A Visit with the King (3)

by cheri block

King Beowulf, the Geat military hero of yore—killer of the monster Grendel, killer of Grendel’s crazed mother, and (gulp) killer of a fiery dragon who protected a wealthy hoard—summoned Alonzo to his mead-hall, an impressive office and bar around the corner from the burial mound. Leaving his residents without his contagious smile  (and his occasional ironic wink ), not to mention the  p-r-o-t-e-c-t-i-o-n   he fancied himself providing, Alonzo straightened his name tag, poofed his hankie and thumped into the King’s office.

The King got right down to business.

“I’m concerned about that old woman with the walker and her daughter, you know, the one with the iPhone wearing an orange hat who asks too many questions and seems uninitiated, “ the King observed, kneading his gray beard into a point.

“Initiation is something that only experience can tender, “ Alonzo answered, using his talons to scratch an itch under his vest. “It is surprising that a woman her age should walk around the mound with such big eyes. Have you noticed her eyes? Their expression makes me wonder.” And with that philosophical treasure, the dragon exhaled through pursed lips, burning the ground with a beam of wisdom.

“You are right, of course, my reptilian star,” encouraged the King.

“ Could you leave the word reptilian out of the compliment?” Alonzo retorted, coughing a bit. “It sounds so primitive. I prefer to be categorized as serpentine. I just love the sound of that word with its twists and turns.”

“Life does provide us humans with the twists and turns of life,” said the King.

And with that hackneyed cliché, the King dismissed Alonzo, with the following advice, “ I suspect the daughter will make the choice for the mother because the mother is weak, in pain, and looking for a place to rest. Watch the mother’s eyes to validate that she too, wants to live in our burial mound. Don’t worry about the finances. If you represent it as is, they will come.”

Alonzo had heard this advice before, but he couldn’t remember where.

“Certainly, your liege,” he answered (feeling pleased with his use of such a regal word) and lumbered back to the mound.

There, waiting by the popcorn machine, were Joan and her daughter.

[This work is registered at the U.S. Copyright Office 2010]

About Cheri

Writer, photograph, artist, mother, grandmother and wife.
This entry was posted in My fiction, The Dragon in the Lobby: a fairytale about Assisted Living and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to A Visit with the King (3)

  1. Yes, you’ve nailed that bureaucratic impatience that so exude!

  2. that they so exude, sorry.

    • wkkortas says:

      Y’know, if Grendel is, among his other charms, the embodiment of disorder, it only seems natural that his antagonist would be the very opposite. I’m gussing the noble Beowulf is borderline fanatical about re-using paper clips.

  3. Hyperbole and poetic licence set apart, the underlying feeling here seems utterly diffident and morose. If you all feel that way about the place and the adminstration, by all means, look elsewhere for your own well being and your mother’s. Nobody wants to bury or be buried alive.

    • Cheri says:

      Interesting reaction, Paul. Not my intention…! How fortunate I am to have you and Jenny weighing in here.

      If you have time, can you tell me how you came to the conclusion that the King and the Dragon were insincere?

      • I never said the King and Dragon were being insincere. You seem to have a gut reaction to what they are and what they project. The “place” can be very nice but people are part and parcel of the place. You do not seem to relate very well to those people hence my interrogation.
        In a residence or in a nursing home you do not just inhabit a place, yopu also inhabit an atmosphere, a feeling. Of course those private enterprises are for profit should you feel that at some point the profit motive is far superior to the “helping mission” then you would have serious reasons for looking elswhere.
        Above all what does mom think of the place, how does she feel about it? She will be the one living there. If she is mentally alert, you must weigh that over and above other considerations.
        Shopping around could help reach a decision…but I’m sure you already did.

  4. jenny says:


    Paul is right, of course.

    Actually, it all points to the same thing, your whimsical story and Paul’s sober comment: You are a kind of Cheri Baggins in a bizarre Middle Earth. I hope your hat has magical powers.

  5. Cheri says:

    Well, at least I nailed the bizarre aspect of this experience 🙂
    But there is so much more I am trying to say.
    (The place is really very nice).

  6. Cheri says:

    Thank you once again. You are my wise sage, here on the blog. I read what you have to say at least three times. Merci’
    My stories are fiction.
    The place is wonderful, but that fact does not negate all the feelings/new experiences/loss/wonder I am experiencing.
    That is what these stories are about–the projection of insight/lack thereof that I am flinging/smacking/whamming against this time in my mother’s (and thus, in mine) life…
    but I am grateful to be “noticing” all I have missed. I am sure this doesn’t make sense.
    But that’s OK too.

    • Your stories are fictions? I’m sure your fictitious doctor (what’s is name) would find them hugely interesting and informative. Viewed thus they certainly are a very good stress relief. Jenny has also felt that stress (or horror as she calls it).
      Bloging is a great “éxutoire” is it not?
      Have a good weekend in fantasy land.

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