As one of the crowdfunding rewards for We Are All Ghosts, I promised contributors a personalised poem. I got fairly liberal with the term ‘poem’ after I’d written a dozen or so and just started writing obituaries, dictionary entries and this regicidal thank you story.
It began, as these things often do, with the entrails of a goat. Betwixt that wet and slimy mass of formerly functioning organs her birth was foretold by Jill the soothsayer. Granted, the soothsayer in question had been less than reliable in the past, and what kind of name was ‘Jill’ for a soothsayer anyway? Surely Mercuria or Evangeline or Morgana would have been far more appropriate? On one occasion Jill had sworn that a particularly vital Saturday afternoon would be blue as the ocean, and the king had arranged his birthday festivities accordingly. When the heavens opened up on the vast crowd and left them scurrying for their homes covered in mud and water, he had called for Jill’s head. Fortunately the soothsayer’s guild had presciently (apropos of their trade) started a rumour that a regal order for the beheading of a fortuneteller would bring seven years of terrible famine and vastly underwhelming sex upon the monarch in question.
So she had foretold the birth of the child, many hundreds of years hence, who would be unlike any other. Who would talk to machines with as yet unknown lexicons, who would walk proudly covered in a cosmic quilt of cartoons and colour dancing upon her flesh, and regard the world with two raised fingers and an almighty roar in the key of ‘fuck you!’ And the king did not live to see her birth, for he died some years later when he slipped on the palace stairs, and cracked his head against the cobblestone floor. This may have been just as well, as his brother had been planning to poison him using the root of the deathshade tree, which induces violent diarrhoea and yellowy discharge from the eyes and is considered by most apothecaries to be the second worst possible way to die.*
So the poor king never did set eyes upon the wondrous child, but I did. And my life is much better for it.
* the first is usually listed as ‘being fucked to death by a werewolf’, in case you were wondering.