I knew I couldn't evade you readers forever. Not going to lie, I figured that just abandoning ship was the answer. I would've made a terrible boat captain. Most people know how the Matador and Bull story concludes -- and if you waste your time reading my blog you should be able to figure it out on your own -- especially since I opened with the ending. That was kind of foolish of me. For those of you that are still hanging around, let me tell you a story of the when and the why:
It's the worst part of winter outside. Well, winter being the rainy season, and the worst part being that all the holiday fun was over so there was no more promise of presents and gluttony to make the weather a non-issue. Give me cookies, chocolate or a grilled cheese sandwich and I will instantly become a buoy for these monotonous down pouring days. Fact.
I enter the great hall. From the giant room’s perimeter, the hushed townsfolk stare at the middle of the massive room where two thrones face each other with just a small distance between them. The velvet curtains are drawn, the blaze of hundreds of candles interrupts the darkness of the stone manor. At my arrival, the altar boys quickly light the remaining candles and skip into place alongside the townsfolk. Yes. The altar boys in my castle skip. Deal. It occurs to me in hindsight that their presence was rather unwelcome; the priests had been driven from the kingdom long ago. You would think they would have remembered to corral the altar boys upon departure. No matter; I'm certain the boys were grateful to be left behind. I'm going to stop here because I feel like if I continue down this priest/altar boy road I'm going to enter into grossly offensive territory. Moving on.
I cross the floor, the echo of my deliberate steps caught notice of the peons. They stood straighter, avoided eye contact and bowed respectfully. Several of them were either scarred or missing limbs, a price paid for disobeying the order of the Queen. Upon my approach to the throne, I threw a sideways look at King Boyfriend. He slumped in a high-backed royal chair -- which today was across from mine to accommodate the afternoon’s intended sport.
Your Majesty. He doesn’t try to hide his sarcasm, but merely smiles and sips his beer.
Royal pain in my ass.
I extend a similar tone and force a tight smile as I smooth out my robes and perch on the cast iron throne.
Riesling? King Boyfriend gestures at the servant pouring a glass of white wine from an already opened bottle.
Trying to poison me?
King Boyfriend shrugs and pulls out his phone, disinterested in my concern. I swill half the glass, then pause.
There’s just enough time to shove the chalice back into the servant’s hands after my utterance. I feel my eyes bulge and my breathing change. My fingernails claw at my neck in an effort to free my esophagus. It’s not enough. My body collapses and falls from the throne to the floor as if all my hinges and muscles stopped working at once. The bejewelled crown hits the floor and rolls a few feet from the body of me, a fallen Queen. A collective gasp comes from the townsfolk and all eyes go to the King to see what he will do. King Boyfriend doesn’t look up from the sports highlights on his iPhone.
You're being ridiculous.What if I were dead?
My eyes flutter open as I shout from the floor, my body contorted from the awkward landing.
You are the absolute worst.
I unknot myself, swipe my crown off the floor and flop back onto the throne.
Hi. I’m talking to you.
The servant offers me the chalice again, I guzzle the last of the wine and the back of my hand serves as a napkin.
That should make you much more bearable. Shall we to the day’s event?
King Boyfriend nods, takes a moment to finish watching some kind of sports goal or save or who the hell cares, and sets the phone on the arm of his seat.
Very well then, let’s give the townsfolk a show.I thought you just did.
Clever. Should that not be a jester's cap atop your pompous head?
The trumpet sounds as two more servants shuffle in carrying a table with a chess set balanced on top. It’s hard to maintain my royal exterior when all I want to do is point out the drastic muffin top of the servant girl walking backward while holding the table. Her pants are so tight that she’s not just spilling over the sides, but out of the distressed holes in the thighs. You look so lumpy. Dress for your size! You’re not even a large girl for Christ’s sake. It’s not worth it just to say you can fit into a size four. Oh no. Not here. Not for my eyes. Solution: I motion for the Chancellor to come over and I whisper in his ear as the servants position the chess table between the thrones.
“By royal decree of her majesty, the Queen, there shall be no,” he glances at me, my nod prompts him to continue, “nasty-ass muffin tops in this kingdom.” He catches my eye again and a sigh escapes him when I give him another non-verbal prompt. “You girl,” the teenage servant stares at him wide-eyed, “are in violation of this decree. Therefore you shall fall victim to the Queen’s preferred method of torment.” Impulsively, my hands clap together like a child who has ingested both pixie sticks with a chaser of Red Bull. The servant girl’s jaw must have gained some extra weight, it damn near hit the floor. You see, I had this brilliant idea to invent my own reality show, Cannibal Circus. It's pretty self explanatory, yes? Two guards march forward, lift the girl by the arms and begin to carry her away to walk a tightrope above a pen of cannibals. I do hope she falls, my pets are hungry. We’re working on adding cannibal taming to the show, but I understand that complete and utter failure of a task gets boring after awhile. You need to have those heroes that give the people somebody to root for, it makes them care and they'll keep watching. The audience can't form emotional ties if the contestants keep disappearing into flesh-hungry mouths. Frankly, I can watch that shit all day. Who needs a hero?
The men immediately stop and turn around. “Yes, your majesty?” They answer in unison.
Take the jester with you. Have him shake the tightrope as she walks across. That will be all.
The guards turn around and the last sight before their exit down the hall to the Cannibal pen is the servant girl’s horrified face. That’s how I know she’s learned her lesson. You’re welcome, servant girl. Your life will be all the better now that you’ll never grease your way into those pants again.
Fuck I love the Feudal system. Now then. You are cognizant of the stakes, King Boyfriend?King Boyfriend gestures for another beer. Yup. When this is over I can go watch the game.
There’s a game on?
I could probably find something. He points at the board. After you.
I eye up the board, and tap my finger on my chin while I ponder. I assume the first move is an imperative one. I pinch one of the pieces between my fingers. The royal commentator whispers into a microphone, “Her majesty, the Queen, has picked up the bishop. Let’s see where this goes.”
I instantly form a fist around the black piece and shake it at the commentator.
What in the bloody blue blazes did you call this?
“The... bishop, your majesty.”
No clergy in my kingdom!
I jump off my throne and pick up the three other bishops from the board. I throw them with all my might and the pieces plunk one-by-one on the floor about seven paces in front of me. The only thing I can throw successfully is a fit.
Balls. Wizard, turn these into something that I can take my aggression out on.
With a lazy flick of the wrist, the wizard’s wand lights up, and turns three of the bishop pieces into life-size ice sculptures of Nicholas Cage. The fourth piece becomes a blowtorch. I run for that blow torch with a frenzy as the She-Hulk starts her take-over.
“Your highness,” the stoned wizard’s calls out with a royal title that no one else dares call the Queen. The wizard and I, however, go way back to the days of yore where we imbibed together of the finest (and sometimes not-so-finest) greenery of the kingdom and noshed at the Dairy Queen (which was another one of my nicknames that thankfully faded out of the wizard’s memory). The wizard held up a welder’s helmet.
Ah. Yes. Safety first. Can’t risk an accident with a blowtorch/royal money-maker connection.
In unusual form, the She-Hulk daintily takes off the crown, pulls the helmet on, and replaces the royal headdress. A Queen sans crown garners no respect after all, even if she is a She-Hulk.
The She-Hulk trots over, lights the blowtorch and with great satisfaction watches the first ice face of Nicholas Cage melt away in seconds. Her maniac laughter courses through the great hall and she giddily repeats the process with the second ice sculpture. One last time with the third, until she is left with an icy trio of headless Nicholas Cages. Fuck. That felt good. Satiated, the She-Hulk smiles and disappears until the next power outrage. The Queen is once again under control.
I hear a crunching sound.
“And the bodies, your highness?” The wizard’s bloodshot eyes drift across the remaining pieces. The corners of his mouth are bright orange. He shoves another handful of Doritos into his word-hole.
Non-issue. I just hate that clown’s face. Let the bodies melt into puddles.
The word does its best to sound legible coming out of a full mouth, “Cool.”
I stroll back to my throne and plonk down. Feeling pretty good now. Perhaps I can concentrate here.
With calculated precision, I pick up the horse piece and set it in the middle of the board. King Boyfriend sits up, intrigued. I curl back my index finger and flick the horse with as much force as can be mustered. It circles as it sails through the air and connects in the corner of King Boyfriend’s right eye and falls to his lap.
“Point for the Queen!” The royal referee bellows and the crowd of onlookers applauds. I know. I thought having a royal referee was simply preposterous. King Boyfriend insisted that we needed one. The ruler of the next Kingdom over has one, after all. Let’s be real. King Boyfriend just wanted a drinking buddy for football season. I found a use for him though: the referee bakes amazing cinnamon rolls; I just have to make sure I get to the kitchen before the wizard does.
Nice move. King Boyfriend plucks up one of the castles and waves over his advisor who hands him a blowgun. King Boyfriend puts the castle into the gun like a tranquilizer dart and his abundance of hot air propels the castle in my direction.
I close my eyes and wait to be impaled, but there is only a soft “tink” sound before the castle ricochets and lands back on the board.
I stop wincing and open my eyes. It’s still pretty dark. Wait. I’m still wearing the welding helmet, aren’t I? Fuck yes. Idiotic forgetfulness pays off in my favour yet again.
“Another point for the Queen!” the referee calls out as I slide the helmet off my head. King Boyfriend chuckles.
What’s so funny, then?Nothing. This whole scenario is very you.
That doesn’t sound like the compliment that it should be.
Never mind.Of course. Why talk about it, right? We’ve built up a solid tolerance over the years.
Tolerance?What? I said foundation, didn’t I?
Nope.That was sarcasm.
King Boyfriend is silent.
You know how this ends, don’t you?
King Boyfriend nods. Do you want to keep playing?Nope. I’m done. I don’t see how either of us can win when neither of us knows what’s happening here in the first place.
It dawns on me now that there are still onlookers.
Chancellor, dismiss the townsfolk. Guard, bring in the guillotine.
Soft murmurs of the King’s imminent death exit with the peons. The room feels so much bigger without an audience. King Boyfriend and I sit in silence, waiting for the other to say something. My hands curl into fists and recoil.
King Boyfriend looks amused when the guard comes back holding a guillotine in his hands. King Boyfriend bursts out laughing as the guard knocks the chess board from the table and sets the torture device there instead.
Something funny?Yous got to be kidding me. What is that miniature thing for?
King Boyfriend cocks an eyebrow. I sigh. My gaze falls to his crotch, stare pointedly, then my eyes meet his again. King Boyfriend nonchalantly crosses his legs at the knee and protectively rests his hands in his lap.
Oh. Beheading.King Boyfriend’s eyes dart from the guard to the guillotine and back again.Not so funny now, is it chuckles?
He stays silent.
Guard, leave us.
When the hall is empty, King Boyfriend and I are left alone, facing each other and avoiding each other at the same time.
You are not meant to be a monarch to this Kingdom.
My voice comes out raspy and tired.
This isn’t a Kingdom. It’s our living room. Boyfriend is suddenly stirring pasta on the stove in our apartment. His throne is gone, his crown and royal clothing replaced by a baseball cap, golf shirt and cargo shorts. I watch him feed scraps to Mutt while I remain seated on my throne in my robes and crown, and stare at him through an expanse of time and perspective.
We’ve never been in the same place, have we? And we’ve only ever pretended to understand each other.
I sit back and let the impact and hard truth of my words sink in.
What made us try for so long?
I hear cries and the noisy race of animal hooves outside the castle. Though I just reclined, I rise and at the window I pull back the velvet curtains. Outside the castle walls, mayhem reigns. Wild bulls charge the dirt streets of the kingdom.
Boyfriend strains the linguine and I watch the steam rise to his face. A thought hits him. Can you turn on TSN?
The She-Hulk awakes. She pounces from her place beside the window and snatches the guillotine with both hands. With a snarl, words spit from her mouth:
I suggest you get the fuck out of my Kingdom.
She pulls the small rope attached to the blade, lifting it up, when the blade reaches as high as it can, the She-Hulk lets go of the rope, taunting him. The sight of the falling blade makes the man cringe. As if to make sure I didn’t remove his fallace from across the room, he grabs his crotch to ensure that all of his pieces are still attached. He looks at the She-Hulk with a panic. Then he runs.
And the townsfolk speculated he wouldn’t make it out alive. Need to go catch the latest episode of Cannibal Circus. Wonder how Muffin Top did with that tightrope.
Time for tea,
Times are changing. To find out what happens from here go to: