Saturday, February 2, 2008

CHAPTER FORTY FOUR

XLIV
John lay awake in the dining room of his palace. Bill and Jeannine were with him, along with the castle guards who had so far managed to survive Wendel’s attacks, brave men still loyal to their king. Pompetus had left after the feast, claiming he had laundry to do, wishing John the best of luck and reassuring him that even if he were to die, he could take comfort in the knowledge that Pompetus would be his successor.

The maintenance staff of the palace had cleared out the expansive, expensive dining table, leaving the room completely bare, except for all the people. John wanted nothing to hinder his combat.

Then, when darkness dropped, Wendel went up to the palace, wondering what the warriors would do in that hall when their drinking was done. He found them sprawled in sleep, suspecting nothing, their dreams undisturbed.

He slowly approached one of the sleeping guards, lifted him with one hand and, with the other, tore the poor man’s head off effortlessly. Blood erupted from the wound, and Wendel drank his fill. Completely satisfied, he growled contentedly and dropped the corpse.

But then he got thirsty again, so he went over to John, who was playing solitaire. Bill kept trying to join in, despite John’s continuing protests.

Although a great way to pass the time, solitaire was a big mistake; as a result of this engrossing game, John failed to notice that Wendel was staring right at him. After a while, Wendel grew irritated with his prey’s indifference; after all, the whole “evil monster” thing was just a cry for attention.

He gave a little cough. John didn’t notice. Scowling, he coughed again, louder, this time stamping his foot concertedly.

“Are you all right?” asked John, nonchalantly glancing up at the foul fiend.

“Yes. But you’re not. Because I’m going to eat you!” cried the monster, lunging forward and making a grab for John.

“Well hang on, there’s a little flaw in your logic there,” said John, nimbly dodging aside. “It really doesn’t make much sense. I mean, you said I’m not all right because you’re going to eat me. Now when you said that, you had yet to eat me, meaning that at the time of your statement, I was all right. A more appropriate response would have been something like ‘Yes. But you won’t be for long, even though you appear to be all right at the moment.’ By changing over to future tense, you not only would have been correct; you also would’ve come across as far more determined and intimidating. And so on and so forth. You see?”

“Oh, well, I suppose you have a point there,” replied the monster. “Thanks, I’ll keep all that in mind. Anyway, now it’s time for you to die!”

“Ah, well I thought it might come to that. Sorry Wendel, but I’m afraid I can’t let you kill me. I’m far too smart to die,” said John.

“If you’re so smart, how come you’re…umm…” started Wendel.

“Yes?” pressed John.

“I’ll think of something! Just give me a minute, will you?” snapped the fiend. “Okay. If you’re so smart, how come I’m killing you right now?!”

Wendel lunged for John again, and John once more dodged to the side. He shook his head, looking down at the monster with sheer disappointment on his face.

“Okay, now, you just did it again!” said John, annoyed. “First of all, your killing me has absolutely nothing to do with my intelligence. And secondly, even if it did, thus far you’ve proven totally incapable of doing so. You’re a very ineffective monster, you know.”

“You think so?” asked Wendel with the utmost sincerity. “Well…do you have any suggestions on how I could, you know, improve?”

“For starters,” said John, “you should stop attacking my kingdom. Really, there are other kingdoms out there. Try France. Nobody likes France.”

“I like –”

“Shut up, Bill. And then, after a few years of plundering and terrorizing, maybe you could drop the monster thing entirely. I remember back when you were just a human, Wendel. That worked out fine for you, didn’t it? You really need to ask yourself, ‘Am I happier now than I was before?’ I’m pretty sure the answer will be no.”

“Your eloquence is impressive. You’ve made some extremely good points; I haven’t questioned myself so much in years. All right, I’ll do it! I’ll give up being a monster!”

And with that, the foul fiend Wendel was defeated, because as he was walking away, John shot him in the back with a rocket launcher.

1 comment:

Sandra said...

couldn't john have used wendel as part of his hundred men?