Mr. M.

Hilary Kline, Photographer

“Here’s your dinner Mr. M.,” the nurse’s aide said. She wore a My Name is Brandi tag on her pink uniform.

“Brandi of the Billings High School Basement,” I said. “Might you have a pitcher of Hippocras hiding in the back?”

“Eat your peas, hun,” Brandi said, heading back down the aisle of hurricane refugees, her orthopedic shoes squeaking along the linoleum.

Orthopedic shoes. Now there was a worthless invention of the twenty first century. I tried to imagine subjecting Morgan Le Fay to an eternity wearing a pair and snickered.

The woman was a notorious shoe slut.

I sighed. In the old days a request from me would strike fear in a serving wench. I’m not complaining, mind you. Sure the notoriety was fun for a while.  The Faeries, the mutton, loads of mutton. But anonymity has its privileges. For example, when you start out no one bothers to mention bring a scroll cause there’s a lot of down time during quests; or, never get into a conversation with the lady-of-the-lake about her sister, the woman-of-the-well. You’ll be talking for an eternity, trust me.

It’s just what those fools did with my history that irks me sometimes. I mean me, living backwards? You should pardon the expression, but what exactly was T.H. White smoking when he came up with that?

And don’t get me started about Arthur’s damn round table. Do writers even bother doing research anymore? Truth to tell there was nothing noble about the idea for the table. We had chairs. We had mead. We needed a table built. It was that simple. There were two local craftsmen under consideration, Flob-the-Woodworker from Penth or Liam-the-Metalsmyth from Crook.

“Flob’s a pro Arthur,” I said, “it’s the logical choice.”  But the stubborn fool refused to listen. You see Liam-the-Metalsmyth had a sister with bosoms like firm ripe cantaloupes. Arthur never passed up an opportunity to sample the local fruit, if you get my meaning. We quickly discovered Liam couldn’t nail together a cross let alone an entire table. I suggested we just file down all the mismatched edges and voila, the Knights of the Relatively Round Table, courtesy of Liam-the-Metalsmyth and his buxom sister, was born.

I guess the story does lack something in translation.

Have you seen my latest incarnation on the scientific fiction channel?  The boy has ears the size of a donkey for heaven’s sake. And all that talking to dragons? Nonsense. Everyone knows dragons are notoriously antisocial. Unless of course you’re Guinevere. What that woman could get a dragon to do… It was just unnatural is all I can say.

There is one detail they consistently get right, however. Lancelot did know how to wield a sword. But no one remembers it took that man hours to get ready for battle. At times he seemed more concerned with how his hair looked under his chain-mail than the saving of various and sundry damsels in distress. I believe he was what you kids nowadays might call a metrosexual.

The panes of glass in the windows rattled, setting everyone’s teeth on edge. All this business with the rains and the winds, it’s my fault, actually. I have to remember to be careful where I point my walker. Was much more adept with a staff. But in this day and age the hand-sanitized, safety-gated, plastic-on-the-furniture crowd gets a bit antsy if an old man wanders about with an ominous looking branch in his fist. So I humor them.

“Don’t you like your butterscotch pudding, Mr. M.?” Brandi said, returning.

“Never been a fan,” I said.

As my tray was removed I suddenly beheld the holy grail, also known as an icy cold Fresca. “It’s no mug of ale, sire,” Brandi whispered in my ear, “but maybe this will do.”

“When this storm is over remind me to summon a prince for you, good lady,” I said, sipping the sweet nectar. Brandi-of-the-Basement winked.

I stretched out on my cot and smiled. Every now and again it was nice to be remembered.


Thanks so much to LitStack and photographer Hilary Kline for the photo prompt inspiration. Check out the Bedtime Stories page for more of my short fiction.

About Madame Paradox

Heidi David is a writer and freelance producer. She is the author of an as yet unpublished novel, THE FLYING JEWEL; the tale of a traveling circus where the price of admission is one's free will.
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11 Responses to Mr. M.

  1. Hooray for the Knights of the Relatively Round Table, courtesy of Liam-the-Metalsmyth and his buxom sister!

    I love it.
    And butterscotch pudding.

    Which means you can let Mr. M. know I’ll eat his anytime.
    I know that didn’t come out quite right; and also, I’m no Guinevere.
    So really, he shouldn’t get his hopes up.

    Still, my dear Madame Paradox, you work a photo-prompt like no other.
    Anonymity has its advantages, but it is nice to be remembered.

    Well done.

    • You made me giggle Julie. Yes, I’m sure everyone’s dying to know exactly what kind of skills the lovely Guinevere had with dragons. But I’ll never tell. I’m glad you liked it. I’m not sure I did this lovely photo justice. But I was in the mood for some silliness, so there you have it.

      We are sisters in butterscotch. xo 😉

  2. chris says:

    Well! The divine Mme Paradox does it again! Just how do you keep cranking out all these great stories, with hardly a breath in between? Mr. M. indeed.
    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I seem to have developed a desire for a tankard of ale.

    • Tankard, that was the word I couldn’t think of, of course! I don’t really know how I cranked this one out. It’s a bit clunky, I’ll admit. I really wasn’t planning on writing anything for this one as I am moving out of the apartment I’ve lived in for 20 years and have about 8000 things to do. But the story just wouldn’t shut up. It kept me awake so as you can see I had not choice but to write it down. lol

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! Thanks so much for reading.

  3. Jennifer says:

    Oh, brava, how much fun! (Lancelot a metrosexual! *giggling*.)
    (I’m with Chris, an icy cole fresca/ale with my peas would hit the spot right now.) Delightful.

    • I’m glad someone besides me remembers Fresca. Ha. You have to admit of all the knights it only makes sense that Lancelot is the metrosexual. 🙂 Glad you had fun with it. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. I’ve nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award

  5. peterwilkin says:

    That is just THE best story yet! Brilliant! Wow! A novel with these fantastic characters in would be unimaginably awesome. Your imagination, Madame P, is something else, it really is. Still chuckling here ~ a lot! 🙂

    • Aw, thank you, Peter. I’m glad you liked it. I assume someone else must have written a novel like this before. But it is quite fun playing around with bringing those characters into the modern world. I made myself chuckle, too. 🙂

  6. Pingback: LitStack’s Flash Fiction Challenge #7 | LitStack

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