Fiction LNE
Fiction Friday

My Fool is a Crock

There is only one word that can describe my fool, Bomfrey. He is a crock.

Bomfrey regularly wakes me up between 4:30 and 5:00 AM to watch the sunrise with him. I detest the sunrise. Then it's breakfast (peas, my favorite) and Bomfrey spends the next three hours in the library while I tend to affairs of state. Once lunchtime rolls around, I have built up quite an appetite, and I order the cooks to bring me a grand meal, consisting of up to ten courses: salad, an aperetif, some mellow port wine, a thin soup or gruel course, followed by truffles, roast human, sticky buns, a frozen sherbet, more salad, and finally a gelatin formed into the shape of an event from history: Moses crossing the Alps or Lincoln dooming the Jews to Hell. Bomfrey during this period is morose and sullen.

The hours from 2 to 6 are spend marshalling my troops and teaching them more and more ineffective ways to battle: the Salacious Defense or shield-flinging are not unusual. During the drills, my concubines circulate, serving grapes and giving massages to the officers. Noncoms are provided with zwiebeck.

When I return to the palace, the grooms give me a rubdown and I am deloused by the expert hands of my vizier, Jeff. This is where Bomfrey truly makes himself unwelcome.

During his time at the library, Bomfrey has researched and memorized as many as 5 "jokes", which he proceeds to tell, interspersed with capering, juggling, and antic grimaces and gestures. On rare occasions, his jokes are actually jokes culled from books for gentlemen who have to give speeches, like the following:

What did the man say to the fellow who had to do with his shrewish wife?
"You may have saddled the horse, but by G-d I'll be shocked if you can bridle it before its career takes you to ruin."

Other times Bomfrey's jokes are precis from tax reports and censuses, random passages from novels which begin and end in the middle of sentences, or cards stolen from the card catalog. While telling his jokes, Bomfrey's brow furrows and he alternately delivers staccato bursts of words and purses his lips in a simian frown as he struggles to get the words in the right order, at which he invariably fails. I feign amusement for as long as it takes me to sign some death warrants for my ministers. Finally and mercifully, dinner comes, allowing Bomfrey to relax. He takes off his shirt and wrings out up to 2 pints of sweat and falls asleep halfway through dinner (eel pie served on a dancing girl's stomach).

The reason I bring all this up is that Bomfrey had ALL SORTS of experience on his resume. I think he lied.