When I spat, I spat into the fire, that fire over there, the bonfire, the one with the effigy engulfed in it, blazing, the effigy of the plotter who plotted the downfall of the regime, the dastardly plotter, he whose plot collapsed by dint of our highly efficient spying methods, for we had uncovered his plot at its very birth, when the plotter and his plotting cronies were huddled in a tent out on the mud flats, where they thought they would be safe from our spies, they picked so remote a spot out on the mud flats, in so featureless an expanse of flat mud that they thought they would know if they were being spied upon, but ho ho ho they didn’t, they had no idea that our methods were so advanced and that we had learned how to place a tiny camera and a tinier tape recorder inside a robot starling, and calibrated the tiny devices so that they worked in unison, so that later in the lab we could match sound and vision, the plotters’ hateful guttural gabbling and the X-ray film of them huddled in their tent wrapped up in their kagouls, we had everything on record, so when we put them on trial all they could do was look sheepish and terrified, good, so they should, for they had sin in their hearts, the sin of plotting to topple the regime, for which they were burned on bonfires, bonfires just like that one over there where an effigy burns, crackling and fizzing, on the anniversary of the plot’s collapse, the bonfire on which I spit and spit and keep on spitting, until my mouth is dry, and I return to my balcony and raise my hand in a salute to the teeming crowds who cheer as the effigy is consumed in flames, while the robot starling flies above their heads, filming and taping, unremarked, just as it was unremarked by the plotters, those seedy fellows who were rightly burned on a bonfire just like this a year ago today.

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