With the exception of her parakoimomenos, Queen Pirouette was alone in her bedchamber. It was there in her bed with the curtains drawn that she felt comfortable enough to weep. There were no heart-rendering sobs, or exclamations of sorrow. No, they were quiet, gentle tears that rolled down her cheeks. In many ways, she was still a girl, but the realities of life were squeezing that out of her, leaving behind a woman that might be hard and flinty. Intuitively, she knew this and that added to her sadness. Dear God, she silently prayed. Give me strength.
Outside her door, she heard a commotion. Voices, angry voices, shook her from her revelry. “I must speak to the Queen!” It was GarGar, le comte des Deux Chats. “Get out of my way!” He was yelling at the guards who stood right outside.
Suddenly, the doors flew open. There was GarGar, sword drawn. The Queen’s ladies, at least three of them were clinging to him, trying to pull him away by his jacket, by his hair, even by his leg. Behind them, Pirouette could perceive the crumpled bodies of two palace guards.
“Are you mad!” Shouted Lady Abigail. “What are you doing?”
“Let him go!” Shouted Pirouette. “Let him go, I command you!”
With that, GarGar strode into her bedchamber and threw himself into Pirouette’s arms. The second he touched her, an electrical zap shot through her entire body. It was like being struck with lightening. Gasping for air, she managed to whispers into his ear, “My love! What is it?”
A Royal Wedding?
The capital was rife with rumors. The queen was pregnant. To spare herself the embarrassment of having an illegitimate child, she’d secretly married le comte des Deux Chats. How these stories got started was a mystery. Who could possibly profit from spreading these lies? Pirouette had an idea, but as she had no evidence to prove her suspicions, she had to keep quiet, show herself to the people, let them see for themselves that she was not with child.
“This is precisely why we must hurry and have a big, public wedding,” urged GarGar, for once at a loss for an amusing quip that would put things into perspective.
“Ah, but there’s the twist,” said the Prime Minister gravely. “If you rush into a public wedding at this point, it will only serve to confirm these scandalous rumors.” He frowned. “In the eyes of the people.” He added.
GarGar and Pirouette! GarGar and Pirouette! GarGar and Pirouette! GarGar and Pirouette! The people sang. Crowds of people from every walk of life poured into the courtyard of the palace. Intoxicated with joy over the official announcement, they popped open champagne, which they drank directly from the bottle. They hugged and kissed one another. Normally these people would be strangers to one another, but tonight, they were all of one family. Their young and beautiful queen was going to marry the man of her dreams. Hurray! They shouted. Hurrah! They shouted. Long live the Queen! Long live GarGar!
When the happy couple finally appeared on the balcony to wave and acknowledge the patriotism of the crowd, the crowd in turn hushed. It was as if some spell had been cast upon them. They stared up at their Queen and her fiancé as though they were in a trance. The very moment that GarGar wrapped his arms around Pirouette and gave her a kiss- right on her very mouth- they erupted into applause. The men tossed their hats into the air. The women waved their scarves. It was absolute pandemonium.
GarGar whispered into Pirouette’s ear, “How many people do you think are going to be trampled tonight?”
Okay, Jez. I’ll see your coot and call two ducks!
“Oh, my God!” Exclaimed GarGar. “This soup is atrocious!” He wiped his mouth with a cloth napkin, thereby, smearing his makeup.
Queen Pirouette took a dainty sip from her spoon. Not one to lose her composure, her reaction to the concoction was written all over her face. She suppressed the urge to gag. “For once, my dear,” she said, “You are right. Even a vulture wouldn’t eat this!” Twisting to one side in her chair, she motioned to her chamberlain. “Send the royal cook to me at once!”
When the hapless man arrived, he pulled his chef’s hat from his head and bowed very low from the waist. “Your Majesty! How may I serve you?”
“You can begin by explaining how you allowed something this vile to leave your kitchen!” Pirouette waved her hand over the bowl. “Here!” She handed him her spoon. “Try it!” She commanded. Hesitatingly, he took a sip. He instantly put his hand over his mouth, as if to keep from spitting out the noxious liquid. “Tell me, sir. Are you trying to poison us?” In a rare moment of pique, Pirouette raised her voice loudly enough to cause GarGar to start in his chair.
Never one to miss a beat, GarGar’s eyes began to scintillate. “Only the pure of heart can make a good soup,” he said, quoting the great composer.