Spearcarriers & Supernumeraries Anonymous
J.B. Pravda

"Did you see me? I was Flavius, the first among Claudius's attendants," Quentin Forgun blurted.

"Alright, now Quentin, why don’t we wait for the group to get here, shall we?" was the refrain from Dr. Cartoff; "We don’t want anyone to feel left out, you know," was the ”prerecorded message.”

She had counseled in many support systems over the years, but these “Extras” had deep-seated issues she had only begun to plumb. One theory she had recently published in the peer journals was that of “super-invisibility syndrome” spawned, she proffered, by the disastrous failure of their attempt to unionize years ago; it seems that their inability to handle proactive activities such as speaking, initiative and the like, compounded by their irregular ability to remit dues spelled doom to this undertaking. Her latest possible breakthrough, actually rather desperate, consisted in allowing them to attend sessions in full costume along with reading select lines from the appropriate script for each member in order to engage their passions. All her hard work had paid off, she rationalized, in unexpected ways: aside from feeling especially well-protected by heavily armed centurion-types in the parking lot, Dr. Cartoff enjoyed her own increasingly fantastic lifestyle, having sold her car in favor of a gilded litter.

First published: August 2002
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