Chapter 23 – And Fools Shine On

The following is an accumulation of information pierced together from my hazy memory, Google, Denmarkian historical record and Babette, who you’ll come to meet in a little bit. I can’t promise this to be one hundred percent accurate because of the old saying about winners and history books. What I can promise is that I tried to be truthful, or as truthful as one can be when the title of your story is,

“The Unquestionably False Yet Undeniably True Story of Tom Starita”

The last thing I remember, besides drowning in a sea of blood with only part of a severed leg as a life raft was the screaming. Oh my God the screaming. The Attractive Nurse kept screaming over and over, “YOU KILLED HIM YOU KILLED FRED” to the point where it grew to be an inconvenience. I didn’t care one way or the other whether or not Fred and his continent for a left hand were alive or dead. The only thing I carried about was dealing with the most horrific situation I had experienced since Phil the Penis Eating Polar Bear. My life up until this point was a never-ending series of uncomfortable moments but this, this moment right here was the be-all and the end-all. And the kicker was I had aged sixteen years the moment I emerged from the Grandmother Nurse’s womb. My brain was unable to process anything else and like a computer powered down.

I went to sleep.

For a long time.

For those of you who have been paying attention, you’ll know that inside my chambers was a Cardboard Cutout of the Princess, which turned out to be THE Princess, the very Princess I was due to marry in three days. That most wretched and vile knave, Fred, who owned mystical powers, had placed her into a cardboard coma of sorts. The only hope for freedom was Fred’s death. A death that was suspected to be all but impossible to attain. In fact, the only possible way for Fred to die would be by his own hands with a magical sword during an ancient Denmarkian half Kabbalah, half Scientology ceremony.

Well guess what folks, those words I heard being chanted right before I was reborn?

Half Kabbalah, half Scientology.

That blade that Fred meant to do me harm with?

The fabled Sword of Damocles.

And most important of all, do you know where that sword landed immediately after slicing through that poor Grandmother Nurse’s right leg?

Directly into the bellybutton of Fred.

In hockey terms, that’s called a Gordie Howe hat trick.

The moment Fred’s soul vacated his abominable corpse the Princess regained her form. Knowing the cost of her freedom, she came charging down the three flights of steps and down the hall to our room. Her hope was that only Fred had met his demise, although if I had to pay the ultimate price she could live with that as well. The Attractive Nurse had just repeated YOU KILLED HIM YOU KILLED FRED for the third time when the door kicked open and the Princess charged in. Upon seeing Fred she let out an involuntary cheer, one that was cut off when her mind registered the scene of me, the blood and the stump on the floor.

Now, the historical Denmarkian record states that the benevolent Princess forgave the Attractive Nurse for her role in this fiendish plot and sent her on her way to the eastern plains of Russia. The historical Denmarkian record also states that the freakishly deformed left hand of Fred was cut from his very arm and his fist became the new bell in the brand new bell tower, built later that year. The rest of Fred’s body was burned and brought to the Caspian Sea, where it was fed to the bountiful sturgeon. Finally, the young six-year-old boy destined to marry the Princess, we think his name was Tom was in a coma for more than nine hours and declared legally dead.

Wait…what?

Of course you already know there is a hint of untruth in those words. Here is what really happened.

The Attractive Nurse came at the Princess with the scorn of a thousand banshees, only to be subdued with the left heel of the Princess, driven straight through her left eye.

The Princess also had no desire to marry me and share the throne of Denmark. She decided we were now in the twenty-first century and women had just as much right to rule a country as a man. After all, Margaret Thatcher did it and did it well enough for Meryl Streep to gain her third Oscar. At the same time, this would be an impossibility if Tom Starita was around to marry her and become king. What a conundrum!

There was, as there always is for the rich, a loophole.

According to the Denmarkian State Medical Board of Doctors, Hunters and Boilermakers, a man could be declared legally dead if he was unable to awaken after more than nine hours asleep. This rule is famous in Denmark and the reason why alarm clock salesmen are the richest people in the country. Many a person have been declared legally dead because they had a wicked bender the night before and decided to sleep it off. There were plenty of men and women in Denmark who would openly sob if their spouse opened their eyes after more than eight hours of sleeping.

I do not miss Denmark.

The Princess immediately called for the Board to convene and assemble, and while she waited she dumped the bodies of Fred, save his left hand, which would become the new bell in the new bell tower and the Attractive Nurse out the window and into the moat. Urban legend states when the moon is full you can see a man and a woman walking the grounds outside the castle looking for his hand.

Gives me the willies just thinking about it.

Meanwhile, the Board gathered around my body, now covered in congealed blood with the starting to stink stump of the Grandmother Nurse’s leg still on top of my prone body and waited.

And waited.

And waited some more.

They waited, every once in a while gently poking my body with a stick, or casually kicking my ribs to see if I would awaken.

They continued to wait, every once in a while bending over so their faces were directly on top of my mine and screamed at me to wake up.

The wait lasted as the hands of the clock continued to twirl and the Board and the Princess put my hand in a glass of water and tickled my nose with a goose feather to see if I would wake up.

They did this until 1:15AM, until nine hours had passed. When the clock turned to 1:16AM the Board announced I had not woken up, meaning I was legally dead and the Princess was now free to do whatever or whomever she wanted.

Truly a sad day in Denmark.

The Princess announced my death and gave me the royal burial. The Denmarkian people mourned me for three weeks and placed alms made of blueberries on my grave. The band, “Brother Cane” was brought to Denmark and sang their hit song from 1994, “And Fools Shine On” every hour on the hour until the blueberries were eaten by hungry Denmarkian school children between the ages of six and eleven, as was the custom of the times.

Of course I wasn’t really buried. The Princess knew I wasn’t dead and couldn’t take the chance of me waking up during “And Fools Shine On,” causing the village people to believe the zombie apocalypse had arrived and the band, Brother Cane were actually a bunch of warlocks.

No, that would be ridiculous.

What did happen was my body was switched out with the body of the Grandmother Nurse, who had obviously died from blood loss. I was wrapped in a burlap sack and placed inside “Diversity” which was an old wooden ship that was used during the Civil War era and sent to Nice, France where the next stage of my marvelous journey would begin. A journey that owed its beginnings to the obsessive love of a French nurse named…Babette.

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