Thwarting A Dictator

I am living in an unnamed country. It is small, but has a robust economy and a surprisingly happy populace, led by my husband. My husband is a middle-aged man with dark hair and eyes and a cunning expression. He was an elected official once, but is now a dictator.

I don't like my husband, and I definitely don't care for his politics. Unbeknownst to him, I go out at night and do various things to destabilize his regime. We live inside the presidential palace, so sometimes, I spend time stealing important documents and smuggling them to outside rebels and journalists. Sometimes I venture into the city and do a little political killing. My outings almost always involve a lot of cloak-and-dagger behavior and much climbing of walls and lurking in shadows. It's like something out of a comic book and I love every moment of it. The danger of it all only adds to the thrill, of course.

Because I have some duties as First Lady that I can't avoid, and because I need to sleep sometime, I have to concoct schemes that will garner me adequate time alone to do what has to be done. For the moment, I have convinced my husband that I'm ill with some unspecified, but contaigous, disease. With the help of a nurse - who is an accomplice - I have moved out of my husband's bedroom (to my relief) and into a makeshift infirmary. While my husband believes I'm asleep under the watchful eye of my nurse, I'm actually prowling around the palace and the city. I don't think my husband is very smart, so I believe I have him fooled.

One night I have cut things a little fine, as I barely manage to evade the guards while I'm sneaking back into the palace after some mission, and I have just pulled my sheets up to my chin when my husband comes in for an obligatory visit. His expression is hard and angry and I realize I'm in trouble. But there's nothing I can do without admitting too much, so I continue to play up my invalid role.

Accompanying my husband are two burly nurses - one male, one female. My husband tells me that he has decided that my nurse is obviously incompetent, as there is no excuse for my being ill for so long. He has consulted his own doctor, he tells me, and has received a prescription that will have me feeling better in no time.

I notice that one the female nurse is holding a large syringe filled with a clear brown fluid and I get seriously alarmed. My husband has discovered that I'm up to something, and now he's taking steps to stop me. I believe that this 'prescription' must be poison of some kind, and I struggle as the male nurse holds me down, while the female injects the strange fluid into my chest, just below my collarbone. She tells me that it's just some vitamins and an antihistamine, but I'm not believing a word of it.

"There," says my husband. "that should take care of you."

They leave, and I'm practically hysterical with worry and simultaneously furious that I had been found out. My nurse, fortunately, has a calmer temper and points out to me that my husband can't be entirely sure that he knows what I'm up to, otherwise he would have had me brought up on charges of treason already, or simply murdered in a back alley. It's entirely possible he believes my midnight errands are visits to a lover - and that belief could be turned to my advantage.

I flop back on the ramshackle cot I have been sleeping on and try to assess my options, while wondering what has been forced into my system. Very quickly, I become dizzy and disoriented. In fact, it feels like I'm very drunk. My thoughts are hard to focus, but I grit my teeth and force myself to think about how I can turn my husband's scheme against him.

My accomplice examines me and tells me that I've been dosed with a strong sedative, nothing more. Obviously, my husband hopes to keep me too dopey to leave the palace. This is inconvenient in the extreme, but I remember something I had discovered during one of my previous forays into a locked office. My husband is to have a meeting tonight, a very important meeting, with several members of his government. I can't remember the agenda - my mind is too fuzzy - but I do remember that it is a secret meeting, on a very delicate matter, and that my husband intends to swindle his compatriots, somehow.

I pull on some clothes - not many, just enough for minimal decency - and go staggering through the palace. It's a nice enough building - hardwood floors, carved plaster ceilings, but lacking in character, and given a little too much to gilded accents. All is dark and quiet, and the few palace guards ignore me, as I'm obviously harmless, given that I can barely walk straight. Finally, I find an office that is lit, and I can hear the sounds of my husband talking with two other men coming from behind the closed door.

I stagger into the office, and do my best 'dishevelled Ophelia' act. I smile sweetly at my husband and his friends and babble inanely at them, while careening off the furniture. This part of the act isn't difficult at all. I just hope I can say the right thing when I need to. Trying to stay focused while heavily sedated is extremely difficult.

My husband looks embarrassed and irritated and tells the two ministers that I'm drunk. Furthermore, he implies that my ongoing 'illness' was simply alcoholism that he has been forced, for the good of the nation's morale, to tolerate and hide from public view. A bitter laugh escapes me at that, irritating him further.

"Not at all, my love. It was that stupid doctor and his stupid prescription. The one you insisted personally that I take. You remember, surely, when you insisted that nurse hold me down and shoot me up?" I notice the ministers are looking alarmed, but cautious. "I mean, you were there and all…" I point to the small puncture wound that is just visible above the collar of the scanty tank-top I'm wearing. "See!"

My husband continues to backpedal, while trying to herd me out of the room. Even drugged to the gills, I'm able to outsquirm my clumsy, unfit husband, and I don't have much more to say as it is.

"Are these the men you didn't want me to see, love?" I warble dizzily. "Are these the stupid, fat oafs you mentioned at lunch? The ones who are going to take the fall for that little scheme of yours that collapsed?" I can't remember the details, but I do know that it is true that my husband intends to set them up as scapegoats. The ministers obviously shocked, now, and becoming angry. "Oops," I mutter. "Cat's out of the bag. I guess that's why you doped me up, hm, sweetie? Aren't you always calling me a cat?" This is another piece of gossip that has reached my ears, and repeating it bolsters my case.

My husband is furious, but he dares not strike out at me in front of witnesses. The damage done, I lean heavily on one of the ministers - my strength is about to give out - and ask him to lead me back to the infirmary. I'm not sure how I'm going to survive after this incident, but at least I've taught my husband that I can turn anything he throws at me to my advantage….

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