This week’s writephoto prompt has me toying with capitalism…
Albert Nogratitude steepled his fingers and stared at the map on the opposite wall. Finally.
As Lord Chamberlain of Fairyland, it fell to Albert to ensure three things: no one usurped the Royal personage; uninterrupted filming rights for Disney were maintained; and there was a surfeit of gold coins to enable the whole thing to function.
Until twelve months ago, it had been the first that took up the majority of his time. The stream of princes and frogs and ogres and other pretenders was a fact of life in somewhere imbued with magic. They literally popped out of the ether. The second had become something of a follow on from the first. Usurpers need to achieve popular acclaim to usurp, which proved difficult when you could ensure a string of feelgood films involving the Royal Personage in the last scene smiling benignly and granting a pardon or disarming a spell or removing an unsightly wart. Indeed Albert secretly harboured a hope that the Royal Personage might become an instagram influencer in due time with his range of facial restoratives.
However the third, which had been a given for his seventy years in charge had, in the last twelve month become problematic. Before the ‘Incident’, the Court Alchemist had been sure to refill the royal coffers with sufficient coinage when required. But one year ago, the current incumbent in the role had seen fit to take a holiday, having watched a Disney film involving talking animals in somewhere called Madagascar. So enamoured was he of the sun, the sea and, mostly, the lack of anything resembling Albert, he had sent word that, begging the Lord Chamberlain’s pardon but he could shove it.
Since it required the outgoing Alchemist to teach the incoming the tricks of his trade or take an online course that lasted two years before he was ready to convert minced serfs into gold, there was something of a cash crisis looming.
Albert had despaired but the chappie who acted as liaison with the Disney Corp told him, when Albert confided in him one evening over a glass of fairy potion in the back bar of the Witch and Wardrobe that he knew a man who knew a man who knew the Man. In truth Albert had no clue what he was on about and it was only the vaguest memory he retained of the whole conversation. But the next day a grubby looking cove in a brown suit and sporting a two tone moustache appeared, telling Albert, ‘Your money worries are over, guv’nor.’
His plan seemed both simple and believable. Fairyland had a lot of fairy land. It was surrounded by land that didn’t. Those surrounding towns and cities and kingdoms and some such would give a fair bit of gold to own a chunk of land with magical properties, or so Albert was assured.
When Albert objected that ordinary people couldn’t live on magical land without consequences, Frank – Albert wasn’t entirely sure that was his name but he’d said, in the first meeting ‘I’ll be Frank with you’ so Albert assumed it was at the very least his preferred nomenclature – had told him not to worry. ‘Can you de-magic the land?’
‘Demystify it? Yes….’
‘Well, that’s what you do.’
‘But won’t people object?’
‘Will they be able to tell it’s not magical?’
‘Well, no. That’s the point. Unless you’re a magical personage you can’t take advantage of its loamy and fantastical properties.’
‘So that’s what you do. You sell them a chunk of magical land, they buy it and caveat emptor.’
‘Who’s this Cavity Emperor?’
‘Don’t stress yourself, squire. It means they’re stuck with it.’
So that’s what they did. A parcel of land was demystified, put on the market and bids were taken. Tomorrow the sale was going to be competed and he would have all the gold he needed to keep them going until the new Alchemist qualified with a little left over so he could hire a contract unicorn to go and find the previous incumbent and stick his horn where the sun didn’t…
‘Sir?’ A nervy flunky shifted his feet.
‘You know the sale.’
‘Yes?’ Albert hadn’t been in the job so long to know trouble was brewing but also he couldn’t rush a flunky.
‘And it’s to be with vacant possession?’
Albert dewaxed his left ear while giving a hurry up sign.
‘What’s not?’ His right ear was proving tenaciously adhesive.
‘Vacant. A pixie has, erm, moved in.’
‘It seems so but the message was garbled so it’s possible it might be a fairy or a sprite…’
‘They nailed a nesting box to a tree.’
Albert felt his world beginning to crumble. Ahead were meetings with lawyers, threats, bankruptcy, and continuous sandwiches. He hit the table. ‘Do something, Pontoon.’
‘Do…? You mean take action?’
‘But… I’m a flunky. I fawn and pour insincere obsequies into your shell-like.’
‘Well, I want action.’
‘Well… um… I resign.’
‘No, you don’t. You c…’
‘You could speak to Frank.’
‘Who’s Fr…? Yes!’
‘Shall I get him?’
And of course Disney provided the means to overcome the problem. They have patented the happy endings…
Which was, I hear you ask dear reader?
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