Covfefe: A Fairytale

The Mad King awoke in a fury one morning.

His realm was in chaos ever since the villagers had discovered that, instead of using the goods he regularly required them to donate – the chickens and livestock, part of their harvests, assorted leather and iron goods crafted by artisans, and the fine, strong broadcloth the women weaved over the winter months with the wool he allowed them to retain – he was using it for himself, the Queen, his five homely, gluttonous children,

and his assorted mistresses in court. He did not support his mistresses, but instead, paid them handsomely for their silence.

Instead of making good trades with other kingdoms, he would promise them payment in return for the things he desired from them, be it support on the battlefield, goods, information about his enemies, and safe passage through their lands in search of the elusive covfefe bush. He would make these “deals” but then renege on most of them.

Now, the hungry villagers were realizing that while their children starved and their faithful menfolk went off to do battle for a King who cared not about the danger he was putting them in, the Mad King and his lazy family were becoming richer and fatter by the day.

How had the villagers discovered his duplicitousness? He raged within the castle walls, his fury unhinged, his demands to know “who blew the whistle” met with silence. His advisers sought to calm him, placing great platters of hamberders in front of him, and sweet drinks, and desserts, and whispering in his ear;

“Your very stable genius is unmatched, Sire.”

“You have the biggest brain, my liege.”

“You possess the best words, your Majesty.”

This would calm him for a moment, but then he would spy someone in court looking slyly his way and then whispering something furtively to another subject, and he would erupt with anger, spittle spraying from his lips as he decried, “YOU SPREAD FAKE NEWS! YOU ARE HUMAN SCUM!”

At least 5 times a day, official proclamations would be dispatched to be announced by the town crier in the village square and missives would be sent by messengers on horses to the more remote areas of his realm. Sometimes, there were more, but his advisers would group these proclamations together so that the messengers wouldn’t have to make a dozen or more trips. As a result, one proclamation often contradicted the one right before it. It was not uncommon for the villagers to be told “I solemnly swear, as your king, that I will not send our soldiers to war” and then, in the next official announcement, hear that “We may need to go to war in order to stop the war.” At times, he was cryptic, proclaiming only “Wait for my words!” with ellipses…only the villagers did not know what ellipses were. Despite his claims of “the best education gold and silver could buy”, neither did he.

This morning, he instructed his Royal dresser to powder his face with extra color, so as to convey strength, health, and vigor, and donned his best, most golden wig, crafted by the virgin hair of a 13 year-old lass – this was the type he liked best. He was draped in voluminous robes to attempt to disguise his ever-widening backside and his rotund stomach, his sash hanging most unfashionably below his portly knees. Surveying himself in his looking glass, he murmured, “Who is the smartest guy? Who has said a lot of things? Me. I am the most bigly, huge leader!” Satisfied with his morning pep talk, he convened his most salacious, bottom-dwelling, foxy advisors to his drawing room.

“Tell me the news!” he demanded.

“We have sent spies to the other, far-off lands, Sire. They are to collect the information about those who wish to see you fail. We await their return,” said one.

“The witch hunt will not see you falter, my illustrious King! It is all false information, spread by those who are jealous of your great, powerful brain. They are unable to handle your genius!” gushed another.

“Perhaps,” said the quietest one, “it is time for a distraction from this terrible travesty, this attempt to destroy all of the wondrous things you have accomplished. Why, haven’t you built a strong wall around our kingdom to keep the dirty, maggot-encrusted beggars out? Have you not made the rich richer and taught the poor the most valuable lesson: to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and to never expect a handout? All wise, most useful points of knowledge, Sire! My fear, however, is that the evil, crafty opposition will take advantage of the weak and sow more lies about you.”

The Mad King leaned forward, his eyes shining like the scales of a fish in the sun. “What do you suggest?” he asked his adviser. The adviser’s bald pate reflected the torch light as he looked up from his templed fingers.

“Sire, as you well know, there are bandits outside the kingdom walls who take part in this great witch hunt, as well as having their own delusions of grandeur about toppling your monarchy and taking your riches for themselves. I have knowledge that one of the most ardent thieves – one who has set fire to cottages, stolen artifacts from the churches to boil down into gold bars, and who has attacked our forces while on the road – may be holed up in a cave to the east. I think we should send our best knights to kill him, and then display his head in the town square. The word will spread throughout the kingdom that you have toppled the enemy, making them safer, and they will be so filled with gratitude that they will forget this inconvenient, distasteful business about your family growing wealthier due to their donation of wares to the cause of the monarchy. Why, Sire, they will be happy to give you everything they own!”

The Mad King’s brow furrowed as he contemplated this idea. Finally, he spoke.

“Will I receive the credit? You know, I never do, but that’s okay. As long as the kingdom knows that I was the mastermind, I guess I can live with that.” he mused.

The ferret-faced adviser bowed to the Mad King. “Of course, Your Majesty. You will receive all of the credit. The villagers are idiots, if I may be so bold. None of them possesses your magnificent intellectual gifts! They believe anything we tell them.”

The Mad King mugged for his advisers, making a face and pantomiming, ‘I’m a dumb villager! I’m so stupid!”

His advisers laughed loudly and politely. Then, he held his hand up for silence and spoke.
“I’m not changing. I went to the best schools, I’m, like, a very smart person. I’m going to represent our kingdom with dignity and very well. I don’t want to change my personality – it got me here,” he addressed them. “Have my knights get the fella. He’ll die like a dog, crying and whimpering. Have them whisper in his ear, ‘This is from the King’ before they cut off his head.”

Dismissing his advisers, the Mad King suddenly felt more ravenously hungry than he had in weeks. “Didn’t we receive more chickens from the villagers for our deal in Nipple and Nambia? Prepare me some straight away. I could eat a bucket of the stuff.”

Winning the lottery

I have always maintained that, if I ever won the lottery, I would first sign the ticket and secret it in a safety deposit box, lawyer up, then collect my winnings in anonymity, swearing the state to secrecy.

I would commence to disperse with the amounts that I would have earmarked for family and friends, cut the checks and execute the trusts, and deliver them to each recipient via special concierge service, with a brief explanation and a “This is my gift to you” sort of statement. The post-script would simply say, “Have a wonderful life; I’ll be in touch.” Then I’ll get a new phone number.

“In touch” might mean next week, or it could mean 2024.

Then, I would collect the husband, The Male Sibling Unit, the Army of Meowness, and we would escape to our dream haven at a yet-to-be-determined location.

This could be Virginia Beach or the Norfolk area – despite the husband’s quiet ruminations about “courting hurricanes”, to which I replied, ‘You mean playing chicken? I’m willing to put my mobility to the test.” First, I’d need to get some more shots in my C-spine, but I’m game, and we’ll be able to afford it.

It could be Colorado, close to the beloved Rockies, because my soul truly felt like it might soar out of my body the first time I glimpsed a view of those white-capped mountains majesty. This was despite the husband’s dubious look when I assured him we would actually incur less winter than we do here, according to my daughter, who is anxiously awaiting my permanent migration to her out west.

“Less winter in the Rockies?” he questioned mildly, certainly mindful of the things he has seen on tv and in movies where people get stranded in cars on blocked mountain passes and have to resort to eating their shoe inserts and snow to stay alive, and bears chasing them when they need to pee; besides, a blizzard could render you snowed-in at any time. Oh, and the possibility that you might have to stay at a hotel where blood flows like a river down the hall, the bartender is a ghost, two twin girls in matching dresses keep appearing to stare at you, and you find yourself barricaded inside a bathroom while your mad-as-all-fuck spouse takes a hatchet to the door. You know – fun times.

By the way, I’ve actually been to the grounds of that hotel – the inspiration for The Overlook Hotel in The Shining was The Stanley in Estes Park, Colorado. My kids knew that they might need to make me wear a Depends when they took me to see it last year, but it is a Holy Grail destination for a Stephen King fanatic. I took lots of cool photos, but this is my favorite:

I happen to think my photo puts this stock photo to shame, except for the stunning mountains captured:

I mean, who wouldn’t want to be holed up in such a beautiful place during a Snowpocalypse? The ghosts are just an added bonus.

One thing is certain; we won’t be moving into my personal dream home, because it is in Alaska. At the foot of a glacier. If you’re curious about that home, you can see it here. “I’ll come visit,” the husband stated firmly, “but I am not moving to Alaska.” The fact that I did not reply, “Okay, great! I’ll see you in the Spring!” should give you an idea about how much I love him and where my priorities are, because I felt that house in my soul. I’ll just keep trying to recreate it, and build the damn thing if I have to.

You might be scratching your head, wondering where all this lottery talk is coming from. After all of this explanation about how I prefer anonymity and then to bug-out once my loved, cherished ones are looked after, I find myself unable to keep a secret.

Yesterday, I impulse-bought two Pennsylvania Lottery Instant games from one of those lottery ATMs.

I never do this. This was absolutely the first time. I don’t even buy Powerball tickets; I leave that task to the husband to do. I’m not a gambler in any way, having entered a casino exactly three times in my life:

Once, to indulge the husband’s love of gambling on his birthday, where he spent $100 and miraculously departed with something like $375; we were clueless about one game he was playing so we were just giggling and saying, ‘Ahhh, what the fuck,” and pushing buttons randomly until he had a premonition that he should cash out and he was right.

The second time was to take my newly-pregnant with her second child daughter to the buffet for her birthday, because that was where she wanted to go. She spent the dinner in a foul mood because she was having morning sickness, but I crushed it at the chocolate fountain.

The last time, the same daughter and I accompanied my youngest daughter to a bridal convention, where we oohed and ahhed at dresses, place settings, and tried samples of canapes and other reception fare. We left with business cards, pamphlets, and unsettling trepidation about just how expensive dream weddings could be (or maybe that was just the crab puffs). Her wedding was breathtaking and perfect without all those fancy-shmancy ideas and wedding planners.

It could be argued that I will do anything but gamble at a casino, although critics of buffets at casinos would argue that you are, indeed, gambling with your digestive health if you choose to partake of that sort of gastronomical wheel of fortune.

For me to part with $2 at a Lottery ATM is such a rare occurence, you have a better chance at seeing a Yeti. And yet, I did.

To my shock and utter, euphoric delight, once I figure out how to actually play the tickets I’d chosen (one Halloween-themed and the other, well duhhhhhhh, Grumpy Cat-themed) I discovered that I was a winner! My first time gambling, and I had won! What a story for the grandkids to tell their grandkids, right?!? But yes, it’s true: I won!

I would ask that you please respect my privacy, and that of my family’s, while we digest this spectacular change in fortune and learn to cope with this tremendous wave of good luck. Please, no requests for loans; I know who all my cousins are now due to my Ancestry DNA test, so don’t come at me with that angle, either.

Excuse me now, as I try to figure out how to contact David Bromstad, of My Lottery Dream Home. I really hope he can find me a dream home in either Virginia or Colorado with my winnings. I’m going to thrill him when I tell him my budget:

Yes, the entire $5.