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Thread: Auntie's Fairly Flailing Tales #2--"The Lyin' King"

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    Auntie's Fairly Flailing Tales #2--"The Lyin' King"

    Author's Note:
    Not that the first FF tale was wildly popular demanding another go-around,from decades ago I keep remembering Sister Jeanne-Pierre's trenchant warning: "No 'one' without a 'two'!" Hence appears the second flailing tale.

    This tale itself has a "1" as in Part 1, subsequent "chapters" to follow, provided the present PC, "Pong 2.1," cooperates and the author can access it.

    The author has a general disdain for footnotes. Believing that a work should contain all the necessary information within the text itself, I think they're extraneous in most works of literature (not that this nonsense falls under that prestigious umbrella.) I really dislike footnotes in poetry-- in a poem that is complete, footnotes are as redundant as voice-over narration on film, where a stentorian voice describes exactly what you're seeing on screen.

    Despite all that, the various chapters of "The Lyin' King" will have footnotes,merely because I want to channel my inner Cliff Clavin and Dr. Sheldon Cooper, as well as a general reluctance not to pass up an opportunity for another joke, even a bad one! Which, more often than not, is the case.



    Auntie’s Fairly Flailing Tales #2: “The Lyin’ King”

    I.

    Scritch-scritch-scritch. The sound of the stiff brush pushing back and forth against the chopping block was intermittently counterpointed by a less-rhythmical plunk-and-slosh during the brief intervals when the scullery maid paused to dip the rough implement into the pail of soapy water on the floor. Each time her brush made the ascent from the bucket back to the wooden square, the girl would be hit with an inescapable whiff of the cleaning solution, liberally laced with a potent portion of lye. The chemical stench stopped short of completely overwhelming her. It nonetheless opened the floodgates of her tear ducts and compelled her turned-up nose to twitch uncontrollably from side to side, as she fought to repress the irresistible approach of an imminent sneeze –- which ultimately won the battle with a formidable explosion reverberating off the stone walls of the castle’s kitchen.

    Instantaneously there appeared in front of her face a human hand proffering a handkerchief, woven from a material no one would ever mistake for silk-- though not overly coarse, yet good enough to do the job. Another hand, presumably the hanky-provider’s partner, thwarted the girl’s attempt to turn around by covering her eyes.

    “Guess who?” sang a falsetto voice.

    “Prince Charming?”

    “Uh-uh.”

    “Merlin the Magnificent?”

    “Guess again.”

    “Oh, honestly! I’ve got no time for games!” With her own wet hands, the maid reached up to pull away the makeshift blindfold. She swivelled herself around before anyone in Christendom could stop her. “Oh, it’s you, again.”

    The young man behind her bent down with a mocking bow. “It’s your one and only Tom! At your service, Dear Lady.”

    The girl, who could give as well as she could take, feigned an attack with her scrubbing brush. “I can see that. What brings you to our earthly paradise this fine day?”

    The “fine” was mere assumption, since she had eye-witnessed scarce daylight for the better part of a quadrennium. It had been that long since she’d been dragged from her mother’s loving arms into the involuntary servitude of the Royal Kitchen, where her shift began long before the sun came up and ended a full two hours after it went down. Her lot in life was not dissimilar to that of an oppressed coal miner, though she wasn’t one to complain. There were times, however, when a wistful reverie would surround her, inspiring nostalgic memories of her relatively happy youth, when her kinfolk had thought enough of her to call her by her Christian name rather than “You there, wench!” She’d been summoned by that demeaning epithet so often that the others who’d been similarly pressed into kitchen service-- especially those whose eardrums had been permanently damaged by the unrelenting din of clanging pots and pans-- heard “wench” as a clipped form of the name which they assumed to be “Gretchen.” Of course, she was smart enough not to disabuse anyone of this misinformation, stemming from a prudent sense of self-preservation, which constantly admonished her to avoid a beating at all costs. Hence, no one in the castle knew her real name.

    Not even Tom knew the truth, as he leaned against the damp block with his fist on his chin, his eyes staring moonily at the comely maid, and his mind elsewhere. “Gretchen” repeated her question, even though she already knew the answer. Her admirer was –for lack of a better term – a gofer, or go-between the decidedly demented daily activities of the Palace and the comparatively saner outside world. In modern parlance, Tom was “in charge” (albeit with little or no authority) of Shipping and Receiving. The latter, with its endless onslaught of Royal Gifts --sent with the compliments of numerous prosperous merchants of the kingdom, all motivated by a obsession of currying the favor of the Monarch, or at the very least as an informal insurance policy of protection against his notoriously vengeful style of rule--was Tom’s only job. The equation was an unbalanced one, a bottom-heavy seesaw, with no reciprocating swing. The first part of the department existed in name only, for the king was not only a tyrant, but also the world’s worst skinflint, whose legendary lack of generosity made it clear that the only things ever sent out of the palace were warrants.

    Tom was good at surviving by his wits, cosseting himself in the background, for all appearances keeping everything on the level while tossing in the occasional monkey wrench on the q.t. For his role of distributing the uninterrupted flow of said largess, Tom was expected to keep up with the parade of pricey goods, staying on his toes, and hopping to it. He was, therefore, taking an enormous chance in slacking off for a moment in order to visit his sweetheart, although the risk of being discovered in such dalliance would have made him a likely candidate for a stint in the dungeon, where he’d be confined until such time another shipment would arrive. Tough beans, Tom thought– she’s worth it.

    Although the job had its perks– - a slightly larcenous, unintended lagniappe off the top of a casket of jewels or a strawberry tart pilfered off a crowded tray, amounting to trifles never to be missed– - such was not the curriculum vitae that Tom had mapped out for himself. It had been his lifelong dream to follow in the clown-shoe-sized footsteps of his father and grandfather –and several generations before them. What he really wanted to be was a jester. That hope died aborning, two decades previously, when young Tom had just begun to try out his juvenile “Knock Knock” jokes, but the tradition, alas, became irrevocably lost the night his sharp-tongued father’s one-liner allegedly “crossed the line,” resulting in the elder’s banishment to a far-off land where he’d been forced to live as a hermit, his best material wasted on the wind, his only audience a chorus of blasé crickets.

    At the time of his father’s misfortune, Tom’s tender age had saved him from similar punishment, thus avoiding an inchoate public relations nightmare for the Crown. The Court Advisory Panel had ruled against throwing the boy into the Royal Orphanage where, it was feared, he’d likely become an undesirable influence upon the younger inmates. Plan B was to place the child under the dubious “care” and tutelage of the Royal Gatekeeper, who immediately enlisted Tom as Second Assistant to the Drawbridge Opener, the physical act of pulling the chains and ropes less a chore than an opportunity for pranks: teasing-- if not terrifying-- unsuspecting visitors to the castle by pretending to lower or raise the walkway a bit too soon or too late. Even this subversive behavior brought about little in the way of punishment, again because of his youth. Yet by the time he grew into manhood, the years of repetitively strenuous activity had served to enhance Tom’s upper body strength and flexibility, leaving him with arms as mighty as trebuchets, hurling him smack into his current job, designed for a body built to haul heavy packages, crates, and cartons. Tom would much rather be shipping clever ripostes instead of receiving unsolicited grief, such as promised by the Royal Chef, shooting a menacing look in his direction.


    Tom caught the threatening glare as a signal to get on with the day’s delivery for the Royal Kitchen, where all manner of filthy vermin would be allowed to run free before Tom could justify his presence there without a good reason. “Not one but two presents for you today
    Cookie! Here’s the first –“ With his burly arms he reached down and slammed a large crate on a long table. “From the sounds and the aroma I’d say the contents consist of Guinea Hens, quantity two dozen. But wait – there’s more! “ Indeed there was a second crate, twice as heavy and dripping a vile liquid. “This one’s silent,” Tom said, “but it stinks out loud!”

    With that he slashed open the container and dumped the lot–a brackish, blackish mess of squirming coils on the bare table, the sight of which made the girl shriek. “Snakes!”

    “No, snacks! “ Tom corrected. “Also known as eels. They’re what’s for dinner!”

    The Chef shot another dirty look in Tom’s direction. “I don’t know what’s worse, your impudence or your ignorance. I’ll have you know that this is a delicacy, a rare and exotic dish worthy of His Majesty’s discriminating palate.”

    “Slipperies for the Slippery,” Tom whispered, poking one of “Gretchen’s” ribs above a shapely hip.

    “The world’s craftiest fishermen caught these in the pristine waters off the Coast of Gentletralia–“

    “Poached, he means,” Tom said.

    “What?” shouted the Chef, raising a treacherous knife high in the air.

    “I said ‘They must be quite delectable poached in a lovely garlic and butter sauce.’ “

    “Before I attack these puppies, I’ll skin you alive, you traitorous knave!” threatened the chef who literally had his hands full, the knife in one hand while the other frantically attempted to unravel the slimy mesh of elongated fish. Imagining himself to be Hercules v. the Hydra entangled in the Gordian Knot, he considered the piscine duel a test of his manhood until frustration conquered, resulting in a frantic call to the sous chef for aid. The second in culinary command, however, had been otherwise engaged at the pastry table, covered with slightly more flour than that which coated his arms. With a degree of difficulty equal to his superior’s task, the chef’s assistant’s current task involved lifting up a bottom crust to place it in a pie pan the size of a waterwheel. Meanwhile the crate of fowl chirped, the chef cursed, the eels squirmed, and Tom resumed pitching woo.

    From out of nowhere he produced a little basket festooned with ribbons and tiny flowers, filled with fragrant contents. “Sweets for the Sweet,” Tom cooed.

    “Raspberries!”

    “ Would that they were rubies.” *

    “Nay,” the lady protested, “they’re beautiful,” reciprocating with a peck of gratitude on Tom’s forehead,glistening with diaphoresis.

    “Alas, you deserve so much more. Not just the berries– I mean you should have some better prospect--a nobleman, maybe-- pressing his suit.”


    “Your clothes are fine, Tom, not wrinkled at all. Besides, you are the kindest, most considerate swain who ever graced the kingdom of Cappoccia. Just between you and me and the [insert your choice of ananchronistic exterior lighting device here], Tom– I’ve always felt you were destined for bigger and better things–“

    He affected a laugh, pretending to scoff. “Yeah, right. Unfortunately my aspirations greatly exceed mine abilities.”

    “Oh, no, Tom –you were meant for greatness, not for the likes of me. You should pick a better leman.** I don’t have to remind you that I’m nothing but a common- - commoner, only fit to scrape offal off plates and scrub crockery. My goodness, I can’t even read or write. These days a woman’s future is as bleak as a dungeon.”

    “Not you, dear lady. Any day now a dashing Prince will come riding in on his mighty steed and sweep you off your feet–“

    “I’m the one stuck sweeping, Tom. Besides, princes only go for gals with tiny feet.” Instantly “Gretchen” regretted her last statement, but to his credit, Tom knew enough not to steal a glance at her slightly-above-average-length dogs.

    “What’s a nice girl like you doing in a place like this, slaving your life away for Bluebeard over there, merely to please the discriminating palate of His Royal Pain in the Posterior upstairs? That blowhard prevaricator, that syphilitic tyrant! Look at your hands, so rough and red– they should be soft and delicate like the rest of you. Let’s run away, my Love– let’s leave this horrible place forever!”

    Swiftly “Gretchen” put her index finger up to her lips and gently placed it on Tom’s. “Shh!” She jerked a thumb in the chef’s direction. “Big ears,” she whispered.

    The chef, however, paid no heed to Tom’s subversive escape plans, for he had, to be sure, other fish to fry. The erstwhile knife had been replaced with an enormous mallet. From a row of studs held between his teeth, he attempted to take a tack, one by one, and nail each end of an uncooperative eel to the table. With his mouth full, he could not efficaciously swear; hence he substituted a series of passionate grunts, which gradually increased in decibel level, all the while interloped by the chef’s assistant’s pleas for advice– “Hey, Boss, do you want I should roast ‘em first or does I just plop ‘em in as is? And if so, do you want some kinda screen to pre-teck the top crust or what?” Meanwhile the screeching emanating from the crate of fowl sounded as if had originated from another benighted kingdom, down below.

    Despite the din, Tom managed to make his whispered request heard, as he stood behind “Gretchen” with his manly arms around her slim waist while he snuggled her neck. “Tonight? The usual place?”

    “Wouldn’t miss it for the world, Tom. And I’ll try to stay awake this time,” hastening to add– “Oh! I mean, it’s just that I’m exhausted all the time, and –-“

    “I know, Sweetheart, I –-“

    “Hey! “ The chef’s sudden shout scattered the remaining tacks all over the stone floor. “Stop manhandling the help! Your work is done here. Now get out!”

    “I got to go, Honey. Not because he says so. “ Tom showed her a manila envelope. “Got to bring this upstairs.”

    “Lucky you,” she said.

    Another quick forehead buss, and with that, our plucky hero took his reluctant leave.


    Notes for Part One

    *Rubies.
    Allusion to an endearing show biz anecdote involving playwright Charles (“The Front Page”) MacArthur and Helen Hayes, the “First Lady of the American Theatre ,” who would one day be his wife. As the story goes, upon first meeting Helen at a cocktail party, Charles deposited a bunch of peanuts in her hand and then reportedly said, “I wish they were emeralds.”


    **leman
    Not a typo for “lemon,” the slang term for a less than desirable item, but as the archaic term for a lover or sweetheart.



    TO BE CONTINUED


    Fairly Flailing Tale #1-- "Jack, The Giant's Life Coach"
    Last edited by AuntShecky; 08-21-2012 at 03:58 PM. Reason: edits suggested by LitNutter's helpful replies

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    Dear Aunty
    Loved the wordmanship, humour and turn of phrase, but did pause a bit at "Between you, me and the lamppost," in a medieval context! You invariably put sufficient meat on the bone in your writing and this was especially the case with the "Hells Kitchen" section. Look forward to reading more.

    Best regards
    M.
    (P.S. I must confess to being a fan of footnotes. Do you think it some kind of literary deviation in my makeup?)

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    Quote Originally Posted by MANICHAEAN View Post
    Dear Aunty
    Loved the wordmanship, humour and turn of phrase, but did pause a bit at "Between you, me and the lamppost," in a medieval context! You invariably put sufficient meat on the bone in your writing and this was especially the case with the "Hells Kitchen" section. Look forward to reading more.

    Best regards
    M.
    (P.S. I must confess to being a fan of footnotes. Do you think it some kind of literary deviation in my makeup?)
    Thanks for your comment, M. There's a prominent lampost in Narnia, n'cest- ce pas? Not sure this really has a medieval setting--could be past, could be future--maybe it's in the parallel universe time and place as the tv version ofGame of Thrones, whose geographic setting, incidentally, vaguely looks like England affected by climate change, too cold in the north, tropical in the south where the blond dragon queen lives. But unlike Game of Thrones, this one's strictly meant for laughs.

    Another chapter will follow, whenever.

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    Hi Auntie,

    Yes, I fanally got a round tuit, which enabled me to sample this offering. Have you been reading Titus Groan by any chance? a couple of things, you seem to have effected some minor edits and neglected to remove the original word: "...since she had seen witnessed scarce daylight..." and "...leaned against on the damp block..."

    I'd also take issue with your use of "lagniappe" in context. Although employed for ironic/humorous effect it doesn't quite work. A lagniappe is a trifle given in excess of what is required. Tom is skimming off the top. Were he described as skimming off the top of lagniappes, it would be more appropriate. I'm afraid I don't like "diaphorectic" when applied to the unfortunate young man's forehead either. diaphoretic doesn't mean sweaty, it means "sweat inducing." Does his forehead make "Gretchen" sweat?

    I'm inclined to agree with Man about the lampost too. Personally I feel that it would have been funnier to have paraphrased "between you, me and the lamp post" with a more medieval equivalent, replacing lamp post with 'torch post' or 'wall sconse'.

    Lastly, there is a problem in your dialogue exchange between Tom and his girlfriend. it's almost as if you forgot who was speaking:, Tom, 'Gretchen' or the narrator.

    "Alas you deserve so much more. Not just the berries - I mean you should have a better prospect of presing his suit."

    I liked the joke about pressing his suit though. There are some lovely moments in the tale, I think my particular favourite is the description of the cook nailing eels to the table - lol.

    A good read, Auntie, and I look forward to more.

    Live and be well - H

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    Registered User Steven Hunley's Avatar
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    response to story

    Well, you know how it is. Some people think they have a sense of humor when in fact they don't. You however, are not a bird of that plumage.

    This was fun and funny and at the same time (as many of your pieces) gave me a lesson in vocabulary. To learn something and be entertained is always a good thing. Always a pleasure. Oh, and like Man, I enjoy footnotes too!

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    Gracias, Steven, and Hawk thanks for the suggested edits, now sorted. Incidentally, the third person possessive pronoun is correct in its context, but I tried to clarify with this recent edit. And incidentally, I first learned the word "diaphoretic" from tv-- not from medical shows but from Adam-12 when the cops would radio in their reports of a crime victim's physical condition-- "diaphoretic." I used it as an adjective form of diaphoresis.

    Part 2 will arrive some day this week, a consummation devoutly to be wished, as least on this writer's part!

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    Steve
    We most probably have the same taste in women as well; exotic and slightly sassy.

    Aunty
    Apologies. I will go and wash my mouth out.

    Take care
    M.
    Last edited by MANICHAEAN; 08-21-2012 at 04:12 PM.

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    At long last--The Lyin' King, Part 2

    The Lyin’ King – - Part Two

    That guard posted near the king’s vestibule was no prince. The sharpness of his vinegar puss was exceeded only by that of the sword held crosswise across his torso, as if he were protecting his own chest along with warning Tom not to take another step. Instantly the young delivery guy caught the clue-- no dummy, he. Furiously, he waved the manila envelope above his head and stated his business. “For the King.”

    Without moving his sword a fraction of an inch, the guard stuck out an open palm, whereupon Tom clutched the envelope tightly and thrust it behind his back so swiftly that a swishing sound bounced off the walls. “My instruction was to place it personally and directly into the King’s own hands.”

    The guard scrunched his brow and shot Tom a skeptical look. “What are ya – - some kinda snippity process server?”

    “Nope--just a snippity schlub who works here.”

    The guard gave Tom another once over, stole a peek into the king’s drawing room, then to Tom a twice-over. “The king is preoccupied now. Come back later.”

    “No can do. Even workin’ stiffs got schedules.”

    The sentry’s shoulders rose with an inhalation and fell. “Wait here. Not in the doorway, you jackass! Stand there, behind the arras.”

    “An heiress! I’ll ask her if she’s got a friend for you--”

    The brute raised his sword high in the air. “Enough of your lip, you sniveling fool!” After carefully inserting his precious weapon back into the sheath hanging on his side, the thug pointed a bony finger dangerously close to Tom’s face. “Listen, you worm– -I don’t care if it takes until the last trumpet of Judgement Day - - You. Will. Wait.”

    The satisfied smirk which had settled across the bully’s mug instantly faded when Tom didn’t snap at the bait. The threatening finger began to shake. “ If you know what’s good for you, you’ll stand stock-still and keep your impudent trap shut. You try any more funny stuff and I’ll kick your sorry arse all the way back down the stairs.”

    “Talk about disgruntled work force!” Tom mused. “Everybody is as cranky as a spayed spaniel around here.”

    The guard made a half- turn as if to leave, then suddenly lurched back , feigning an attack. When Tom naturally flinched, the guard exploded with mean-spirited laughter before reprising his dirty look. “Don’t forget – - I’m watching you!”

    It was, Tom reckoned, within the realm of possibilities that the guard had some kind of magic apparatus enabling him to engage in long-distance spying, but inexplicably, his tormentor had left -- was it palace Break Time already?– or merely an unignorable need to answer the call of nature? In any event, Tom wasn’t taking any chances. He would, he supposed, obey the letter, if not the spirit, of the command. The jaunty little tune, partially sung, partially whistled through his teeth, compelled him to accompany the ditty with a sprightly jig “See that birdie in the tree. Sweetzie deetzie dee dee dee dee dee.” The impromptu song-and-dance, however, aged rapidly, and gradually faded as he began to examine the hanging tapestry in front of his face more closely. “By you, by you, by. . . Hmmm.”


    Longer than anyone could remember the woven tapestry had hung in this very spot, so much a permanent fixture than no one ever paid it much attention. The only exception to this oversight was the annual decree each spring for a palace-wide “deep cleaning” in which a lowly chambermaid – whose status around the castle nonetheless outranked that of “Gretchen” –- would with great physical difficulty haul the arras down to the courtyard, where she’d manage to hang it upon a clothesline, and then with the back of a coal shovel would beat the bejeezus out of each side of it, releasing previously pent-up dust-puffs to emerge like insects soaring up to the unsuspecting sky.

    The decorative cloth came attached with a a rarely mentioned yet universally accepted back-story, which, like any legend, tended to whet-- but seldom to slake -- the average commoner’s thirst for occult lore. Unlike its more notorious counterpart, this particular tapestry did not carry a transferrable curse,* but in addition to illustrating the country’s past and present, it prophesied an array of future events.

    At first Tom fingered the rich though dusty brocade hanging vertically like a window dressing, then with his characteristic cheekiness pulled out the panel horizontally to get a better look at the pictorial tableau. The first set of panels appeared to depict an ancient battle scene . On the far left, the first panel was populated with one-dimensional figures, colorful but flat and crudely-drawn. Only a few were mounted on steeds festooned with ribbons and banners, most embossed with the emblems of heraldry. Some were posed in the classical positions of archers, and a few others wielded axes and swords. All of the living warriors were vastly outnumbered by the fallen, besmeared and surrounded by blobs of red yarn or in many cases flat on their backs with an arrow protruding from their respective abdomens, as if they had been literally “tacked” to the ground.

    Farther to the right the story-in-picture flashed forward to a later era; as far as Tom could tell, it looked like the actual time in which he lived. The woven figures were still colorful, but the hues were muted, and their physical structures fleshier, as if the panels were recreating real life. Indeed, if Tom didn’t know better, he thought he was looking at pictures he actually recognized, people he would see roaming the palace or on the streets in town. The largest figure on that stretch of panels obviously was intended to depict the current ruler, a representational homunculus (not much difference in actual size since the king was much shorter in stature than your average Cappoccian) but nevertheless the likeness was flattering. (The artisan at the loom had obviously enough of a sense of self-preservation to know enough not to show the King in any other kind of light.) The most prominent vignette on this section recapitulated the monarch’s dedication of the famous Cappoccian Dam, the fiduciary provenance of its existence having made that example of infrastructure more notorious than famous, for, if truth be told, the rank-and-file Cappoccian subjects, along with the extremely set-upon laborers who had erected the monstrosity, referred to it among themselves as “that damned dam.”

    The terminal set of panels was tightly bunched against the far-right pillar of the doorway; the panels seemed almost glued together, and it took considerable effort, even from a sinewy swain such as Tom, to release them from their accordion-like tightness. But what a sight they held! The figures, still more or less realistically-rendered, had a whiff of the mysterious about them: there was a hint of abstraction as well as the impressionistic, both familiar and unfamiliar. This was all very strange to Tom, but he thought he could make out the town, where a dramatic scene was unfolding. Some of the folks had expressions of fear upon their faces, yet others were celebrating some unknown triumph. A graphic swatch of blue and white suggesting rushing water splashed in the background while in the foreground a figure of a man–no one Tom could immediately recognize– was being lifted into the air by the cheering crowd. What did it all mean? Tom shrugged. What in blazes did he know about art?


    With a yawn, Tom decided that he had waited long enough. He decided to go back to his moldy quarters, take a power nap, and try to make the Royal Delivery later. But within the palace sanctum, he could hear voices. The conversation had the tone of secrecy, a discussion meant for noble ears only. If that wasn’t a royal invitation for a snippity schlub to eavesdrop, Tom didn’t know what was.




    *The name of the historical tapestry is the same as the title of Tom’s ditty, albeit with a different spelling.



    TO BE CONTINUED
    Last edited by AuntShecky; 09-28-2012 at 07:44 PM.

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    Oh Auntie, the wordsmanship is impeccable and I sooo like the part about the ancient cursed tapestry! Can't wait for more. Oh, I get it, I get it! And I knew it before I went back to check.
    It's the Bayonne tapestry. Think they'll sell it? I want it for my wall.
    Last edited by Steven Hunley; 09-29-2012 at 10:40 PM.

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    Red face

    revised duplicate sorry!
    Last edited by Steven Hunley; 09-29-2012 at 10:51 PM.

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    Dear Aunty

    Back in camp, I reread the first section, interspersed as it was, by comments from "the Gang of Three " and then moved into part two. Now I've finished, have broken my mortal fast, and have poured a liberal measure of liquid fortification; not I hasten to add, because the exercise of reading your contribution requires it, but because I find that after the sober analysis of a piece of writing, it's imperative to let such thinking flow in a more unrestrained manner. Your indulgence thus will consequently be required if my ramblings become somewhat incoherent. Let me comment as follows:

    1. The plot evolves and holds the readers interest. Good luck if you know where it's going and I look forward to the journey. I just push the boat out into unchartered waters, invariably never finish the tale, (having purged myself of whatever is in my head) and then ask "What does it all mean?" You are likely to be more organised than myself in this respect, having a better idea of what lies on the other side of the hill.

    2.The circumstances of the characters in your story reminds me in an obscure way of scenes akin to "fagging" at English public schools or rebellious young girls being raised educationally by nuns, not that I'm conversant with either I might add. But the unfairness of fate and social hierarchy is well captured.

    3. I'm becoming more attuned to your unique style of writing, which is certainly not orthodox. I've seen in your other pieces that there is a distinct juxtaposition of parlance ranging from:

    (a) Period, in tune with the setting. ( wench, comely maid, swain, knave,and nay.)
    (b) Modern. ( on the q.t, gofer, cookie, vinegar puss, your sorry arse, power nap.)
    (c) What I can only describe as inter-war British. (his mighty steed, gals with tiny feet, plucky hero.)
    (d) Reach for the dictionary. ( inchoate, diaphoresis, homunculus.)
    (e) Dare I say New York speech? (Hey, Boss, do you want I should roast em first or does I just plop em in as is? Do you want some kinda screen to pre-teck the top crust or what? Even workin stiffs got schedules.)
    (f) Ethnic. ( beat the bejeezus, snipperty schlub.)
    (g) The irrepressible one liners that convey a sense of fun and that there is humour in even dire situations.

    4. Conclusion. Any writer worth their salt has to create their own style, something personal and not based on the obtuse factors of market demand, coupled innocuously with the dummed down educational standards associated with illimitable swathes of mankind. Your style is new, drawn from numerous tributaries but I sense your frustration sometimes that it is not recognised. If I've judged wrong, ignore the comment. The only suggestion I might make is to review your own value judgement on the balance of variables outlined in 3 above. Its a heady mix.

    5. Finally, large elements of your style have so much of one of my favourite authors, Raymond Chandler about it; the dialogue, the sardonic humour, the build up of descriptive background. You would be a natural in that kind of setting, so why not play to your strengths?

    Warm regards
    M.
    Last edited by MANICHAEAN; 09-30-2012 at 05:26 PM.

  12. #12
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    What he said ^__^! Notwithstanding, I'm enjoying the ride Auntie, so keep it coming

    Looking forward to more. 1/3 of the Prial - H

  13. #13
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    Ah ha! The Black Pearl of the Caribbean avatar Hawk.
    Like it!
    M.

  14. #14
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    The Lyin' King (Part 3)

    Thank you Steven, Hawk, and Manichaean for your flattering responses and especially for the detailed analysis of the hodge-podge Sheckian style. All three of you seem to be asking the muscial question, "Where the heck is she going with this?" To that, I can only beg for your patience, with the assurance similar to that of the emcee down at the Boom-Boom Room, telling the distinguished and increasingly sloshed audience that Ms Tequila Mockingbird will fulfill all fond expectations, and sooner (or later, depending upon every table hitting the mark of the two-drink minimum): By and by, ALL WILL BE REVEALED!

    “The Lyin’ King” – Part 3

    The items on the agenda under discussion within the King’s private quarters were evidently so important that the two participants never noticed that somebody was hiding behind the arras and listening to every word. The current item on the agenda was a recently delivered piece of royal furniture. Though the previous afternoon Tom --along with the de rigueur grunts and groans--had hauled the object up the palace stairs, he didn’t recognize the item now that it was outside the box. Tom himself hadn’t assembled the unit because of very strict guild rules; despite the illegality of the existence of guilds, their rank-and-file members enforced the self-imposed sanctions to keep every worker’s specified duties within highly-circumscribed guidelines, protecting, as it were, one’s own turf. Thus, Tom had been allowed only the privilege of transporting the unwieldy carton from Point A way the hell up to Point B. It was the province of the Royal Carpenters to slash open the container, decipher the laughably-imprecise instructions printed on flimsy paper, and execute the job of connecting Tab A into Slot B, and so on. Despite his relatively remote vantage point, Tom could see the thing fully-assembled. He was no world-class interior decorator, but for his money (scant as it was), it was a piece of “something,” all right.

    “So this is our new Seat of Power, aye?” The voice bellowed expansively, perhaps even cheerfully. The King was in a good mood (so far, for if truth be told, the king’s personality and physical stature exactly fit the description of a later philosopher’s portrait of the life of prehistoric man: “nasty, brutal, and short.”) This was “Brot the Magnificent,” –“Brot,” the first car of a long train of given names terminating with a self-styled adjectival caboose, though behind his back neighboring rulers, his own courtiers, even the average serf on the street dropped the flattering soubriquet and called him as they saw him--Brot the Mendacious, (or) The Lyin’ King.

    The heels on the shoes of his bowed legs clickety-clacked as His Royal Highness waddled his porky self around the latest acquisition. The Royal Hands gripped the wooden back and their overly-lotioned, androgynous palms caressed the over-stuffed business end, proclaimed (at least on the original container) as having been fabricated from “fine Corinthian leather.”

    “Tell us, Entgleisung, is this upstart bundle of kidding wood worthy of containing our Royal Posterity?” *

    Tom chuckled to himself. “Hah! He means his big, fat, Royal ar–“

    “Indeed it is, Sire.” The chief advisor nodded so much that his floppy, mushroom-shaped cap almost slid off his head. “Your new throne has been fashioned from the finest timber hewn from the most interior grove of the most virginal hardwood forest on the globe. Not only is it custom-designed by the world’s most creative artisans, the piece is one of a kind–“

    “Boner find, sewer June heiress?”

    “Bonafide, sui generis, Sire.”

    The monarch glowered. “Do not mock our way of speaking!”

    “A thousand pardons, your Articulateness. If I may state further, your majesty has the unique honor – an honor for which you are most worthy, I may add– of becoming the first recipient of an entirely new genre of modern furniture style–“

    “John Re-who?”


    “You, sire, will be the first consumer in history to be the proud owner of the premiere of Danish Medieval! A contemporary trend setter can’t get any more cutting edge than that!”

    “Danish, huh?” Tom thought. He took another look at the chair and decided something must be rotten in Denmark.

    Generally conscious of his own above-average height in his position as a vassal to the king, above whom he physically towered, Entgleisung nonetheless took the risk of straightening himself up to stand big and tall, though not to the extent that he looked intimidating–no, never that. His monotonously long robe, stretching from shoulders to the floor, made him look as if he wore his own shadow, 24/7. Even though his share of the royal coffers paid him well enough that he could purchase more than one change of clothes, he wore the same gloomy duds day after day. Even though Entgleisung was not fashion’s slave, at least he was savvy enough to wear black (for this was back when Black was still the New Black.) “If I may be so bold, Sire, perhaps you’d like to try it out for size?”

    The King took another series of turns around the new chair; round and round he went, as a dog zeroing in on a piece of real estate, clean of pee and perfect for a snooze. Finally, with his back to the chair, he took a few tentative backward steps, reached behind to feel for the seat, and then, after a few shakes of the royal–uh, posterior-- gradually eased himself down.

    The expression that crossed the monarch’s face did not in any way convey pleasure. Shifting in his seat, he seemed to undergo experiments with alternative positions within the narrow confines of the throne, the proverbial exercise in futility, given the apparent lack of wiggle room. Witnessing this, Tom sensed trouble afoot (as well as other parts of the royal anatomy.) For he had hung around the palace long enough to know full well that when the king ain’t comfortable, ain’t nobody comfortable!

    It was more than a case of mere discomfort. Several times the king attempted to rise; each time some irresistible force pulled him back. The chair had entrapped him; he could not get up.

    It was all Tom could do from bursting into raucous laughter. Even with both hands firmly smacked in front of his tightly-closed mouth, the merriment fought like mad to get out. His shoulders shook, his entire body convulsed, stirring up such movement that the arras danced a sprightly jig, threatening to give him away.

    “What kind of medieval torture device have you ejected us to!” The king screamed.

    “A veritable Pretender to the Throne!” Tom exclaimed to himself between silent giggles.

    “Don’t just stand there like a log on a frog, Entgleisung! Extradite us from this thing!”

    The second-in-command, who in an emergency was about as useful as a pinwheel in a cyclone, took this as another opportunity to express how humbly sincere and sincerely humble he was and how blessed he felt for the opportunity to serve a master of such magnitude, etc. “A thousand apologies for this unfortunate mishap, Your Grace. I shall notify the guilty parties for having the effrontery to insult you with such shoddy merchandise. I shall demand a full refund at once!”

    “Never mind that! Release us!”

    With his skinny arms within the oversized sleeves, Entgleisung gently lifted the two white-knuckled royal paws gripping the armrests of the chair and pulled with all of his might (which was minimal.) Somehow he managed to get the king upright. Brot the Magnificent slapped the bony hands away and began to hobble around the room. Needless to say, the chair remained attached to the royal rear end. In his russet-colored robe trimmed with ermine, the king looked like a small New World woodland mammal who had fallen into a thicket of thorny sticks which stubbornly clung to its tail.

    “Get us out of this thing, Entgleisung !”

    “I’ll try, Sire, truly. But how?” He snapped his fingers. “Ah, I know just the thing, Sire. Perchance would there be in the palace a jar of petroleum jelly? “

    The king, still attempting to twist and tug, raised his little arm and pointed his index finger toward the Royal Master Suite. “In the royal bedchamber. On M’ lady’s end table.”

    Entgleisung raised an eyebrow for a second, proceeded as directed, then suddenly stopped, his foot in mid-step. He’d take the full wrath of the indisposed king before confronting the vigilance of the Queen’s devoted bodyguard. The advisor spun around and said, “On second thought, Sire– - it might be more productive to get some muscle in here. Allow me to summon up that lug in receivables– what’s his face–“ Entgleisung snapped his fingers in rapid succession– - “that smart mouth punk built like an ox. You know who I mean, ah, what’s his name?– it’s on the tip of my tongue!”

    Hearing this, Tom continued to shake, but this time not from repressed laughter. What could he do? Hightail it down to his own quarters, where– if he was able to make it on time–he’d be forced to explain why he was there, slacking off, instead of bustling about the palace fulfilling his duties. And were he to remain where he was, how would he explain that– spying on the King!– that was tantamount to treason – or worse! And what about the undelivered envelope? For the first time in his young life Tom found himself in the exact same position as the king – - stuck!


    *”Posterity,” “boner find, sewer June heiress,” “John-re” etc.– The King’s English is not exactly The King’s English. His idiolect seems largely comprised of malapropisms, bits of parapraxis (Freudian slips, pre-Freud), catachresis, and Spoonerisms. He has something in common with certain motion picture producers who flourished in the Golden Age of Hollywood, such as this one.



    TO BE CONTINUED
    Last edited by AuntShecky; 11-17-2012 at 03:38 PM.

  15. #15
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    Hi there Auntie, This tale seems to be expanding exponentially, given your earlier claim to want to get it finished, communicated some weeks ago now. Still, who am I to go on about unfinished tales... How long is it since I started Perigore, and wasn't the last instalment in April? LOL.

    I had no problem with the royal malapropisms, although your link was blocked by my anti virus software for some reason. No. I was far more interested in Entgeisung! Where on earth did you dig this Germanic moniker up? Incidently, if you were intending that his name should mean "derailment" (which is odd enough) you omitted an L - Entgleisung.

    Entertaining enough though, but one is left wondering, Quo Vadis?

    Live and be well - H

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