To tide you over while you count the hours to the day The Tower of Nero hits bookshelves, we’re pleased to introduce a crucial supporting character: Screech-Bling. You may think you can pronounce that name, but our understanding is earplugs would be in order, as it includes eardrum-shattering, well, screeching. But don’t let the stridency fool you. This chief executive officer of the troglodytes is an exemplary leader of a fascinating, froglike community—one that will be quite helpful to Apollo.
He’s a sartorial inspiration.
Some would argue that leadership begins with attention to one’s appearance. Just as Hillary Clinton has her trademark pantsuits and Steve Jobs had his black turtlenecks, Screech-Bling has . . . well . . . all of it! From the Washingtonian greatcoat to the luxe, velvety vest, the head trog commits to dignity and gravitas in every garment. And how could you miss the chapeau? Speaking of which—
He’s a collector of hats.
Well, not just him, the whole trog population. And not just any hats, as you can see. That tricorn is fine enough to make any milliner proud. Although Screech-Bling’s hat display is positively restrained compared to other trogs, who manage to pile several on their head, one on top of the other. Clearly his status as head trog gives him a confident understatement.
He’s bringing back cravats.
And we say it’s about time! Not only is a cravat dapper, downright dandyish fashion, it’s also functional. Who among us couldn’t do with a napkin around our necks? And that’s with or without the trogs’ penchant for prodigious drooling.
He has a sophisticated—if specific—palate.
An audience with Screech-Bling requires an offering. One could call it a sacrifice, but we don’t want to suggest that as a species, they’re uncivilized. Quite the opposite is true! No, the best offering for this great troglodyte is a delicious reptile. Granted, the trogs have access to other scaly options in their underground dwellings, but show up with a rare lizard and Screech-Bling will be most appreciative. What’s more—
He’s happy to share.
He may hoard hats, but he will make a five-lined skink last. A nourishing soup will do the trick, and to his delight, will feed not only his fellow trogs but their visitors as well.
Let’s just hope those visitors play their cards right; there’s nothing saying troglodytes only eat reptiles.