Sir Nigel Kerr was called "English" or even "Sir English" by everyone who knew him whether he liked it or not. He no longer disliked it. It had become who he now was. It could be worse. He could be called Sir Kerr. After all of these years in America, and three years now in El Paso, he now preferred just his nickname. It was like being a dog named dog. Besides, being English (either dog or man) would have seemed appropriate if only his being so weren't the only thing authentic about the place.
The ducal castle in El Paso, if you could really call it a castle, might be called eclectic if that word really meant "a dissonant mix of ugly and disconnected styles". One thing you could say about the ducal headquarters was that it was appropriately named. The castle was called La Chimenea – The Chimney. Another thing you could say about the castle was that it was hot. It was always hot. Brutal and relentlessly hot.
La Chimenea had not really been designed or constructed to maximize or capitalize on any particular cooling principles. Though the main structure looked to be made of adobe, and slightly resembled what could only be called a southwestern desert version of a medieval castle, for some reason the castle was bereft of any of the expected cooling benefits of either adobe or medieval castles.
Through some flaw in design, construction, or both, the castle more closely approximated a large earthen oven – gathering the extreme heat throughout the day, and exuding it throughout the night.
The obsession with castles and keeps and siege walls and basically all things medieval was a natural result of necessity, combined with the mentality born of a return to monarchy, along with a general lack of what had become known as "modern conveniences". Post-modern survivor instinct forced by hardship into antiquated thinking in a new and often violent middle-age almost naturally resulted in monstrosities like the ducal castle in El Paso. But La Chimenea reflected both the city and the duchy it supported...
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