Ulysses has met people ignorant of history. Caesar suppressed all knowledge of it in the Legion, in the tribes he assimilated. Silenced all whispers that he wasn’t the first to bear his name. History was anathema to the Bull, forgotten by the Bear. But Ulysses has never met an ignoramus so irritating as Abraham Washington, curator and owner of River City’s Capitol Preservation Society.
“In a famous speech known as the Gettysburg Address,” Washington is saying, “Grant challenged Robert E. Lee to duel at Appatomax.”
Ulysses takes a deep breath. Next to him, the Courier is red-faced, straining to hold back laughter.
“After defeating Lee, Grant won the title of President of the United States. President Grant changed his name from Hiram to Ulysses—“
The Courier makes a quiet, choking sound.
“— and ended the Re-Constitution, restoring the Old Constitution that had been written by Benjamin Franklin. And here,” the man adds, as they come to the next exhibit, “is the Declaration of Independence.”
Ulysses stares at it. The ancient writing, the flowing signatures, the words that echo throughout history like a bell. When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary…
He stares at it some more.
When it’s time to move on, the Courier has to grab him by the arm before he’ll move.
“That was educational,” the Courier says as they walk out of the museum and into a street filled with snow. “Re-Constitution,” he whispers to himself, and starts laughing again.
“Courier,” Ulysses says. (Still calls him Courier, after all this time, all the roads and miles they’ve walked.) “We’re going to steal it.”
The Courier’s belly-laugh becomes a nervous chuckle. “What?”
“We’re going to steal the Declaration of Independence.”
“I’m in.” A pause, and then: “Hiram.”