“Take that, varlet! And that! Mayhaps, thinketh twice thou wilst, ‘ere crossing blades with Sir Jake, Knight of the Realm, Defender of the Innocent, Cleaver of Cowards, Vanquisher of Villains!”
“That’s got him on the run, Jake. I think a good tongue lashing was all it took! Looks like you had him pretty confused there at the end.” Ralph suppressed a chuckle as he stowed his ‘knightly gear’ and headed in to wash up before dinner.
“Mock me not, Sir Ralph, lest thou feeleth the sting of mine sword. The day is long, I am weary, my patience is worn thin. Were it not for my strong right arm and this enchanted blade, the kingdom would surely fall. We are beset by vile villains, foul miscreants, and dastardly dragons on all sides, and none, save myself, may stem the tide that lapeth at our feet.”
“Jake, first let me say that you don’t have a right arm. Or a left arm. You’re a snake, buddy. And I have my doubts about how much damage you can inflict with that stick. And lastly, we’re hundreds of miles from the nearest body of water. If anything is lapping at your feet, if you even had feet, it would most likely be that mud puddle over there. Now let’s go in and get something to eat. Do you have any of those lemon jellied spiders left? Or maybe some candied flies? I love those with just a sprinkle of sea salt…”
With a sigh, Sir Jake, Defender of the Realm, Slayer of Dragons, and lots more stuff too numerous to list, slithered up onto the back of his trusty steed, McRuff. “Okay Ralph, Spoiler of Sport, Dasher of Dreams, climb on up here and let’s go see what Brother BudPie has for us to eat. Ho McRuff! On boy!”
Jake loved make believe. One of his favorite games was Knight of the Realm, featuring Sir Jake in the starring role. And anytime Ralph was over, that’s what Jake wanted to play. Even if Ralph, at times, found it difficult to stay in character. “Methinks he doth lacketh the heart of a dreamer” thought Jake, as they clung to Ruff’s back. “Ware, Sir Ralph, lest thou be scrapethed off whilst passing through yon doggy door” said Jake, with a huge smile. “Is something wrong with your face, Jake?” “No” said Jake, “why?” “Never mind” said Ralph.
This was going to be a fun weekend. Ralph was staying over for a couple of nights, and if Jake had his way, there was little doubt which game they would be playing. But dinner first, which was delicious, a toasted bug salad, buffalo spider-legs, and for dessert, a piece of fly pie, drizzled with a simple lemon reduction. “Ohhhh” groaned Jake, “I am so full! But not too full for a little K of the R. What say you, knave?” Jake couldn’t keep the wide smile off his little snake face. “I say you’d make a much more convincing hero without that spider-leg stuck between your teeth” quipped Ralph, pleased with his cleverness.
With some help from Brother BudPie, Jake’s handsome, creative, strong yet compassionate sidekick, the young snakes had transformed the living room into a medieval realm that would make Camelot cry with envy. And with the war-steed McRuff stabled close at hand, they were well prepared, should any emergency arise.
“Forsooth” said Sir Jake, “be there not fair maiden to rescue, nor dragon to slay? When might this enchanted blade quench its thirst?” “I fear not Sir Jake. No reports of dastardly deeds or distressed damsels have arrived by Royal Courier” replied Sir Ralph. “Drat! Double drat! What good a damsel not in need of rescue? What purpose hath a dragon, but to receive the kiss of Longtooth, mine mighty sword?”
But at that moment, unbeknownst to the two knights gallant, a damsel was indeed in dire danger, and, as fate would have it, the source of that danger was, as you might have guessed, a fire breathing, damsel eating, trouble making dragon. As word arrived by private courier, the knights made ready. Armor was donned, swords were sheathed, shields were slung, and saddlebags filled with lemon jellied spiders. “Take heed Sir Ralph, yon spiders, if not properly stowed, can causeth one heck of a mess. Experience hath bestowed upon me this knowledge” warned Sir Jake. “Ho, McRuff, to me! Our destiny awaits!” And with that, in a cloud of carpet fibers, they were off!
“No! Please! Eat me not, for though I am young and toothsome, the taste of fear would be a bitter pie. And right now, I’m scared as all get out!” The damsel, who was indeed pleasing to the eye, with fiery red hair, and a smattering of freckles across her perfectly shaped, if somewhat long nose, was currently backed up to a huge boulder. Before her towered a dragon, complete with horns, wings, smoking snout, and everything else that fits our perception of dragon-kind.
“Ha!” snorted the dragon, “You’d be surprised how a flambé can mitigate the bitterness of fear. And though you be but a morsel, a mere bite, hardly enough to whet my appetite, eat you I shall, and with obvious relish! I’ve tried all the others, but obvious is the best, hands down.” It occurred to the damsel, who, for the sake of anonymity, we shall call Lady Gloria, that this particular dragon liked to talk, and maybe even considered himself to be a bit of a comedian. “If I can keep yon lizard flapping his gums long enough, mayhaps a brave knight might arrive in the nick of time, saving the bacon, and my slender, attractive neck along with it.” And that’s exactly what happened!
Just then, riding up in a cloud of dander, Sir Jake arrived on the scene. Unfortunately, Sir Ralph was unhorsed when McRuff made a hard right to avoid Brother BudPie, who was just coming out of the bathroom. “Boys!” chuckled Brother BudPie, in his warm, affectionate, hypnotic, downright foxy voice. A couple of quick sprays of Febreze, and he retired to the den, newspaper in hand.
“Back foul beast! Let yon maiden go, that we may be joined in battle!” Puzzled, the dragon replied “You want to do battle with yon maiden, little man?” Nay, ‘tis thee I shall trounce, and forthwith. Let us engage, for this land hath not roometh for the both of us!” “I’m getting mixed signals” said the dragon. But before McRuff even had time to come to a complete stop, Sir Jake was leaping to the ground, and in one swift motion, with sword in hand, interposed himself twixt Gloria and the dragon. “Oh little man, so spic and span, you look like a snack, still in the can.” It’s possible that the dragon fancied himself somewhat of a poet as well. “Nay, mine armor this is, and I shall polish it with a piece of dragon hide, then send the rest of you back from whence you came.”
Growing bored with the witty repartee between knight and dragon, the Lady Gloria, with her back to the rock, slid down to a more comfortable, seated position and began nibbling on a BLT from her bag. “Methinks ’twas the bacon what caught the attention of the vile wyrm” she mumbled, as a piece of tomato escaped her delicate mouth, sticking to the lace collar of her favorite gown. “Prithee, Sir Knight, spanketh him well, for ruineth my gown, he hath!”
Squared off, circling one another, probing for weaknesses, knight and dragon exchanged insults, each hoping to gain a psychological advantage. “Step closer, puny human, that I might squash you like a beetle.” Not to be outdone, Sir Jake quickly replied “Say dragon, hast thou perchance a piece of gum? If so, “twould be well appreciated were you to chew it. When, pray tell, didst thou last engage in oral hygiene?” Feeling like he was definitely one up in the insult department, Sir Jake quickly attempted a bold move. “Your name, dragon, that I might know who I slay this fateful day.” It was common knowledge in that time, in that land, that to know a dragon’s true name was to have power over it. And with that power, a dragon may be defeated, and banished from the realm.
“Oh, nice try pipsqueak. Like I would divulge my true name. Any dimw…” “HOMER! HOMER! You get back to this cave this instant! And leave those humans alone. If your father finds out you’ve been harassing the locals, he’ll tan your hide!”
“Homer, huh?” said Sir Jake. And with that, the dragon, with a poof! vanished, leaving behind an amused knight, and just a hint of a not-too-great odor. And Sir Jake, smiling broadly at the Lady Gloria, offered her his hand. “Sir Knight, doth thy suffer from some form of facial affliction?” she queried. “Nay fair Lady, why asketh you?” “Heed me not” she replied. And with a shrug, Sir Jake called out to his trusty stallion, “McRuff, to me! Take a knee, brave steed, that the fair Lady might more easily gain perch upon thy lofty back.” And so he did. McRuff, that is. And as they rode away, into the setting sun, Sir Jake could be heard to say, “My Lady, wouldst thou perchance have another one of those sandwiches?”