Winner of Note
King Of The Faeries
I could see he didn't believe a word I said. It was more from the repeated, intense, glances intended to badger me into believing he knew more about the workings of the mind than me; he being a psychiatrist and me being not. Of course, this technique probably worked under normal circumstances, since he held the power to terminate my professional career, and that look was his way of offering me a second chance to come clean and change my story. Save my position on the magazine, opt for a short leave of absence, apologize to the Editorial Board for my embarrassing behavior, then resume my duties on the only legitimate publication I've ever had the opportunity to write for [for which to write.] But that choice was no longer mine to make, in light of all that had happened.
I shook my head and shrugged with a deprecating grin pasted to my face. He knew he was in troubled waters. He put down his gold pen, reversed the tape on his micro-recorder and sat back to light a cigarette.
When he'd replaced his gold lighter into the pocket of his Brooks Brothers vest, he raised one eyebrow in my direction in a most serious manner. My only answer to his implied question was, "I can't help what's already been decided, doc. The simple fact is, I am the undisputed King of the Faeries, and the Board will just have to accept it."
He lifted his telephone from its cradle and whispered a curt message into the mouthpiece, then replaced the receiver. I assumed my office was even then being cleared of my personal effects, while Doctor Crainford cleared his throat, and indicated the tape recorder with a sweeping motion of his ringed, right hand. I nodded my agreement to listen to my story, as I'd just narrated it to him. But, I felt a slight nudge at my right shoulder and turning, saw a gnarled little figure dressed in Kerry green and doeskin, waving me into a huddle.
After listening for a moment, I requested that Crainford invite a fourth party to witness the replay. (To the doctor it was a third party I was after, for had he been able to see my companion, he wouldn't be doubting my sanity.) He agreed to my request and buzzed his personal secretary. As Sharon entered the office with pen and steno pad in hand, I glanced at the diminutive shadow beside me and received a nod of assent. Following which, I motioned Crainford to begin.
He said to the business-like woman in the severely tailored suit, "Mizz Stone, I want you to take note of everything you hear, in case you're called upon to corroborate my eventual report to the Editorial Board. Please limit yourself to listening and observing. There will be no need for you to comment on what you hear."
Then he depressed the 'play' button on the tape recorder and the office filled with my voice...
I SUPPOSE I'M HERE because of what happened to me over the weekend. Fair enough. I guess nobody could have kept a thing like this secret, could they? I suppose it happened just after I left the Shamrock at about eleven o'clock. I decided to walk home through the cemetery beside my apartment. It takes fifteen minutes less to walk through it than to walk around it, and I was just drunk enough not to care about the night watchman and his big ugly dog. In any case, there I was stumbling along, being careful not to tread on any graves and to avoid tripping over fallen headstonesjust generally concentrating on getting home.
It was October 31Hallowe'en. The night was bright, with only a scattering of cloud cover obscuring the high-riding full moon and a sharp silver-cold wind rustling the dead leaves in the branches and dancing with those already on the browning grass. The monuments were eerily silhouetted against the moonlight refracted by an unusual, gathering ground fog. I inhaled a lung full of the moist autumn air, shook off the impression of alienation engendered by the somewhat stagy scene, turned my sport jacket collar up against the crisp wind and moved on. Two steps later I was flat on my face in an open grave.
My first reaction was shock. Who says God protects drunks and fools? My second reaction was embarrassment. I felt like the bridegroom who's the last one in the wedding party to realize his fly is open. When the absurdity of the situation struck home, I began to snicker and I was still chuckling at my stupidity as a small hand held out a tiny tankard of ale to me. I said, "thank you," took a long pull and began rising to my knees, wiping the muck from my eyes.
A tankard of ale? What kind of person waits around in open graves to pass out mugs of beer to strange mugs who drop in unannounced? Something Wacky This Way Comes!
When I'd gained my balance and had my knees under me, I peered into the darkness and found myself eye to eye with a gnarled little man at least a century older than anyone I'd ever seen before. He was dressed in Kerry green leather jerkin and doeskin hose with a rakish yellow feathered cap on his squat, bearded head. His enormous, maverick, dun-brown eyebrows had two keen, twinkling, deeper-than-time eyes hanging directly beneath them, peering into mine. I was stunned into near sobriety. Until I passed out.
Through the dullness in my ears I believe I heard a gravelly voice say,
"Ere, have another sip, lad. You've ad a nasty spill."
Another elfin tankard was pressed into my hand and I automatically drained it.
"Jesus, what is that stuff," I rasped?
"That, me boyo, is mead. Got a nice burn to it, eh? Recipe's bin in the family fer hunnerds a years. Like it," he asked?
I nodded and he produced yet another. As I drank I asked, "Where am I? Who are you? What are you doing here? What are you going to do to me?"
"Well," he began in an accent somewhere Irish, "your here, ain't yew? Sittin on your arse in a grave. An I'm your guide. I bin waitin to take yew along with me. C'mon, git up an brush yourself off. Yew can't go to the gatherin lookin like the mange, me young son."
"What gathering? What are you talking about? I've got to get home to my dog and cat. I'm a man who'll be missed!" Frankly I was beginning to get frightened. Who can make sense of a thing that's never happened before?
The little man winked and said, "Now don't yew be worryin about bein missed, lad. Time has a way a standin still till the gatherin's over, so yew should be gettin home about the same time yew was plannin to. You'll most probly be leavin without your memory, though. Most a them do, ya know."
It was astonishing. I was on my knees in an open grave with a mug of mead in my fist trying to follow the ramblings of a three and a half foot Hallowe'en decoration.
"Now just you hold on a minute," I stammered. "This whole situation is not coming together for me. Are you trying to scare me to death, or are you threatening to kidnap me? All I did was have a few drinks after work and stumble into this grave. Is that so bad?"
"Not bad a tall, lad, an nobody's tryin to scare ya. But, rules is rules," he beamed.
"Well, yew fell into the grave, didn't yew?"
He took the tone of a world-weary teacher attempting to break through to a purposefully dull student.
"An everyone knows that only one human bean finds the right grave each year.
This year it looks to be your it, boyo. It's that simple."
"What's that simple," I exploded!
"Shh! Keep your voice down or you'll wake the dead, an we got to be gone before then," he stage-whispered.
"Look, it's like this," he explained in his lilting brogue, "every year the Faeries have a festival to crown their new king, an the rules calls fer one human to be there. I don't know why, I tink it's a carry over from when yew were all monkeys, an a lot more fun to have around.
"Anyways, this year the Faeries is havin the gatherin in This cemetery, an you're the one wot fell in the grave, ya follow me? Now, quit your yammerin an come with me." He turned and walked through the wall of the grave and down the slope of a long dark tunnel.
"How did you do that?"
"Shut your cake hole an stay wit me."
With that, he magically produced a smokeless torch and led the way. I was forced to crawl on my hands and knees to follow, but my little 'nightmare' bounced along in front of me like a will o' the wisp, walking tall and badgering me to keep up with him. I mumbled a curse over all hobbits and he laughed over his shoulder and confided, "Yew got that one wrong, me dear lad. There ain't no sucha ting as a hobbit. I'm whacha call a Gnome."
"Oh, thank you, that's just fine," I sneered, "Sorry for the mix up. What do I call you, gnome? Do you have a name?"
"Tsk, yew kin call me Bilbo Baggins if yew like, but me name's Kip. That's short fer Kippercorn. Named such cause I were born a the corn."
Strange as it sounds, he actually made me chuckle with that, "Funny, Kip. When do we get where we're going, my knees are killing me."
"Oh, that's the least o your worries, me young son, if yew loses the contest," he snorted.
"The one to find out who's gonna be the new king."
"What do I have to do," I asked as I stopped to tuck my tie into my shirtfront and wipe the mud from my knees?
"Now, that I don't know. I just have to bring ya. What happens to ya after that's none o my doin." There was a note of sadness and finality in his voice that chilled the tunnel.
"Well, what if I don't win this contest," I asked?
"Probably steal part o your mind, den slice your balls off an keep 'em in a picklin jar."
"Not without your balls, boyo."
"But, you said I'd only lose my memory."
But, Kip was already out of sight, bouncing deeper into the tunnel and humming an elfin tune. I scrambled forward again to catch up. I passed a wide assortment of burrowing creatures; moles, badgers, rabbits, foxes snakes and one large black bear getting settled in for winter. Again I was struck with the strangeness of things around me. How could I explain all these animals living in the heart of the city, under the cemetery next door to my apartment? And, did I really hear them wishing me good luck as I passed? Curiouser and curiouser. (To steal a phrase.)
"Oww! Back off, slug guts!" In my fascination with the wildlife of the tunnel, I failed to notice Kip had come to an abrupt halt in front of me and I bowled him over before I could stop myself.
"Why, I oughtta..."
"Save your snivelin fer when ya needs it," he snapped.
"Why have we stopped, are we there?"
I suddenly realized the tunnel had grown considerably in size since we'd first entered some time ago. I could almost stand up straight without bumping my head on the clay ceiling.
"Course we're there, ya foolish lookin ting. Can't yew hear the music," he whispered into my chest?
I could. I could hear the music, softly enveloping me, and coming from inside my head at the same time. It was the sweetest, most enchanting threnody I had ever heard; a light, trilling, tripping, crystalline lilt, the sound, I imagined, icicles make while falling through sparkling clouds; with a softer hint of woodwinds taking up counterpoint. The effect was a symphony of joy and enjoyment, laughter and delight no mortal hand could coax from any instrument. But should! I was filled with tears, warmth and wonder.
"It's so beautiful," I said to Kip.
"Course it is, yew fool, they're Faeries, ain't they? Now, shut your trap an wait here till I goes an announces ya." Again he walked through a wall and disappeared.
I stood in the sudden darkness wondering, doubting my sanity and at the same time not caring for it one way or another, such was the music's charm. But thoughts and emotions keleidoscoped through my head, nonetheless. What if (and I had no reason to believe otherwise) the gnome was telling the truth about my future depending on the outcome of some arcane contest between myself and some inflated pixie? Images of demonic trials ripped from a Hans Memling painting of nether worldly tortures danced through the cobwebs of my mind.
I decided that since I had no chance of ever comprehending the how's and why's of my present predicament, I could at least give a good accounting of myself. I didn't know what to expect, but I nonetheless straightened my tie, tucked in my once white shirt, brushed off my jacket and trousers and mentally tossed a bucket of ice water on the cavorting Medieval demons. I was just marshaling my confidence with the aid of the sylvan music, when the apparition of Kip's disembodied head appeared hanging on the wall of the tunnel before me. My knees turned to water.
"Don't be fallin apart on me now, boyo. C'mon, they're ready fer ya."
As his hand and arm manifested to grab my sleeve, I remembered he could walk through walls and was only slightly shocked as he yanked me through one to sprawl beside him.
We were in a vaulted, crystal cave, reflecting with jeweled color, prisming with refracted splashes of light dashing down from unseen heights and burning swiftly up again with deep beauty. The tall, shimmering, glassine walls tinkled and echoed with that ubiquitous, sweet, ethereal music, and we were surrounded on all sides by the most beautiful creatures I could have imagined in my most adventurous wet dreams.
The little folk of the hills, guardians of nature, Jacks and Jills in the green, wills o the wisp, dryads, naiads, hamadryads, sprites, nymphs, Faeries; call them what you will, they were perfectly proportioned and beautifully formed men and women of about four feet in height and each of the females wore a pale-hued, diaphanous gown of gossamer, open at the front and gently flowing away from perky little breasts and naughty little niches of the triangular persuasion. My, my, I was dead and gone to heaven, I hoped.
The men, the four I noticed scattered among the seven women arrayed around the curved walls of the cave, seemed wholly subservient and almost bovine in their tameness. They were dressed in particolor and bells, like ancient jesters, each with outsized codpieces, in the vertical position. Their manner was strange and their seeming disinterest in their surroundings was, to my way of reading the situation with the women at the time, unhealthy. They could as easily have not been present at all.
My eager eye, however, could not stray from those wonderful little women for long and was easily drawn back to feast on the abundant beauty. Certain members from my body showed appreciation in a tangible way, causing me to cross my hands in front of myself, and eliciting from the Faerie princesses a tinkling of provocative laughter and whispered conferencing. Even Kip, crouched in obeisance beside me, chuckled in a guttural sort of way, but he was silenced by a booming voice from behind us.
"So! This is to be my competition from the mortal realm? It is to laugh."
Kip suddenly cringed lower, quite a feat for one already so close to the ground, and he motioned for me to do likewise. Instead, I wheeled to see who had spoken. It was another male Faerie, although seemingly not affected with the same strain of zombieism that turned the others into fixed-gazed lumps. He was dressed distinctly in scarlet, stood slightly taller than the women and the other males and sported the most arrogant sneer I have yet to see bested on man or beast. From the look of him, and since he wore a silver circlet around his forehead, I assumed correctly that this was the present King of the Faeries. I almost bowed, but the preening Ponce appeared to be expecting exactly that. So, I smiled instead and nodded.
"Insolent monkey. I shall particularly enjoy your ignominious defeat. Kippercorn, I shall treat with you when I've done with this..." he announced in a lisping, nasal, English Public School twang, while rolling a delicate hand in my direction.
Kip whispered to me, "That's the King o the Faeries, ya mushroom. Bow to the feller. Please."
I gave a slight forward swivel of my hips and doffed an imaginary cap.
"The monkey doesn't bow well, but it does bow," allowed the King. "He may live to compete."
I can't tell you how much that little poof's attitude rankled me. If I'd had a gun I'd have beaten him to death with it!
I swallowed my anger enough to hiss, "Alright, Your Majesty, what's this contest I'm supposed to lose my balls over?" Ooo, I hoped it was basketball...
The King of the Faeries smiled knowingly and enunciated, "The contest is a simple one. Each of us will make love to one of these nymphs and the first to bring his partner to orgasm will be declared the winner."
"Fine, buttercup, which one's mine." I couldn't believe my luck. How could he be so stupid? I had at least two feet in height on the guy and it followed that my member of long standing was proportionately more well spoken. How could he win? This, I thought, was going to be a cakewalk.
But then the little pixie unfastened his codpiece and let slip a monster. What a horse! How did he keep it from escaping and leading its own life? The only word that came to mind was Humongus. It undulated down his inseam to nearly his ankle and was just as thick. How could I satisfy any woman, Faerie or otherwise, with a creature like that on the prowl?
"Pssst!" The sound came from the cringing mass crouching doubled beside me. I dragged my popping eyes away from the anaconda long enough to see Kip, frozen in some kind of crippling enchantment, and in apparent pain.
"Listen, boyo, This bugger ain't lost in a while an it's gone to his head. He's turned into a real pain in the ass."
I whispered back, "What do you suggest I do about it, boyo? You got me into this mess. You seen what he's packing in those jeans?
"Jess play along with him," whispered Kip, "but remember, ya gotta tongue in your head, ain't ya? Owww, ouch!"
The King's finger was still smoking when I looked up at him. Kip was curled into a small ball of singed clothing, rolling back and forth on the crystal floor. The nymphs squealed in fright and backed away from the King's glare.
And that, as they say, was the turning point. I wanted to fry this bastard, no matter what happened to me in the process.
"Now that little annoyance is put to rest," the King drawled, "are you ready to put yourself to the test, monkey?"
"What happens if I don't win," I growled?
"You become one of them." He pointed to the vacant-eyed jesters who remained totally unaffected by unfolding events. My spine greeted a familiar shiver and conducted a vertebral tour.
"And if I win?"
"How grotesquely conceited of you, pshaw, ah pshaw," he laughed, bobbing his head from shoulder to shoulder. "Nevertheless, you would depose me and take my place as King of the Faeries. Until you are deposed in turn."
"Okay, marzipan, let's get this show on the road." I sounded a lot braver than I felt.
I turned to see Kip, still smoking and groaning on the floor as I strode to the Faerie princesses arrayed on the concaved dais hugging the crystal walls. As I moved to each, she opened her diaphanous gown and teasingly displayed her treasures. I stopped before each in turn, touched a trembling fingertip to knee, thigh, inner leg, and more, marveling at the glistening pearl drops my finger collected. Tasting of music and laughter and magic. Each princess was as lovely as the last and as perfect as the next. How could I possibly choose? How could they survive an onslaught by the King's Casaba? Then I saw.
The King of the Faeries had cast the cruelest spell of all. Every one of the tiny, perfect princesses possessed a prodigious valley that would do a Sasquatch proud! I couldn't hope to compete against odds as deep as these. I saw my hopes rattle down a deep dark corridor, like I'd be rattling inside one.
"I see you have discovered my temporary alterations," he smirked, swinging his salami like a key chain. "You may have also discovered, I hate to lose."
Just as I felt my heart sink into my shoes, I remembered what Kip said about having a tongue in my head and I backtracked to the beginning of the princess line. I made another, more detailed examination of the odds. I would never have dared to hope for such a thing! So simple, but there it was.
As I parted the copper-cornsilk hair of the first Faerie maid and peeked, nose to fleshy button, I saw that the almighty King had made an elementary mistake. While distorting and enlarging the vaginal cavities to accommodate his magically magnified member, he'd neglected to enlarge the clitora. And being as these were Faeries to begin with, theirs were so small they were all but hidden to the untrained eye, so he could enlarge his pizzle to twice what he had and still never stimulate what he couldn't touch. I had the little prick by the balls and I intended to squeeze until he cried. Metaphorically, of course.
As I continued my inspection down the line, I gave the last a slight feather finger touch, tickling precisely where I judged her naughty little button should be, just to confirm my suspicion, and was pleasantly reassured by her shudder of delight and the sudden bucking of her silken hips. I smiled briefly into her purple eyes, kissed her tiny pointy nose, winked and turned around to face the King of the Faeries.
"Okay, toad, this is how it'll be," I announced. "You pick any one of these ladies, that'll have you, and I'll take the rest up there behind that waterfall, and I bet I'll satisfy mine before you can even get a rise out of yours."
"Impossible," he barked! "You are a fool."
"But," I held up my right index finger to punctuate my next statement. "If I win, you are not just deposed, you vanish. Leave here, wherever here is, and restore everything to as it should be. Agreed?"
"My dear monkey, I begin to believe I needn't have stacked the odds in my favor. You do appear to be the stupidest human Pan ever slung testicles onto. I accept."
He shook his head in mock amazement as I gathered two armsfull of delightful nymphs and made for the waterfall. Kip was chuckling like a mad thing on the floor behind me, trying valiantly to stifle an outright laugh as he managed to pronounce, "Yew got im licked, me young son. Gorr, I jess can't take it, haw, haw!"
As the mighty King escorted his sad-faced siren through a near wall of the crystal cave, I marshaled my six through a curtain of the waterfall, sparkling with light and music, and encountered mountains of satin and velvet cushions piled about to lay them upon. Immediately they all opened their gowns and held their legs invitingly apart. They appeared to expect instant penetration and their faces somehow changed to show a lack of expectation of anything else. The great King didn't appear to have an adventurous spirit - dull bastard.
I fell upon the first exquisite enchantress in my round robin romp. She had a slightly blue tinge to her silken skin, her hair was violet and her eyes purple and bright. This was the one whose appreciation of my feather touch was so delightfully demonstrative. When I began stripping my clothes off (now miraculously clean and fresh from exposure to the waterfall) she went rigid with apprehension. I whispered soothing sounds and guided her hands in taking off both our clothes, while the unease and distrust shone from her eyes.
But, when I began kissing and touching and holding and kneading and caressing and tickling with my breath and my eye lashes, she ceased her small protests and relaxed into my arms. I marked a long, languid trail of tiny moist kisses from her forehead to her sharp little nose, to her dark blue lips, flicking her pointed tongue with my own; on to her perfect chin and down her arching throat to beautifully formed twin peaks puckered by tiny blue nipples.
I traveled further. Down into the valley of her navel with my tongue leaving warm, wet, wanton tracks of its progress, and further south. As my tongue parted the strands of violet curtain to expose her glistening nib, she quivered and thrust like a diminutive earthquake and exploded under my caresses. I knew I was on the right track. None of these tiny perfect princesses had ever been appreciated thusly, before now. This was going to be a fantasy fulfilled, I realized, as I rolled across the cushions to a beautiful green-skinned nymph with yellow eyes and coppery hair...
I know I should have been content just to win the contest, but I had a strong need to humiliate the strutting Peacock King until his gargantuan garbonza was forever retired. So, it was with smug satisfaction I saw the King's princess peek through the waterfall to see what all the giggling and groaning was about. I beckoned her through the colorful cascade and showed her. When, a moment after she shuddered in delighted fulfillment, the little tyrant parted the curtain of water with a fiery blast and stormed in, finger at the ready, I smiled over a pair of silver thighs and said,
"I guess I won, didn't I?"
His little, scarlet-clad body trembling and shaking, his codpiece agape and his surging soldier bobbing and weaving up and around in his restraining hands, he spun on his heel, cracking his cockle on the crystal cave wall and dashed back through the waterfall howling in pain. I laughed so hard I almost didn't hear the explosion.
A familiar accent said, "That was the most beautiful ting I ever did see, me darlin, lad. Wot got him so mad?"
"I don't know, I just stuck my tongue out at him."
The waterfall parted again and the male Faeries, the zombies in particolor and bells, entered. They seemed clear of mind, restored of will and of a singular purpose as they heatedly paired with the princesses of their choice and held court. Things must be returning to normal. I looked down at the silver sylph smiling up at me from the velvet cushion beneath my chin and was happy to see her indicating an anatomical restoration of the status quo.
"Looks like the old King kept his word," I observed to Kip. "What happened to him, anyway?"
"His dick exploded."
"Shut up an pay attention to wot yer doin. Your Majesty."
. . . And that's the whole story, doc. Except that during the night I met the rest of the Faeries, thousands of them. They were watching the contest from the other side of the crystal cave's walls and were highly entertained by my originality. The ladies kept me occupied the entire time. I had to leave notes for the men, in fact.
At dawn Kip whisked me back to the open grave in the cemetery beside my apartment. (Actually it was still exactly the same moment I'd first met him, but a whole night had passed in the crystal cave.) And I am now the Once and Future King of the Faeries, with all the power, privilege and responsibility of the crown.
THE TAPE RECORDER shut off automatically at that point and Doctor Crainford's secretary, Sharon, removed her fogged glasses and rubbed them rhythmically across her shirtfront. Possibly to clean them. The doctor still had that 'you're still going to have to be committed' look in his eye, so I decided to convince him. I leaned back over my shoulder and whispered. In the blink of an eye, Kip assumed solid form and smiled at Crainford's startled intake of air.
"I'd believe im, if I was yew, doc."
While Kip levitated and walked Dr. Crainford across the office ceiling, I accepted Sharon's invitation to the couch, briefly wondering how I could possibly rig next year's contest in my favor. Oh, well, Kip and I would come up with something creative.
Tomorrow is another day, after all.