Wednesday, February 6, 2008


John, having defeated Wendel, was immediately declared a great hero among his people, the best king ever to have lived. Within seconds of the monster’s death, a spy behind an arras ran upstairs to tell Pompetus the wonderful news, and presently he came hurrying down with many attendants. Proud Pompetus boldly bade them promptly prepare a fantastic feast to celebrate John’s valiant victory.

“But we ate just a few hours ago,” protested someone whose name isn’t important.

“Your opinion matters even less than your name,” proclaimed Pompetus, kicking him toward the kitchens. Then, turning to John, he said, “Well, my King, you performed quite admirably! Your killing Wendel will doubtless free us from the terror of Wendel.”

“Yes, I know these things already. I’m a genius, remember? I know everything,” said John.

“Of course, of course, my Lord; forgive my insolence. Now, here are those daisies you wanted,” said Pompetus, handing John the potted plants. “I think you’ll find them more than adequate!”

“Oh, I don’t want daisies anymore. I just remembered that I only came here to recruit men for a great battle,” said John. “I need a hundred, because I’m not using Jeannine, what with her being a woman; and I’m not using Bill, because he’s an idiot.”

“No I’m not,” retorted Bill. “My mom says I’m…oh wait, did you say idiot? Never mind.”

Pompetus rudely pushed Bill to the side and shot him a glance of contempt. He took a seat – John’s seat – at the dining table (it had already been moved back) and looked up at his king with a fulsome smile.

“I am sorry, my Lord, but we do not have a hundred men to spare. I will give you what I can, but first, we must enjoy this wonderful feast!” insisted Pompetus.

At that moment, dozens of chefs came out of the kitchen holding platters of marvelous food. Somehow they’d managed to cook it all in under five minutes.

“Would you like to sit next to me, John?” asked Jeannine seductively.

“Are you still here?” asked John. “Make yourself useful and knit something.”

“I love knitting!” exclaimed Bill. “My mom says that I’m the best knitting helper she’s ever had. This one time she was knitting a sweater, and she dropped a pin and asked me to pick it up, and so I was on the floor looking for it and then I pricked myself with it. It hurt.”

They all sat down to eat, although nobody was very hungry. Jeannine kept trying to move closer to John, who kept skirting away. Finally, they finished, and Pompetus stood.

“Attention, Danish brothers. As you probably know, John, our King, just killed the demon Wendel, thereby freeing us from his ghoulish grasp. We therefore pledge to him all that we can spare: twenty of our finest men! And thirty more, who…aren’t quite as good. But what they lack in skill, they almost make up for in spirit!”

“Well, thank you…Pompetus, was it?” said John, wiping his mouth on Bill’s shirtsleeve. “Now, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all, my loyal subjects, for your continued –”

But John was interrupted by three loud knocks on the castle door. Someone was there. Someone was mad.

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