"So it is basically a community of anarchists?" Bjorn asked, looking out of the kitchen window where the snow was falling heavily. Then turning back to Thomas he continued. "I mean... the good kind. The kind that doesn't blow things up."
"Yeah, that's right. It's a community of gentle anarchists," Thomas said with a nod. "Like the Portuguese. They're not prone to blowing things up. They leave people alone... You know... Live by the Golden Rule."
"So then, if I bumped into a bunch of these guys, I would in fact find myself in the Fifth Empire without knowing it?"
"No, you would not be in the empire, you would only be among the citizens of the empire. You're not in the empire before you declare yourself a citizen, and consistently live by the Golden Rule."
"And that's where it gets a bit too cultish for my taste," Bjorn concluded.
"Me too," Thomas said with a nod. "I wouldn't mind living among them, though."
"No... Sounds like a nice bunch... Unless they constantly try to convince you, like the evangelist... you know."
"Ah... but that's the beauty of it. Constantly nagging people isn't very nice, so they don't do that. And Frederico keeps stressing this in his sermons."
"So how do they spread the word?"
"Well, by mentioning it every now and again, and by making all their material available on the web. And Frederico holds some very interesting and entertaining sermons. People simply get drawn into this, and they end up declaring themselves citizens... I mean... this could really take off in a big way."
"You think so?"
"It is certainly doing very well in Lundby. Even Jan mentioned the empire when he got up and basically asked us to leave... Ten minutes before they closed... You know."
"He's a citizen?" Bjorn asked in amazement. "Jan, the Mafioso, is a citizen?"
"I think so," Thomas said, apparently without seeing the contradiction. "At least, he gave me that impression."
"But he's a thug," Bjorn protested. "He kills people. At least, that's what Ante hinted at."
"I think Ante may have been exaggerating," Thomas commented dryly.
But just as the two men started talking about Ante, the man himself appeared in the doorway, looking terribly hung over, and this stopped the conversation dead in its track.
"So you two are talking about me behind my back, are you?" Ante asked. "Well, isn't that just typical, you Sami-hating southerners."
"What?" Thomas asked, looking in disbelief at Ante as he shuffled over to the cupboard where he grabbed a glass and filled it with water, swearing and cursing as he went.
"I'm just kidding," Ante said, looking over at his colleagues from the kitchen sink. "You never get it, do you? It's a joke. I don't hate you. I like you. I like you all... Well...except for Geir maybe..."
Then, as Bjorn and Thomas started to chuckle, Ante added "Nah... he's a nice guy too I guess. It's just a little less obvious with him."
Then, sitting down at the table, next to his colleagues, Ante continued with a smile, "so how are we all feeling today?"