So, I was still at that ball.
And I had just insulted Prince Beef.
See, I told him congratulilolations (about his wedding) and he got very cranky very fastly fast.
Apparently, I wasn’t supposed to know there was a wedding.
Schwarz Tauptinker told me out of turn. Of course he’d know, too, since it was his sister, Greta, getting married.
Now, I had to say something to get out of this horrible situation.
Huff-Hum and a roar.
Prince Beef placed his hands on his hips and strode about me, in a circular pattern, don’t you know.
“So, my man,” he said–in his usual lofty manner–“what chicken betrayed my wedding? Tell me the truth, as is not your wont, beetle-hole.”
Beetle-hole?! That stopped me cold, I must admit. And this is a general rule. Whenever someone does a pretty swear word, the sudden and out of the blue, I must needs think on it for a bit. Admire it’s beauty. Then save it in the archives for use.
“What?!” Prince Beef rather yelled in my ear. “No answer?”
“Hold on for a bit, would you?!” I exclaimed. “I’ve got to think about that insult you delivered so beautifully.”
Prince Beef stopped his circling in front of me. And raised one eyebrow. “Answer my question, peasant, or I shall cut off your ears, then your toes, then your eyebrows.”
“You can’t cut off eyebrows, cur-sauce!”
And that’s when Daddy Salami joined our conversation. He skipped up, with some sort of bubbling drink in his hand.
Prince Beef turned on him suddenly. “What did you call me, you scant?”
“Hehaha,” Salami laughed. And he wrapped his arm around me. “What got under yer skin, cur-belly?”
The prince’s mouth dropped even lower than thought possible.
“Why you red…!”
“Shut-up!” Salami roared.
And that’s when Greta rushed in. “Stop!” she begged, looking from the prince to Salami. “None of this! I won’t have it!”
There were tears in her eyes.
The prince’s face melted immediately. “Oh…Greta!”
And then something horrible happened.
Prince Beef embraced Greta and Daddy Salami got an idea: He already had his arm around me, and he rushed forward (with me, I fear) and together we embraced the prince and Greta.
It was a group hug.
And it was awful.
The prince was just about to explode, too.
But at that minute, there was a flash, and Julia Thompson huffed past with a camera in her hand.
“This,” she said to me quietly,”is going in the paper.”
Not that I minded a mint.