The foot soldiers gathered round ye olde notice board and stared at the announcement nailed in place by the sheriff’s lackey. Of course, most of them couldn’t read, so they waited for old Garon to limp forward and read it to them.
“What to do in the event of a dragon attack,” he began, reading the bold words at the top of the document.
This immediately set the men to mumbling. As he continued to read, the grumbling was spiced with assorted curses and invocations.
When he was finished, opinions were neither tardy nor timid. The commentary ranged from indignant sarcasm to outright acrimony. Popular opinion was summed by one bold fellow. “This plan be a crock of shit. It stinks to high heaven. The king’s gone round the bend.”
The pronouncement was greeted by a vociferous bellow of assent. The disgruntled assertions continued until Sir Sycophant, the brown-nose knight, rode up on his horse. The congregation quickly dispersed, leaving old Garon standing alone.
“Tell me, Master Garon,” queried the knight, “what do the men think of the plan?”
Garon, doing what he could to gentrify the vox populi, replied, “Well, Sir Sycophant, I’m afraid the men believe the plan to be a trog of dung so foul-smelling it will offend the angels above. They hold that the king may be touched.”
This troubled Sir Sycophant, so he went directly to the sheriff and told him, “The men believe the emergency dragon plan to be a full chamber pot of such powerful odor, heaven itself will take notice. They contend the king must be ill.”
Such insubordination rankled the sheriff, but when the time came for his daily report to the Earl of Officialdom he stated simply, “The troops have been informed of the dragon plan, and they collectively agree it is a vessel of royal fertilizer with a heavenly scent.”
The earl thought the metaphor a bit odd, but was too busy to conduct an impromptu session in semantics with the sheriff, who had a penchant for malaprops. Later, when he ran into Duke Doolittle in the castle foyer, the duke asked, “Has the garrison been informed of the contingencies in case of dragon attack?”
“Yes, Your Lordship,” responded the earl. “Everyone agrees the plan is heaven-sent, and will enrich our defenses. There is growing support for the king.”
That evening, Duke Doolittle informed King Highness that a new plan concerning possible dragon attacks had been instituted. He laid the plan before the king, who scanned the document indifferently.
“Sire, the feeling among your men and officers is without dissent. They agree the plan is a potent one that will promote heightened security for the castle and your entire domain. There is strong sentiment that the plan is an inspiration borne of your majesty’s wisdom and sanctioned by God.”
The king read with renewed interest and determined the plan was good. Henceforth the plan became policy throughout the land.
Novelist, journalist, satirist, Bruce Golden’s short stories have been published more than a hundred times across 20 countries and a score of anthologies. Asimov’s Science Fiction described his second novel: “If Mickey Spillane had collaborated with both Frederik Pohl and Philip K. Dick, he might have produced Bruce Golden’s Better Than Chocolate.” Here’s his website for more info.