Holding My Wife at Gunpoint — Episode Eight, Res Publica, Live on Radio NZ

Res Publica, read by Stuart Devenie, on Radio New Zealand

Res Publica, read by Stuart Devenie, on Radio New Zealand Nine-to-Noon

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You can read notes on the previous episode here.

In this Episode Eight, Arcady considers how his beloved island came to be. Geographers think it must have risen out of the ocean during an earthquake, and Arcady recalls a small earthquake he felt (and his wife ignored) some months before.

Now Autumn arrives and Arcady decides to confront his wife about his new discovery. He wants to ask her for some money in order to buy a boat. One day he approaches her while she’s putting on makeup in front of the bathroom mirror.

He tries to convince her she should invest in the island, that it’s a good business venture. Growing frustrated with his wife’s implacability, Arcady tries other ways to persuade her, more forceful, more domineering ways. Nothing seems to work. Finally, his wife decides she’ll give Arcady some money, but only because she recognizes in her husband a new sense of ambition — something she hasn’t seen for years — and she worries he might succeed in some venture without her owning a controlling stake in it.

Episode Eight ends with Arcady finalizing a deal with his wife’s accountant. He’s ready now to depart to his island, with no plans to return. The story continues on Monday with Episode Nine, broadcast at 10:45am, Radio NZ “Nine-to-Noon”.

It should be noted that the 12-line stanza form of previous episodes has now extended to 14 lines. The purpose behind this elongated structure is made clear in Book Two of Res Publica. The rhyme scheme has also changed. It’s now abbaccdedeffgg. Some lines, of course, were cut or altered to fit the audio segments.

An example of a stanza from Episode Eight:

“I cannot stress enough – it’s urgent.
The jewel’s ours! If we just spend
some cash,” I said, “and can defend
our land from government insurgents,
we’ll make eight figures easily.
And best of all, it’s all tax-free!”
My wife, you know, is a shrewd investor.
A loan’s her favorite charity.
To make “returns” has always obsessed her.
And though I spoke in “our” and “we,”
such neutral words I always knew
were less effective than a “you.”
(Why even her draft of our prenuptial
was less fair-minded, more
cleanuptial!).

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