The Unquestionable History of
Ptolemy XIII

"I am wrapped inside of an enormous rug, a rather cramped position for a Queen, waiting in ambush to confront Rome's First Consul. Caesar has refused, until now, to grant me a private audience; he treats me as if I were some madwoman, or a scheming usurper. The fool. I will instruct him in Egyptian manners if it kills me."

"The rug is propped against a pile of tapestries in Dimonius' antechamber. Woofie is hidden here with me; she is curled about my feet like a plump adder. Her breath tickles my toes, her greasy hair snakes under and across my ankles. (My slave girl pleads with me to speak louder now, says that she cannot hear to write down my words. I kick her, violently, in the stomach, asking if that helps. She says it does. Good, I say.)"

"We bribed our way into Dimonius' house attached to the Persians' Royal Presentation of Wares. I had considered sneaking in as a floral arrangement, with Woofie as Vase, but the thought of exposing my delicate skin to all those stems and thistles gave me pause. (Egypt's blossoms, like her moneychangers, can be unforgiving.) Besides, that disguise did not really lend itself to my unique physical characteristics. I may not have mentioned this but I am - Now how shall I phrase it delicately? - slightly obese. HOW DARE YOU SUPPRESS LAUGHTER, CUR? WHEN WE GET OUT OF THIS RUG I SWEAR IT WILL BE A DOG'S DEATH! Woofie has grown bold since her physical transformation; at times she drives me to complete distraction. Still, I don't know what I would do without her. Puppy. She alone knows of My Sacrifice and My Private Pain; she alone keeps The Royal Secret. (For the record, the men who performed our surgeries were recently thrown into a snake pit.) On impulse, I tickle my companion's chin with a toe, to show that all is forgiven."

"But quiet! Noises. Someone comes."