“Enjoy your stay at Denmark’s finest inn; to take you on a tour I’ll soon begin. But first I must inform you of the rules: to disobey them is the sport of fools . I joyfully invite you, stay a while! But if you come with malice, or with guile, please rest assured that soon you’ll meet your ends – untimely death, which nothing ever mends!” said Bob.
“I see you’ve switched to iambic pentameter,” noted John. “But formalistic analysis aside, I really have to ask, what the hell are you doing here? Don’t you own a bar in America?”
“Indeed I do, but here I also work. I need more money, since I am a jerk,” said Bob.
“Your mastery of poetic form is admirable, Comrade!” lauded Mischa. “But we really just need to see King Claudius.”
“Oh, he’s down the hall, three doors to the left,” said Bob.
“You stopped using –”
“I know I did! It’s called free verse. Assholes.”
Shaking his head, John led Bill and Mischa through the next hallway. He counted three doors down and stopped when he reached the one leading into the room where, according to Bob, King Claudius was. They could hear Bob’s muttering all the while.
“Now there’s a good chance we’ll be walking into a trap when we enter that room. We haven’t exactly tried to keep our intentions secret. I’ll bet everyone in Denmark knows we’re here to kill the king by now! So whatever happens in there, remember: our only target is the king.
Everything and everyone else – Bill, pay attention! – is completely inconsequential,” instructed John. “No Bill, I will not define inconsequential for you. You’ll just have to use that dictionary I bought you. With your money. Okay, on three, I open the door.”
“I’ll count!” offered Bill. “I’m real good at it. Let’s see now, one…two…umm. Oh man, I always forget what comes next! Maybe it’s…no, that’s not it.”
But John and Mischa had already opened the door, charging into the room with reckless abandon. Sure enough, King Claudius was there, along with a few attendants and a beautiful woman. The moment was here.
Unfortunately though, neither John nor Mischa had had the foresight to bring a weapon, so they would have to deviate from the plan a little. Instead of deposing the monarch by force, they would now resort to trickery.
“Uh, hi, Uncle Claudius! It’s me, John!” said John, feigning politeness. “And this is my pet Russian, Mischa.”
“Hello, Comrade!” said Mischa. “Wait a minute, I’m not –”
“John! Back in Denmark? Didn’t you leave in a drunken rage that night, claiming you’d become a US postal worker?” asked Claudius.
“Yes, but I came back here to kill…some time,” said John, catching himself not a moment too soon.
“Well that’s wonderful! Have you met my disproportionately young wife, Jeannine?” asked Claudius. “I married her three hours ago. It’s a shame you missed the ceremony. There was cake.”
“Welcome back to Denmark, John,” said Jeannine, quite a bit more seductively than necessary.
“Pleased to meet you. Now if you’ll excuse me, Mischa and I – and Bill, he’s the one gnawing on your wall, don’t ask why – need to go somewhere to, uh, talk,” said John, hurrying out of the room.
“Well, all right. Just follow my secretary, Bob,” instructed Claudius as he watched the three leave.
Waiting until he could no longer hear his guests, Claudius took out his cell phone and quickly dialed a number.
“Mr. Malum, the rooster has perched,” he said.
“Excellent! So tomorrow you won’t need that wakeup call,” said Josiah.
“Indeed. Oh, and my nephew John is here. I believe you wanted him dead?” asked Claudius.
“Right, kill him,” instructed Josiah. “But I want Mischa…alive.”
Both Josiah and Claudius broke into choruses of maniacal laughter. The silence that followed was so awkward that they hung up immediately.