The Statue

The statue was commissioned several days before the Revolution. Crankshaw said it wouldn't hurt to get it started a bit earlier--if it failed, the sculptor could always change it into something else. Lofgren argued that the sculptor could always report them to the government, for a fat fee. Crankshaw just laughed and said that Lofgren didn't know Bishop.

That much was true. Bishop had more important things to worry about than politics and money. In fact, the commission couldn't have come at a better time. It coincided nicely with the development of one of Bishop's pet projects, and gave him the opportunity he had been looking for, to get it out into public.

Making the statue of Crankshaw was childishly easy, something Bishop could do in a week with one hand behind his back. Melding his special project into the statue was slightly more complicated and time-consuming, but Bishop worked at it feverishly, and the statue was ready for unveiling before the victory celebrations in the capital had died down.

The statue was put up in the central square, or Crankshaw Square, as it was immediately renamed. Lofgren was not neglected--her name was given to the school that fronted onto the square. The Lofgren School had formerly been used only for the education of the children of the elite, but the new regime quickly threw the doors open to the less fortunate as well. The statue of Crankshaw looked across at it with benevolence.

The teachers quickly adjusted to the novel liberty of having students whose parents were not all well-placed for retribution. Corporal punishment, which had previously been given out only furtively, on the requests of the parents themselves, was meted out liberally with a willow switch. The wall of the Lofgren school hid most of the action, but the statue on its pedestal had a clear view.

Bishop watched it all with idle lechery, through the statue's eyes. He watched skinny-legged boys playing with tops, girls with dresses skipping, wizened teachers flogging half-naked children of both sexes.

The statue also watched when the square filled with blood a year later. Lofgren had gotten tired of her secondary position in the government, and brought her forces to bear against Crankshaw's. Crankshaw himself was executed bloodily in the square that had once borne his name, but was now called by the safer name of Liberty.

Bishop watched this, too, until the statue of Crankshaw was pulled down to share its model's fate. Once the inner workings of the statue were examined closely, a squadron of police were sent to knock down Bishop's door. But all they found was a statue bearing the old sculptor's likeness.

Based on the words: Top, Switch, Novel, Statue

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The Den of Ubiquity / Aaron V. Humphrey /