Fiction LNE
Fiction Friday

My Fool is a Crock

by Rory

     I sat uneasily in my throne. In mere minutes, my new fool, George, would enter the room, and I knew I would be displeased. Barnaby had been such a good fool, after all. He knew the joke about the Jewish man, the Italian, and the fellow of Grecian heritage. Pure, Catholic God fearing genius! But, alas, Barnaby had retired. He was sixty-five years old, after all; his voice was almost hoarse. I maintained that he still had a good five or six years of good foolery left in him, but he thought otherwise.

      "My time as your fool is at an end," he said. "Let us part on peaceful terms. Let you remember me in my prime, as a fool that made you laugh! And with that," he continued, edging his way to the door, "this fellow of Grecian heritage must say good night!"

      "And good riddance!" I said, clapping my hands in joy… But I didn't mean it. In seconds he had closed the door behind him, leaving my life forever. I almost wept.

      But then I remembered.

      Kings never weep.

      And so, the search for a new fool had begun. I gave the job of finding a suitable replacement to Maxwelle, my Minister of Practical Affairs. After all, what could be more practical than someone versed in the fine art of practical jokes?

      I checked my royal watch. I combed my royal hair. I peered into my royal mirror. I popped my royal pimple. I checked my royal watch again. Ten minutes till six; that meant ten minutes until my new fool, George Stevens, was scheduled to arrive. I twiddled my thumbs. They were not royal. They had seen too much bloodshed to be anything, but grizzled.

      The door opened. No doubt, it was Maxwelle to tell me that my fool would be arriving "comically late!" Hilarious. Barnaby often arrived comically late, with comic results. This fool was off to a good start.

      However, when I turned my head towards the doorway I saw, not the familiar face of my Minister of Practical Affairs, but the utterly unfamiliar face of a man dressed in an off gray business suit. Awkward silence ensued.

      We patiently stared into each other's eyes, neither daring to move, for fear of provoking the other. I opened my mouth to say something, and let it stay open. My tongue moved vaguely to speak, but I could not conjure up a breath with which to make any noise.

      The man narrowed his eyes, as if studying me.

      I smoothed my royal eyebrows.

      The man coughed. It totally ruined the awkward silence. Now it was merely an awkward moment. There was no silence to be had.

      I whistled.

      The man broke of his gaze on me, took out his brief case (from god knows where!), and placed it on a table. As he unlocked the buckles, he introduced himself. "Good day to you, your majesty. I have an early dinner scheduled at Seven, so we'll have to make this brief. My name is George." George turned around to face me. "I am your new 'fool.'" He straightened his tie, and then reached into his briefcase. He removed a yellow banana. "I am sure you grasp the humor of this situation. Me, a man dressed in a business suit, wielding this, this ridiculous prop. Ironic, is it not?"

      I did not grasp the irony.

      "You do not find it funny?"

      I forced a laugh. George was very much not impressed.

      George frowned. "Ah yes, well, why would you? I haven't told the punch line yet."

      I frowned. The joke was clearly going nowhere, and he wasn't even finished with it yet. I prayed this wasn't his only material.

      George continued on. "Pathetic isn't it? I have sunk to a new low. I am now a prop fool. A fool who wields props. Truly, this is lower than low." George paused, presumably for laughter. Then he reached into his briefcase, and took out a tape recorder. He pressed play.

      There was a rather long pause; static filled the room, cloaking around me like an uncomfortable blanket. Perhaps one made of wool. Then, a barely audible drum roll. Then more static. Then, he shut the tape recorder off.

      "Ah," I said. "So that's that then."

      "Mmmm," he responded. "Yes." He checked his watch. I checked mine. 6:05. I pulled at my collar. Fifty-five more minutes.

      George put the banana back into his briefcase. He stood hovering over it; his back turned to me for a moment, and then turned quickly back to reveal a horrifying transformation. "Observe," he said. "I am wearing so called 'goofy' glasses."

      George was correct. He, indeed, was wearing goofy glasses.

      George picked the banana up once more. He unpeeled it, removing the fleshy banana fruit center, as he did so. He reached into his suit jacket, removed a napkin, wrapped the banana inside, and promptly disposed of both. He placed the skin on the floor. "Observe, with comic results."

      I observed, but not with comic results.

      George walked to the far side of the room, and then turned back. He managed a weak whistle, and strode across the room. It was apparent that his path would cross over the banana, and he would slip, perhaps causing a rather "sticky" situation. I smiled in anticipation. He continued striding. His foot landed squarely on the banana peel, and he fell, screaming, to the floor. Upon hitting said floor, he was knocked squarely unconscious. This was not how this joke usually played out. I knew; Barnaby had performed the same joke on several occasions!

      When he regained consciousness, George explained that he hadn't meant to actually slip on the banana at all, merely to pass right over it, and continue walking. He said something about "humor of the absurd," and the word "irony" was mentioned several times. He also quoted Mozart like a bitch in heat.

      Apparently, my fool is a crock.