My Fool is a Crock
My Fool, Lester Smooge, is a crock.
I watched pensively as Lester Smooge strode down the cobblestone walkway, a pompous grin on his all too lengthy face. His pocket watch read "9:15" as if to proclaim "You are a late, late man!" 9:00 was specifically the time that I, the King of this land, had clearly stated as the start time for the Annual Ball-Gala planning board meeting.
My servant, Manhands, came and fetched me away from the window. "The Duke of Switzerland would like to know if this event will be handicap accessible, my lord."
"Not now, Manhands, can't you see who cometh?"
Manhands gazed through the foggy glass and observed the ominous figure of doom that approached through the crisp morning air.
There was a collective groan as the door my meeting chamber creaked open. "Ahoy, varmits!" Was Lester Smooge's cutting declaration.
"You are--" I was unable to even begin my lecture about his obvious tardiness when he cut me off.
"Sir, I know what you're going to say but I have something that I think will make excuses unnecessary."
Lester leapt into the air and landed on the cold stone, the bells on his shoes jingling all the while. A wide smirk appeared on his face as he reached into a pocket with his left hand and revealed an apple. He put the apple about an inch from his nose and made an 'O' with his mouth as if he were as surprised to see the apple as we were. Then he reached into another pocket with his right hand and went through the same routine again.
The rest of us returned to our seats at the board table as he continued his act.
With a look of intensity, matched only by my finest archers lining up a target, Lester began to juggle the two apples. It wasn't the finest juggling I'd ever seen. He just threw one apple in the air and then quickly shuffled the other apple between his two hands before he caught it. Pretty lackluster actually.
After a full minute of this he caught both apples and took a bow. He sauntered proudly over to our table and parked his rump right next to where I was sitting. He crossed his legs and began eating one of the apples, waiting expectantly for my approval.
"You like?" He asked, leaning towards me until our noses were almost touching.
"I am a political genius," I replied. It was the truth. I had brought our fine land prosperity through peace and economics, not treachery and war. We had many allies and few enemies and our subjects lived well. "I am not schooled in the entertainment arts as you are. My background is in ruling, not in jokes and physical feats."
"I'll say, your highness," he proclaimed as he patted my belly. He then begun to snicker to himself as he looked at the others for approval. Lester never seemed to feel uncomfortable when he made an ass of himself, he was simply unaware that he was making an entire room uneasy.
"I am still fairly certain that I could perform a juggling task of that magnitude given the fifteen minutes that you were late today to prepare. Now if you will be seated," I said, swinging his legs off the side of the table and forcing him to stand. "Then we can get on with this meeting."
Lester strutted to his seat and sat down as any ordinary fool with no grace or respect would.
"Now the first order of business is cuisine," I said with a nod to my chef, Chef Larry of Larimore. "I would like--"
Lester butted in. "I thought that I would make lasagna."
I gave him a cautionary glare that he never seemed to read well. "Excuse me?"
"You know. That's my contribution."
"Why would you cook anything?"
"Isn't this melting pot?"
"Yeah, you know. Everyone brings a dish. Lasagna's my spec-i-al-it-y." I hated when he pronounced that word with five syllables rather than the standard three.
"I believe that's referred to as pot luck," offered Norton, one of my advisers.
"Yeah whatever." Lester had already begun eating the second apple.
"What on earth would lead you to believe that this is pot luck?" I asked. "Why would I have Larry, one of the finest chefs in the land, if I intended this to be pot luck?" Larry bowed graciously, accepting my kudos.
"I haven't the faintest, m'lord," Lester chuckled as he took a rather gluttonous bite from the second apple.
The Annual Ball-Gala went surprisingly smoothly. With the exception of Lester throwing up on the Duchess of Kyrandia after eating some bad dip I was very impressed with his behavior. At one point I trailed off while talking to the Earl of Hampton to see Lester off in the background entertaining some of my international colleagues. They seemed to be laughing and genuinely enjoying his antics. I'll be darned if a smile didn't pop up on my face. Heck, I give Lester a hard time. He may be the world's worst jester but he's my Jester, damn it. And I love the fool. I really do.