Madame Lucretia gazes mournfully at her enormous stack of receipts
Madame Lucretia tries to put a brave face on it, but the bitterness is right beneath the surface. She has never been politically active, but recent events have stirred her passions in a way that nothing in her native land has since the Kingdom of Romania declared it's independence from the Ottoman Empire back in 1877.
"I was only a young girl at the time, but I remember it well," reminisces Lucretia. "There was singing and dancing and plentiful yak for feasting, and wine flowed like the blood of the Turks. The bells rang throughout the streets of Transylvania, and for a short while, we were all happy. Then thing settled down. The last 133 years have been rather uneventful."
Uneventful until the first of the year, that is, because on January 1st the Romanian government did the unthinkable, changing the tax code to cover witches, astrologers and fortune tellers. Necromancers and soothsayers alike will now be required to pay an income tax rate of 16%, as well as contribute to health and pension programs.
"This is an enormous infringement on my personal freedom by an activist tax and spend government," spits Lucretia. "I want my country back. Why should I be required to pay for health care when I can cure whatever ails me with a simple potion? Oh, the idiocy and arrogance of this over-bloated bureaucracy. It will not stand. After this took effect, my coven went down to the banks of the Danube and threw mandrake roots in the river, but there wasn't a peep out of President Băsescu, not a word. So we upped the ante - we brought out the chorus of witches, the dead dog, the cat excrement, and we cast our most powerful curse. It worked, too. Unfortunately, instead of harming President Băsescu, it took out a bus load of schoolchildren."
Lucretia's coven was evidently successful in getting Băsescu's attention, because the Senate is now poised to launch a new retaliatory strike in their war on witchcraft - a law that would not only require Romanian conjurers to have a license and issue customer receipts, but also make them financially liable for predictions that don't come true.
"I don't recognize my country anymore," moans Lucretia. "They won't be satisfied until they put us all out of business. What will Romania do for magic then? They don't care... This odious bill is obviously the work of Mihaela Geoană, wife of the leader of the Senate. She is a witch herself, a self-loathing one, but very powerful. Last week I cast a spell that would make her smell like boar shit, and I got a note back from her. It said 'Eu sunt din cauciuc, sunteţi lipici'. That means 'I am rubber, you are glue', and it's implications are horrible indeed. It's been six days and I can't scrub away the odor no matter how hard I try."
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