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4/8/09 The King is Coming! (The Sequel)

When I first visited Berberville in April of 2008, I was told that His Majesty the King would be visiting in a week or two, and that I would just barely miss him.

I was sad.

When I moved here at the end of May 2008, I found out that he had never come.

I was relieved.

They said he'd be here for our big summer-end festival. The town painted itself red (literally, all the buildings along the main streets were painted various shades of pink, coral, and red). I had to be out of town, though, and was bummed that I would miss him.

He didn't come.

Then they said he'd come For Sure in October.

He didn't.

Then the word on the street assured me that he'd be here in late December. Public works projects exploded as the entire province prepared its prettiest face. Every building in Souqtown and Springfield draped itself in red and green bunting. Flags sprung up like April daffodils. A helicopter flew into town, bringing the king's security force to prepare the ground. My host family cleared all the furniture out of their two largest entertaining rooms, so that they could sleep the throngs sure to visit our little town.

He went skiing in France.

The bunting was quietly removed. The furniture crept back into the entertaining rooms. Flags melted away with the snow.

He'll come in April, everyone agreed.

And now April is upon us. I returned to my province a week into the month, and was nearly blinded by the profusion of red and green decorations drenching Souqtown. Flags have popped back up on their white posts, radiant against the rich blue mountain sky. "He's in Springfield right now, and will be in Berberville next week," a government employee assured me.

I have a friend currently visiting one of Morocco's larger cities. As he strolled by the King's palace (His Majesty maintains palaces in *all* of Morocco's large cities, as well as many of its medium-sized and small ones - even Berberville has built him a palace in the past few months), my friend was vehemently shooed to the other side of the street by the King's security forces. My friend is therefore confident that the King was in residence there, many hundreds of kilometers away from Springfield.

I remain hopeful. Someday, the King is bound to visit our little province. Maybe next week. Maybe next month. Maybe next year. But he'll come. Someday. Inshallah.

And I'll greet him with a genuine smile whenever he does, because I'm truly a fan. He has done countless wonderful things for his - our - country, and I'd love the chance to tell him I think so.

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