July 19, 2010
Prompt: On the border between Barbadoon and Milquetostia…there was a self-centered…king…who sat on a huge throne…and sent text messages. The official royal throne room of the King of Barbadoon was vast. It was exactly the size of two perfect cubes sitting next to each other. The room itself was twenty-five feet long, and the ceilings in the central portion hung a full twenty five feet above the impressive mosaic designs built into the tiled floor. The length was fifty feet, of course, but there was something unique about the place. The original architect had drawn the plans with measurements in feet, and as everyone knew, a foot was a full twelve inches, no more and no less. However, the original contractor had lost his measuring tape on the day he was to lay out the royal throne of the King of Barbadoon, and had resorted to using a string with knots in it. Each knot was as far apart as the length of his own foot, which he considered was close enough to twelve inches as made no nevermind. The difficulty lay in the fact that the contractor’s foot was thirteen and a half inches long. Now, you might not thing that an extra inch and a half would make that much difference, but over the course of the fifty foot length, it resulted in a considerable error. In truth, the room was 28 feet 1 ½ inches high, and wide, and 56 feet four inches long. Although the official history books listed the volume of the room as 31,250 cubic feet, in actually that one and a half inch error based on the length of the contractor’s foot gave the room a volume of 44,495 cubic feet when rounded to the nearest foot. A whopping difference of 13,245 cubic feet hiding in those extra inch and a half errors on every foot measured. The Barbadoonian king, whose name was Tehatchi, knew the secret of the extra thirteen thousand and some odd cubic feet, because the secret has been kept and passed down the line of succession from king to king. The proof, the contractor’s shoes, and a plaster mold of his foot, was kept securely locked in the king’s personal strongbox, which was actually a room attached to the king’s bedroom by way of a secret passageway beginning behind the full length portrait of Fidgitidiot the First, the founding king of Barbadoon. There were no less than five locked doors at different points down the secret corridor, and the room itself had no cracks in the walls, which were solidly welded steel plates fifteen inches thick. The central aisle of the Barbadoonian throne room was the full height of the ceiling. There was a sort of a portico built along the back of the throne room, and along the long sides, reaching nearly to the dais where the massive throne sat in solitary splendor. The back walls of the portico were, of course, the outer walls of the throne room, perfectly plastered and painted a pale peach with green plaster trim. There were exquisitely beautiful carved wood columns at the front edge of the portico, spaced about every five feet, seven and a half inches apart, although they were believed to be exactly five feet apart. Each column has been carved by a different artesian, from different cities in the kingdom, and so carried images of those things which the inhabitants of the cities held most dear. (The column carved by the artesian from the city of Erosis was positively shocking to most of the people in the kingdom, but most especially to the inhabitants of Pruderia.) Between each column there was a half wall, and a beautifully carved screen. Behind the portico wall, there was more screening that divided the area into a long hallway against the outer plaster wall of the throne room, and small rooms where the various ministers of the government could meet privately, while observing the happenings in the throne room. The throne was made of solid gold, a full five hundred pounds of it, carved into intricate designs, and studded with fabulous gems of all colors, which had been inlaid into the throne to form floral designs. King Tehatchi glided into the room through the private door no one else was allowed to use. He knew he was most definitely the most important person in the room, otherwise someone else would have been born in his place and they would be the king. Those of his subjects who had been waiting fir an audience bowed low, kneeling on one knee, and attempting to place their forehead on their raised knee. King Tehatchi thought it was particularly funny to watch fat people try to bend in half, because their stomach always got in the way, and then their face would turn red as they strained to get their forehead all the way down to their knee. Some of the very fat ones would actually try so hard they would end up losing their balance and fall over on the floor of the throne room. King Tehatchi glided around to the front of his throne and climbed up onto the very comfortable red velvet cushion that softened the seat for the greatest comfort of the royal backside. He looked over the three peasants who had come to ask for an audience today, and pointed at one of them. His chamberlain walked over and tapped the peasant on the top of his left shoulder with the scepter which was his badge of office. The peasant straightened and came nearer the throne, stopping at the foot of the stairs which led up to the throne. As the peasant started speaking, detailing some boring dispute he was having with his neighbor over whose cows should drink upstream of the other’s, his cell phone vibrated. King Tehatchi glanced down at the small device he had hidden in the opening of his wide-sleeved royal robe, and read the letters there which had been sent by the King of the neighboring country, Milquetostia. SUP He smiled, which the peasant took for an indication that he was actually listening to his plight, while his thumb flicked over the keyboard. 0 U, he wrote, indicating that “nothing” was up, and inquiring what his fellow monarch was doing. Dyin frum bordum. U want my job? King Tehatchi smiled again, and noticed the peasant had ended his plea. “This will require some thought on my part before a decision can be reached. Leave your address with my chamberlain, and he will contact you when a decision has been reached,” he said in what he thought of as his regal manner. The peasant bowed low, and left the room, murmuring thanks to his liege. R U serious? He texted to the king of Milquetostia, while pointing at the second peasant in the room, who had been patiently waiting all this time. The chamberlain poked him with the scepter, and both men came forward. Apparently they were here together. King Tehatchi hoped this wasn’t going to turn into a shouting match. He hated loud noises and violence. The phone vibrated in his hand while the two men complained about a third neighbor whose cows were always getting into their grain fields nad trampling their crops. King Tehatchi looked down at the phone. Yes. U kn hav M’tosta & Ill retire 2 tropic isle. He stood abruptly and the two men fell silent. “I will have to hear your case on another time. Please leave the details with my chamberlain, and you will be contacted when your return appointment is.” He held up his cell phone. “I’ve just received news from Milquetostia that needs my immediate attention.” King Tehatchi swept from the room and headed for his office to compose the announcement he would have made on the evening news tonight. If King Kevaan was serious and not just extremely bored, he could triple the size of Barbadoon in one simple text message. U hav deal. He texted back. When U want 2 sign? Within moments, the answer came back. This afternoon ok? King Tehatchi smiled. This afternoon would, indeed, be fine with him.