You may remember hearing from Lucini Pavarinni in the past. Today, you get to hear from him again.
Well the professor has invited me back to share it today’s post about a memorable story from the Punchy Lands.
I of course, make my home there (I believe I mentioned last time) mostly in NYC, but I travel a lot. And one of the greatest traditions over the years for me has been attending the yearly birthday celebrations of Arthur, King of England.
He has them just outside his castle on the royal lawn.
And the first year, the invitations were open and numerous. Everybody was going to be there… except Salami. He and I had noticed the disturbing lack of a Fire Department in England and had opened up a private company the week before. So he was regrettably, busy.
But there were still plenty of characters to be had! When I arrived, the festivities were just starting.
The long table was lined with chairs and many people were already in their seats. Others were still arriving, and Arthur was yet to show himself.
I picked a seat and began observing my surroundings.
Scarcely a shadow remained of what once would have been, in the days of the real King Arthur. The current pretender had had his toll. Days of chivalry were replaced with days of recreancy and decay. And The lucculan feasts, with… fare supplied by Ruber.
Now, when Ruber’s restaurant is catering to a sizable event, they practically move in. He brings a few tents and all of his equipment and his staff begin work, on site. This is always a great opportunity for mischief. His staff is very absentminded.
I decided to go see what was happening beyond the curtains.
It was pretty smoky inside and Ruber was hurrying about shouting orders to his staff. There was a chart on the wall that listed all of the courses that were to be served. And there were several of them, upwards of eight if memory serves me correctly.
Ruber happened to turn in my general direction and he saw me…
“Pavarinni, can’t you see we’re busy, eh?”
He was about to say something else but he was whisked off to save the Chicken Tetrazzini which had suddenly caught fire.
I chuckled and began to leave but stumbled over something in the process. I picked it up. It was a small tin labeled, “Value Chicken – Compound B.” I turned it over and scanned the ingredients: water, corn oil, bleached white flour, guar gum, naturally sanitized chicken feathers, natural and artificial flavorings.
I grimaced and smiled at the same time. There was a whole stack of tins just like this hiding in the shadow of the corner. I slipped my tin in my back pocket and went back out to join the party which had by now fully assembled.
Arthur was there and as soon as he saw me he greeted me. He always says something disparaging to me,
“Why Pavarinni, what are you doing here?”
(As if I wasn’t invited.)
“Oh Arthur! I’m so sorry I didn’t see you at first. What a confirmation it is for someone of your stature to be overlooked.”
(In all fairness, I usually manage to say something equally disparaging. Arthur is very small and extremely sensitive about it.)
His face hardened into a malignant sneer.
And he chuckled, a short, mephistophelian chuckle.
Gloating over my victory I found a seat … next to Schwartz Tauptinker, as it turned out.
“Hey dude,” Schwartz whispered confidingly, “I have no gift–tell you what. Completely forgot. No, no, no, not good.”
“Hmm, come to think of it I don’t have…” I trailed off purposely and smiled. After dinner I would offer a very special gift to the King: The gift of enlightenment.