A King, a Queen, and a Boneyard
The man who wanted to be king was how the epitaph started.
I’ve always been told that you should start at the beginnin when telllin a story, but that doesn’t apply in this case. The beginnin is a borin set of begats and married to’s that, in the end, meant nothin at all.
You see, Kurt Foderoff’s life didn’t even begin til he was in the military. He even said himself that it was like livin in a dream state up til then. So it was that leavin for Baghdad was the best thing that could ever happen to a man with a borin life.
In Baghdad, there was trouble that went by the name of Iliana. And in Baghdad, Iliana was queen. Queen of what you might ask, but I wouldn’t have an answer. She never sat on a throne (unless you count a porcelain one) and she was never part of the palace procession. In fact, you could say that I’m merely tellin you this as it’s relevant to the story, not because I ever believed it.
But Kurt sure did. Boy, did he ever!
He was so convinced that he declared himself king, even before asking her to marry him, which of course she turned down. “How would it look,” she said “for the queen to marry a man like you? You are too white to be king.”
Truth be told, I had to agree with her. We were there as soldiers, representin the United States, not to be kings. This would likely be seen as treason, I reckoned, and told him the same. Mine as well been talking to a doorknob, though, for all he listened.
He went on about his days, courtin and wooin the queen until she caved. And by caved I don’t mean gave in.
You see, Kurt, now, his mind was goin long ‘fore we ever made it to Baghdad. The heat there just made it worse. So when he pursued and pursued, and the queen kept sayin no over and over, he took matters in his own hands.
Bein a soldier, that meant disastrous results.
He finely convinced her to meet him outside of Baghdad in those hills over there. You see them? Just crestin on the horizon there? Yeah those…
Well meet him she did and quicker ‘en you can say Harry Potter, he had her holed up in the cave beggin for mercy and wouldn’t let her out til she said yes. Which of course, she never did. Nope, she never did.
And so it was that the palace sent out a posse to find her. And this is how they came upon Kurt talkin and just a-cussin at some rocks on hill. Weak moans answered back and caught the attention of the posse.
Now, I wasn’t there, but this how it’s been told to me, what happens next.
Kurt fired out a single shot that ricocheted off one of those rocks and hit the posse leader square in the eye. As the leader hit the ground he yelled out a kill order, but it wasn’t followed.
You see, the real queen, Ivana, had plans for him. So, instead of killin him, the posse took his gun, stripped him of clothin and freed Iliana. They hauled them both right back to the palace and the real queen, Ivana, made Kurt stand before her, naked as the day he was born.
“You’re awful puny to be king,” was all she said before sendin him out to the boneyard.
Now I must pause here and explain. The queen wasn’t fond of jails and providin for those she deemed criminals, so she used the boneyard instead. Now, the boneyard is just a sandpit, but what happens there is what gives it its name. You see, she has your legs cut off so you can’t go nowhere and throws you in the pit to waste away under the hot sun. Then she sends her birds in to pluck at your leftover flesh even while you’re still breathin.
And so was Kurt’s fate.
And that is how they came up with his epitaph:
The man who wanted to be king but was too puny to become one.
The first assignment of the new year from those creative ladies at Write on Edge was to write a story based on what an epitaph says, in 500 words (okay, I busted the word count here), and with new, fresh characters.
So, tell me what you think. I took on the narrative voice with a dialect in this one. I’m always up for good, honest critique. Thanks for reading!