“Did you come here to flirt with me?” asked Mireille.
“Naturally,” said the Dandelion Knight. “How else does one woo an object of love?”
Mireille groped behind her for the hooks that harnessed the girl to the railing on the raised road. “I’m sure you say that to all the Champions.”
“Of course not. There’s room in my heart for one woman, and one alone. Do you take me for a slut?”
“Like me, you mean?” Mireille grinned. One of the ropes was wrapped twice around her wrist; she hunted for the other. “It’s a womanish term. Say, rather, a romantic?”
“What sordid equivalences you politicians conjure up,” said the Dandelion Knight. “I am a romantic. That’s half of why I love you — a surrender to poetic necessity.”
“What’s the other half?”
“No reason I can name,” said the Dandelion Knight. “It happened in a moment, and I’ve loved you in every moment since because I’d loved you the moment before. Like the birth of the universe — a series of physically determined events issuing inexorably from a single moment outside physics. I have a team of philosophers and scientists working on the problem. The scientists invent grotesque mathematical instruments, and the philosophers follow youths in the street and annotate their behavior in languages ill-adapted for casual discourse.”
“Is it the fashion among young revolutionaries to flirt like professors?” asked Mireille. She had wound the ropes around one of her forearms.
“Who was the last professor you chased up a building?” asked the Dandelion Knight. “I’ll give you his heart in a cherrywood box. I’m a jealous lover, I’m afraid, though not a young revolutionary.”
“Not young?” Mireille asked, thinking she saw the swirl of a cape in the mist — but it decohered a moment later; there was nothing. “Are you the original, then?”
“The truth doesn’t come as easily as that,” said the Dandelion Knight.
(© Matt Weber, 2009)