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September 18, 2023

The Merry Reign of King Cole

By Dan Mulhollen

The King sat, contented by his Kingdom's wealth. He looked around at his courtiers, and servants. "'Tis such a fine evening for some mellow merrymaking," he said. "Steward, fetch me my pipe, my bowl, and my fiddlers three."

The Chancellor looked at the befuddled Steward. "Beg pardon, sire," he said stepping towards the King. "But 'tis Anno Domini two hundred seventy-one. The first two items you requested concern tobacco, and the latter the violin. Neither of those will reach the British Isles for another fourteen hundred years."

"My word!" Cole said, rising to his feet. "Your wisdom hath extraordinary bite. Guards! Take this man outside and relieve him of his head." He sat down and looked at his courtiers. "Men intimate with history are dangerous for they will always be exposing your shortcomings."

"Hah!" the Queen interjected, looking in the general direction of the King's "shortcoming."

"If I cannot have my pipe," Cole said to his Steward, "what calmatives are available?

"Sire, we have a good stock of beer, wine, ale, mead..."

"Mead?" the King said, a confused scowl on his face. "What in blazes is mead?"

"Honey wine," the Wench replied, smiling.

"Perhaps later, my dear," the King said in a clearly audible whisper, "and I'll be sure to get an exquisite whine from you as well.

The Queen cleared her throat, allowing a few drops of spittle to hit the King's foot unnoticed.

Cole looked at his Steward. "You say we have beer. Then bring me a forty of Milwaukee Lite."

"Come again, my liege?"

Cole was becoming increasingly annoyed. "Just bring me whatever you have."

The Steward sent the Wench to fetch the beer

"Now, what of music?" the King asked.

"We have several fine harp players," the Steward replied, considerable pride in his voice.

"What style do they play?" he asked with a note of pessimism. "Hopefully none of that boring new-age crud I hear from most harp players."

The Wench brought the flagon of beer. Cole took it from her, pressed it to his lips, and took a sip. His face soured as he spat out the beer.

"You call this dense pudding beer?" the King roared. "One could stand a short sword in the center and it would not move but a gnat's whisker."

"It is brewed from a time-honored recipe," the Steward insisted.

"Another historian, have we?"

"A historian? Not me, my lord." He turned away from the king for a poetic aside. "If Geoffrey of Monmouth is to be trusted, Cole of Colchester ruled Britain but eight years. Personally, I can't wait for those eight years to end."

"I heard that!" Cole shouted, pointing at the Steward. "Guards! Here's another neck for the chopping block!"

The Steward looked at the King. "Listening in on an aside? That's hardly sporting!"

"King's prerogative." He watched as the Steward was dragged off. "Now where were we? Oh yeah, the music." He looked over at the lead Harpist. "By chance, do you know any Lady Gaga?"

Article © Dan Mulhollen. All rights reserved.
Published on 2017-08-14
Image(s) are public domain.
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