Maragana Girl Ch. 30bycaligula97236©
Chapter 30 -- Epilogue
Tiffany Walker-Dukovna woke up at 6:00 in the morning as always. There was no sleeping in for Tiffany, not with two kids, a husband who had to be at work in an hour and a boss like Spokeswoman Lee-Dolkivna. Those were the three priorities in Tiffany's life. Maybe in the evening there would be a little time to herself, if she was lucky. Ha! Not very likely.
Tiffany's first concern was her husband, who soon would become Chief of Police for Danube City, the youngest police chief in the city's history. She quickly got his breakfast on the table as he put on his uniform. The breakfast was a standard US breakfast of pancakes and eggs with bacon, the only difference being she had to use blackberry jelly instead of maple syrup. When they first got married Vladik had trouble getting used to the American style of eating. However, when it came to fixing buckwheat porridge and fried potatoes for the morning meal...well...Tiffany had to put her foot down on that one. No, there wasn't going to be any buckwheat porridge and fried potatoes, not in Tiffany's kitchen.
Tiffany kissed Vladik passionately; her bare body pressing against his freshly pressed uniform. Tiffany was one of those lucky women whose figures never seem to change, no matter how old they are or how many kids they have. Tiffany slipped her hands under his belt to squeeze his bottom. She gave him a mischievous look...get home early Vladik, there's plenty more for you tonight.
Getting the kids ready was next. There were more pancakes to be passed out, more eggs, and milk. The older boy didn't have his school uniform on yet, which precipitated some yelling. There was the usual complaint, "Mother, you never have to get dressed, why do I have to?" There was the usual explanation about school rules and the dress code. Someday, soon, she would have to tell him the real reason. The boy's mother was a convicted criminal serving a 35-year sentence. For Tiffany Walker-Dukovna there would be no getting dressed for another 26 years.
The local school sent a small bus to pick up the older boy. The younger one went a couple of minutes later in a mini-van owned by the Danubian Royal Family. The boy's aunt Anyia had sent the mini-van to pick up Tiffany's toddler and Spokeswoman Lee-Dolkivna's daughter to spend the day at her house with her own two small children. Once Tiffany's younger boy was in the vehicle, its driver waved at her and pulled out away from town. He passed the yellow sign that marked the edge of Tiffany's world and continued on to the house were Anyia lived with her husband. That house belonged to the estate of the Grand Duke of Danubia. Anyia's husband was the Grand Duke, although now the Royal Family's role in the Republic of Danubia's political life was completely symbolic.
Tiffany reflected on the strange contrast between the role of Anyia's husband, whose power was ceremonial, and her own father-in-law, whose power was quite real. Vladim Dukov had been Prime Minister for nearly nine years, with no sign that his government was about to end anytime soon. He was adored by most Danubians. When the crowds shouted "DOC-DOC DUKOV!", they meant it.
Vladim Dukov was halfway through what would be the most successful and influential government the Republic of Danubia had seen since the times of King Vladik the Defender. The change in the country's name was one example of the Prime Minister's influence. After nearly 500 years Upper Danubia formalized its southern border, finally recognizing Lower Danubia was nothing more than a memory and there was no hope of ever getting that land back. In exchange for the formal border recognition, Upper Danubia's southern neighbor ceded some archeological sites, two small towns, and three ancient villages back to the Danubian government. The places had huge historical significance, so bringing them back under Danubian control was well worth the border treaty. Dukov asked the Parliament to change the country's name the following year, because it was time to get real. Upper Danubia no longer was a Duchy and there was no such place as "Lower Danubia".
There were many other changes, including upgrading the dam at the Rika Chorna Reservoir and tripling the nation's hydroelectric production capacity, projects that kept Kim's husband Sergekt Dolkiv quite busy. There were comprehensive modernization programs for sewers and irrigation systems, aggressive educational reforms, and the upgrading of fire-fighting and police services, just to name a few of Dukov's other projects. In foreign affairs Dukov proved to be a crafty and hard-headed negotiator. Danubia finally did join the EU, but under much more favorable terms than originally negotiated by the former government. Among other world leaders Dukov's negotiating skills earned him the nickname "Vladim the Extortionist".
Danubia was the one country in eastern Europe without a major drug addiction or AIDS problem, largely because the Prime Minister had insisted on awareness education and mass testing of the younger population at the beginning of his administration. Tiffany could feel some pride that nine years before she had played an important role in making the new Prime Minister understand part of what he was up against with the drug issue.
Drugs. Fortunately Tiffany's first-hand knowledge of drugs no longer was current. It remained current for a while, but over time became outdated because she no longer was part of that world. There were a few reminders that never would go away, however. There were the scars on her arms, the cut on her forehead, the occasional cravings, and the pictures of her co-workers from Dirty Grampy's. Her old co-workers were now dead, all of them. From that group, Tiffany was the only survivor.
Tiffany forced the memories of her fellow dancers out of her mind. She had to get to work. She left everything in the kitchen as is, because Vladik had hired a cleaning service to clean up the house and maintain the garden. Between two jobs and two kids, there just wasn't time for housework.
Tiffany got on her bicycle and pedaled downtown. She could have ridden the trolley, but never did so unless it was totally freezing outside. Rain or shine, Tiffany rode her bike. She was one of those stubborn criminals who refused to stand naked in a packed trolley. She passed the pleasant parks and old buildings, as well as numerous hotels and tourist cafes. The city now was full of tourists, whose money fueled the Prime Minister's ambitious improvements. Some of the foreigners, especially visitors from the US and Latin America, stared at the attractive naked woman as she pedaled past them. Tiffany did not notice. She was a criminal and that's just the way things were.
As Tiffany neared downtown she passed the Danube City Studio Complex. The studio area was full of groups of naked criminals, the people who formed the heart of the still-popular Danube City music scene. Tiffany then passed the music store where she had worked a couple of years at the beginning of her sentence. She glanced at a display of the latest CD of "Socrates' Mistresses", the enormously influential band that had changed the course of Danubia's music, and probably the course of the nation's history. It was weird to think, without "Socrates' Mistresses"; it was unlikely Vladim Dukov ever would have become Prime Minister.
"Socrates' Mistresses" still performed, although not as often as before because its members were pursuing other careers. When the band did perform, Tiffany's boss, along with its other 14 members, always performed naked. That held true even when one or more of the singers were pregnant. Performing naked had become the band's trademark, their reminder to the world they began their careers as criminals.
Tiffany's journey took her past the Socrates Club, which still was going strong. She rode past the old armory building, where she could hear Malka Chorno's voice snarling at a morning gym class. Tiffany had classes in the evenings with that strangely driven woman, which kept her in shape and partly explained her still-attractive figure.
Tiffany finally arrived at the Central Police Station. She parked her bicycle and looked at the sprawling complex, feeling satisfaction her husband soon would be in charge of the entire building and everyone in it. Vladik had moved up very quickly and was very well liked in the National Police. Of course, having his father as Prime Minister didn't hurt, but Vladik had moved up mostly by his own merits. He had a bright future.
Tiffany walked up the two flights of stairs to Spokeswoman Lee-Dolkivna's Office, which had been the office of the Prime Minister when he still was Kim's mentor. The Spokeswoman was digging through some files, pulling out the folders of some foreign clients who had trials scheduled for that morning. Tiffany, now in her official position as Criminal Adjunct Walker-Dukovna, knelt in front of Spokeswoman Lee-Dolkivna and touched her forehead to the floor.
"Good morning, Spokeswoman Lee-Dolkivna, I am pleased to see you have safely returned."
"Good morning, Criminal # 98946. I too, am pleased to see you. Please rise and we'll get started."
Apart from the formal greeting, Kim and Tiffany talked in a perfectly normal manner. Tiffany officially was Kim's assistant, however the truth was she almost was a Spokeswoman herself. She and Kim shared some clients, but Tiffany also had several clients of her own. Both of them were specializing in foreigners and drug cases, given that so many foreigners now were entering Danubia and unfortunately some of them were not taking the country's drug laws seriously. Tiffany had the same law degree as Kim, but was not a Spokeswoman in full standing because she remained a convicted criminal. Tiffany's status as a criminal, however, did not prevent her from appearing in court and arguing cases.
That particular morning there was a trial pending for a group of Canadians caught with several kilograms of hashish. The case would be complicated because they were various ages and it was not clear the hashish belonged to all of them. There were interviews to conduct and a convoluted truth to straighten out. The arraignment committee, the same three dour individuals who had interviewed Kim nearly 11 years before, would be hearing the case before sending it to trial. In their old age the three had little patience for dealing with criminals who had not been properly interviewed by their Spokespersons.
Momentarily a group of scared, naked young Canadians would be brought to the office in handcuffs and forced to kneel on the floor. There would be a trial, there would be collarings and switchings, and then there would be redemption...hopefully. Kim and Tiffany would have to guide the Canadians, just like Spokesman Dukov had guided Kim and Kim had guided Tiffany.
The day would be a routine workday, but Kim knew that in one way it was a momentous one as well. In the moment of quiet that preceded the entry of the new clients, Kim needed to remind Tiffany of something important, a promise from a long time ago, now fulfilled.
"Tiffany, I got a question for you. Do you remember what day it is today?"
Tiffany thought for a second:
"My God, today's my 30th birthday! I totally forgot!"
"Yeah. I remembered, 'cause it's what I promised you, isn't it? Your 30th birthday. So you made it."
Tiffany badly wanted to hug Kim, but knew she couldn't because it would break protocol. For a moment her emotions overwhelmed her. Finally, she responded:
"Thank you, Spokeswoman Lee-Dolkivna. Thank you for...giving me my 30th...."
"And many more birthdays ahead of you, don't you think?"
"Yeah...I'm sure of it. Many more ahead..."
There was a loud knock on the outer office door, announcing the arrival of the new clients and their police escort. It was the beginning of another long day in court.