It’s true that money does not grow on trees; it’s dug out of the gold mines by our conquered enemies. But that is far from the point. Our Empire cannot continue to drain our coffers to provide bread and circuses for our citizens. That is why the High Council has made the prudent decision to only provide circuses. That’s right, no more bread.

Bread will feed a man for a morning, but a circus will keep thousands of men occupied for a month while the High Council deals with the famine and the drought and the general “foodlessness” situation we’re facing.

There’s no room to store bread, anyway. We’re already squeezing elephants between the aqueduct and the armory. Circus elephants don’t forget, especially about being squeezed against a leaky aqueduct. Plus, I’ve never been kicked in the neck by a loaf of bread.

We understand our people are hungry. We’re hungry too—hungry for a team of lions to face off against something our foreign advisors call a “hippopotamus with a big sword tied to it.” Sounds fun! That battle will keep you full all night (trust us, you’re not going to be hungry after seeing that).

Once you’re enjoying the circus, you’ll forget all about eating. You’ll ask yourself, “Doesn’t that hippopotamus look like two gladiators under a gray sheet?” We’d much rather you ask that question than, “Why is the High Council plunging our kingdom into more debt to distract us from the collapse of our empire?” Enjoy the show.

Don’t doubt the wisdom of the High Council. We’ve had plenty of bread to eat, so our minds are sharp. Why do we get more bread? Well, how would we provide so many circuses if we were hungry? Think about that instead of thinking about bread all day, you glutton. What? Of course, I mean metaphorically; I know you haven’t had bread in days. For people apparently starving, you have plenty of energy to argue. Settle down and watch a prisoner throw a net at something called a “peacock.”

Sure, you could gnaw on some bread every day, but to what end? We’re not just trying to survive, we’re trying to live. (A good plan since our survival rates are not great.) I’d rather die than live in a world without entertainment. Luckily, the High Council has a dedicated staff of courtesans, jesters, and even a funky harp guy, so I won’t have to make that decision. But if I did, I would surely choose what most honorable citizens of our empire have chosen and forgo primal comforts like bread and water—oh yeah, we’re also running short on water—in exchange for seeing the Empire’s greatest strongmen perform unbelievable feats (lifting an entire chariot while subsisting on half-rations of bread).

I see that many of you still have questions, torches, and pitchforks. The High Council is happy to answer all of your concerns right after lunch. We’re dining on these exquisite new concoctions called “sandwiches.”