{ the sweetest bee makes the thickest honey. }

Mike Wexler

Nero was raised by a clown and a barber, and he thought he could sing. That's why the Fourth Rome no longer bares any resemblance to the first, that strange place no one escapes from until it has left its mark on him. You live there: it's a city with a Caesar for every head, a stale loaf and the eternal circus; but you can never say 100 percent that the roads are going to lead anywhere. It's the seat of an exile's pants, thoughts of home from the poor haven of a thatched-roof hut in the badlands, a she-wolf nursing orphaned human pups. You spend the better part of your time dancing on your hat for a handful of crowns and the occasional knowing wink. At night everyone huddles around a table where the fare consists of a single lightly salted egg, a genuine treasure. You thank your lucky stars for a winning smile and flash it at every opportunity like a foot soldier waving a flag of surrender into a black cloud of oncoming bullets. It's a place that was never supposed to happen, that was razed before it was founded, that the barbarian hordes were all at a loss to converge upon. If anyone fiddles, you know it's the one thing burning.

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