Tuesday, June 19, 2007


by Eric

Genre: Fantasy
Pop Culture: Google, the TV show Wife Swap, Frank Sinatra


“This doesn’t look good.“

“In retrospect it may have been a bad idea.”

“Oh really? ….May have been a bad idea? Ya think?”

Her retort was not as sarcastic as it sounded, but nonetheless hurt Mark deeply. It had been his idea to go through the portal they had created in Sara’s garage. “It’s not all my fault, you made the portal.”

“Let’s not reminisce about who did what and whose fault it is, the fact remains that we need to find a way back.” Sara had started the argument, and as per her usual need, she had finished the argument. It was true that she had drawn the circle in the floor using her niece’s chalk, but she had no idea that it would open a portal to another dimension. And although Mark had suggested jumping in, the lure of the lush forest and golden sunshine in it had more of an appeal than the eight straight days of rain they had been living through . “So you got any more bright ideas Einstein?”

As if on cue her palm pilot lit up and played one of those Avril songs she had on there simply to annoy her husband. “You’re getting service out here?” “No, it was just a reminder that we were supposed to go see the sexologist today.”

This caused Mark to laugh. It had been her idea because she thought there marriage needed a little spicing up. Sara had seen a clip about the sexologist while watching an episode of Wife-Swap. That had also made him laugh. Wife-swap, sexologist…he still couldn’t believe he was going to go see her. I mean Sara had just picked the first doctor off a Google search and made an appointment.

“You know, I don’t really think she would have helped us anyways.”

“Yeah, like you got all the answers.”

“I know one thing you don’t know.”

“Oh yeah, what’s that?”

She had turned her head to look at her husband and fell face forward into the ground. The last thing she remembered was a large object blocking out the sun. Had she been awake, she would have seen four men standing above her and her husband. Two of the men were carrying crudely made long pipes. They had hit them with some primitive form of tranquilizers. Had Mark and Sara been awake to see, they would have seen these men dressed in black and white medieval tunics and chain link armor. A fifth man appeared, leading a horse that pulled a small cart. The five of them loaded the couple in with what appeared to be 3 kegs of liquor.

They awoke later that night in what appeared to be a medieval dungeon. Both of them noticed immediately that their shoes had been removed and Sara was missing her wedding ring. There was a little light coming up from underneath a large black door. Mark started knocking on it in several places before pronouncing it solid. Sara had just sat down on hand-woven grass mat when a small piece of wood slid from the middle of the door and a bellowing voice told them to stand back from the door. They both moved to the back of the cell and the opening closed again. The door swung open very slowly and a hunched back little man appeared in the doorway.

“The King wants to meet you oddly clad strangers. Now we can do this the easy way or we can do this the real easy way,” he said as he produced a shackle and threw it down on the floor. “One for each of your wrists” he said as he licked his lips and stared at Sara. Mark picked up the shackle and clasped his wrist with one and handed the other to Sara. She hesitated for a second and the hunchback made a move for them.

“I got it, I got it!” she yelled hoping to keep his slimy hands from touching her. She clasped the shackle around her right wrist and kind of shook it showing that it was on tightly.

“Very well then. Off to see the King.” He motioned for them to follow and they clumsily exited the cell. Standing behind them were two very large guards holding very large axes. They were led down a long hallway, up a flight of stairs and into a huge dining hall.

“Are you seeing what I’m seeing?”

“We are definitely not in Kansas anymore….” Mark was staring at the room with his mouth agape. He had assumed they were in medieval times, but this dining hall was reminiscent of a night club from the 1950s. Instead of little dining tables dotting the room, there were 3 long tables packed with exquisitely dressed lords and ladies. At the end of the hall was a huge stage with an elaborately jeweled throne. To one side was …unbelievably, what can only be described as a big band box. There were about two dozen black and white clad musicians all holding horns. To the left of the big throne sat four smaller less ornate thrones. As the guests rose to their feet, the big band started playing a song Mark eerily recognized.

“That’s Come Fly with Me.” “Are you sure?” “Yeah my father loved to listen to….”

Mark’s words were drowned out by a huge applause. Both turned their heads to the main stage and saw the king arriving. Sara closed her eyes and shook her head thinking she had to be dreaming. She had expected something weird in a nightclub throne room in a medieval castle…but this was outrageous. After the applause died down and the king took his seat , the hunchbacked jailor strode up and kneeled before the stage. After paying his allegiance to the king he ascended the stage and began to whisper to the king. The king burst from his throne and caused quite a stir amongst the dinner guests making the room fall silent.

“Bring them forward,” he bellowed . The two guards pushed Mark and Sara forward and they moved toward the stage at a brisk pace. As they neared the stage one of the guards tripped Sara , sending both of them to their knees. “You will bow to the king,” one of them said in a muffled voice. Mark looked up and saw the most unbelievable thing in this fantasy world. Standing before him on the stage was a man wearing a tuxedo with a red and gold crown, a lavish cape, and holding a gem encrusted scepter. Mark closed his eyes and squinted, hoping that he was dreaming. The man before him walked forward and offered his hand to Sara.

“You’ll have to forgive these cats, baby. They got no manners for beautiful women.” The king helped her to her feet as Mark rose at the same time. “Are you really Frank Sinatra?”

“It doesn’t get any more real than me , baby.” Frank waved the guards to back up and left the 3 alone at the foot of the stage. ”But…but you’re dead. I saw the funeral on CNN.”

“It was crazy man. There I was on my deathbed at the hospital. I think I was hallucinating or something. Then I see this white light and I think to myself that heaven’s calling me. I remember trying to say that I was losing my grip on the world, but the light flashed and I woke up in this forest. I wasn’t my old self, I was my old self. Well you know what I’m saying , baby. I was as I am now. I look 30 but I got 90 years of experience behind it.”

Mark had a wide smile on his face. He had loved Sinatra as a kid because his grandfather only played Sinatra. It had made Mark a huge fan of his. He began to wonder if he had created this world with Sinatra as the king as a dreamland. “Frank, I gotta ask ya. How did you go from chairman of the board to king of the castle?”

“That’s a great question. Do you believe in destiny?” Mark responded with a simple nod of his head. “Well so do I. If I tell you how to become king here, you’ll have all my power and riches. My transformation here has brought me a certain enlightenment. And I’ll be damned if I let some punks from the future take that away from me!” He made a motion to the guards and two logs were brought in front of them. Mark and Sara were pushed down onto the blocks of wood and had their hands secured to the bottom. “Sorry kiddos, but there’s only room for one king here.” Frank raised a goblet from his throne and made a motion for everyone to raise their cups.
“Let’s drink to tonight’s entertainment. May God grant them the mercy of a swift death.” The crowd raised their cups , drank and then cheered raucously . Frank started singing a farewell song for them. The last thing Mark heard as the guard’s axe fell was the unmistakable lyrics ….

I did what I had to do and saw it through without exemption
I planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way.

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