Monday, January 7, 2008


John, Bill and Mischa had all been taken to different rooms for the night. They thought this was merely a gesture of generosity, perhaps to compensate for none of their having had any cake; but in reality, Claudius was using the classic divide and conquer method. He figured that by dividing his adversaries, he’d be able to conquer them. Pretty self-explanatory.

Little did he know, however, that in the minute or so of having known him Jeannine had grown infatuated with John, and she now contrived to save him. And, vicariously, Bill and Mischa, I guess, since they’re his companions and all.

She came to John in the night, sneaking stealthily past the sleeping guard posted outside his door and waking John with a light whisper in his ear. It was very romantic.

“You must leave this place,” she said urgently. “My husband is planning to kill you! Tonight an assassin will enter this room and murder you with ear poison!”

“I already knew that,” said John irritably, rubbing his eyes. “I mean, the bottle’s right over there.”

He pointed languidly to his gilded nightstand, upon which rested a gilded bottle labeled “Ear Poison: For Use on John.” Rather stupid for Claudius to have left it there, really.

Jeannine was stunned.

“But if you knew of my husband’s intentions, why on earth would you stay?” she demanded, hoping his answer might have something to do with her.

“Isn’t it obvious? I plan to outwit him!” yelled John. “Let him try to murder me; he’ll fail. I came here to kill Claudius, Jeannine. I intend to get revenge for his usurpation of my father’s crown.”

“Then I will help you,” said Jeannine resolutely.

“You’d betray your husband?” asked John.

“Of course I would! I can’t stand him! I only married him because he threatened to burn down my parents’ village if I refused. It was the least romantic proposal ever.”

“Sounds about right. Okay then, I’ll let you help me. But for now, you’d better leave. I want that assassin to think I’m sleeping when he comes, and it’ll be hard to convince him if I’m talking to you” said John.

“Very well…” said Jeannine, hesitating.

She kissed John on the forehead before hurrying out of the room, again sneaking past the remarkably inattentive guard with minimal effort.

Now it was John’s turn to be shocked. He’d never really had time for romance, what with the demanding schedule resultant from being a postman…and his raging misogyny. That innocuous little kiss was actually the furthest he’d ever been with a woman. For the next hour, John lay in wait for his would-be assassin, continuously replaying the kiss in his head.

When the man finally did enter the room, John was surprised to find that he recognized him. He was even more surprised to find that it was

“BILL! What the hell are you doing in here?!” John demanded, both disconcerted and angry.

“King Claudius told me he’d give me a cookie if I put some of that poison in your ear!” Bill explained. “Oh, don’t worry though, I was gonna split it with you!”

John was disgusted. Not at Bill – he knew Bill was stupid and easily manipulated – but at Claudius. He really thought the king would’ve been able to find a more competent assassin. I mean, wow. Bill?

Nonetheless, Claudius’s failed attempt on John’s life was very encouraging, inasmuch as it, well, failed. John now had no doubts as to the likelihood of his successfully assassinating the king.

“I have a feeling I’ll be getting vengeance a bit more easily than I thought I would. Bill, go get Mischa,” he instructed. “We’re going to kill the king tomorrow!”

“How?” asked Bill.

“How else? A sword fight!”

Bill rushed out of the room in search of Mischa, and John stood up, determined. He was lost in thought for a moment. Then he sat back down.

“Crap! I don’t know how to sword fight! I really should've thought that through before saying it. Oh well.”

No comments: