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“No, I tell you, it just won’t work. I’m sorry.”

“Really? You’re sure? Tell you what, if you can’t or won’t take money, how about if I arrange for us to buy a lot of your country’s main export. There’s an honest dollar for you. What is it?”

“What is what? Our chief export?” The assistant drew himself up to his full 5 feet 7 inches and said, staring coldly, “I should think you would have informed yourself on that score. We are very proud of the dentures we make. We are the world’s largest supplier of dentures.” The assistant hesitated, then reluctantly added, “After Liechtenstein, that is.”

“False choppers, eh? You got me there. That’d be tough to put across with my boss.”

“Anyway, why don’t you just send the prisoner back where he came from? To his home country?” the assistant suggested.

“His home country? No, can’t do that. Too problematic.”

“Too problematic? Why, would they abuse him?”

“No, not too problematic for him. For us.”

“For you? You mean the United States? Why? Where is he from?”

“Canada.”

“Canada?”

“Yeah, Canada. And they’re really ticked at us.”

Roger K. Miller is the author of “Dragon in Amber” (Wasteland Press, 2010), a novel about the Grand Duchy of Drachenschweig.