A Conversation for St Augustine - Bishop of Hippo

Many years later in Spain

Post 1

Lonnytunes - Winter Is Here

Although heir to the Spanish throne, Don Carlos had little to recommend him. He had always been an unpromising youth, but in 1562 his natural imbecility had been aggravated by brain damage incurred when he had fallen down stairs while chasing a maidservant. "He is usually so mad and furious," a diplomat stationed in Spain commented, "that everyone here pities the lot of the woman who lives with him." - Elizabeth I: A Biography, by Anne Somerset .

King Philip II stared at his plate. "What," he said to his wife, "do you call this?" He knew what he called it - foreign muck. God knows what else she had shipped over from England. "Well? Did you hear me? Speak up!"
"What is this?" said Queen Mary. "An inquisition?"
Philip banged his fork on the table.
"Kippers," she said. "Taste ever so nice. My father - oh, he was a wonderful man - ate them every morning of his life. 'You'll be wanting your kippers again, Henry,' mother always said, as did his next five wives.
Philip once more stared at his plate: a kipper and the King of Spain met each other's eye. Repulsed, he stood up quickly from the table. He was so hungry that he could eat a horse. Fried in olive oil, garlic, onions, red peppers ... my kingdom for a pinto, he thought. Not a bad swap, when you considered it. He looked at his wife. Kipper grease dripped down her Tudor chin, but she ignored it and continued her knitting. O, Dios! He turned away, and gazed over the courtyard to his palace garden, where he saw his son running in circles.
"Don Carlos seems in high spirits today," he said.
Mary looked up from her wool. "He has his britches on his head," she said.
"Wheee! " said Don Carlos.
"His mother was the same," said Philip, smiling.
"What was she like?" asked Mary.
"We were very close."
"You loved her, I suppose."
"No, I didn't say that. I meant we were very closely related."
"Wheee! " said Don Carlos.
"It shows," said Mary.
Philip sighed. "It's his 16th birthday next week. What shall I get him?"
"How about a cage?"
"Caramba! What would you have me do with the poor boy? Poison him?"
"You said it, dear, not me."
"At least I know what would do the trick," said Philip, and nodded at his untouched plate of kippers.
"Wheee! said Don Carlos.
"Play nice!" shouted his father. Don Carlos had caught one of the gardeners, and was stoving in his head with a rake. Philip had no problem with that but shooed his son away when the youth grabbed at his cojones and began to climb on the dead gardener's back. Mary was right, of course: the boy was loco. He shuddered at the memory of that day last year with the chambermaid - mind you, it was all her fault. She led him on. She said so herself, under gentle questioning, while placed on the rack.
He sat down again. If only there was something to eat! He looked at a white rounded object on the table. "What d you call that again?" he asked Mary.
"A potato, dear. Very trendy."
"Si, el spud. I hear my conquistadors swear by it." He bit into the raw flesh and spat it out. "Merde! "
"Watch your French!" said Mary.
"Wheee! " said Don Carlos.
"Shut up, you moron!" yelled Philip. Now the boy was skinning a cat. Who would possibly ever agree to marry him? Mary, Queen of Scots, had seemed keen - she understood the politics, she could see the advantages of power and a long life. But gossip had reached her of Don Carlos's behaviour. The boy might have been a very important moron, but the fact remained that he was still a moron.
"Stop looking at him," said Mary. "You only encourage him."
"You're right. I think it best if I send him away."
"But where? Holland?"
"No, I was thinking of planning a massacre there."
"England, then?"
"No son of none will have to eat kippers."
"Well, where? Is there anywhere he belongs?"
"I have heard tell of a small settlement in my own country that would suit his antics down to the ground. Somewhere quiet, and tolerant, and discrete."
"Where is this place?"
"It is called," said Philip, "the Napier Cosmopolitan Club." [in New Zealand]
"Wheee! " said Don Carlos.

Many years later in Spain

Post 2

Montana Redhead (now with letters)

See, they were *all* messed up!

Many years later in Spain

Post 3

Lonnytunes - Winter Is Here

smiley - bigeyes

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