Statement of Belief
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Screams from the Stalls
My guests have made
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‘Ave, Ave! Good morning!’ Zoophilus entered the Forum Cafeterium and looked around. ‘Gratias tibi, Thank you.’ he said to the Barristerus, Nellus, taking his beaker of caffeinus. He went across to the tabula where his his friends were sitting.
‘What are you so cheerful about?’ asked the strangely grumpy Libertinus, the Roman man about town. Verbo Ipsum walked over to the counter to refresh his beaker of caffeinus.
‘I may be off on another voyage if negotiations go as well as I expect them to. Caesar wants some new exotic animals. What has upset you today?’
‘I was unable to get home last night so I had to stay at a caupona, a hotel. All night I was kept awake by strange noises. I’m certain they are haunted by a ghost!’
‘Is that the caupona next to the Temple of Mercury?’ asked Verbo as he returned to the tabula.
‘Why yes!’ exclaimed Libertinus. ‘How did you know?’
‘They have had that problem before and it is very hard to solve,’ said Verbo. ‘So yesterday they decided to fight fire with fire and called for an inn spectre.’
‘Salve.’ he greeted Nellus and took the proffered steaming beaker of caffeinus from her.
He walked over to his usual tabula and as he sat down, Libertinus. noted Roman about town looked up and grinned.
‘That citizen, your brother’s neighbour, is quite a wag. He was the life of the convivio, the party, last night.’ he said.
Secundus asked, ‘Do you mean Gallinacius the poultry farmer?’
Verbo Ipsum smiled to himself.
‘That’s the one.” replied Libertinus. ‘He had us rolling off our couches last night. The stories he was telling! He could have a future on the proscaenium, the stage.’
‘That’s not surprising,’ remarked Verbo. ‘Chicken farmers will often share a good yolk.’
‘Not today.’ Nellus replied. ‘I have not found a decent baker since Panifexus the baker had his bakery burn down.’
‘Your new baker burned the bread again today?’ asked Pedantus, from his seat at the tabula. Nellus just glowered! With exclamation marks!
‘There must be a way to teach someone to bake good panum regularly.’ Literatus the Librarian commented. ‘Surely there is need for a school of baking here in Rome.’
Libertinus, still recovering from the convivium the night before complained that bread was essential to soak up the wine left in the body on the morning after. ‘Without panum the day is just not bearable!’
‘If you were to spend more time at home and less time carousing you would find mornings more bearable.’ scolded Nellus who was not in a good humour.
‘But there must be at least one decent baker nearby.’ Pedantus said in an attempt to bring the conversation back to the important subject of panum.
Literatus nodded and said that one was bound to turn up.
Verbo Ipsum looked up from his caffeinus and agreed, ‘A good baker will rise to the occasion. It’s the yeast he can do.’