Home » Stories » The garden gate. Abandoned project #4

The garden gate. Abandoned project #4

They made a concession for the southpaws but not for large people. There was only so far they were willing to bend. Exception after exception had been made over the years in the name of inclusion, of being welcoming to all. But this was the final straw.

The gate to the embassy garden wasn’t the only entrance to these grounds, of course not. They would never presume to be that overt. The main entrance was large and welcomed everyone. It wasn’t quite ostentatious – it wouldn’t do to appear vain. It might attract the wrong sort of person who might defect, thinking Trevlig-staat was prosperous. It was, certainly, but not in how they would ever imagine. No, their wealth wasn’t something you could see.

They didn’t need laws in Trevlig-staat. There was no Codes department. There were no courts. Everyone who lived there knew the difference between right and wrong without being told, and certainly without it being written down. Laws written on paper can change in an afternoon, but laws written in the heart last forever.

Trevlig-staat was a country that had no national anthem, no flag, and no citizenship test. You were either in or out, and no money crossing the hands of an official could change that.

Being born here wasn’t enough, either. It helped only that you got a head start on learning the unwritten language of how to be a citizen. You weren’t even a “good” or “bad” citizen – only good ones were allowed to stay. Bad ones were ones that never mastered the rules – either through ignorance or intent – discovered things just didn’t go well for them. They wouldn’t get promotions or they would get fired. Their property kept getting notifications about the height of the grass. They wouldn’t get approved for loans, or the interest rate would be astronomical. It didn’t take long before they moved elsewhere in search of better luck, never realizing that they took their luck with them wherever they went.

But there was still a need for an embassy. Citizens of Trevlig-staat liked to travel, and while they never caused problems abroad, sometimes they encountered them. Riots and civil wars would occasionally erupt in these less civilized locales, but that was to be expected. They didn’t have the high standards Trevlig-staat did. The embassy was modest and welcomed all in a genteel style, never fully admitting anything to any visitor until they revealed through their actions and language that they were citizens. There was no password, no shibboleths. There was nothing to worry about others overhearing and using like a passkey to gain admission.

The garden at the Embassy was for citizens only. This is why it was so critical to ensure proper admission. The walls were 12 feet high to keep out lookey-loos. The trees provided shade but also provide privacy from satellite mapping services. And there was just one gate, with a center door-handle, and only 3 feet high and 18 inches across. Children could easily enter, but this made sense. They were the most likely to be loving and guileless. Adults had to be either very short or very flexible, able to bend low as if entering a Japanese tea house. Those who were obese were not able to enter at all, but they would never be citizens of Trevlig-staat anyway, for the same reason that gamblers or hoarders or braggarts wouldn’t. No, Trevlig-staat wasn’t for everyone, and it certainly wasn’t for those who couldn’t even get along with themselves.

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