I was a history major

I was just going through a bunch of my old college papers and I stumbled across this gem. (I got an A+)

Everybody thinks that Julius Caesar was killed by his friend Brutus, who, with a group of likeminded conspirators, staged a coup against the powerful Roman Emperor. But that’s not how it happened at all. The real story is: Brutus was one of those childhood friends that Caesar just couldn’t seem to give the slip as he grew to adulthood. As Caesar rocketed up the Roman political ladder, his mom and Brutus’s mom, who happened to be best friends, always kept bugging him, telling him, “Don’t forget about your friend Brutus!” And so Brutus was constantly tagging along, asking the stupidest of questions and always sneezing way too loud, unnecessarily loud really, without ever even bothering to cover his mouth. Then he would wait for somebody to say the Roman equivalent of “God bless you,” but nobody ever did, so he would just say, “Thank you” to nobody at all. And Caeser would just roll his eyes as if to say, “Can you believe this guy?” but nobody ever entertained these complaints, because everyone was thinking, “Hey, don’t look at us Caesar. He’s your friend. You’re the one who keeps bringing him around everywhere.”

As it turned out, Caesar eventually reached a point in his career where his friendship with Brutus shaped up to be quite the political dilemma. It was hard to visualize the Roman Emperor as a leader, as this pillar of strength, when his idiot best friend was constantly knocking things over or picking his nose or starting a round of applause before Caesar had gotten even halfway through a speech. There were whispers of more ambitious leaders, rumors of a leader without a bozo sidekick, someone who could take reign of the empire without having to constantly apologize because his friend drank way too much wine and got up in the middle of the night, really drunk, and, mistaking the imperial guest quarters for the bathroom, peed all over the visiting delegation of Persian dignitaries.

The time to take definitive action had passed years ago. Caesar was really in a bind. He couldn’t just cut Brutus loose, because everyone in the empire would see it as a selfish, dirty, political move. It would be yet another sign of weakness. He would be a total sell-out, a fair-weather friend and fair-weather leader. The only way out of this was some sort of a crazy plan, one that would both get rid of Brutus while at the same time display an unshakable grip on power.

Caesar came up with an ingenious plan. He would tell Brutus to invite a bunch of his friends over for a party. After everyone was good and drunk, like really drunk, like blackout drunk, he would take Brutus alone on a walk through the woods. Once they got far enough away from the palace, Caesar would knock Brutus out; a mild blow to the back of the head ought to have done the trick. Then Caesar would disappear, but not before leaking a memo to the Roman press, signed by Brutus, detailing his plans to mount a coup, to kill Caesar, and to take control of the empire. Caesar even came up with that “Et tu” line himself.

Then Caesar planned to hide out for a while, to let the news of his murder spread throughout Rome. And just when everyone would think his death to be true, he would return to the palace, barging through the doors, claiming that he had returned from the grave to exact revenge upon his murderers. Brutus would be swept out of office, Caesar would be back in charge, and everyone would be terrified of the emperor’s seemingly incredible death-defying powers. His reign would continue, unrivaled, for the rest of his life.

But leave it to Brutus to screw up even the most foolproof of plans. When Caesar told Brutus to invite over a group of his drinking buddies, he hadn’t counted on the fact that Brutus had recently befriended a group of Visigoths hoping to exploit Caesar’s friendship with Brutus to sneak into the palace and kill them both. Everyone got drunk, as per the plan, and Caesar invited his good friend Brutus for a walk. But the Visigoths followed them both and had no trouble murdering Caesar. And they were about to murder Brutus too, but right before they did, Caesar’s fake memo fell out of his tunic pocket. The Visigoths totally bought the story and, assuming he was a wise, calculating leader, decided to let Brutus join their team.

But Brutus was still blackout drunk and wasn’t in a position to be confirming or denying anything. When they all got back to the palace, Brutus went to go get some more wine, but in his stupor, he accidentally poured everybody a drink from a pitcher of poison. (Where he found a pitcher of poison nobody knows for sure. It’s been a subject of debate amongst historians for generations.) Everybody died, except for Brutus, because he passed out for good conveniently just before he was able to take his first sip. When he woke up the next day, he was surrounded by this whole group of slain enemies, one of them clutching Caesar’s made-up story about the coup. The news spread quickly, and suddenly the whole empire developed a new fear and respect for the one-time idiot best friend.

Brutus embraced power and embarked upon planning a campaign of insane public works projects for Rome. His ideas were terrible: liquid chocolate aqueducts; a giant dome to be built around the entire empire, to prevent any aliens from spying; most importantly, feeling constantly guilty for believing that he had killed his best friend, he commissioned the imperial chef to create a new salad in Caesar’s honor. Luckily, none of these plans ever came to see the light of day, except for the salad. The chef overheard Brutus’s musings and created the Cobb salad, because Caesar loved bacon, avocado, and blue cheese dressing. Brutus needed some paper and scissors to make a diorama that he was going to present to the Roman Senate detailing all of his new ideas. But he got way too excited. His mom cried out, “Brutus! You be careful with those scissors! Brutus! Stop running with those scissors! Brutus!” But the power had gone straight to Brutus’s head. He didn’t have to listen to his stupid mom anymore. He was the emperor. But he should have, because he was running way too fast and he tripped on his tunic and landed right on his scissors, which stabbed him directly in the heart. And he died.

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