Clement fidgeted nervously sitting at the table as he waited for Emperor Don. He shivered as a bead of sweat rolled down his spine. He was now seriously questioning the decision to follow Becky’s advice.
A voice from behind him made him jump. “Good morning Clement.”
Clement stood up. He was surprised to be greeted by a smiling face. The two sat down.
“You look well,” said Clement, hopefully.
“Thank you,” replied Don. He examined his visitor with a critical eye.
“Are they treating you well?”
Emperor Don shrugged. “They have no reason not to. I do my best to be helpful.”
“So you’re happy here,” said Clement.
“I wouldn’t say that.”
“But you said you were doing well.”
“Clement, in life, most things are beyond our control. It’s true. There is one thing, however, we can control: how we respond. I don’t want to be here, but that decision was not given to me. All I can do adapt to my new circumstances. I don’t wish to make life difficult for those around me. Hopefully that will encourage them to make life better for me.”
Clement stared at Emperor Don with suspicion. “I don’t know anyone who could do that. If it were me I’d be crazy.”
“And you’d justify the reason for your incarceration. There’s a reason why discipline is important,” explained Emperor Don.
Clement shook his head. “You’re not a criminal.”
“You misunderstand the purpose of discipline. It isn’t about punishing our wrongs. It’s about training us to do what’s right.”
Clement dropped his eyes in shame. “Speaking of wrong, I’m the reason you’re here. I feel, well, awful. I’m really sorry.”
Emperor Don sat motionless.
“Aren’t you gonna say something?” asked Clement.
“What would you have me say?” replied Emperor Don.
“How about, ‘I forgive you’. I’d like that,” said Clement.
“Forgiveness involves more than words. So does repentance,” said Emperor Don.
“I’m here, aren’t I? That’s an action. I could’ve stayed away,” complained Clement.
Emperor Don shifted in his seat. He looked unimpressed. “Perhaps you could see to my release,” he said.
Clement sighed. “I can’t do that. That would get me in a lot of trouble. Maybe even arrested.”
Emperor Don leaned on the table and folded his hands. “Let me see if I understand. You came here to feel better about yourself without doing anything to help me. Is that correct?”
Clement blushed. “Actually, it was Becky’s idea. She thought you’d have some great idea or something.”
“I might if I was clear on a few points. How exactly did you secure my imprisonment in this psychiatric facility?”
“It was your brother George with Durable Mike the mute.”
Emperor Don flinched. “Mute?” he asked.
“George said you caused the accident that took his ability to speak. I added testimony that corroborated the claim that you were mentally unfit. If I recant my testimony, I’d perjure myself,” explained Clement.
“Mute,” said Emperor Don. There was a twinkle in his eye.
“I can’t see a way to make this right without one of us being in trouble. I just wanted to let you know how sorry I am.”
“Like I said, repentance requires more that just words,” said Emperor Don.
Clement threw up his arms in despair. “What do you want me to do?”
Emperor Don smiled. “Give speech to the mute.”