expertly brought the animal to a halt. He dismounted and handed the reins to the servant.
Sitting nearby on the grass, arms wrapped round his legs and eyes fixed on the ground, was a tired child whose riding skill had been tested to the limit that day. As much to his own surprise as to the boy's, he took one small hand in his. 'Shall we go home?' he said. The boy smiled.
Full of woe
His junior reaches for the offered glass with his right hand, frowns, hesitates - and takes it with the left.
'They broke most of the bones in that hand, I hear.'
The young man gives a wry smile. 'The Tal Shiar lacks sophistication.'
'I also heard you laughed throughout the whole interrogation. You certainly have style.'
He shrugs off the compliment and the month of agony. 'The implant does its job well.'
'Let's hope you're not called on to prove that again.'
An irrelevant remark. Both men know he would do it again without the other even having to ask.
Far to go
The last red rays of the sun set the city on fire. The buildings glowed warmly for an instant, then went grey. The city had entered its night; white lamps threaded along the river, thousands upon thousands of yellow twinkles of light pinpointing the places where the people led their busy, carefree lives, sheltered by him and his kind.
Earlier, he had looked out onto this view, barely listening as another man implored him not to send him away.
'You could protect me, if you wanted to.'
He had not responded, and had thereby sent him out of the fold.
I Owe You Nothing
Loving and giving
It gave him pleasure to think of the lengths the other would have had to go to; dropping hints, unable to ask directly for the help that he needed; trapped between revealing too much about himself and his inevitable deterioration, forced to give obscure clues as the clock ticked and his health failed.
He himself sat here and waited to be asked. He watched the panicked proceedings with a cool and amused detachment, disdaining any direct intervention that would save the other man's life.
And when the request finally came, he gave the doctor the information carelessly - because he could.
Works hard for a living
In this dark and tiny place it was difficult to breathe. Moreover, it seemed to him that he came no closer to the end of his task, and as every day passed it became harder. He wondered again if he would in fact live to see the job finished. These days he fought for every lungful of air, each gasp a strain on what passed for his heart.
How he had laughed when he had heard that his son was making his living as a tailor. He had never imagined that he himself would die no better than a slave.
Thoughts of a Dry Brain
'You're not my son.'
The soft voice, puzzled, answers. 'No, I'm Doctor Bashir. Remember?'
'You mustn't upset yourself...'
He speaks to me as if I were senile. I, who filled great men with fear, who forged empires, who could catch all the secrets men whisper to the breeze...
I grow frail and petulant. I fret, like an old man does.
'Where is he? Is he here yet?'
'He will be,' the voice soothes and shushes.
You're not my son...
It is much too late for regret. Too late for passion, for love.
'Tain. Tain, I'm here.'
When are these stories set?
Droit de Seigneur is set before Garak's birth. Houndsmanship refers back to the incident discussed in "In Purgatory's Shadow". Disjointed is set during Garak's early career in the Obsidian Order; Protection Racket is set at the time of his exile. I Owe You Nothing takes place during "The Wire". Labour is set in the months prior to "In Purgatory's Shadow"; Thoughts of a Dry Brain is set just before and during that episode.
Written November 2000