George Royal saw himself as a steadfast, faithful, and loyal husband. But in the private recesses of his fantasies, he planned an affair. A lurid affair. The Affair. He did not see The Affair as an act of infidelity, or as a betrayal to those whom he professed to love. It was all a matter of honor. He imagined that his family had been slighted. He had to defend their honor, whether they had been slighted by the other family or not.
As with all deceits, Royal plotted the rubrics, the lubricious machinations, the secrets of The Affair long before it took shape. But he knew the object of his lust long before he sought to capture her heart and mind. Or at least her land and riches. He even gave the object of his fantasy righteous and idealistic names, and clothed her in swirling flags of beauty.
Tragically, The Affair turned out to be more sordid than Royal had fantasized. It got messy. Affairs often do. And yet, the messier The Affair got the more Royal defended his entering the realms of his soon-tired and frightened tired lover. Royal enlisted legions of sycophants to defend his military march to those realms, and they repeated his pavid patter in the public square.
Before long, those in the public square and beyond developed severe earaches from the bellicose bellowings put out by Royal's minions. Many could no longer distinguish one sound from the other. It was difficult to discern a church bell from a cowbell. Moreover, one could no longer tell whether Royal's unctuous urgings were amorous acts toward his beloved or toward the object of his fantasy.
Scribes now debate and dissect The Affair -- its origins, its history, its success, its failure, its future. Alas, The Affair sadly lingers on, a venture whose currency is costly but painfully incalculable.
Many in the land wonder (including some who formerly only whispered about The Affair): will The Affair ever end? And how?
Until then, the sounds in the public square are mournful, when not drowned out by the blare of strident discourse or by the sound of the high priests and priestesses chanting:
Miserere nobis, Domine.