TSP065: Breakfast inbred

April 17, 2013

The king stretched out his sceptre and pronounced this breakfast cereal open.  The queen tutted audibly and rolled her eyes.  Her husband momentarily paused his excited pouring and glanced across.  “What was that dear?” he asked, churlishly and with forethought.  The queen scowled and replied brusquely, “Oh, nothing darling,” before returning her attention to the far-too-easy wordsearch on the back of the Sugar Puffs.  Slamming the box onto the kitchen table (which caused a line of oats to spill upwards in a gravity-defying cascade of a beauty rarely seen outside Wrexham) the king gathered himself to his full height (two foot four), his eyes boiling with rage, and screamed out, “And what, may I ask, is that supposed to mean?!”

The queen looked over at him with apathy and distaste, much as a child would at a Twiglet.  Laying down her quill neatly and with propriety she almost sang her response…  “It means, oh dearest hubby of mine, that you are a great big fat pig and I hate you and always have.”  This threw the king somewhat, as he’d been starting to think that maybe she was upset about him stretching out his sceptre to pronounce the breakfast cereal open.  “So it wasn’t because I stretched out my sceptre and pronounced this breakfast cereal open?” he asked.  The queen reached out her hand and patted his cheek gently.  “Well, my cuddly sausage of a man, it was a little bit because you stretched out your sceptre and pronounced that breakfast cereal open, but it was also a large bit because you are incessantly annoying and a bigot and a great big skank.”

The king breathed in slowly through one nostril and then out through the other.  “You’re making fun of my height aren’t you?  That’s twice you’ve said ‘big’ now.  Part of me wishes it really were because I stretched out my sceptre and pronounced my breakfast cereal open, but I can tell that mainly it’s because I am very short and afraid of lemons.”  “My dear little-”  “Watch it, woman.”  “My dear cherub and hot buttered maltloaf, I can assure you it’s not because of your height – remember, I’m shorter than you; I’m barely two foot two.  You seem to be forgetting that we are pygmies, and that you are the king of the pygmies, and that I am the queen of the pygmies, and also that you are such a blasted blockhead of an awful bloated dog bottom.”

It was rare that the king found himself unsure of how to reply to a statement (last time had been back in 1986 when filling out his pygmy tax return and attempting to fathom the difference between gross domestic income and frankly putrid domestic income) but this was to prove one of those occasions.  Climbing up onto the step stool, he spat out his coffee with a satisfying ‘ping’ off his dog’s prosthesis and roared down at his bride, “EXPLAIN YOURSELF, LADY.”  At this, the queen kicked back her chair, stood up and shouted back whilst pointing at the yucca plant (in a completely unconnected gesture), “ALRIGHT!  FINE!  IT’S ALL BECAUSE YOU STRETCHED OUT YOUR SCEPTRE AND PRONOUNCED A BOX OF BREAKFAST CEREAL OPEN.  The other things I said were a ruse, hiding my true feelings.  My insults were merely waffle, concealing the fact that I was very much offended by your pronouncement of openness of cereal boxes.  I was bally well annoyed and I’m still smarting now – you’ve really peed me off.”

The king got down off his step stool and walked over to his queen, an arm of reconciliation stretched out to still her heaving shoulders.  “My dear,” he said, “My dear, dear, dear, dear… dear, dear, dear, dear…” (he was stalling for time, having forgotten her name)… “My dear queen.  Queen, queen, queen, queen…” (now he’d forgotten what he’d originally been about to say)… “I know I have some annoying habits.  I know that I can’t open a door, or a jar, or a board game without first raising my sceptre and announcing it.  I’m fully aware that it is almost impossible for me to unwrap a parcel, or uncork a bottle, or mischievously release the catch on a zoo animal’s cage without gravely declaring its new status.  And I completely understand that it can be frustrating when every time I sit upon the porcelain throne I feel compelled to shout-”  “Please, come to the point.”  “All I want to say, darling, is that if it makes you happy, I can stop with the whole thing.  I can stop.  End of.  In future, when I go into the fridge, I will do so in silence.  When I look for a glass from the cabinet, I will keep my mouth firmly sealed.  And when your mother comes to stay and I taunt her by dangling her over that trapdoor that leads to the crocodile pond I will clamp my lips together and content myself with an inward chuckle.  I can change, dearest, and I will.  For you.”

His oration over, the queen gazed into his eyes, fondly remembering the man she once married (before she married the king) and told him straight…  “You really don’t get it, do you?!  You can keep saying the whole ‘I pronounce this blah-blah-blah open’, I really don’t mind – but I just want you to stop undermining me.  I’d already pronounced the cereal box open with my mace…”

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“I just don’t like her, okay?  She’s spoiled and she’s pompous and she always gets to go on holidays abroad – what do we get?  The Isle of Sheppey – where even is that?!  I just can’t abide her – she does my nut in.  Did you hear her the other week, banging on and on about the family wedding she gets to go to next year?  When was the last time I got to go to a wedding, hey?!  It’s just totally not fair and I hate her; I really really HATE her!!”

“But Stephanie darling, I don’t understand why you let her get under your skin like this; you get so het up by her – and yet it’s not like you two even know each other properly.”

“Of course we don’t know each other properly!  Can you imagine her taking an interest in me for a moment?!  I know who she is, I see her face around all the time, but does she know me?  No she does not – and she doesn’t make the effort to.”

“Stephanie, can I just double-check something here honey…  We’re still on the conversation about the Queen here yes?”

“Of course we are Roger!”

“Okay – I was just checking, that’s all…”

“It’s just…  The very idea of having a monarchy – it’s completely wrong.  This one family having all the attention and special privileges and a lifestyle funded by the British taxpayer just because they happen to be exceedingly posh and used to execute people.  I mean, what do they even do?  Why do we still allow them to exist?  The whole monarchy system should have been scrapped aeons ago; it’s a long-redundant relic of a bygone era for which there is no place in the 21st century.”

“So you’re an anarchist?”

“No, I’m not an anarchist Roger.  Being against the monarchy doesn’t make me an anarchist, for crying out loud.  Anarchy’s all about having no systems at all, no powers that be, no authorities.  Can you imagine a world without that?  It’d be awful.”

“I don’t know – the Liverpool match on Saturday would have been a lot better without the referee.  And Sepp Blatter.”

“Roger, anarchy’s not about FIFA – it’s deeper than that, it’s about ruling powers.  Powers that oppress the subjects of a nation.”

“Okay, so you’re not an anarchist, but you’re a non-monarchist.”

“I’m an anti-monarchist.”

“What’s the difference?”

“An anti-monarchist is someone who’s anti the monarchy; a non-monarchist is a made-up word.”

“But it means the same…”

“A made-up word by its very definition has no definition.  Don’t be a prat.”

“So if you’re so anti the monarchy, what do you feel about stamps?”

“Pardon?”

“You know – you get the Queen’s head on all the stamps.  That must rile you a bit.”

“No Roger because I buy all my stamps for the year at Christmas when Wallace and Gromit are on them.  To me they are much more worthy of my respect and adoration.”

“Alright, well what about coins?  What do you do about them?  You can’t buy coins that don’t have the Queen on.”

“I only use Euros.  Most places accept them these days.”

“Co-op don’t.”

“Yes, but when I go to Co-op I pay by card so the coins aren’t an issue.”

“What if you’re only buying some oranges?”

“Then I’d still pay for that by card – I’m making a stand about her influence in my life; it’s a very serious political statement.  You know, I don’t think you’re taking me seriously on this Roger.  This conversation ends now – there’ll be no more mentioning of She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named for the rest of this evening, okay?”

“Okay.”

“Good.”

(pause)

(longer pause)

(pause getting a bit awkward now)

“What about the band Queen?”

What?”

“You know, Queen, the band – can I mention them?”

“In context, yes.”

“Right…

(pause)

…so if the band Queen were on our coinage would you use sterling then?”

“Roger, I-…  No, I wouldn’t.  And that’s nothing to do with Her Royal Naffness – you know I detest Brian May’s hair.”

“Of course…

(pause)

…what about Steve McQueen?”

What?!”

“Can I talk about Steve McQueen?”

“Yes, of course you can talk about Steve McQueen.”

“What about queen bees?”

“Roger, I-“

“Or drag queens.”

(sigh) “Roger, you are more than welcome to talk about drag queens.”

“Like Sue Barker.”

“Sue Barker is not a drag queen.  Now can you just-“

“Is it just the Queen?  Can I talk about kings?  Or princes?  How about Prince – or The Artist Formerly Known As Prince?”

“Roger.”

“How about King Kong?  King Lear?  Don King?  Old King Cole?  How about words that end in ‘king’?  Like ‘leaking’ or ‘cranking’ or-“

“ROGERJUSTSHUTUPANDLISTENTOME.  This is STUPID!

(silence)

I have an objection to the monarchy, I am not anti-glam rock, The Great Escape is one of my favourite films of all time and I flipping love honey.  The coincidental presence of the title of a male ruler at the end of everyday verbs is completely irrelevant and I would really appreciate it if we now avoided all mention of anything even slightly royal, regal or monarch-related and just enjoy the rest of our evening together.  Okay?

(muffled reply)

Okay?!”

“Okay.”

“Good.  Now I really want to get out of the house.  Just… get out, forget about all this and just… do something, you know?  How about a meal – we could go to that new pizza place?”

“Or we could do the cinema.”

“Is there anything on?”

“…

The King’s Speech?”