Fairy Tale


In the Kingdom of Salmonella (off the coast of southern Spain), all the citizens had irritable bowel syndrome, caused (it was said) by unclean cutting boards, excess coffee, an annoying propensity for oxymorons in certain governmental agencies, and a curse put on the local princess by an out-of-town duke. This out-of-town duke was – by virtue of certain unfortunate business deals made by the princess’ impractical father – the kingdom’s psychotic landlord. 

The duke made certain rules regarding parking and lawful methods of eating ice cream, times and places where one might light one’s lava lamp, lava lampthings one might or might not do with one’s kashi, and in general made the citizens of Salmonella very uneasy. Between the evil duke and the irritable bowel syndrome that plagued the whole country, no one in Salmonella was very happy at all. 

The Princess Prunella felt like a square peg on her little round island. The citizens of Salmonella blamed Princess Prune (as they called her) for all their troubles, both digestive and social. She could get no peace. She tried playing racquetball with the duke’s significant other, hoping to ingratiate herself into the family and somehow lift the curse or at least lighten the restrictions placed by the duke on her kingdom, but all they came up with was open hours for banana splits banana splitand an occasional giveaway shopping spree. Which was fine, but not nearly as fine as freedom from flatulence and unreasonable governance would have been.

One day, the duke, in a drunken stupor, proclaimed himself to be the most loved bon vivant in the kingdom, and to prove it, he scheduled a debate between himself and his rival. Since he was an absolutist, he was his only rival, and the debate consisted of his throwing tomatoes at himself and then hurling them right back in his own face. The news media, in the grip of terrible bowel pain, proclaimed him the winner of the debate, but descried his methods against himself as unfair.

'The Tomatina' in Bunol, eastern Spain. AP, August 27, 2003

The princess disguised herself as a tank grrrl and mingled with the sour-stomached populace, but gave herself away by putting Heinz 57 sauceon her watermelon, which an ordinary citizen of Salmonella would never do, either aesthetically or digestively. Finally, in despair, the princess decided that the only way to fight a drunken dictator was to play the game his way. She took to the bars and won Karaoke contests, ate hotwings and drank Irish coffee with heavy cream. In spite of terrible gastric pain, Prunella persisted in living with a reckless bonhomie that intrigued and challenged the duke. He began to compete with her, the stakes growing higher until it seemed likely that botulism and death would be the inevitable conclusion.

They met at dawn with a bloated can of anchovies apiece, a pitcher of martinis and a handful of onion-stuffed olives between them. anchosives With their eyes locked, they raised their glasses and drank to death. Their seconds opened the cans of anchovies, which sputtered and coughed out noxious fumes. Their eyes watered briefly and they died face down in their antipasti.

The princess and the duke were buried in a single grave that same afternoon, and the people of Salmonella had a dance, a bicarb, and a good night’s sleep for the first time since the nightmare began.

The End. 

bicarb - purrisimmo



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