The official poison-tester had been dining with royalty for three generations. He attributed his longevity to luck and a sturdy metabolism.
The old king had feasted on a regular basis. He ate rich foods in great quantities, hardly any fruits or vegetables, and substituted wine or mead in lieu of water. (The old king had had recurrent bouts of gout.) Back then, the poison-tester had been a young man. Rather than take a bite of this or a nibble of that, he’d consumed entire meals, and still his pants had fit him, season after season. The old king had been popular — there had been no attempted poisonings during his reign. He’d died peacefully, in his sleep.
His son, the young king, had been more reserved. More often than not, he and the poison-tester had dined alone. By now, the poison-tester was an adult in his own right — no longer did he wantonly eat or drink, or treat his job less than professionally. The young king had preferred his food bland, and the poison-tester hadn’t even seasoned his meals with salt, so determined was he to mirror the royal constitution. When the young king had died in battle, the victim of an opportunistic archer, the poison-tester had eaten a single, dry piece of bread in memoriam.
At the age of nine, the boy king had assumed the throne. He was a sickly child; it was unfair to have the mantel of leadership thrust upon him. He had no playmates. He very rarely went outside. The poison-tester wasn’t require to taste the boy’s various medicines, but he often grimaced in sympathy at the bitter taste and brought a warm glass of milk, which he also sipped, to sooth the boy’s stomach. When the boy went to sleep one night and didn’t wake the following morning, the poison-tester waited with his breakfast until it grew cold. At the royal funeral, no one cried louder than he.
Little Red Riding Hood went to visit her grandmother, but I don’t remember why. Maybe she was bringing her something?
Her grandmother lived all by herself, alone, which seems pretty strange. She still had family — she had a granddaughter, after all. Maybe she was a bad person? Maybe she was racist? So why did Little Red Riding Hood go visit her if she’d been ostracized? It could’ve been a guilt thing.
When she arrived her grandmother was already dead. The wolf had eaten her whole. That would’ve taken a while, right? Also, this wolf must’ve been huge. And crazy smart. The wolf in this story is terrifying. When people first heard it, they should’ve gone out and killed every wolf they saw. Even the ones that couldn’t talk. Even the small ones.
So the wolf, dressed like Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother, got under the covers, just lying there. But how long had it been in those clothes, just waiting around? It’s beyond insane. And Little Red Riding Hood walked up, completely fooled by the wolf’s voice and, like, a bonnet, and I don’t remember how the story ends, but it’s not with Little Red Riding Hood dying, so it’s got to be the wolf.
This is the kind of thing a drunk person tells you if you ride mass transit in the middle of the day.
A pirate was searching for his buried his treasure. “This,” he told his parrot, “is why one makes a map.”
He knew he preferred to bury his treasure on deserted islands, where there was less chance of it being discovered. Also, he liked to dig under palm trees. The whole thing was a bit clichéd — but so was the notion of “X marks the spot,” and what he wouldn’t have given for a timely X.
The first island they anchored at looked familiar. When the pirate dug under the one palm tree, he discovered a buried chest, but it was the wrong chest. This chest was filled with gold dinner plates.
“Nice, right?” he asked the parrot.
“Very nice,” the parrot agreed.
On the second island there were no palm trees, so the pirate counted ten paces from the shore, which, if it wasn’t a lucky number, did have a nice, round quality to it. Where the pirate dug he discovered a second buried chest, this one filled with a variety of jewels.
“Pretty,” said the parrot.
“Very pretty,” the pirate agreed.
He couldn’t quite remember what he was looking for. He could recall the day he’d buried it: it had rained, but the kind of rain you ultimately enjoy, either because it’s already humid or you’ve resigned yourself to getting wet (or both). The pirate had buried his treasure in the morning and had taken a nap in the afternoon, the perfect kind of nap, which leaves a person refreshed and not feeling at all groggy. It had been an excellent, unspectacular day.
“Why don’t you bury something?” suggested the parrot. “That always improves your mood.”
So the pirate did. He took off his jewelry and emptied his pockets and put everything in a hole in the ground. “You should make a map,” said the parrot, but the pirate didn’t feel like making a map, which was time-consuming, and, anyway, his maps were notoriously poor representations — laughably poor. The parrot rolled his eyes. This always happened.
This is a repository for JY's original content that's yet to be bound in a book -- essays, short fiction, etc. There's little rhyme or reason, so jump in!