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May 18, 2012
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a short story

 

            Mushrooms were handpicked for a queen’s supper. The same queen who was unaware that these mushrooms were in fact a peculiar species known to affect the mind with peculiar effects. It just so happened that the queen was to give a post-supper address to her advisory council on the matters of piracy along the eastern shores of her kingdom. Her trade routes had been ravaged by numbers of unknown pirates, some presumed to be none other than domestic merchants for whom the pirated goods were intended. Knowing this, the queen was troubled and distressed as her serving girls dressed her for supper.

            “Catherine?” the queen asked one of her older serving girls. “If you had your son deliver two loaves of bread to your daughter’s house, and upon arriving, your daughter took the two loaves and chopped the boy’s manhood off, how would you reprimand your children?”

            “My Davey? Dickless?!” responded Catherine in a thick British accent. “By the hands of my own Cecily? Well, I don’t know, my queen. That’s a little too far a stretch of the imagination to respond with a proper answer.”

            “Yes,” said the queen. “I suppose it is.”

            When the cooks brought out the main mushroom course, the queen sat quietly troubled at the head of a long table lined with politicians and men of military, most of whom were stuffing their faces with appetizers. The queen had barely eaten a morsel before a hot plate of steaming mushrooms was placed before her.

The steam spiraled up into her nostrils, which were pulled down toward the plate as she ate her first mushroom. The cooks looked on in awe as the queen chewed and chewed and swallowed, raising her head with a smile and a nod toward the onlooking cooks, who, receiving approval, slunk back to the kitchen with grim satisfaction.

When the plates were cleared and the bad wine was brought out, the queen was frowning into her crystal chalice. And when a serving boy tried to fill her glass, she dropped over the chalice, looked into the boy’s face, and screamed: “What the fuck is going on?”

The Archbishop of Torrence was the first to speak. “My queen,” he said in a deep venerable voice. “Are you feeling as faint as I am?”

You,” replied the queen. “You and your face. What madness drives to crinkle those wrinkles in hopes of oozing out any worthwhile sustenance that this council may…May… May…”

“—May use, my queen?” offered the Duke of Westchester.

The queen slowly turned her head and stared directly into the dilated eyes of the Duke. “Yes,” she said. “May use.”

“I’m sorry,” said the Archbishop. “What was the question?”

“Question?” the queen asked.

“Yes,” replied the Archbishop.

Laughter echoed from the kitchen.

Commodore Kingsley of the queen’s fleet let out half a scream, stood up, drew his cutlass, and ran it through General Gerard’s neck.

A lighthearted serving boy came out from the kitchen carrying a desert tray in his hands and a smirk on his face. When he saw the General’s neck spewing massive amounts of blood, he shrieked, dropped the desert, and ran back to the kitchen, from which a moment later came loud, raucous laughter.

 

 

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